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Techniques of Operant Conditioning

            My slightly plump roommate would like to commit to reaching his goal weight; it significantly affects his sense of self worth and confidence. I recommended a weight-loss behavior modification program consisting of two parts; diet modification and regular physical activity. Based on operant conditioning, an effective behavior modification program would include a target goal and rewards for behaviors that drive his progress. It will require a combination of positive and negative reinforcement, and given his issues with consistency, also consist of fixed and variable ratios/schedules. Through this combination, my roommate has the likeliest change at success. .
             First, a target and certain milestones need to be set. My roommate wants to lose a total of thirty pounds. That is his ultimate goal. So, after an initial goal of the first 5 pounds in the first week, we set up a variable schedule of milestones that followed the normal fluctuations in weight loss. Overall, across ninety days, a variety of weekly targets was set to achieve that combined will reach the target weight loss of thirty pounds, using a combination of diet and exercise. For each of these milestones, there is both a positive and negative reinforcement consequence. The positive and negative reinforcements must center on both his diet and exercise, and cumulatively based on his milestones. A positive reinforcement I can take is to play video games with my roommate for each additional quarter mile he runs in the morning. For each additional mile he runs, I will offer to play one hour of video games. This fixed ratio schedule helps better reinforce the desired behavior of increasing his exercise. Fixed ratio schedules are more effective according to B.F. Skinner. Discriminative stimuli will also be required. For his diet, he needs to cut back on fatty foods, and so I have replaced each ice cream bar in the freezer with zip-lock bags of a lemon, water, and a minimal amount of sugar mixture similar to an Italian ice.

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