Process of Extinction

If a parent gives their kid sweets and toys after the youngster throws a tantrum since they do not want to go to school, the parent encourages the child's negative behavior. The kid has learned that bad behavior will get them what they want, so they will keep doing it. If a parent chooses to cease praising the kid for acting out, the youngster will stop acting out since they will no more correlate it with a good consequence. This is known as extinction and is closely related to behavior modification and a notion put out by an important behaviorist school of thought. Extinction is comparable to the usual meaning of the term in that it helps eliminate undesirable habits. However, extinction in psychology is distinct from the elimination of behavior, as explained below.

What is the meaning of Process of Extinction?

The term "extinction" is used in psychology to describe the gradual loss of learned behavior linked to a specific stimulus in the past. In other words, the strength of an attachment pattern decreases, and the desired action dies out. In most cases, this is done by removing the unconditioned response.

Causes of Process of Extinction

In classical conditioning, the reflex action will fade over time if the conditioned stimulus is delivered without the unconditioned stimulus. In Pavlov's famous experiment, a dog was trained to salivate whenever it heard a bell. The salivation reaction was eradicated whenever the bell was delivered without food. When a behavior is no longer rewarded after a particular stimulus, it is said to have been "extinct" in the operant field. It was just by chance that an individual discovered my first vanishing curve. The pellet dispenser became stuck when a rat tried to use the lever in a hunger and satiety study. When an individual arrived, an individual saw a lovely curvature that had not been there before. The rat kept pushing even though it was getting no pellets. An individual was ecstatic since the transition was far more systematic than the disappearance of a salivary reaction in Pavlov's lab. As it was a Sunday evening, no one else was around the lab that an individual could alert. An individual took extra precautions while crossing the street and avoided any unneeded dangers during the weekend to prevent my finding from being lost in the event of my untimely demise.

Process of Extinction

Vanishing is most successful when applied uniformly. It is determined that vanishing has been effective when there is no longer any response to the reduction stimulus. Memory consolidation refers to the reappearance of a previously extinct habit after vanishing. This is because challenging behavior has been conditioned to occur only after being reinforced. Reinforcing a relapse means the faulty behavior will be reinstated. Because vanishing can be a drawn-out process, it is crucial that the person facilitating the process be deeply immersed in it from start to finish. Because there are fewer difficult behaviors to recover from vanishing, the reflex is also likely to be weaker. There are a variety of reinforcement distribution or scheduling schemes that may be used in the fight against vanishing. Various schedules, such as constant proportion, varying ratio, fixed increment, and varying interval, are available for intermittent reinforcement. Continual improvement is another strategy that may be used. Both quantities of reinforcement sent at each interval and the schedule on which they are distributed may be flexible.


Students feel safe and supported. Classrooms are more productive places to study. To that end, the school must be free of disruptive behaviors affecting students' learning abilities. The classroom ought to be a place where students may learn and grow with confidence, comfort, and safety. Reductions in teaching and learning potential are a direct result of undesirable behaviors. Off-task behaviors, blurting, screaming, disrupting, and improper language are some examples of academic problems that might be addressed by vanishing. Vanishing has been applied in the classroom, mostly when disruptive behaviors got in the way of learning. Positive results are not expected when oblivion is not employed in behavior therapies, even when combined with other strategies.


While persistent vanishing over time reduces the unwanted behavior, the individual may experience a vanishing burst in the near term. When the process of vanishing begins, a rapid population decline is called a vanishing burst. In most cases, this involves a spike in the reaction frequency followed by a gradual decrease and ultimate vanishing. It is also possible for unusual emotions or violent tendencies to emerge. Consider a bird trained to peck a button on a computer. The frog's training history will show that it was rewarded with a nibble of birdseed whenever it nibbled the button. That way, anytime it is hungry, it has to do is peck the button, and it will get some food. Nevertheless, if the button is disabled, the hungry dove will initially attempt pecking at it, like it always has before. The bird will most likely attempt again if it is unsuccessful the first time.


Like the vanishing boom, the heterogeneity caused by vanishings helps organisms adapt to their new environment. People's reactions to topographies might seem quite different when vanishing kicks in. Although there is usually some degree of variation in reaction topography owing to environmental or subject-specific reasons, this variation is often maintained by a patient's reinforcing experience, which favors successful variants over many successful variations. Variations of this kind may become substantially more pronounced in the face of vanishing as the individual makes more efforts to recapture the reward that earlier actions earned.


Several variables might affect a behavior's resilience to elimination, and the intensity of the initial conditioning might influence the significance of a given factor. Various schedules, such as constant proportion, varying ratio, fixed increment, and varying interval, are available for intermittent reinforcement, and continual improvement is another strategy that may be used. Both quantities of reinforcement sent at each interval and the schedule on which they are distributed may be flexible.

Updated on: 15-Dec-2022

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