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Operant Conditioning Terms
Thorndike’s Law of Effect – behavior followed by
favorable consequences becomes more likely;
behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences
become less likely
Skinner Box – a chamber containing a bar that
an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or
water reinforcer; devices are attached to
record the animal’s rate of bar pressing
Shaping – an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide
behavior toward closer and closer approximations of a desired goal
Primary Reinforcer – an innately reinforcing
stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological
Secondary Reinforcer – a conditioned reinforcer, a
stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through
its association with a primary reinforcer
Cognitive Map – a mental representation of
the layout of one’s environment
Latent learning – learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an
incentive to demonstrate it
Overjustification Effect – the effect of promising a reward for doing what one
already likes to do