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PSY101

Generalization and Discrimination
Home
BF Skinner's Bio
Who is BF Skinner?
Timeline
BF Skinner's Research
What is Operant Conditioning?
Principles of Operant Conditioning
Reinforcement
Reinforcement Schedule
Punishment
Shaping
Extinction
Generalization and Discrimination
Applications of Operant Conditioning
Acknowledgements

 

Generalization and discrimination

 

Generalization and discrimination occur in operant conditioning in much the same way that they do in classical conditioning. In generalization, people perform a behavior learned in one situation in other, similar situations. For example, a man who is rewarded with laughter when he tells certain jokes at a bar may tell the same jokes at restaurants, parties, or wedding receptions. Discrimination is learning that a behavior will be reinforced in one situation but not in another. The man may learn that telling his jokes in church or at a serious business meeting will not make people laugh. Discriminative stimuli signal that a behavior is likely to be reinforced. The man may learn to tell jokes only when he is at a loud, festive occasion (the discriminative stimulus). Learning when a behavior will and will not be reinforced is an important part of operant conditioning.

 

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