Operant Conditioning and Superstitions | StudyDaddy.com

LASA 1—Operant Conditioning and Superstitions

Many people believe that superstitions areabsolutely true. This often causes them to believe and act in ways thatare out of the norm either to avoid a negative outcome or to bring abouta positive outcome. However, the origins of all superstitions lie inoperant conditioning (for example, wearing the same shirt worn during avictory game to all future games in order to ensure victory).

In this assignment, you will examine the process by which operant conditioning can lead to the formation of a superstition.

Using the module readings, the ArgosyUniversity online library resources, and the Internet, research thedevelopment of operant conditioning and its basic principles. Then,address the following:

  • Describe the historical antecedents of operant conditioning. What factors led to the rise of operant conditioning?
  • Describe the principles/concepts which can beapplied to explain the process by which operant conditioning can lead tothe development and maintenance of superstitions.
  • Brainstorm to come up with a number of superstitionsyou may have heard or read about. Using your knowledge and vocabularyof operant conditioning, choose one of these superstitions. Then,describe in detail, the thinking processes involved that resulted in theacquisition and perpetuation of this irrational belief.
  • Describe a specific aspect of the operantconditioning process that leads to these beliefs becoming so deeplyingrained and long standing in nature. 
  • Explain whether a person can ever be rid of superstitions. What methods can be used to help such a person?
  • Interview a family member or friend to discover asuperstition that he or she believes in. Explain the nature of the eventthat led to the formation of this superstition. Does this informationfit with your understanding of how the operant conditioning processresults in the development of superstitions? Why or why not?

Write a 3–4-page paper in Word format. Thepaper should be double-spaced and in 12 point, Times New Roman font withregular one-inch margins and free of typographical and grammaticalerrors. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Be sure to include atitle page and a reference page. Use the following file namingconvention: LastnameFirstInitial_M3_A2.doc.

By October 22, 2013, deliver your assignment to the M3: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

Grading Criteria and Rubric

Assignment 2 Grading Criteria

Maximum Points

Describe the historicalantecedents of operant conditioning and the specific factors which ledto the rise of operant conditioning.

(Course Objective [CO] 1)


Describe theprinciples/concepts that can be applied to explain the process by whichoperant conditioning can lead to the development and maintenance ofsuperstitions.



Describe at least onesuperstition that has played a role in a historical event and analyzethe thinking process that was involved in the acquisition andperpetuation of this irrational belief.



Describe the elements of the operant conditioning process that lead these beliefs to be so deeply ingrained and long standing.



Explain whether a person can ever rid him orherself of superstitions. Describe methods that can be used tohelp the person.



Describe a superstition of a friend or familymember and the events that led to the formation of his or hersuperstition.

(CO2, 4)


Analyze whether the superstition fits with your knowledge of operant conditioning’s role in the development of superstitions.



Writing Components:

Organization (12)

Usage and Mechanics (12)

APA Elements (16)

Style (4)




Operant Conditioning and

Operant Conditioning and

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