Practical Applications of Conditioning

The use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of the behavior is called operant conditioning. This is deals with the modification of voluntary behavior through the use of consequences, while Pavlovian conditioning deals with the conditioning of behavior so that it occurs under new antecedent conditions (Domjan, 2006). Within the operant conditioning model, the fundamental paradigm, is that of reinforcement.

The reinforcement paradigm involves contingently following an overt behavior with the application (positive freinforcement or remmoval(negativew reinforcement) of consequence, which result in maintenance and increase in the occurance of that overt behavior. Positive reinforcement are things that that person enjoys or derived pleasure from. In this paper we will discuss some specific application of operant conditioning. This type of conditioning can be applied to areas such as education, the work place, family life, relationships, and even government.

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But in this particular paper we will concentrate on The Practical Application One practical example of a beneficial use of operant conditioning is through the token economy method. According to the studies made by Ayllon & Azrin (as cited in McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series, 2005) in a mental hospital with psychiatric patients who had difficulty performing expected behaviors, by using to chose a number of simple grooming behaviors, including face washing, hair combing, teeth brushing, bed making, and dressing properly.

The researchers first recorded baseline, or normally occurring, frequencies of the behaviors. Then they gave the patients a token every time the proper behavior was performed. The tokens could be exchanged for food and personal items at the hospital drugstore. The patients significantly increased the frequency of the desired behaviors when they were reinforced with tokens. In a simple class room setting, operant conditioning can be used by teachers or instructors by giving quizzes or oral recitation test in each meeting.

The token can be a high grade everytime the student recite or perfect the test but a failing grades for those who do not study ad give the right answer. Another good example can be in a home setting where mothers or parents try to use a reward system everytime their children get a high grade in school or do the household choirs. Children are conditioned that everytime they do their responsibilities at home or work hard in their studies they will get a reward like new toys or a vacation trip. But if it is the other way around they will get a punishment like no access to television or computer.

Conclusion Conditioning can be used in so many ways. They are used by politicians to convince us to vote for them. They are used by the company to convince us to buy their product. It is also use by educators to motivate students to study. It can also be used in home, family and community relationship. They also use this in training animals like dogs, cats and other animals to do tricks. To further the application and use of this conditioning method, scientist and psychologist even tried to use them for therapeutic use for mental patients and training of special children.