Consider Skinner’s operant conditioning model of behavior. Is “free will” eliminated in this model?

Re:Module 7 DQ 1

Consider Skinner’s operant conditioning model of behavior. Is “free will” eliminated in this model? Why or why not? In this model, what is the role of “consequences” in shaping behavior and personality?

When I consider the role of skinner’s operant conditioning in one’s behavior “free will” is the essence of one decision-making. In view of this we should look at what would be considered behavioral norms in today’s society. Let’s first decide what “norm” means to us. There are social norms of influence to one’s behavior, which are values according to how much a behavior is exhibited and how much a group approves of the behavior. This is obvious in people’s response to information that is presented by the media. The rapid advancement of global communication network has given us access to information of violence, anger, rage, empathy, love, and unselfish behavior as it transpires and we are free to decide what is right from wrong. Considering how human gravitates towards what excites them, there is a connection between behavior norms, how much approval is given to a behavior, and one’s free will to do as they please. In view of the social-cognitive approach to behavior, Ryckman states, “according to Bandura, behavior is not caused solely by either inner forces or environmental influences (Ryckman, 2008, p. 414)”. When a person or group of people exhibited a behavior and the media continually presents it, people’s acceptance of the behavior is of conditioning, however their choice of right from wrong is of free will. One’s behavior results from their perception, worldview and internal processing or environmental influences. People make choices according to social norms, and social norms are also informal guidelines that are considered normal; guidelines that are of family values and social values. When considering societal concerns and the overall standards on what is considered norms, one’s “free will” is controlled by the prevalent factor in the laws. The law which is the absolute that represent the overriding societal view on moral issues, for it sets the standards and place judgment on individual’s behavior.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.


Ryckman, R. M. (2008) Theories of Personality (10th ed.) 5191 Natorn Bloulevard Mason, OH 45040 Cengage Learning.

Benjamin Garrison

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