Explain in detail how you will use operant conditioning to get the behavior you want (see the sample essay attached) Add
Punishers reduce the likelihood of a behavior, so we may try to punish (reduce) “bad” behaviors. Reinforcers increase the likelihood of a behavior, so we may reinforce (increase, reward) “good” behaviors. But it doesn’t always work this way. Sometimes we reward bad behavior (we tell the dog to stop begging for food, but we throw him a meatball so he’ll stop begging. We just reinforced his begging, so there will never be peace during dinner. Or we may punish good behavior: imagine someone getting teased for trying something new. They won’t want to try again.
This process of trying to change behavior through rewards (reinforcers) and punishment (punishers) is called operant conditioning. And this week’s reading– “Operant Conditioning” –a chapter from a book by Carole Wade and Carol Tavris–explains the concept in detail
After reading this week’s assigned reading–the chapter from the textbook– “Operant Conditioning”–write an essay in which you discuss a behavior you want to change, along with two ways you could use operant conditioning to improve that behavior and one way you wouldn’t use operant conditioning because it would surely backfire.
The first step, after reading the chapter, is to think of a behavior you want to change. For this exercise, think of a behavior in someone you know very well. Maybe you want your partner to put her cellphone down during dinner, or maybe you want your little brother to do his homework. Maybe you want your child to eat his vegetables or you want your best friend to stop smoking. Choose one behavior to work with for this essay. It is best if it’s very specific. It will not be a good essay if you say you want your friend to “stop bad stuff” or you want “people in the world to just get along.” That won’t work. Too vague. Choose something narrow and specific like: I want my kid to brush his teeth without a fight. Specific.
Once you have the behavior you want to change, you will write about how you’ll use operant conditioning to change it. Use this outline to guide you:
Paragraph 1, the Intro: In the first paragraph, explain what operant conditioning is, in your own words, describe the problem behavior you would like to change, and mention the kinds of operant conditioning you will discuss in greater detail in the body paragraphs.
Each body paragraph will have one quote, so look for quotes from the text to support your ideas. The quotes will be related to the operant conditioning concepts you will or won’t use to change the behavior. These may include punishment, positive punishment, negative punishment, reinforcement, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement. The quotes must come from this week’s assigned reading. Do not incorporate outside sources.
After you find your quotes, build the kind of quotation sandwiches discussed in They Say I Say.
In the book you read in Week 2, the authors show how to integrate quotations into your writing by setting up the quote, quoting accurately and sparingly, and paraphrasing/explaining the quote. Each of the three body paragraphs will look like this:
– Topic sentence: connect 1 way you will use operant conditioning to get the behavior you want
– Quote (copy one sentence directly from the text–from the assigned reading–put it in quotes, and cite the page number where you got it–use MLA format; remember, you can always refer to They Say I Say for help incorporating quotes. Tip: set up the quote (According to…), then quote accurately and sparingly, then cite the page number.
– Paraphrase (put the quote in your own words so the reader can easily understand what the quote means: “In other words…”)
– Explain in detail how you will use operant conditioning to get the behavior you want (see the sample essay attached)
Add the conclusion.
The essay will be five paragraphs and it will have three quotes–each about one sentence long (one quote in each of the three body paragraphs). See the outline.
For reference, see also the sample essay for a sense of the general structure (number of paragraphs, shape of paragraphs). The essay assignment and the source texts are different for the sample essay, but your essay will be the same length and shape. Notice how the student incorporates the quotations and links the concepts with concrete ways she will use them. Do not discuss extinction in your essay as it is not a concept explored in-depth in the chapter. Stick to positive and negative reinforcers and positive and negative punishers.
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