The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning

By Frances K. McSweeney; Eric S. Murphy | Go to book overview

8
Basic Principles of
Operant Conditioning

Eric S. Murphy and Gwen J. Lupfer

Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which the frequency of a behavior is controlled by its consequences (Skinner, 1953). The term operant is the combination of two common terms: operate and environment. Thus, the term operant refers to a special class of behavior that operates on the environment to produce consequences. Consequences, such as reinforcers, increase the frequency of behavior. Punishers decrease the frequency of behavior.

This chapter outlines the fundamental principles of operant conditioning and the primary methods used to study it. It should be viewed as an introduction and as a reference tool for understanding the chapters that follow. It is not a comprehensive review of basic principles. Subsequent chapters in this volume will expand on the basic ideas presented here.


A Brief History

The study of operant conditioning was pioneered by B. F. Skinner. In 1938, he published the Behavior of organisms, an early account of the effects of antecedents and consequences on nonhuman operant behavior. In this book, Skinner used a natural science approach to discover fundamental behavioral principles. His discoveries inspired the ground-breaking textbook Principles of psychology (Keller & Schoenfeld, 1950) and led to the founding of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), the flagship outlet for basic operant research, in 1958. As the field grew, applications of operant conditioning became an important research focus (e.g., Ayllon & Michael, 1959) and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis was founded in 1968 to publish applications of operant conditioning to problems of social importance

-167-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Operant and Classical Conditioning
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 738

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.