Definition of operant in English:

operant

adjective

Psychology
  • Involving the modification of behavior by the reinforcing or inhibiting effect of its own consequences (instrumental conditioning).

    ‘Although its influence on the behavior modification procedures relatable to operant formulations has been negligible, Skinner has attempted to define the term.’
    • ‘In education these operant techniques include token economies, contingency contracting, behavior modification, and various forms of programmed instruction.’
    • ‘Positive induction occurs when the rate of operant behavior in one situation varies directly, rather than inversely, with the conditions of reinforcement in another component.’
    • ‘Rule-governed behavior is operant behavior in which discriminative control or other behavioral influence does come from verbal antecedents.’

Pronunciation

operant

/ˈäpər(ə)nt/ /ˈɑpər(ə)nt/

noun

Psychology
  • An item of behavior that is initially spontaneous, rather than a response to a prior stimulus, but whose consequences may reinforce or inhibit recurrence of that behavior.

    ‘A simple answer is that the verbal behaviors of a patient or subject do not cease to be operants, governed by all the variables involved in operant behavior, when the person becomes a patient or an experimental subject.’
    • ‘Consider instruction designed to teach students the aforementioned distinction between operants and respondents.’
    • ‘Such analysis of available alternatives suggests that many behavior patterns society finds disruptive and labels pathological are not maladjusted or maladaptive, but are highly successful operants.’
    • ‘Due to measurement issues, however, it may be difficult to generalize the findings of this research without knowing which component of the operant was responsible for the changes in the challenging behavior.’
    • ‘Of course, measuring the antecedent event in addition to all components of the behavioral operant, as well as conducting intervention research in the natural setting, presents many challenges for researchers.’

Pronunciation

operant

/ˈäpər(ə)nt/ /ˈɑpər(ə)nt/

Origin

Late Middle English from Latin operant- ‘being at work’, from the verb operari.