Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Palmer, D. C. 2010. Operant Conditioning. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Operant conditioning, a term coined by B. F. Skinner (1937), has several shades of meaning. It is both an experimental procedure and a behavioral process. In the latter sense, it is a biological adaptation with a plausible evolutionary interpretation and can be observed in the environment-behavior relations of any species with a complex nervous system. The study of operant conditioning and related phenomena comprises a substantial research paradigm within psychology in both laboratory and applied settings. This paradigm endorses tightly controlled experiments to discover behavioral principles; the direct extension of those principles to behavior therapy, education, organizational behavior, and other applications; and the use of the principles as interpretive tools for understanding complex human behavior such as language, memory, and problem solving.
- applied behavior analysis;
- behavior analysis;
- classical conditioning;
- operant behavior;
- reinforcement schedules