Tutor profile: Leonardo F.
What is the single most important part of an essay?
The thesis is the most important part of an essay. Not only does the thesis create and establish the main argument of the essay for the reader, a good thesis reflects the forethought and strong rationale of the writer.
Subject: Study Skills
What is one thing any student can do that is likely to increase their GPA by a large amount?
Creating a separate environment for studying is likely to increase a student's GPA by a point or more. A study done on the subject surveyed college students. One set of students had a lamp, labeled "study lamp," and whenever they would study, this set of students would turn on the lamp, and sit at their desk, facing a wall. Another set of students studied more typically, on their beds, in the library, etc. After the study was completed, the first set of students had a higher GPA by a whole point. This simple change in approach towards studying shows how students can vastly increase their performance in school with a few modifications to their approach.
"Describe the operant conditioning technique of shaping." - Dr. Hammerman
Shaping is the guided process of learning a certain behavior. If you want behavior six from someone or something, and they are at behavior one, shaping is the reinforcement of behaviors two through six. Each behavior more closely approximates six until you get to six. It’s used when you have a complex behavior, like the one shown in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuGU3HQoyM, that is unlikely to happen on its own. So to create that behavior, the homeless man most likely first started by giving the rat a piece of cheese whenever it didn’t run from the cat. So the rat became more comfortable with the cat. Then if the rat ever laid down on the cat, maybe the man gave the rat more cheese. This way, rather than waiting for the rat cat and dog to spontaneously make this ensemble and try to reinforce it then, the man can subtly and effectively shape, as the namesake implies, the behavior of the animals. A famous psychologist, B.F. Skinner, was the first to come up with shaping, and to do so he had a box. In the Skinner box, there would be a rat, and a lever that would release food if pressed. Whenever the rat got close to the lever, Skinner would give it some food. Finally, the rat would press the lever itself and get food on its own. This would make the rat realize it could control the environment and its ability to get food, further reinforcing the pressing of the lever. Thorndike also had a box, though his box had a cat. And while the main takeaway from his box wasn’t shaping, Thorndike’s box illustrated a law he came to call the law of effect, “where any behavior that leads to a ‘satisfying state of affairs’ is likely to be repeated.” Behaviors that lead to worse situations are unlikely to be repeated. In Thorndike’s experiments, we see the beginning of the study of reinforcers, punishments, and behaviors.
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