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PS 1050 NAU Habit Control Via Operant Conditioning Essay

PS 1050 NAU Habit Control Via Operant Conditioning Essay


Title: Using the Principles of Operant Conditioning, A Plan for Changing My Habit


Although changing or breaking habits can be difficult, it is possible with a systematic plan based on the concepts of operant conditioning. In this essay, I will provide a strategy for breaking a particular habit using the ideas of reinforcers, punishers, and the schedule of reinforcement while also exploring the use of shaping as a behavioral modification method.

Choosing the target behavior

Reviewing the habits that must be changed before beginning the plan is vital. In my situation, I want to define a habit such as procrastination.

Acquiring and Maintaining the Habit: An Understanding

Understanding how a habit was formed and is being upheld is essential for successfully changing it. In my situation, procrastination became a habit during my undergraduate years, primarily due to bad time management and the absence of obvious negative outcomes. I continue this practice by procrastinating on crucial work in favor of distracting things like surfing through social media.

Previous Attempts to Break the Habit

I have tried countless times in the past to break this behavior. I have tried using to-do lists, establishing hard deadlines, and practicing self-control. Unfortunately, there was no long-lasting improvement as a result of their efforts.

Approach to Operant Conditioning

Let us now develop a strategy based on the principles of operant conditioning to break this behavior. Operant conditioning entails changing behavior by rewarding or punishing it. In this instance, reinforcing will be our main concern.

Positive Reinforcement: I will employ positive reinforcement to strengthen the desired behavior of not putting things off. In order to do this, I will treat myself when I do duties on time. Small gifts, quick pauses for fun hobbies, or any other motivational incentives are all acceptable forms of reward.

Negative Reinforcement: When I exhibit a desirable behavior, I will also use negative reinforcement by removing an unpleasant stimulus. For instance, rather than worrying about unfinished work, I can unwind guilt-free after finishing a task.

An intermittent reinforcement schedule, specifically a variable ratio schedule, will be used by me. To keep myself motivated and avoid habituation, I will reward myself after finishing a variable number of tasks or after a variable length of time.

Shaping: Shaping is gradually reinforcing behaviors until they resemble the intended behavior. In my instance, I will reward myself for getting started on projects immediately before gradually shifting the emphasis to finishing them on time.


In conclusion, breaking a habit demands a well-organized strategy based on operant conditioning’s fundamental ideas. In order to encourage and reinforce the desired behavior of not procrastinating, I will utilize positive and negative reinforcement as well as an intermittent reinforcement schedule. Shaping will enable me to advance gradually in the direction of my objective. With this all-encompassing strategy, I can break this habit and enhance my time management and productivity abilities.

PS 1050 NAU Habit Control Via Operant Conditioning Essay





Use the Habits Worksheet (from Learning Activities #1). You have already identified how you acquired and how you maintain/reinforce this habit.  You have also identified how you have tried to change this habit in the past.

The assignment will be to outline a plan detailing how to change this habit in a 2 page essay.

Using the principles of operant conditioning, create a plan of how you can use reinforcers or punishers to change your habit. Remember: reinforcers are used to increase a behavior and punishers are used to decrease a behavior. After reading the material in this chapter, which will you use? What kind of schedule of reinforcement will you use? Why? Will you use the concept of shaping as you try to change this habit? You may want to consider using the steps of behavior modification (outlined in your textbook) to help with this assignment.

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