Paper #2 Operant Learning Application

Operant learning is a method that people use regularly to modify and control behaviors.  By learning an association between a behavior and a designated consequence, people begin to either increase or decrease the frequency of that behavior.  Further, the concepts of reinforcement and punishment are especially useful tools of modifying behavior through operant learning.


For this assignment, you will first need to provide a basic overview of operant learning, as well as the definitions for positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.  USE YOUR OWN WORDS! You will then need to apply each of these concepts to the following scenario:


  1. You take over a 1st grade classroom in the middle of the school year. Your new students are used to making up their own rules, talking back, answering questions without raising their hand, arguing and yelling to get their way, and fighting with other students. Describe how you could use positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment to increase their positive behaviors and decrease their negative behaviors. Be sure to include at least one example for each! Include: The behavior, the consequence, and the intended outcome.
  2. ALSO, after your implementation of the 4 types of operant learning, then discuss
  3. The issues sometimes associated with punishment
  4. How you could use Response Prevention, DRL, DR0, DRI to reduce unwanted behaviors and increase good behaviors. (Be sure to explain what each is).


Each paper should be approximately 2 ½- 3 pages in length and should be typed using Times New Roman 12-pt. font.  Papers should also be double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides. Since the assignment is posted well in advance of its due date, no late papers will be accepted.


Finally, I am more than happy to give you feedback on your assignments before the actual due date.  If you would like to discuss your ideas or have a draft that you want me to look over, you may come see me during office hours, set up a separate appointment with me, or send me an email.  I do ask that all questions regarding your papers be submitted to me no later than 5:00 PM the day BEFORE the assignment is due.






Grading Rubric (out of 50 points):

  • Description of Operant Conditioning IN OWN WORDS– 5 points
  • Definitions of PR, NR, PP, and NP, examples of each– 10 points
  • Application of PR, NR, PP, and NP to Scenario in great detail – 10 points
  • Overview of punishment issues– 5 points
  • Definition of DRL, DR0, RP, DRI– 5 points
  • Definition and Application of DRL, DR0, RP, DRI to example– 10 points
  • Spelling and Grammar, margins, due date, directions in general – 5 pt.
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