Which of the Following is an Example of Operant Conditioning?

Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which an individual’s behavior is shaped by its consequences. It involves the use of reinforcement and punishment to encourage or discourage specific behaviors. There are numerous examples of operant conditioning in our daily lives, ranging from pet training to workplace motivation. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common examples of operant conditioning.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the most famous examples of operant conditioning is the Skinner box experiment. In this experiment, rats were placed in a box with a lever that delivered a food pellet when pressed. After multiple trials, the rats eventually learned that pressing the lever would result in a reward, and they began to do so with increasing frequency. This type of conditioning is known as positive reinforcement – a behavior is followed by a desirable consequence, which increases the likelihood of that behavior being repeated in the future.

Negative Reinforcement

Another example of operant conditioning is negative reinforcement. This occurs when a particular behavior is strengthened by removing an undesirable consequence. For instance, if a student is rewarded for completing homework on time, they may be less likely to procrastinate in the future. Gradually, the student’s behavior will become reinforced by the absence of negative consequences such as scolding or punishment.


Punishment is a form of operant conditioning that involves applying an unpleasant consequence to discourage unwanted behavior. For example, if a dog barks excessively and disturbs the neighbors, the owner may use a shock collar to punish the dog for barking. This punishment is intended to decrease the likelihood of the dog barking in the future.


Extinction is the opposite of reinforcement, and it involves ceasing to reward a behavior until it disappears entirely. For example, if a child throws a tantrum to get attention, the parent may choose to ignore the behavior until the child realizes that it is ineffective. Over time, the child will learn that tantrums will not result in attention, and the behavior will decrease.


Operant conditioning is a powerful tool for shaping behavior, and it is used in many contexts. Positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement are used to encourage desired behaviors, while punishment and extinction are used to discourage undesired behaviors. Understanding how operant conditioning works can help us to modify our own behavior, as well as that of our pets, children, and coworkers. So, which of the following is an example of operant conditioning? The answer is all of them! Operant conditioning is everywhere, and by understanding it, we can become more effective communicators, teachers, and influencers.

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