Operant Conditioning Essay

Operant Conditioning
I don’t have a child yet but if I do, then this will be my procedure for that child to be in bed by 9:00 pm. First of all, my definition of being in bed will change with the age of the child. As my child ages, he or she will gain more privileges; that is if he or she can keep them. So for now my make believe child is in the age range of 10-13. My definition of being in bed for this child is that the lights are out, no electronics, no books, and absolutely no getting out of the room, only for emergencies. Of course this isn’t really how I would treat my child or any child but let’s keep it this way for this assignment.

To get this child to be in bed by 9pm I will use a fixed interval schedule since I will know when the days he or she will need to be in bed by 9pm. The good sleep and benefits of good sleep are the reinforcer and being asleep by 9pm as the targeted response. The reinforcer is during school days and so after each reinforcer is given the child slowly goes back to sleeping later since there is weekends and school breaks where the child doesn’t have to sleep early. Looking at the graph provided by the text book “Psychology a Concise Introduction” by Richard A. Griggs, the gradual increase can be tied with the days in the school week, Monday, Tuesday, etc., and the decrease as the weekends, such as Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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In order for the child to continue this good behavior of sleeping in time, I will have to use positive reinforcements. Some positive reinforcements that I could use is presenting the child with gifts, starting with a small bar of chocolate then in time some money. Another positive reinforcement is allowing the child to sleepover at another friend’s house, this would also be a negative reinforcement me since I don’t have to take care of anyone for that particular day. If this does not continue and the child is disobeying and not following the rules of bedtime, I will first use negative punishment. One form of negative punishment I could do is taking away the child’s privilege of sleeping late on the weekends, or taking away electronics, which might be the main reason they aren’t going to sleep early. If the behavior is worse and they give an attitude about it then a positive punishment should do the trick. One positive punishment that comes to mind is spanking. Of course since I was raised by my Filipino parents, I will generously use the tactics they used on me on the child.

In conclusion, there are many different ways to help a child sleep at a designated time. However there are also many variables that could affect the procedures, those could include the behavior of the child before the procedure and the type of person doing the procedure whether he or she is patient or motivated enough to help the child.

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