Operant Behavior essay


Author’s Name

Summary of Skinner’s,

According to Skinner, there is importance in knowing about thebehavior of a particular organism. This is because learning how anorganism directly affects an environment is essential inunderstanding the positives and negatives of past occurrences,events, and structures. The author explains that operant behavior isa theory, which focuses on observing how organisms respond(negatively or positively) to new stimuli. The article referencesThorndike’s Law of Effect that focuses on observing behavior ofpast instances and comparing them to similar events. As such, one isable to understand the transformation of a culture, practice, andresponse to different situations (Skinner, n.d).

In addition, Skinner also uses Pavlov’s theory of conditioningwhich explains that introducing an unconditioned or unnaturalstimulus will produce an unconditioned response. For example,introducing food will result to salivation. One of the approaches indetermining an organism’s reaction to stimuli is by observing pastbehavior in different environments and the expected consequences.This form of natural selection highlights that organisms always workto achieve their goals and vice versa. For instance, if an animalencounters a dangerous environment such shuttle boxes or poisonoussubstances, it will run for safety. In contrast, if an animalrequires food, it will run towards a shelter or habitat that providesfood (Skinner, n.d).

With that said, organisms reinforce a behavior or response when theyhave a positive result. Human beings and animals often use pastexperiences/consequences to learn or condition themselves to adapt toa new environment. In the case whereby a negative stimulus ispresent, there will be a negative response. As such, organisms modifytheir behavior according to the desired consequences, which can be apunishment or reward (Skinner, n.d).


Skinner,B. F. (n.d). . Harvard University. Pdf.