Essay, Research Paper: Psychology College Paper


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What I want to do is train my dog to shake with either paw upon request. If I
say “right” I want him to raise his right paw and the same for the left. I
would use operant and classical conditioning to reach the goal of teaching this
trick to my dog. I must condition the dog to shake by using positive
reinforcement. The dog (Max) already puts his paw on me when I grab his head so
I will act like I am going to reach for his head and when he puts his paw on me
I will say, “shake.” Every time he puts his paw on me after I say shake I
will give him a liver treat. Once I have conditioned him to shake it will then
be time to differentiate right from left. I want the words, “shake right”
and “shake left “ to be the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the raising of the
appropriate paw to be the conditioned response (CR). I will condition the
unconditioned response (UCR), shaking; the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), tapping
his leg, by using operant conditioning and liver treats as positive
reinforcement. Day 1: I began by acting like I was going to grab Max’ head.
Just as I suspected he put his paw on my arm. I tapped his leg and I gave him a
treat as a positive reinforcer. I am using operant conditioning at this point in
order to establish an unconditioned stimulus (taping Max’ leg) and an
unconditioned response (putting his paw in my hand). Once I have shaped this
behavior I can then go on to the second phase using Pavlov’s classical
conditioning. Day 2: After two days of fixed ratio reinforcement, Max is
beginning to give a conditioned response every time I tap his leg. Every time I
tap his leg we exchange a paw for a liver treat. I am using continuous
reinforcement today. Day 3: I have switched to using variable interval
reinforcement. I will only give him a liver treat whenever I feel like it. Max
is now learning that when I tap his leg he is to give me his paw. I am actually
conditioning an unconditioned response. I am still using variable interval
reinforcement but I only gave him two treats the whole day. Day 4: It is now
time to switch over to classical conditioning. I have the active ingredient to
do a Pavlov classic experiment. My UCS is now the leg tap and the UCR is Max
shaking. I no longer have to use any reinforcement. Every time I tap Max’ leg,
he shakes. Day 5: I now introduce the words “shake right,” the neutral
stimulus (NS), as I tap the appropriate leg. I am beginning to get the
conditioned response, which is lifting the appropriate paw. Day 6: I now
introduce the words “shake left,” as I tap the appropriate leg. I now have
to reintroduce positive reinforcement. I am afraid Max might be forgetting the
CR. He is not wanting to cooperate. Day 7: The NS alone now produces a
conditioned response, thereby becoming a CS. I must use variable interval
reinforcement to insure the CR continues. I will use this schedule of
reinforcement so that Max won’t know when to expect a treat. I figure that if
he doesn’t know when to expect a treat, he will give the CR to the CS more
often than not. Day 8: When I say, “shake right,” Max will lift his right
paw. When I say, “shake left” he lifts the left paw. I will continue to use
the variable interval reinforcement to maintain the behavior. This was a lot of
fun and my dog just got smarter. I think I got smarter too. I think I could
teach Max to do whatever I want him to as long as I follow the simple steps of
conditioning, classical and operant.
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