Operant Conditioning and Addiction blog #1

So far in this course, we have discussed many topics regarding cognitive psychology. The topic that I find very interesting is the idea of operant conditioning. Introduced by B. F. Skinner, operant conditioning focuses on “how behavior is strengthened by the presentation of positive reinforcers, such as food or social approval (or withdrawal of negative reinforcers, such as a shock or social rejection)”(Cognitive Psychology pg 10).  The article that I had found in relation to this topic is the use of CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) therapy for individuals that suffer from addiction. By rewarding healthy behaviors and allowing the consequences of addiction directly affect the individual, through CRAFT therapy, this can help facilitate the addiction treatment of an individual, with the support of friends and family.

Through CRAFT therapy, the concerned significant others (also know as CSO’s) are specifically taught to reward any positive and healthy behaviors that the addicted individual performs. Consistency with rewarding these actions as well as not rewarding the negative actions are key aspects of this therapy. The more one positively reinforces positive actions as well as take away rewarding factors when negative actions occur, the faster and more efficiently the process of addiction recovery will occur.

Another important factor of implementing operant conditioning through CRAFT therapy is the concept that the CSO’s of the individual with the addiction must let the bad consequences happen to them if they perform the addiction. Although difficult to watch, it is imperative to allow it to happen because facilitating the consequences of the addiction will only support the addiction within the individual. The ability of the CSO’s to allow the negative affects to occur will ultimately help the process of the addiction treatment.

Through the support of the addicted individual’s CSO’s as well as the implementation of rewarding healthy choices, taking away rewards when necessary, and allowing the negative affects of the addiction occur are all necessary using operant conditioning for addiction treatment. The reason why one becomes addicted is because of the instantaneous reward. By monitoring and shifting the rewards and punishments within the individual’s mind, this is the best method of treating addiction. The concept of operant conditioning in relation to addiction treatment is like fighting fire with fire, since there is still the concept of reward which is what drives the individual with the addiction.



2 thoughts on “Operant Conditioning and Addiction blog #1

  1. jas7079

    I have found this blog very informative and slightly opinionated. I do agree with the concept of giving and/or allowing positive rewards and negative consequences. I find, as a recovering addict, I learn thru my experiences. Most of the time, I have to experience the negative and positive consequences, to learn. I do not usually “take your word for it.” I believe the statement this writer made “The reason why one becomes addicted is because of the instantaneous reward” is not completely the truth. I believe the reward is desirable, but there are many other factors to why one becomes addicted.

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