Operant Conditioning

  • John Watson Little Albert

    Psychologist John Watson theorized that we are entirely a product of nurture, rather than nature, that we are shaped solely by our environment. His most famous and infamous experiment involved teaching the infant Little Albert to be afraid of rats. What does the phrase tabula rasa mean, and how is it relevant to the Little Albert experiment? What is behaviorism?

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  • Operant Conditioning

    This clip opens by showing a pigeon in a study using food as a reinforcement for pecking behavior. B.F. Skinner discusses schedules of reinforcement and how learning research can be applied to understand human behavior. Skinner challenges the validity of human free will. How is the process of learning, as understood by Skinner, inconsistent with the idea of free will?…

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  • Skinner Box

    A mouse is shown in the experimental apparatus pressing a bar in order to turn on a light. When the light turns on, the mouse receives a food pellet as a reinforcement. What schedule of reinforcement is being used? If you could design an experiment using this apparatus, what would you want to test?

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  • Thorndike Puzzle Box

    This clip shows a recreation of Thorndike’s research on learning by using cats in puzzle boxes. When cats are put in the box initially they exhibit trial-and-error learning. Thorndike’s law of effect, the assertion that behavior changes because of its consequences, is summarized. According to Thorndike, how should the presence of food affect the cats’ behavior in the future?

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  • A Pigeon Solves the Classic Box-and-Banana Problem

    This original footage shows a pigeon solving a reasoning problem involving how to reach a small banana placed just out of its reach. The pigeon considers the situation and then pushes a small box in place under the banana, hops on top of the box, and gets the banana. Reasoning skills, as well as language, were once thought of as…

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  • Psychology Project: Punishment vs. Reinforcement

    The video begins with a banana putting away a shirt and then receiving coins as a reinforcement. In the next scene, the banana does not put away the t-shirt and is thrown as a punishment. The banana is shown receiving other reinforcements and punishments. Which is more effective in modifying a behavior — reinforcements or punishments?

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  • Learned Helplessness

    The video starts with a faculty member teaching a psychology class and having students participate in a class activity on anagrams. Results of the activity demonstrate learned helplessness for students who received the impossible anagrams. Students and faculty member apply the concept of learned helplessness to social relationships. How does learned helplessness relate to victimization?

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