Major Movements in Psychology


What is extinction?

When the association starts to erode between the stimulus and the response (in classical conditioning) or between the behavior and the reinforcement (in operant conditioning), a behavior becomes extinguished. A behavior is extinguished when it is no longer performed. This can be a positive thing if the behavior was undesirable to begin with. It can also be negative if the behavior was valued. In general, the behavior should eventually extinguish if it is no longer accompanied by either the prior reinforcement or the unconditioned stimulus. If you stop paying people to go to work, they will probably stop going. If you stopped taking your dog for a walk after you put on your shoes, the dog will eventually stop barking and wagging his tail each time you put them on. The association between sneakers and walk will be extinguished.


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