FL4, Psych

khadeja
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:42 am

FL4, Psych

Postby khadeja » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:11 pm

This question comes in relation to q49 in the psych section:

Milgram vs B.F. Skinner:

Is operant conditioning not almost similar to obedience?
Or the only distinguishing factor is the presence/absence of "authority" figures?
Otherwise it seems like both are very very similar. If the students do not follow the doctors, they would face negative consequences possibly so to avoid those they could be following the doctors.
NS_Tutor_Andrew
Site Admin
Posts: 344
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:47 pm

Re: FL4, Psych

Postby NS_Tutor_Andrew » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:02 pm

Hi khadeja,

In a nutshell, obedience involves directly responding to explicit orders, while conditioning (both classical and operant) is a gradual pattern of behavior shaping.

Classical conditioning, which is associated with Skinner, usually occurs in the context of animal training precisely because it's a fairly simple process that doesn't involve much conscious thought -- instead, it's more about the transfer of a reflexive response to a different stimulus. So for any scenario involving complex or ambiguous thought processes, Skinner (or classical conditioning) won't be the answer. Operant conditioning is somewhat more cognitively complex and can definitely be applied to humans—for better or worse, for instance, casinos can be thought of as masters of operant conditioning, and in particular variable-ratio reinforcement schedules. The key distinction between operant and classical conditioning is that operant conditioning changes the subject's behavior, whereas classical conditioning just kind of redirects it. Additionally, terms like positive and negative reinforcement and punishment only apply to operant conditioning.

In order to pick classical or operant conditioning as an answer choice, we need to see specific terms/scenarios associated with conditioning, which we don't have here. The flip side is that scenarios about the corrosive effects of obedience are likely to be very good fits for Milgram's experiments.

In general, for psych/soc concepts, it can be more helpful to think about why concepts are different, and how to distinguish them, than to think about ways in which they are similar -- even if those similarities are quite thought-provoking, as in this case, your ultimate task is to accurately distinguish between answer choices, and focusing on similarities can get in the way of that.

Hope this helps :)!
Andrew D.
Content Manager, Next Step Test Prep.
khadeja
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:42 am

Re: FL4, Psych

Postby khadeja » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:28 am

Wow, you've explained this SO well. So much clearer now!

Thank you!
NS_Tutor_Andrew
Site Admin
Posts: 344
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:47 pm

Re: FL4, Psych

Postby NS_Tutor_Andrew » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:15 pm

You're very welcome, glad to help!
Andrew D.
Content Manager, Next Step Test Prep.

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