Operant Conditioning and Reinforcement

Masters
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Psychology
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Dieting is a common challenge for people who wanted to lose weight due to the fact that it involves not only the process of eating itself but the behaviors and attitude surrounding this activity. Due to this fact, it had been a known knowledge for the past few years that…

Introduction

Operant conditioning is a process by which behavior can be modified, changed or developed through the application of positive or negative reinforcement/s (Gerrig 159). In the case of food intake or eating behavior, positive reinforcement can be an enjoyable activity. For the objective of creating a weight loss program for a roommate, it is important to know first his goals and his eating behavior. This is the primary step in the program, the person needs to record or write in a food journal the target weight and the different foods he regularly eats. Since the program would need to be in a span of 1 month, it is important to write the amount and types of food he is eating and the liquid he is drinking in the week before that. It is also important to take note of the baseline information such as the present weight to serve as a reference.
The information for the preliminary week will be used to plan for the month-long program. For example, it was observed that due to his active lifestyle and busy schedule, he often eat junk foods including take out hamburgers and fries, it is important to consider that he need not stop is altogether. This can be attributed to the fact that habits are not easily thrown or stopped. In this case, behavior in eating is the main target. Operant conditioning had been considered effective since the changes are associated with reinforcements. This can be undertaken through reward system. In the first week, one snack of junk food should be eliminated and as a reward he is allowed to do one fun activity for the day. In case he fails to do the challenge, he should strictly follow the consequence. There are important points to remember though. This diet should be self-observed which means that he himself should take down notes and honestly follow it. Since, he asked for my help I can check on it but to be able for him to succeed, he needs to have self-discipline. Also, it is important to remind him that ...
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