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Alright, I'll give you a really quick run-through. ~~~~~~~ CLASSICAL conditioning is a way of learning behaviors, where we form a mental connection between one thing, and another. For example, Your friend blows a whistle. And right after he blows the whistle, he hits you over the head with a cactus. Your friend blows a whistle, again. And again, he hits you over the head, with a cactus. If this keeps happening, what will you do, the next time you hear the whistle? You'd either duck, run, scream, or beat the living s/hit out of your friend. Why? Because you've made a mental connection, between the sound of the whistle, and getting hit with the cactus. We call this "association." CLASSICAL conditioning is all about learning through ASSOCIATION. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On the other hand, OPERANT conditioning is where we learn behaviors, based on reinforcement, and punishment. For example: If kids in a classroom get a piece of candy, every time they give the right answer to a question, then many kids will wanna try to answer questions. If I get high every time I snort cocaine, and it feels good, then I will probably keep on snorting cocaine. You see? It's because I've learned, through reward. (Positive reinforcement) Another example: If my mom chains me to the radiator in the basement, every time I ask her to feed me, then I'll probably stop asking for food. And if my mom locks me up inside a small room, for weeks on end, every time I cry, then I will probably stop crying. You see? It's because I've learned, through punishment. OPERANT conditioning is all about learning through REINFORCEMENT and PUNISHMENT. ~~~~~~~~~~ If you like, I can explain Classical and Operant conditioning, in more detail. All you have to do is ask.
That helps alot! Could you explain how modeling and shaping fit into that? I understand that modeling is just observational learning, but could you give a few examples, as you did above?
Modelling is the idea of learning behaviors, based on what we've seen. Let me run through the four steps of modelling: 1. Attention In order to learn through observation, we obviously have to pay attention to what s going on. 2. Retention This is where we remember what we saw. If we don't remember what we saw, then we can't learn anything from it. You get it? 3. Reproduction This is where we imitate the behavior that we saw. Just because we SEE something done, doesn't mean that we can imitate it PERFECTLY, and in the EXACT same way. You know what they say: Practice makes perfect. 4. Motivation So we saw something being done. Great. But people aren't always motivated to imitate what they've seen. They need motivation. They need a REASON to believe that they should imitate whatever they saw. Here's an easy example: Have you ever been a part of a crowd, that was walking into a building, with one door? You know how people tend to hold the door open for the person behind them, as they are walking into the building? There's an example of observational learning. 1. Attention -- When we're part of a crowd, we usually see people holding the door open for others, before it's OUR turn to walk through the door. We're paying attention as we're walking, waiting for our turn to walk inside the building. 2. Retention -- It's not very hard to remember how to hold a door open for someone else. Especially when we're likely to have seen it, over and over again. 3. Reproduction -- Likewise, it's not so hard to copy the simple behavior of holding a door open. 4. Motivation -- We all realize, on some level, that doing favors for other people makes us feel good about ourselves. There's our motivation. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I don't know if you'll see this before I come back. But when I come back, I'll talk about "shaping," okay?
Okay, I'm back. Let's talk about "shaping." ~~~~~~~ Shaping is where we want to reinforce one behavior. And so, we offer a reward for every time someone gets closer, and closer, to that behavior. Gradually, we reward every step that is taken, toward that behavior, until the goal behavior is finally reached. ~~~~~~~~~~ Here's a famous, real example: There were a whole bunch of students, in a college classroom. And there was a teacher, who was lecturing. And while the teacher was teaching, he would stand more toward the RIGHT side of the classroom. The students had a goal: They wanted their teacher to start teaching, while standing on the LEFT side of the classroom. So, they decided to SHAPE his behavior. And this is what they did: Every time that their teacher moved a little closer to the LEFT side of the classroom, ALL of the students would look at him, and give him their full attention. And every time that he was NOT more toward the left side of the classroom, they would all look down, and not at him. Now...the teacher obviously liked when his students would look at him. To him, their full attention was a REWARD. And so, in order to get them to look at him more, he would, almost subconsciously, move more and more toward the left side of the classroom, whenever he was teaching. Sometimes, he would move toward the left, and the students would still not look up at him So, he would move EVEN MORE toward the left side of the room. And THAT is when the students would look up at him. You see here, they were GRADUALLY rewarding him, every time he got even closer to the left side of the room, than the last time. By the end of the semester, the professor was teaching ONLY from the LEFT side of the room, because his behavior had been SHAPED by his students. ~~~~~~~~~~ SHAPING is all about reaching a GOAL BEHAVIOR, by GRADUALLY rewarding the person (or animal).