“Stimulus, response! Stimulus, response! Don’t you ever think?”
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“Stimulus, response! Stimulus, response! Don’t you ever think?”. Outline B.F. Skinner Biography Theoretical notions Respondent and Operant Behaviour Operant Conditioning Principles The Skinner Box Shaping and Extinction Superstitious behavior Discriminative responding

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Outline B.F. Skinner Biography Theoretical notions Respondent and Operant Behaviour

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Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

“Stimulus, response! Stimulus, response! Don’t you ever think?”

Outline

  • B.F. Skinner

    • Biography

    • Theoretical notions

      • Respondent and Operant Behaviour

      • Operant Conditioning Principles

      • The Skinner Box

      • Shaping and Extinction

      • Superstitious behavior

      • Discriminative responding

      • Secondary reinforcers


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Biography

    • Wanted to be writer

      • B.A. in English Literature (1926)

    • Entered graduate school at Havard (1928)

      • Mentored by the Chair of Physiology (W. Crozier)

        • Who studied the “animal as a whole” without appealing to internal processes.

      • Obtained his Ph.D. in 1931

    • Taught at University of Minnesota (1936 - 1945)

      • Published “The Behaviour of Organisms” (1938)

    • Affiliated with Havard until he died (1990)


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Biography

    • Inventions

      • The air-crib

        • Easily-cleaned, temperature and humidity-controlled

        • Somewhat controversial (but effective)

        • Commercially manufactured

      • Project pigeon

        • Received a 25K grant to develop a cruise missile

          • Guided by trained pigeons

          • U.S. Navy passed on it

            (but retested the idea

            in the 1980s)


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Biography

    • Inventions

      • The Skinner Box (AKA, operant chamber)

        • Animal can respond multiple times

        • Operant response: Bar pressing

        • Operant conditioning: Increased bar pressing when food is delivered following the response.


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Biography

    • Inventions

      • Cumulative recorder

        • Keeps track of the animal’s responding

          • Time is recorded on the ‘X’ axis

          • Total number of responses is recorded on the ‘Y’ axis

          • Faster rates of responding lead to steeper slopes


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Respondent and operant behaviour

      • Respondent behaviour - Behaviour elicited by a known stimulus

        • E.g., Unconditioned responses

          • Elicited by unconditioned stimuli

          • Reflexive

      • Operant behaviour - Behaviour not elicited by a known stimulus

        • E.g., Most of our everyday behaviour

          • Occurs spontaneously


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Type S and Type R conditioning

      • Two kinds of conditioning

        • Type S (respondent conditioning) - classical (Pavlovian) conditioning

          • ‘S’ to emphasize the role of the eliciting Stimulus

          • Strength is measured by the magnitude of the CR

        • Type R (operant conditioning) - learning that involves operant behaviour

          • ‘R’ to emphasize Response

          • Strength is measured by the response rate


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

Edward Lee Thorndike (1874 - 1949)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Type S and Type R conditioning

      • Comparison with Thorndike’s approach

        • Thorndike’s puzzle box

          • Dependent variable was time-to-solution

            -> I.e., how long it took to learn a (single) response

        • Skinner

          • Dependent variable was rate of responding

            -> I.e., What variables affect the rate

            of responding


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Operant conditioning principles

      • Two general principles

        • Any response that is followed by a reinforcing stimulus tends to be repeated

        • A reinforcing stimulus is anything that increases the rate with which an operant response occurs

          • I.e., anything that increases the probability of a response’s re-occurring


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Operant conditioning principles

      • Contingent reinforcement

        • Emphasis on behaviour and its consequences

          • Gaining reinforcement depends (i.e., is contigent) on making the appropriate response

        • Culture as a set of reinforcement contigencies

          • Different cultures reinforce different behaviour patterns

        • Controlling reinforcement -> controls behaviour

          • E.g, child rearing


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Conditioning the lever-pressing response

      • Three steps

        1. Deprivation

        • Food/water deprived for 23 hours per day

        • Animal is held at 80% of its free-feeding body weight

          2. Magazine training

        • Food pellets are delivered by the experimenter

        • Animal learns to associate the sound of the delivery mechanism with food


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Conditioning the lever-pressing response

      • Three steps

        3. Lever pressing

        • Animal is placed in the box

        • Eventually hits the lever (operant response)

        • Delivery of food pellet reinforces the response.


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Conditioning the lever-pressing response

      • Shaping

        • A faster method of teaching the rat to lever press

        • Two components

          1. Differential reinforcement

          -> Some responses are reinforced, others are not

          2. Successive approximations

          -> Only reinforce responses that become progressively closer to the desired response


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

Rest

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

Cumulative responses

Spontaneous recovery

Extinction

Time

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Extinction and spontaneous recovery

      • Extinction - removing the reinforcer removes the operant response

      • Spontaneous recovery - The reoccurrence of a response that had been extinguished, with no additional training.


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Superstitious behavior

      • What if we delivered pellets noncontingently?

        • Random behaviour would get reinforced

          • E.g., Dog running in circles while waiting to get fed

        • Humans are susceptible to similar conditioning

          • E.g., Athletes/ coaches’ game rituals


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Discriminative operant

      • Skinner box is set so that reinforcement is only available when the light is on.

        • The light is the discriminative stimulus

          • I.e., indicates that reinforcement is available

        • SD = light on, SD = light off, SR = reinforcing stimulus

          • A discriminative operant is symbolized as:

            SD -> R -> SR

          • Skinner was interested in the SD -> R association

            -> Cf. respondent conditioning

        • Stimulus control of behaviour


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Secondary reinforcement

      • A neutral stimulus paired with a reinforcer can take on reinforcing qualities of its own

      • To test this notion

        • Lever press -> light -> food

        • Extinguish the response

          • Neither light nor food is delivered

        • Allow lever - press to deliver light (not food)

          • Response rate increases


Outline b f skinner biography theoretical notions respondent and operant behaviour

B. F. Skinner

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Major Theoretical Notions

    • Secondary reinforcement

      • A secondary reinforcer can be used to reinforce other responses

        • Clicker training for dogs

          • Warning: secondary reinforcers can be extinguished!

        • Money for humans

          • Generalized reinforcer


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