As in classical conditioning, responses
learned in operant conditioning are not always permanent. In operant conditioning, extinction is the elimination of a learned
behavior by discontinuing the reinforcer of that behavior. If a rat has learned to press a lever because it receives food
for doing so, its lever-pressing will decrease and eventually disappear if food is no longer delivered. With people, withholding
the reinforcer may eliminate some unwanted behaviors. For instance, parents often reinforce temper tantrums in young children
by giving them attention. If parents simply ignore the child’s tantrums rather than reward them with attention, the
number of tantrums should gradually decrease.
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