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Extinction in Psychology Essay Sample 

The following essay sample work shall highlight the concept of ‘extinction’ in the psychology, extinction in the classical and operant conditioning, examples of extinction and factors that may influence extinction.

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Whenever someone thinks about the word ‘extinction’ the complete disappearance of an animal or human specie like the dinosaurs comes into our mind.

A similar concept or meaning of the ‘extinction’ is being applied in psychology to the learned behaviour of a person or an animal.

Extinction in the psychology is referred to as the disappearance of a particular behaviour that was learned previously by associating it with the other events. It is the gradual change or decrease in a particular conditioned behaviour or response of a human or animal.

Extinction psychology is related to the classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories and in certain cases can be applied to the mental health of a person.

Examples of Extinction

  • When a young child visits a mall with his mother and on seeing toys in a shop starts throwing tantrums and cries to get the toys from the shop.

Initially, the mother pays attention to him and buys him toys to him and buys him toys but with time she stops buying him toys and paying attention to his tantrums. A child stops throwing tantrums and his conditioned response gets extinct eventually with time.

  • If we have a pet in the house who is being trained to learn some tricks like shaking hands with the people. On learning a new trick he is being given a treat every time on his conditioned behaviour.

But with time the same trick gets less interesting to the dog with no practice and he no longer displays the same behaviour and his response gets extinct.

  • There is a rat kept in the lab along with a key and is trained to press the key for getting food. Every time in pressing the key the food is being presented to the rat.

If the researcher stops delivering the food then eventually with time the rat will discontinue pressing the same key and the behaviour of the rat will disappear and extinct.

Extinction in the Classical Conditioning 

The classical conditioning theory of Ivan Pavlov defines that any process of conditioning can occur only when there is a connection between the natural stimulus and neutral stimulus which results in an involuntary response.

Any natural stimulus does not require any conditioning hence its is known as an unconditional stimulus. A neutral stimulus can become a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned response becomes a conditioned response eventually.

In the case of Pavlov’s experimental theory of dogs. Every time a doorbell rings the dogs have presented food. They respond to the ringing of the doorbell by salivating. This natural salivation becomes the dogs conditioned response with time.

In classical conditioning, if the conditioned stimulus is not connected with the unconditioned stimulus and is applied on repeat then it leads to a situation of extinction.

Such a salivation behaviour of the dogs gets extinct with time as no food is presented to them on the ringing of the doorbell.

During this research of dog theory, Pavlov found that any extinction is not complete destruction of conditioned response rather it can be recovered spontaneously even after it’s extinction.

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Extinction in the Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning process is a behaviour theory which was introduced by B.F. Skinner who was a physiologist.

This conditioning refers to the association of a natural stimulus (unconditioned stimulus) with reinforcement or punishment (conditioned stimulus) to bring a particular response. In the operant conditioning extinction, the conditioned response gets extinct.

The extinction occurs due to no reinforcement to the response following the discriminative stimulus.

For example

When training a pet dog a treat is given everytime after each training session. If the treat is stopped by the trainer then dog will loose interest in taking the training. The dog’s conditioned response to the treat will get extinct as there is no longer any reinforcement or rewarding.

Skinner believed that a partial schedule reinforcement can reduce the chances of extinction. The reinforcement is given only after the elapse of a certain time period after extinction. This partial schedule can cause strengthening of response and restricts its extinction.

Factors influencing the Extinction

There is a number of factors that can influence the behaviour and response of an individual and can cause its extinction.

  • The duration of the conditioning process plays a vital role in the strength of the response. Longer the duration of conditioning of a particular behaviour the longer will be its a response which will make the extinction a rare possibility.

Even after an extinction the behaviour still continues to remain exposed even after the removal of reinforcement altogether.

  • ‘Habituation’ also plays a vital role in the extinction of a response of an individual. If an individual is habituated to a certain behaviour or is exposed repeatedly to a conditioned stimulus then it may eventually become a habit and is less likely to be extinct.

But if the behaviour is conditioned with the help of a conditioned stimulus then it is more likely to get extinction of the conditioned behaviour.

  • Personality’ is another factor that influences the extinction process. If an individual has a personality trait to get anxious and fearful in a particular situation.

Then such behaviour is less likely to get extinct and its disappearance will be a slow process in comparison to the one who is not fearful or anxious.

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The above sample mentions the extinction concept in psychology and extinction in the conditioning process.

Psychology QQI Level 5 and 6, Psychology of People QQI Level 5, Applied Psychology QQI Level 5, Behavioural Studies QQI Level 5 and Healthcare QQI Level 5students can read this sample to gain knowledge on the various aspects of human behaviour and psychology.

Our Ireland assignment help website have related assignments on this topic which can be further referred by the Irish students for learning.

These assignments are on B. F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning Theory, Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning, Fundamental principles of behaviour science, Functionalism Philosophy, Douglas Mc Gregor Behavioural Science Theory etc.

Our Irish assignment writers are best in town who can help you in writing clinical and workplace psychology and human behaviour theories assignments. We provide cheap online dissertation and essay writing services at a suitable price.

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