Which of the following is an example of operant conditioning?

Which of the following is an example of operant conditioning?

a. when a dog plays dead she gets a treat in order to encourage her to repeat the behavior

b. when a cat and a dog share the same water bowl

c. when a cat learns to drool at the sound of a can opener

d. when a dog refuses to play dead

An example of operant conditioning is “when a dog plays dead she gets a treat in order to encourage her to repeat the behavior”. Hence, option a is the correct answer. 

Which of the following is an example of operant conditioning

What is operant conditioning?

Operant conditioning is the name given to the learning strategy that consists of both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement for any behavior. Both of these types of reinforcement can be considered to be part of the learning strategy. This approach to learning can be utilized for the modification of any behavior. B.F. Skinner is generally acknowledged as the individual who is credited with having initially proposed this idea. The following categories, each of which will have its own explanation in the following paragraphs, are used to classify the features of operant conditioning:

If a person takes part in an endeavor that is regarded as beneficial, it will result in an increase in the amount of that endeavor that is promoted and carried out in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, if an individual engages in a behavior that is frowned upon, it is extremely unlikely that the individual will engage in that behavior again in the future. This is because individuals tend to avoid engaging in behaviors that are frowned upon.


The ideas of “reinforcement” and “punishment” each play an important part in the process of operant conditioning, the theoretical framework upon which this method is based.


Therefore, in this particular situation, the dog acts as though it is dead in order to receive a treat, which encourages it to continue engaging in the specific behavior that is being questioned. In other words, the dog is being rewarded for engaging in the behavior that is being questioned. A specific illustration of reinforcement is provided in the form of this particular example within the sentence. Because of this, the correct response would be to pick option a from the given choices.

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Reinforcement in Operant Conditioning

A behavior is considered to be reinforced whenever there is an occurrence that serves to strengthen or amplify the behavior that it is following. One of two categories is available for the reinforcements that are available. The use of either of these two forms of reinforcement will result in an increase in the behavior that is desired.

Positive reinforcers

When a particular behavior is noticed, it is typically followed by favorable occurrences or results, which are referred to as positive reinforcers. A response or behavior is strengthened in situations that involve positive reinforcement by the addition of praise or a direct reward in order to encourage further performance. This is done with the intention of encouraging the respondent to continue to perform well. You will have been provided with a positive reinforcer in the form of a bonus if your manager recognizes your consistently strong performance at work and rewards you with a bonus for your efforts.

Negative reinforcers

A negative reinforcer can be used after a behavior has been displayed by removing an unfavorable event or outcome from the scene after the behavior has been displayed. In situations like these, a response can be made more effective by getting rid of something that is regarded as being unpleasant. This demonstrates that your action was the cause of the removal of the unpleasant condition, which negatively reinforces your behavior (and not your child’s behavior). For example, if your child begins to scream in the middle of a restaurant but stops once you hand them a treat, this demonstrates that your action was the cause of the removal of the unpleasant condition.

Which of the following is an example of operant conditioning

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Examples of operant conditioning

We are surrounded by situations that involve operant conditioning, and we can locate examples of this type of conditioning just about anywhere. Take, for instance, the situation of children who finish their homework in the hopes of earning a reward from a parent or teacher, or the situation of employees who finish their projects in the hopes of receiving praise or promotions. Both of these scenarios involve people who finish their work in the hopes of receiving something positive in return. Examples of additional situations in which operant conditioning was put into play include the following:

  • After your performance in the play at the community theater, the people in the audience will clap and applaud in recognition of your efforts. You should view this as a form of positive reinforcement because it will encourage you to try out for additional performance roles in the future.
  • You can teach your dog to fetch by praising him and petting him on the head whenever he successfully completes the behavior that you want him to learn. This will help him remember the behavior and make it easier for him to learn it. Another instance of positive reinforcement is presented in this instance.
  • If a student has perfect attendance for the entire duration of the semester, their teacher will let them know that they do not need to take the final comprehensive exam. This will be communicated to the student by their teacher. Students are provided with negative reinforcement in the form of the removal of a stressful factor (the final exam), which encourages them to maintain regular attendance in class.
  • If you are late in turning in a project, your boss will become upset with you and criticize your performance in front of the other employees. They will do this in front of you. In addition, they will criticize your performance in front of the other employees. You will be less likely to ever finish projects late in the future as a result of this constructive form of punishment, which will reduce the likelihood of you ever doing so.
  • The young lady’s parents took away her mobile phone until the end of the day because she did not comply with their request to clean her room in the manner in which they specified. The removal of a positive stimulus, such as in the example presented here, is an illustration of a type of punishment that is considered to be negative.


In some of these situations, an increase in behavior is brought about as a result of an increased likelihood of receiving rewards or the promise of such rewards. Operant conditioning can also be used to decrease a behavior by either removing a desirable outcome or replacing it with one that is less desirable and then observing the effects of this change. This is done by removing or replacing the desirable outcome. If a child talks during their turn during class, for example, the teacher may threaten to take away the child’s privilege to go to recess. This is because talking during a child’s turn interrupts the flow of the lesson. It is possible that potentially disruptive behaviors will be engaged in with less frequency if they face the possibility of being punished.

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