Operant Conditioning: Experiment Of Drinking More Water Keeping The Operant Conditioning Behavioral Focused
When I was younger, I was very active and loved to play sports and with that the most important thing was to drink water. As I grew older, I had to stop playing volleyball due to a hand injury and my healthy lifestyle fell into last priority. To stay hydrated and fed I would mostly drink protein shakes or energy drinks to keep my energy levels high but as I mature the more, I realize how I’m not taking care of my body as well as I should be and need to drink water to stay hydrated and not rely on other drinks. Water is very significant in anyone’s life it’s an essential way of keeping your whole body healthy and give you energy throughout your days. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not hydrated, then your body won’t ever be its healthiest self no matter how hard you try. Through operant conditioning, which is the technique of changing a voluntary behavior, I am going to drink more water everyday until I am at the optimum level I can be.
My main goal for this experiment is to drink more water keeping the operant conditioning behavioral focused. My method I plan on using for this experiment is very simple, it is always to focus on keeping my water bottle full, so that I don’t go back to my old ways of relying on some sugary drink. When I have downtime, I’ll have the bottle with me and take small sips at a time. I must finish my water bottle before pouring a new glass so that I can keep track of how much is being consumed. For this experiment I will be the human subject in focus. I will be using positive reinforcement to keep myself motivated to finish as much water as I can per day. Positive reinforcement increases behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, a positive reinforcer is any stimulus that strengthens after a response. I will be using a 12oz coke as my positive reinforcement. I will be treating myself with the coke at the half way point of the study. This schedule for reinforcement is on a variable-interval schedule where the response is rewarded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed and produces a slow and steady rate of response to reduce risk of extinction. I will also be using a fixed-ratio schedule. This is where a response is reinforced after a specific number of responses. At the beginning of this experiment I told my family not to buy any soda for me to not tempt myself in this situation. During the experiment my family had been an amazing help so not to tempt me with any unhealthy drinks in the house.
The shaping process I chose to use to condition myself into drinking more water everyday occurred to be like a roller coaster throughout the test. Shaping is a term used in operant conditioning that refers to gradually molding and training the subject to elicit a specific behavior by reinforcing responses that are like the desired response. At the start of the week I found that I had a small desire to drink the water, I had little cravings to drink my water bottle. Having an additional schedule of variable-interval to maintain endurance after the experiment where I can reward myself at unpredictable times to continue my goal passed the experiment.
My conclusions from the experiment were that this experiment was successful, and I achieved my goal of drinking more. There were some challenges involved with the experiment, I found it difficult to crave the water all the time and not getting bored of the bland taste of water. When I first started the experiment, it was easy to stay motivated to be successful and the water taste didn’t bother me at that point. To stay motivated, I kept telling myself that the coke would taste so much better if I waited and it would feel amazing to accomplish the goal, and with that I kept focused. The operant conditioning project my positive reinforcement of coke was what had increased my success and the behaviors to achieve my goal. My reinforcement of the coke and my mental help to succeed made the reinforces a continuous schedule more than a fixed schedule. Continuous reinforcement is reinforcement of a behavior every time the behavior happens. I would continuously have the water bottle full so to trick my brain into thinking I hadn’t drunk anything yet today. After the half way point it made it easier to continue and more motivated to be another step closer towards a healthy lifestyle
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