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Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is one of the most commonly-used behaviorist techniques. Who hasn’t seen a
parent give a child a treat after doing a good job? Have you ever noticed how a well-timed frown or
raised eyebrow from a parent can stop a child’s misbehavior in its tracks? Employers often give
raises with the hope of maintaining good employees. That gold star or “Good work!” from a teacher
is often designed to bolster performance. These are all examples of operant conditioning at work!
Since operant conditioning is so prevalent, it is important to be able use it well. Therefore, for this
Assignment, you will write a 4-6 page essay that describes how you would apply operant
conditioning to a specific case.
Select one of the following behaviors:
● Teaching a puppy to stop biting
● Getting a teenager to clean his/her room
● Working with a child on the autism spectrum to make eye contact with an adult
● Working with a client to reduce self-injury behavior
In your essay, be sure to do the following:
● Briefly recap and describe the target behavior you wish to shape.
● Break the behavior down into the manageable parts that you will shape (list each part).
● Evaluate a minimum of four specific reinforcers that could be used to shape behaviors; select
the most appropriate one.
● Describe at least two factors that you need to consider when selecting a reinforcer and why
you selected the reinforcer you chose.
● Using the behavioral parts and the selected reinforcer, describe the process that you will use
to shape the target behavior.
● Discuss how you will balance eventually removing tangible reinforcement while preventing
extinction during shaping.