Learning and Behavior

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PS124-03: Introduction to Psychology

Unit Four: Assignment

Learning and Behavior

October 16, 2012

Operant conditioning is modified behavior with the use of consequences (Stangor, C., 2011). When I was in grade school, my first grade teacher gave the class spelling tests. We had to practice the words at home for homework everyday until Friday. Friday was the spelling test day. There were always ten words given and plus one bonus word. Each regular word was worth ten points and the bonus was worth five points. The teacher stated that whoever received the full one hundred five percent on the test will receive a gold star. This motivated me to practice spelling my words on a sheet everyday until test day. Every Friday I would receive my gold star for spelling perfect on my test. This was operant conditioning, because my behavior was modified with the use of consequence or reward.

Positive punishment is a negative consequence that is used in reaction to an unwanted behavior (Stangor, C., 2011). When I was in seventh grade, my teacher had specific rules in his class. He did not want anyone talking when it was test taking time, no cheating and absolutely no chewing gum. I was able to listen to the first two rules of no talking when it was test taking time and not cheating, but I could not follow the rule of not chewing gum. Chewing gum was my favorite thing to do. The teacher caught me chewing gum one day and for punishment he made me write five hundred times that “I will not chew gum in Mr. Perez’s class again”. Trust me, this was a lesson learned, because I never chewed gum in his class ever again. My hand hurt so much after having to write that sentence, so many times. This was a positive punishment to change my unwanted behavior.

Negative punishment is something that is wanted, but is no allowed to have a consequence of a specific…...