Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

Qnoqcywojoou131ppqgu
Alan Foreman

Director
V14vohkjcnpnerbuff1d
Peggy Andover

Educator

Share

Additional Resources for you to Explore

As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, Dr. Andover uses empirically-supported techniques to treat clients ranging in age from childhood to adulthood with a variety of presenting problems.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. From his childhood days ,Pavlov demonstrated intellectual brilliance along with an unusual energy which he named "the instinct for research". Pavlov devoted his life to the study of physiology and sciences, making several remarkable discoveries and ideas that were passed on from generation to generation. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1904.

Here is a slide show of Pavlov's dogs.

Classical and operant conditioning are two important concepts central to behavioral psychology. While both result in learning, the processes are quite different. In order to understand how each of these behavior modification techniques can be used, it is also essential to understand how classical conditioning and operant conditioning differ from one another.

Here's a clip from The Big Bang Theory. In the clip, Sheldon uses operant conditioning techniques. He also mentions some scientists on the forefront of thought in this field.

B. F. Skinner interview showing operant conditioning with pigeons (see the video here). Discusses schedules of reinforcement.

Teded-square-logo
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
What's an example of operant conditioning you've experienced in your own life?

Mar 03
Contributor_small
Sarah Stefan • COMPLETED LESSON

Easily, grades are an example, particularly in elementary and middle school. Seeing that percentage come back on the top of the paper the next day, maybe with a sticker or written in colorful ink and a big A+, was reward enough to keep studying and turning in homework on time. But it works the other way too. A bad mark was enough to make me anxious to redouble my efforts in school. I often felt the physical effects of stressing about grades. What do you think? What are grades to you, and what is their function in this system of learning we call school?

Mar 10
Contributor_small
Misuk Park • LESSON IN PROGRESS

Getting pay for hard work

Mar 10
Contributor_small
Brett Kellerstedt • COMPLETED LESSON

When you got those grades, what was the specific effect on the rate of behavior? Were some teachers feedback more effective than others? Why do you think that is?

Mar 11 • 
IN RESPONSE TO Sarah Stefan Show the comment
Contributor_small
Brett Kellerstedt • COMPLETED LESSON

When you get paid for work, what schedule do you receive the reward? What specific behaviors are being rewarded? What specific behaviors are "supposed to be" rewarded? How effective do you think hourly pay has been to your behavior? Can you come up with an alternative?

Mar 11 • 
IN RESPONSE TO Misuk Park Show the comment
Contributor_small
Becky Edmunds • COMPLETED LESSON

I experienced operant conditioning mainly in the early elementary years specifically first grade. My first grade teacher would reward every student that was on task that day a point and once you got a certain amount of points you could choose a prize from the treasure box. This is operant conditioning because the positive reinforcement were the points given at the end of every day.

Mar 12
Contributor_small
Havilah Godfrey • Fort Smith, AR, United States • COMPLETED LESSON

Praise from authoritative figures (such as professors) is a good example. Behaving like a "good" student leads to better grades, and sometimes preferential treatment from professors and others in the education system. It makes the work of being a student easier, with more opportunities granted that might not otherwise be available.

Mar 26
Contributor_small
Aisha Moghal • COMPLETED LESSON

I was appreciated by my mother for cleaning the house in childhood. Even now if i do something for her for example making orange juice or cleaning the kitchen, she gets very happy and appreciates me. So i can say that this is positive reinforcement.

Jun 05
Contributor_small
Oğuzcan Yavaş • Istanbul, Turkey • COMPLETED LESSON

My friend had a problem with her PC and after I fixed it, she cooked me a delicious meal. Another friend thanked me and ordered a coffee. Later, whenever a friend needs some help with computers, I am there to help.

Jun 09
Contributor_small
Brandon Beylo • COMPLETED LESSON

Definitely grades and "no homework" days during high school.

Jun 11
Contributor_small
Courtney Lock • LESSON IN PROGRESS

Getting good grades in school. Knowing you did the best you can do.

Oct 17
Contributor_small
Kellen Cf Culver • COMPLETED LESSON

The most common operant conditioning I encounter in life is being punished by authoritative figures for not abiding by their rules. Such as going out when I'm not supposed to or simply not listening. The outcome is always the same and is typically reinforced with a negative stimulus such as taking away certain freedoms or objects I prize.

Dec 07
Contributor_small
Kevin Cordada • COMPLETED LESSON

One instance of classical conditioning was in sixth grade for me. My teacher would give ticket stubs to anyone who would participate and do well in class, and every Friday she would pull out three ticket stubs that the students had turned in and she would take them outside of school to have lunch. So there was always an opportunity to go have lunch outside of school if the students did their work and participate, so I jumped at the opportunity. I would get so many ticket stubs that it would be a surprise if I didn't get selected and sometimes I would turn down the offer because I had gone too many times. Essentially, this was positive reinforcement, where good work and efforts would be rewarded with an outside treat.

Dec 07
Contributor_small
Ishani Panditha • COMPLETED LESSON

An example of operant conditioning that I've experienced in my life would have to be the rewards I get for doing well in school. If I get good grades, or if I do well on a test my mom either takes me out to eat or she buys me clothes. For me, that's definitely an incentive to work hard, and try my best at everything I do.

Dec 07
Contributor_small
Martin Caudillo • COMPLETED LESSON

One example of operant conditioning I've experienced in my life is getting more permission to go out and do other things for doing good in school.

Dec 07
Contributor_small
Shelly Quach • LESSON IN PROGRESS

I experienced operant conditioning Sophomore year in my Spanish two class. Every time a student participates in class, we would receive a fake "peso" and at the end of every unit, we would turn in however many "pesos" that we received within the unit to earn extra credit. This experience counts as operant conditioning because the positive reinforcement were the extra credits given at the end of every unit.

Dec 07
Contributor_small
Caroline Ross • COMPLETED LESSON

I think the closest thing to operant conditioning in my life is doing my chores. When I do my chores without being my told, my parents usually bring it up and express their satisfaction for it which makes me want to do it again. When I forget to do the chores, I am punished by not getting paid for that week or have to give up something else. Because of these reactions from my parents, I am more willing to complete my chores and am less likely to forget to avoid the punishment.

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Olivia Angelucci • COMPLETED LESSON

An example of operant conditioning that I have personally experienced in my life, occurred when I was much younger. In the fifth grade, if we got a math question correct in class, our teacher would give the student a large pretzel that they could eat in class. This pretzel acted as reinforcement! I would do my homework to the best of my ability and try to get all the correct answers, so I would get the a pretzel the next day. Therefore, the pretzel reward was a positive reinforcement, helping the students to complete their homework efficiently.

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Brianna Winbigler • COMPLETED LESSON

One example of operant conditioning that I've experienced in my own life is when I was in first grade. If we got in trouble at school, we would have to write our name on the board, which was quite embarrassing and a sort of punishment which made me not want to get in trouble and to be responsible. If we didn't get our name on the board for the whole week, my teacher would give us a lollipop and a little red slip that I would show to my parents and they would be proud of me. In this way, both reinforcement by the lollipop and embarassment by having to go in front of the room and write your name on the board is a good example of operant conditioning.

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Tess Linhoff • COMPLETED LESSON

The most common operant conditioning I encounter in my life right now is praise for good works, such as submitting all my college applications and getting good grades. These positive re-enforcement s usually come from people that are close to me, such as my parents or family members. This causes me to want to do more to make them proud and drives me to succeed.

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Renee Silas • COMPLETED LESSON

My favorite example would be when a teacher hands out candy to students who correctly answer questions because students who do not normally participate will most likely because they want candy.

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Elyse Copeland • COMPLETED LESSON

getting payed for hard work

Dec 08
Contributor_small
Alexis Teichman • COMPLETED LESSON

An example of operant conditioning that i have experienced is when i did well at dance competition my dance teachers would take me out for ice cream and my mom would buy me new dance clothes. Say if i did bad i wouldnt get ice cream, and i couldnt get any new dance clothes.

Dec 09
Contributor_small
Edith Jimenez • LESSON IN PROGRESS

An operant conditioning that I've experienced was when I was small I used to hate cleaning the kitchen but once I decided to actually clean while my mom was working. Then when she got home she would be more nice and loving towards me so that encouraged me to clean when she went to work. That stopped happening so I stopped cleaning.

Dec 09
Contributor_small
Jacqueline Reyna • LESSON IN PROGRESS

When I would play soccer, every time I defended well or just had a good game overall my dad would buy me an ice cream. He did this a lot, so i became accustomed to his treatment. found myself playing better after he would reward me from ice cream.

Dec 09
Contributor_small
Jessica Palmer • LESSON IN PROGRESS

An example of operant conditioning that I have experienced in my life is was when I was in the fourth grade. My teacher would have an awards system where we would receive fake money that we could use later to buy different things with. To earn this money we would have to act appropriately in class at all times and help others in class. If we got a good grade on the a test we would also recieve an award.

Dec 10
Contributor_small
Rebecca Curtis • COMPLETED LESSON

Drinking coffee when I am tired instead of taking naps. When I was younger my mom would make us lay in bed very early that evening if we took a nap so that the next day we'd be able it function ALL day.

Feb 21
Contributor_small
Dylan Pike • COMPLETED LESSON

When I was younger my mother would take away things such as my car to correct my behavior.

Feb 24
Contributor_small
Anabel Santiago • COMPLETED LESSON

Sleep.

Mar 03
Contributor_small
Helen Pierce • COMPLETED LESSON

I answer the telephone because when I hear the phone ringing (stimulus) I answer it (behaviour) and there is someone on the other end who wants to talk to me (positive reinforcement).

Mar 17
Contributor_small
Dremaine Dunklin • COMPLETED LESSON

An example of operant conditioning that I have experienced in my life is wrestling hard and receiving meadows.

May 14
Contributor_small
Juliana Lopes • COMPLETED LESSON

Receiving a great compliment from my parents, who are not used to complimenting, for my achievements.

Sep 04
Contributor_small
Jean Eudes Agathe • Coromandel, Mauritius • COMPLETED LESSON

I've experienced some kind of operant conditioning like Sheldon did to Penny in The Big bang Theory but in this case, it was actually done by my mum. when i accepted to go to the amrket for her, he would sometimes gave me the change so that next time, i go to the market again :D

Sep 10