From the dates of January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2008 the subject had 15 unscheduled absences. In order to reduce this undesired behavior, the supervisor felt it necessary to require a doctor's note after each absence during the following year. The subject had no unscheduled absences throughout January 2, 2008 to February 2, 2009. The subjects' supervisor was led to believe that it was no longer required to produce a doctor's note therefore he fell back into the same displeasing conduct. .
Operant conditioning is referred to as an instrumental learning or method of learning through reinforcements. It encourages the subject to associate desirable or undesirable outcomes. There are four types of reinforcements that may be used in order to alter behavior: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Positive reinforcement is praising an action in order to increase a response. For example: adding a raise will increase the chances of the subject to show up to work if they have a perfect attendance. Negative reinforcement is taking something negative away in order to increase a response. For example: If the subjects supervisor stops nagging or yelling at the subject for not showing up, the subject may feel more obligated to be present. The elimination of this negative stimulus is reinforcing and will likely increase the desired reaction. Punishment refers to adding something harsh in order to dwindle a behavior. For example: the subject is now assigned more hours of work for the unscheduled absences. Extinction is the removal of something in order to decrease a behavior. .
After gathering information and observing the absentee patterns it can be concluded that punishment was being used in order to diminish the subject's unsought actions. Applying any type of reinforcement every time a behavior is at play is referred to as a Continuous Schedule. A continuous schedule works best when using punishment because inconsistency in the punishment creates a perplexity and bitterness.