Chaining is one of the principles involved in the operant conditioning theory of learning . In the form of learning called "chaining" the subject is required to make a series of responses in a definite order . For example, a sequence of correct turns in a maze is to be mastered, or a list of words is to be learned in specific sequence. Moreover, Chaining is a series of responses in which each response leads to the next.

 

Learning the words to a song and the Lord's prayer are examples of the "Chaining" of responses. A person may learn one line and then the next. In this sequence, the termination of one line, serves as a stimulus for the next line. In this way, the sequence of responses becomes very important, as one can see by trying to start singing in the middle of a song or reciting the Lord's prayer in the middle of the prayer. Chaining is a Skinnerian explanation for the linking of sequences of responses through the action of discriminative stimuli that act as secondary reinforcers . Most behaviors involve such "chains", according to Skinner.

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