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Operant conditioning
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Operant conditioning is a type of behaviour that is acquired through rewards and punishment of a particular behaviour. It is also known as instrumental conditioning. It creates an association between behaviour and a consequence of that behaviour. Operant conditioning was named after a behavioural psychologist who was known as B. F Skinner, and may sometimes be referred to as Skinnerian conditioning. Skinner having studied both human and animal behaviour for a long time concluded that a person’s internal thoughts and behaviour could not be used to determine ones behaviour. On the other hand, he proposed that people should look at the external observable causes of human characteristics. He coined the term ‘operant’ as the active behaviour of a human being that acts upon the environment to result in particular consequences. Skinner attempted to explain how we acquire the varied types of behaviours that we exhibit each and every day. (Harnad, Stevan R; Catania, Charles A, 1988)
The key concepts in operant conditioning are reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement is further categorised into two: positive reinforces and negative reinforces. Positive reinforces are the favourable outcomes of a behaviour. The response or the behaviour is strengthened by praise or a reward. On the other hand, negative reinforces refer to the withdrawal of an unpleasant outcome after a particular behaviour. In either reinforcement, behaviour increases. Similarly, punishment is further categorised into two: positive punishment and negative punishment. Positive punishment refers to the application of a particular response after a specific behaviour in order to decrease the behaviour. On the flip side, negative punishment is the removal of a favourable response to reduce

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