Operant Conditioning: An Experimental Analysis of Behaviour, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Operant Conditioning

An Experimental Analysis of Behaviour, 1st Edition

By Derek E. Blackman


260 pages

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The approach to psychology advocated by the radical behaviourists was often misunderstood and frequently gave rise to controversy. Originally published in 1974, this book introduced current research in operant conditioning and explains the attempt to understand behaviour inherent in such experiments at the time. After considering the philosophical context in which behaviouristic psychology developed, the author outlines the basic characteristics of operant research by reviewing single experiments on the effects of reinforcement on behaviour. Chapters on schedules of intermittent reinforcement extend this approach to more complex situations and emphasize that behaviour can be maintained and controlled in many different ways by environmental events.

The author then discusses recent work on conditional reinforcement and on the discriminative control of behaviour and shows how operant research has changed our understanding of these important concepts in psychology. Subsequent chapters review research within the operant paradigm on the effects on behaviour of punishment, anxiety, aversive stimuli and drugs, again by emphasising the special contribution to these topics made by operant conditioning techniques and methodology. The final chapters consider the general implications of operant research for educational practice and for clinical psychology, and place this approach within the context of psychology as a whole. Dr Blackman argues that it should be recognized as one important attempt to further the scientific analysis of behaviour.

This book, filled a long recognized need for an undergraduate text in this area at the time, and helped students form their own evaluation. Now it should be read in its historical context.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Preface. 1. Science and Behaviour 2. ‘Superstition’ 3. Reinforcement 4. Operant Conditioning 5. Four Basic Schedules of Reinforcement 6. Schedules of Reinforcement (cont.) 7. The Maintenance of Behaviour 8. Conditioned Reinforcement 9. Stimulus Control 10. The Effects of Punishment on Behaviour 11. The Effects of Conditioned Anxiety 12. Schedules of Aversive Stimuli 13. Drugs and Behaviour 14. Applications to Education 15. Operant Conditioning and Clinical Psychology 16. ‘The Experimental Analysis of Behaviour’. Selected Bibliography. References. Subject Index. Name Index.

About the Series

Psychology Revivals

Psychology Revivals is an initiative aiming to re-issue a wealth of academic works which have long been unavailable. Following the success of the Routledge Revivals programme, this time encompassing a vast range from across the Behavioural Sciences, Psychology Revivals draws upon a distinguished catalogue of imprints and authors associated with both Routledge and Psychology Press, restoring to print books by some of the most influential scholars of the last 120 years.

If you are interested in Revivals in the Humanities and Social Sciences, please visit www.routledge.com/books/series/REVIVALS/

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Experimental Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Behaviorism