Updated September 10, 2022

Using Operant Conditioning for Roommate

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Using Operant Conditioning for Roommate essay
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Having a roommate is hard enough, there is not much privacy living with a stranger, but having a messy roommate puts the cherry on the sundae. There should always be ground rules when living with someone. Each person should clean up after themselves to keep the environment of the home clean and in peace. Sadly, if your roommate does not comply with the ground rules something has to be done. You can always talk to them about cleaning up after themselves but sometimes “talking” does not get the house cleaned up.

I would personally try a different way of getting my roommate Jackie to comply with the rules by using Operant Conditioning. Operant Conditioning is a type of learning technique in which a person’s behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher. Sounds a little harsh but operant conditioning is much like training your roommate to clean as you would train a puppy to do a new trick.

For example, I do not like seeing dirty dishes in the sink for the world to see nor do I like washing them. I hate touching wet food on the dishes, I find it to be disgusting and my roommate knows that. So, if I would want Jackie to wash the dirty dishes for both of us, I would simply give her a positive reinforcement. I would praise her by giving her a sweet treat I know she would enjoy for completing the task.

Over time it will become a habit of hers to wash the dishes because she will get something in return. It works well for both of us, I get a clean kitchen and my roommate gets a sweet treat every other day. It also works as a negative reinforcement for myself. The dishes being the negative stimuli, once they are removed my anxiety eases. So, I give Jackie a reward as a thank you, for doing the chore in washing the dishes and saving me from doing so. In the same situation, positive and negative punishment also occur.

When my roommate Jackie did not wash the dishes for a whole week I had to step up and wash them so there would not be clutter in the kitchen. Jackie noticed I was being distant and realized she had not washed the dishes and I did. That was a positive punishment, a sort of a warning. The next time my roommate failed to wash the dishes, I removed her positive reinforcement of a sweet treat, that being a negative punishment. Jackie’s sweet tooth was not being satisfied and she came to the point where she knew she had to do her part of keeping our place clean.

While I cleaned the rest of our combined living space her job was to clean the dishes. In conclusion, with a few bumps in the road, my roommate and I learned how to live together in harmony with a clean home. Using Operant Conditioning helped the process out a lot. I learned how to strengthen my roommate’s behavior in a way we both benefited from. Jackie got a sweet treat and I got a clutter-free kitchen.

Using Operant Conditioning for Roommate essay

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Can operant conditioning be used on humans?
There is little difference between the learning that takes place in humans and that in other animals. Therefore research (e.g., operant conditioning) can be carried out on animals (Rats / Pigeons) as well as on humans .
How can you use operant conditioning to teach a new behavior?
Negative Reinforcement . Positive reinforcement is an additional stimulus that encourages certain behavior. This is a type of operant conditioning (Schultz, 2015). For example, parents use positive reinforcement when they a child for completing their chores with a piece of candy.
How is operant conditioning used by humans?
Operant conditioning can also be used to decrease a behavior via the removal of a desirable outcome or the application of a negative outcome . For example, a child may be told they will lose recess privileges if they talk out of turn in class. This potential for punishment may lead to a decrease in disruptive behaviors.
What are some everyday examples of operant conditioning?
A child is scolded (unpleasant event) for ignoring homework (undesirable behavior.) A parent gives a child a time-out (unpleasant consequence) for throwing tantrums (unwanted behavior.) The police gives a driver a ticket (unpleasant stimulus) for speeding (unwanted behavior.)
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