Operant conditioning: Positive-and-negative reinforcement and punishment | MCAT | Khan Academy

November 23, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


So in the previous
videos, we talked about classical conditioning. And what classical
conditioning basically involves is the pairing of stimuli
and the association that results between the two. So a behavior that
would normally be the result of one
stimulus becomes the result of another one because of that
association that’s created. Now, obviously
classical conditioning is little more
complicated than that. But that’s basically
what it boils down to. In this video I want to
talk about a concept called operant conditioning. And what operant conditioning
basically focuses on is the relationship
between behavior and their consequences, and
how those consequences in turn influence the behavior. So I’m going to write here
“behaviors have consequences.” And in terms of
operant conditioning, there are two main
types of consequences. You have reinforcement
and punishment. And when it comes to
reinforcement and punishment, there are two types,
positive and negative. And the same goes
for punishment. There are two types,
positive and negative. So we’re going to go
over each one of these in the context of an example. And we’re going to use a goal
behavior or a target behavior to help solidify this example. So I want to say
the goal behavior for this is safe driving. So we see these two types of
consequences, reinforcement and punishment. What reinforcement
means is it’s going to increase the tendency
that the goal behavior will occur again. And you can do that through
positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. When you see the word
“positive” in this context, it means something
is being added. And something is being added
in positive reinforcement to increase the tendency that
the behavior will occur again. Negative reinforcement means
something is being taken away in an effort to increase
the tendency that the goal behavior will occur again. So for positive
reinforcement, since we’re adding something– let’s say
if someone is a safe driver and they’re following
all the rules, they’re rewarded
with a gas gift card. Free gas, sounds good to me. So I’ll write “gas.” A gas gift card is being
presented in an effort to increase the tendency
that the safe driving behavior will occur again. And negative
reinforcement means you’re going to take
something away in order to increase the tendency
that the safe behavior will occur again. So one really common example
is when you get your car, before you put your
seat belt on– here’s a seat belt– sometimes you’ll
hear a loud buzzing sound. It’s very annoying. That buzzer just keeps
going until you perform the behavior of putting
on your seat belt. And performing the behavior
of putting on your seat belt takes away the
sound of the buzzer. So that taking away of
the sound of the buzzer is the negative of
negative reinforcement. And it’s negative reinforcement
because you’re taking something away– that’s the buzzing
sound– in an effort to increase the behavior that
safe driving will occur again. Punishment, on the
other hand, means it will decrease the
tendency that a behavior will occur again. So if we’re going to use
the example of safe driving, we want to punish
behaviors that are unsafe. So positive punishment
means something’s being added in an effort
to decrease the tendency that a behavior
will occur again. So let’s think of at a bit
unsafe behavior in terms of driving. One of those examples
could be speeding. And what happens when you speed? Sometimes when you
get caught speeding, you’ll receive a
speeding ticket. So if you’re caught
speeding, a police officer will present a ticket to you. So something’s been added here,
being the ticket, in an effort to decrease the tendency that
that unsafe behavior will occur again. So that’s why people
get speeding tickets. On the other hand,
negative punishment mean something is
being taken away in an effort to decrease the
chance that a behavior will occur again. So if you want a decrease
in unsafe driving by taking something
away, one extreme example is sometimes when people
consistently break the law and they show that
they’re not safe drivers, courts will take
their license away. And by taking away
their license, they’re decreasing
the chances that they can perform more unsafe driving. So these are the four
types of consequences. You have positive reinforcement,
negative reinforcement, positive punishment,
and negative punishment. And one last thing I
want to illustrate here is that all of these have
a reciprocal relationship. All of these consequences
influence and shape the behavior. And that’s what makes
operant conditioning unique. It’s this relationship,
this reciprocal relationship between behavior
and consequences and how these behaviors
are all influenced by their consequences. And these consequences will
influence the behavior. So these are different types of
reinforcement and punishment.