How should this sentence by rewritten? "The pizza was eaten by the football player." 1. It's fine as it is. 2. The football player was eaten by the pizza. 3. The football player ate the pizza.
Correction answer: Option 3. The sentence is technically grammatically correct, but it wouldn't be great to use it in academic writing. Why? This sentence is using passive voice, placing the object before the subject. Using passive voice will drive your teachers and professors insane (and cost you some points on your next assignment), but worse, it's confusing to the reader. The subject of the sentence should be the noun that's doing the action/verb, while the object should be the noun that's being acted upon. However, in a passive voice sentence construction, it's hard to tell which noun is doing the acting and which noun and is being acted upon. In our example, the football player is the subject/one doing the action (eating) while the pizza is the object/the noun being acted upon (it was eaten)--but because pizza appears first, it's hard to tell who's doing what. For this reason, it's better to place "football player" before the verb and "pizza" after the verb so that we know that the football player ate the pizza. Otherwise, the reader might be tempted to think that there's a man-eating pizza on the loose!
While buying some Skittles for yourself in the candy aisle, you see a child throwing a tantrum over a candy bar her mother will not let her have. In response, the mother quickly spanks the daughter and tells her to stop her tantrum. Describe what type of conditioning the mother has used (classical or operant). If the conditioning is operant, state which specific type of operant/conditioning the mother used (i.e., positive/negative reinforcement or positive/negative punishment).
Correct answer: If you answered classical conditioning, your answer is completely wrong. Classical conditioning relies on the linking of a neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus or CS) to a stimulus that elicits a response without any conditioning (unconditioned stimulus/UCS and unconditioned response/UCR) so that the previously neutral stimulus will elicit the unconditioned response (conditioned response or CR). This is what occurred in the famous "Pavlov's dogs" experiment. Meat powder was a stimulus that made the dogs salivate without conditioning; meat powder was the UCS and salivation was the UCR. A metronome, on the other hand, doesn't automatically make dogs salivate, but after being paired with the meat powder, the the sound of the metronome started causing the dogs to salivate. The metronome sound would be the CS (previously neutral stimulus) and salivation would be the CR. In fact, you'll find that the UCR and the CR are always the same, since they are simply the same response elicited by different stimuli. The correct answer is operant conditioning delivered via positive punishment (although some textbooks might use the term aversive conditioning instead of operant conditioning). Operant conditioning involves the use of reward/reinforcement or punishment to increase or decrease behavior. Because the mother intended to decrease her daughter's behavior of tantrums by spanking her, we know that the mother used punishment; after all, punishment decreases behavior while reinforcement increases behavior. The tricky part is deciding which type of punishment was used. The words "positive" and "negative" make us think "good" and "bad," so we think that positive punishment means good punishment and that negative punishment means bad punishment. However, "positive" and "negative" in the case of operant conditioning are referring to how the punishment is delivered. I find it easiest to think in terms of addition and subtraction in math. If the punishment is delivered by subtracting something good, it is a negative punishment; if the punishment adds something aversive/unpleasant, it is a positive punishment. Subtracting something good would be grounding, time-out, or just the plain old "you'll get this back when I feel like it," while adding something bad could take the form of anything from making someone do push-ups to corporeal punishment. It could also include spanking, because as you can see from the scenario example, the mother is punishing her child by adding something aversive (the pain received from spanking).
Which of the following sentences is correct? 1. "Mark ran I walked." 2. "Mark ran, I walked." 3. "Mark ran; I walked."
Correct: Option 3. To most of us, option 1 is clearly incorrect because there's no punctuation at all between the two independent clauses, forming what's known as a run-on sentence. Option 2, on the other hand, looks nice because it has punctuation (it has a comma) and follows the "use a comma when you take a breath" rule we all learned in elementary school. However, it's actually incorrect; while it is using punctuation, it's not using proper punctuation. Furthermore, the comma rule we used in elementary school isn't correct, since the rules for using a comma are much more complex than simply jotting one down every time you take a breath. Option 3, however, is using proper punctuation. Since semicolons can be used to separate two independent clauses, we can use it to separate "Mark ran" and "I walked" while still keeping a single sentence. If we wanted, we could also separate them with a period (making two complete sentences) or we could simply write "Mark ran and I walked."