Operant conditioning (OC)
The process of changing an animal’s response to a certain stimulusStimulus A change in the environment. If the stimulus has no effect on the animal, it is a neutral stimulus. A stimulus that stands out in the environment, that the animal notices more than other environmental stimuli, is a salient stimulus. A stimulus that causes a change of state in the animal, that causes him to perform a specific behavior, for example, is a discriminative stimulus. by manipulating the consequences that immediately follow the response. The five principles of operant conditioning were developed by B.F. Skinner. Clicker trainingClicker training Clicker training is a system of teaching that uses positive reinforcement in combination with an event marker. is a subset of operant conditioning, using only positive reinforcementPositive reinforcement (R+) Adding something the animal will work for to strengthen (increase the frequency of) a behavior. For example, giving the dog a treat for sitting in order to increase the probability that the dog will sit again. , extinctionExtinction The weakening of behavior through non-reinforcement or “ignoring” the behavior. In extinction, nothing is added or removed from the environment. For example, a treat lies on the other side of a fence. A dog reaches his paw under, but cannot reach the treat. Because reaching for the treat doesn’t work—because it isn’t reinforced through success—the dog will eventually quit reaching for the treat., and, to a lesser extent, negative punishmentPunishment In operant conditioning, aconsequenceto a behavior in which something is added to or removed from the situation to make the behavior less likely to occur in the future. .