Operant conditioning is a concept developed by B. F Skinner. He defined it as behavior adjustments resulting either from greater or lesser negative or positive reinforcements and punishments. Our lives are actually dictated by operant conditioning. It has wide range of application and modification of people’s behavior either at work place, school or at home. Primary and secondary reinforces plays major part in operant conditioning. Before you pick out a reinforcer, it is important that you consider the person receiving that reinforcer.
Considering your roommate’s incident, I have developed a program to adjust his eating and lazy behavior which is preventing him from joining football team due to weight gain.
NOTE: Weighing scale will be used to register any weight lost throughout the one month program.
Continuous Reinforcement: To create strong association between the behavior and response to the desired behavior, employ this schedule so that any single time desired behavior occurs, reinforcement is given to motivate. Slowly graduate to partial reinforcement.
Fixed-Ratio Schedule: Simply implies that you administer reinforcement after a set of responses. You therefore give your roommate therapy and massage for every pound lost.
Variable-Ratio Schedule: At this point, you will administer reinforcement after random number of responses. So your roommate will receive therapy after he loses two pounds, then you can wait again for five pounds and then maybe go back to one pound. Here acquisition is set although after some time and extinction of previous lazy behavior can be achieved.
Fixed-Interval Schedule: Here, fixed amount of time passes before the reinforcement is administered. So you administer therapy and massage to your roommate for every one week he stays on the recommended diet and practice to reduce weight.
Variable-Interval Schedule: Random amount of weeks passes before the reinforcement is administered. Your roommate receives therapy and massage after the 3rd or 4th week of the right diet and practice without him predicting when reinforcement will be administered . This ensures that extinction is achieved and acquisition of new behavior is adopted.
At the end of the program, the weighting scale should read 80 or less pounds. With this your roommate will have acquired new eating style and also practice since the reward of joining the team will be reinforcing this new behavior. This is attained through shaping and extinction of the previous lazy eating, watching and sleeping habit.