Btec Nd - Year 1 - Sport Psychology - Operant Conditioning Theory

Operant Conditioning Theory

Adapting response to different given situations, Operant conditioning is a connectionist theory; connectionist theories as well as associative theories rely on a learner connected or linking a stimulus from the environment with a movement response. Reinforcement is the key to this theory, there are two types of reinforcement, positive reinforcement which is any event that increases the likelihood of the same response being produced in the future and negative reinforcement which is any even that decreases the likelihood of the same response being produced in the future.

This theory proposes that positively reinforced responses will be strengthened and will dominate in the future, while negatively reinforced responses will be strengthened and will eventually disappear. If outcomes are positive they are in theory more likely to be repeated. An example of this theory in action with positive reinforcement is giving praise to a football striker for a quick turn and shot at the goal this makes the behaviour more likely to occur again.

Practical Application of Operant Conditioning

Teaching Tennis smash for example:

  1. The environment would need to be structured to bring about the desired response; the coach would serve repeatedly the ball high in order for the student to smash the ball.

  2. Behaviour shaping, depending on how the serves was produced will alter the nature of the smash.

Social Learning Theory

In this theory it states that personality traits such as aggression are learnt through modelling and imitation instead of it being a natural instinct. Tests have been carried out on this theory; two groups of children were exposed to different behaviours by adults, one group of children watched adults being aggressive to dolls while the other group of children watched adults play with doll. The children that watched the aggressive behaviour of the adults exhibited overall more aggressive behaviour especially when this behaviour...