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operant conditioning

The process by which the frequency of a response may be changed as a result of controlling its consequences. there are a variety of procedures in which a clinician can arrange for contingent stimulation to occur following a response. If the consequence is positive, the response (acquisition) should increase in frequency; if the consequence is negative, the response should decrease (extinction). This process is often theorized to be the way in which the voluntary behaviors of avoidance and escape are learned. Behaviorists consider this as the basic strategy for achieving behavior change. (Synonym: instrumental conditioning, Skinnerian conditioning.) (See conditioning.)

Definition reprinted with permission from Hood, Stephen B. (editor) available from Stuttering Foundation of America: Stuttering Words (Publication No 2: Speech Foundation of America)

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8/8-10 APA