Operant conditioning is the training of behaviour using rewards or punishment. I switch of the television every time dinner is served. I learnt this when growing up. Every time my mother brought out the first serving pot to the table, my father would switch off the television. At the age of five, I started switching it off and they would both approve and reward me with a snack. Occasionally, I would be rewarded with the biggest serving of meat. Today, I am not rewarded with anything but the habit still exists. Today, when I am left alone; after putting the first dinner item on the table, I switch off the television until I am through taking dinner. I clear the table and switch on the television.
In order to change the habit, the reward system can be changed. My parents can decide to let the television stay on as we serve and have our dinner. This will mean that the reward for letting the television stay on at dinner may be being excused from clearing the table after dinner. Every time I remember not to switch off the television while dinner is being served, I am rewarded by my duties of clearing the table at the end of dinner being relieved. Repeatedly, I will remember to let the television stay on and at the end of dinner, out of free will, help clearing the table. Operant conditioning is the best way to change a habit that was formed by operant conditioning. The exemption from duties is a form of reward. Punishment in this is instance, is the duty of clearing the table after dinner every time I switch of the television as dinner is being served.
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