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Explain Discipline-Based Literature Review

Explain Discipline-Based Literature Review

Discipline-Based Literature Review


Every human being in the world since birth until the time of death spends a huge amount

of time learning new things. People also learn how to improve what they already know or

learned in the past. Even though other forms of animals learn too, human beings are more

advanced in learning because they actually study the diverse means of learning, refining and

classifying material through Learning and Cognition discipline. Generally, this paper highlights

some constructs or categories that build some of the most current works in learning and

cognition. Besides focusing on these constructs, this paper will highlight any ethical concerns

that may be in existence. Among the constructs that will be featured in this paper is Operant

conditioning, Classical conditioning, Behaviorism and Social learning theory

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning method that was developed by B. F. Skinner and that

occurs through punishments and rewards for behavior. There is a link created between behaviors

and consequences in operant conditioning. Practically, operant conditioning is a reversible

behavior study maintained through schedules of reinforcements (Saul, 2015). According to

operant conditioning, learning of a behavior cannot be achieved just through motivations and

internal thoughts. Skinner believed that a behavior’s external causes should be the only

considerations. Skinner’s theory of ‘operant’ only considers external factors that have effect on

a behavior as well as its consequences. Under operant conditioning, there are reinforcements and

punishments which both have effects on behavior.

– 2 –


1. since birth

from birth [Jeral Kirwan]


Reinforcement involves a process where a behavior’s frequency or rate is increased

through presenting a stimulus soon after the behavior display. The event that leads to

enhancement of probability of a behavior being repeated is known as a reinforcer. Reinforcers

are in two categories which include positive reinforcers and negative reinforcers. Positive

reinforcers are encouraging or favorable stimuli given after a behavior display. They strengthen

the chances of a behavior through provision of an extra thing. For instance, a student rewarded

for passing an exam is likely to work hard again and pass more exams so that he can get more

rewards. On the other hand, negative reinforce is the removal of unfavorable stimuli after a

behavior display. With the removal of unfavorable stimuli, the response or behavior is made

stronger. Both reinforcements lead to increment of a behavior.

Unlike rein-forcers, punishment is a process where presentation of a stimulus leads to

decline in behavior occurrence. Punishments are categorized in two; negative punishments and

positive punishments. Positive punishment is where something is added which leads to reduction

in behavior repetition. On the other hand, negative punishment is where something that is loved

is removed to minimize the probability of a behavior happening again. An example of positive

punishment is a child spanked for teasing another. An example of negative punishment is a

teenager deprived the privilege of going out with friends after failing an exam.

One major ethical issue with operant conditioning is that it has some manipulation

feature and it is does not give a permanent solution to an issue. This theory fails to teach the

required skills that a person needs in life to become a success such as compromise, decision-

making and bargaining. Practically, operant conditioning fails in meeting its desired goals. In

many case, the desired behavior is not achieved and if it is achieved it sometimes does not last

for long (Lumen, 2017).

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