OPERANT CONDITIONING EXAMPLES

Classify each of the following consequences as an example of either positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment, or extinction. HINT: Answer the following questions: 1) what is the response? does it increase or decrease? Is it punishment or reinforcement? 2) What is the consequence? Is it presented (+) or removed (-)? Is it positive or negative?

1. Justin decides to play wrestling with an older boy, Jeff, who lives down the block. They are having fun until Justin decides to get a stick and play swords. He hits Jeff with the stick. Jeff is angry but he simply picks up his bookbag and goes in the house. Justin is disturbed that his friend left and never hits Jeff with the stick again.

2. At the dinner table, Christopher, aged 2, pulled his parents together on either side of him and said, "Hey guys. Whas doiní? Play ball!!!" Everyone laughed so hard that he continued to do this five or six times at each meal for the next two months.

3. Zachary gets into so much trouble in one afternoon (he pour out all his sisterís perfume, climbs out the window onto the roof, and many other similar things in a short period of time.) His mother tells him that he cannot go on the camping trip that his best friend invited him on. He stops misbehaving.

4. Zachís mother tells him that he can earn back the camping trip if he takes out the trash each night, washes the dishes and completes his homework before dinner. He does none of these things but she lets him go on the camping trip anyway. Now when his mother gives him a chore to do, he ignores her.

5. Analyze this example from the point of view of Zachís mother. How is her behavior being controlled.

What did she do, the response:_____________ .

What was the consequence:________________.

(in other words what would have happened if she hadnít done that?

What happened because she did it?)

Effect on her behavior: _________________.

Type of learning:_______________________.

6. On Monday, Tony slammed the screen door 3 out of 8 times as he left the house. Each time his mother would give him a tongue lashing. "Tony, I have told you 'till I'm blue in the face DON'T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR!!" On Tuesday, Tony slammed the screen door 7 our of 8 times.
 
 
 
 

7. When Jenniferís mother drops her off at day care each morning, Jennifer screams and yells. When she does this her mother stays and pays attention to her for a few minutes more. Jenniferís screaming and crying goes on for a long time each morning.

8. When 5-year-old Jonathan draws a picture, takes it to his father and says, "Hey, look at my picture," Father looks up from his paper, says, "Uh, huh," and goes back to reading. Jonathan draws a car and takes it to Mama. "Yes, Dear. Now run along and play with your blocks." Jonathan quits drawing pictures.
 
 

9. Emily is a very quiet, introverted, hardworking 5th grader who gets straight A's but who never volunteers in class, has only one friend and, in general, seems to be scared to death of people. Her teacher is particularly impressed with Emily's performance on an arithmetic test and announces to the class that since Emily got the highest grade, she will lead the pledge of allegiance everyday for a week. Emily's performance on the next arithmetic test is quite poor. The number of correct answers she gives drops to the lowest she has ever had.
 
 

10. David, aged 6, wants the toy his 4 year old brother is playing with so he twists his brother's arm until the brother drops the toy. As soon as the toy is free David lets go of his brother's arm and lets the crying child get up off the ground. Over the weeks this little scene repeats itself frequently with David's toy grabbing becoming more frequent and the brother getting faster and faster at giving up and dropping the toy. What was the consequence for the brother if he keeps the toy? If he gives up the toy? What consequence did DAVID get for twisting his brother's arm?