By Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash
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Extra resources for Advanced Education Psychology
In Skinner's system there is no place for the statement that behaviour is under the control of an incentive or goal. A scientific psychology, as Skinner defines it, replaces statements which might use such words as incentive, goal, or purpose with statements about conditioning. Instead of saying that a man behaves because of the consequences which are to follow his behaviour, we simply state that he bahaves thus and so because of the consequences which have followed similar behaviour in the past.
A positive reinforcer is any stimulus the presentation of which strengthens the behaviour upon which it is made contingent; a negative reinforcer is any stimulus the withdrawal of which strengthens that behaviour. Since in both cases responses are strengthened, reinforcement is taking place. A positive reinforcement consists of presenting a stimulus, of adding something—food, water or a teacher's smile—to an organism's environment. A negative reinforcement consists of removing something—a loud noise, an electric shock, or a teacher's frown— from the situation.
Which hypothesis, if any, causes the data to fall into a thoroughly harmonious pattern? A problem can be considered solved beyond reasonable doubt when and only when (1) one proposed solution presents a pattern which harmonizes all the data which have been obtained......... " 4. All pertinent, available evidence is examined before 66 conclusions are drawn. An investigator looks at all facts then available, no matter how unpalatable some of them may seem. There is never a slanting, ignoring, or distorting of data to prove a point.