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colleen colleen
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Posts: 24512
9 years ago
Imagine a child sitting in a high chair at McDonald's. The child is eating french fries and becomes frustrated because she has eaten all of them. Wishing to get more fries from her parents, she begins yelling. The parents are embarrassed at their child's behavior. They decide to give her more french fries so she will stop yelling so loud in the middle of a restaurant.  Discuss the two elements of operant conditioning that are present in this scenario.
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ThePsychicThePsychic
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9 years ago
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From the child's perspective, positive reinforcement is present in this scenario. Every time she yells, she is rewarded with a few french fries. Her yelling behavior is increased because she is getting french fries (rewards) for it.

By the same token, negative reinforcement is present from the parents' perspective. The parent is embarrassed that her child is yelling in the middle of a restaurant. The parents want that unpleasant condition to stop. When the parents give the child a french fry, the quiet behavior increases. Therefore, the parents will continue to give the child a few fries whenever she yells. The unpleasant situation for the parent is the yelling and subsequent embarrassment the parent feels. The parent can remove that unwanted condition by giving the child french fries, which will result in an increase of quiet behavior from the child... for the time being.

One situation can be viewed from two different perspectives thereby involving both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
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