Psychological currentshave been interested inhuman behaviorand how it is nourishedthroughlearning. One of these psychological currents isinstrumental conditioning.

In the following article, we will explain whatinstrumental conditioning consistsof and we will mention what its procedures are.

What is instrumental conditioning?

Instrumental conditioning is atype of teaching or learning, which occurs when the individual is more likely to repeat behaviors that lead topositive consequences and less likely to repeat those that lead tonegative problems.

To highlight: The term instrumental was coined by the psychologistEdward Lee Thorndike(1) and refers tothose responses that are used as instrumentsto obtain certain consequences of the environment.

In this sense, establishing the relationship betweenbehavior and its consequencesis one of the most important factors and the temporal contiguity and contingency established between the response and the reinforcer is vital, creating differences withclassical conditioningbecause for this learning is associative and there is a relationship between the conditioned and the unconditioned stimulus.

Instrumental conditioning, unlikeoperant conditioning, on the other hand, involveslearning as a result of response, but both share several principles.

What are the procedures of instrumental conditioning?

Learning through instrumental conditioning as a strategy, follows some procedures which we mention below:

1. Reward

The response followed by a reward can lead to a response and a desirable outcometag. When this response-consequence relationship occurs consistently,the probability of the response increases.

Note: However, the reward as a stimulus for learning should not be administered indiscriminately , as it loses its initial purpose.

2. Escape and avoidance

In the escape procedure, the individual shows a behavior to end the presence of an unwanted or aversive stimulus, that is, the response interrupts the presence of an aversive or unpleasant consequence that appears very frequently.

You should know: In the avoidance learning procedure, the individual is made to generate a response to avoid contact with an aversive stimulus. In this way, he learns that through this behavior he achieves the non-appearance of the unwanted stimulus. (two)

3. Omission

This procedure indicates that before a certain behavior manifested by the subject, the lack of a positive stimulus is created as a result , that is, that the behavior leads to the omission of the reward.

4. Punishment

Punishment is a Type of Technique for Learning, with the purpose of modifying behavior based on the fact that a behavior and its frequency is influenced by the consequences of said behavior. Punishment has two procedures:

  • Negative punishment: Negative punishment deals with the absence or withdrawal of a pleasant stimulus, when an inappropriate behavior is carried out with the purpose of modifying it.
  • Positive punishment: Positive punishment tries to give an unpleasant stimulus, each time the individual performs a behavior that is intended to reduce or eliminate.

5. Aversive procedures

certain unwanted behaviors, that is, an

What are the fundamental elements of instrumental conditioning?

Instrumental conditioning uses some concepts, which allow it to be characterized and which we mention below:

1. Instrument response

This is the learning method, which originates from the Association of Rewards and Punishmentswith a certain behavior. In this way, the behavior and its consequence are associated.

2. Consequence

At this point, reference is made to any of the events that happen immediately after performing the behavior and that have the capacity to modify the probability of its occurrence in the immediate future.

3. Reinforcement

Reinforcement is the action where the reinforcer (which can be anything or an event that occurs after carrying out the behavior) affects the probability of occurrence of this behavior (3)tag. In this sense, there are two types of reinforcement that we mention below:

  • Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcementAimsto reinforce or reduce a certain behavior in learning, according to the purpose.

4. Discriminative stimulus and delta

The discriminative stimulus happens whenit can be associated with another eventthat is followed by a reinforcement or a punishment. In other words, when that stimulus is present, it indicates the availability orpossibility of reinforcement or punishment.

To highlight: When a stimulus is associated, instead, with the unavailability of a reinforcement, then it is called a delta stimulus condition.

Key Findings

  • Instrumental conditioning is a strategy for learning .
  • Instrumental conditioning occurs when the individual is more likely to repeat behaviors that lead to positive consequences.
  • It is based on establishing a relationship between and its consequences. between
  • Instrumental conditioning involves learning as a consequence of the response.

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