According to behavioral psychology and operant learning theory, patterns that we think of as our “character traits,” for example, ambitiousness or laziness, being a “neat freak” or “sloppy,” being conscientious and detail oriented or a “big-picture person” unconcerned with details, being an introvert or an extrovert, etc., are actually products of reinforcement (hint for success: see the explanation of types of reinforcement on pp. 133-134 of your textbook).

In your Topic Response for this lesson, first:

1. Describe one of your own character traits.

2. Describe how reinforcement has developed and increased (strengthened) that trait.

Paul Chance comments in the textbook (p.135) that sometimes it is impossible to make a distinction between positive and negative reinforcement, for example if your behavior is changing the thermostat to increase heat in a cold room, is that behavior postively reinforced (by feeling warmer) or negatively reinforced (by avoiding feeling cold)? So, considering your “trait” above,

3. Provide an alternative explanation for #2 above by using the opposite type of reinforcement (If you said positive reinforcement increased your “trait,” then try to explain it using negative reinforcement or vice-versa).

Your entire response to all three questions should be between 450 and 600 words, and is due by Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

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