Operant Extinction

Operant Extinction refers to the gradual decrease in the response rate of a behavior learned via reinforcement. Let’s say a lab rat is rewarded with food every time it presses a lever. This conditioning will increase the probability that the rat will press the lever. But if the researchers then stop giving the rat food after it presses the lever, the rat will eventually stop pressing the lever because it no longer produces a desirable effect. In this way, the rat’s lever-pressing behavior undergoes extinction (goes away).