Structured and unstructured interview

Structured and unstructured interview

In structured interviews, where interviewer asks series of questions, which are specific and phrased in a standardized manner and presented in the form of order which are pre-established or for scoring client’s answers, rules are provided or to elicit better responses additional probes are used; Interviewer provided with the detailed rules about what has to do in certain situation. However, it does not prohibit interview from formulating their own questions to clarify the ambiguous responses. While in Unstructured interview: It allows the clinician with more flexibility in wording their questions, to introduce new questions, or to modify question order, through exploring organized set of topics, answers are interpreted and what to address next guiding decisions are provided and follows patients spontaneous sequence of ideas, and such sequences helps the clients to follow more naturally train of thought and allows to bring the interview material more predictive way of what they do in real life situations. Clinicians may introduce new topics and omits the unrelated topics based on the interview situation. Explain the principles of operant conditioning, clarifying the differences among positive reinforcers; negative reinforces, punishment, and primary and secondary reinforcers. Give examples of all.

Principles of operant conditioning

Skinner, beginning in 1930’s, through his experimentation, he hypothesized that the behavior of humans could be controlled by the punishment and reward and that their behavior could be explained by the principles of operant conditioning. The experimentation that he took was using ‘skinner boxes’, where automatically food pellets and electric shocks were dispersed and he thought the same behavior of the animals could be applied to the humans too.The important principles of operant conditioning are reinforcement, punishment, shaping, extinction, distinction, discrimination and generalization.


In the reinforcers, any event or behavior that is strengthened or increase the behavior and thus this process, as a result of this consequences, this would likely to happen again in future.

Positive reinforcers

In positive reinforcement or favorable events, making a behavior stronger by following the behavior with a pleasant or positive stimuli such as praise or direct reward, thus increase the frequency of the responses. For example, a rat presses a lever and receives food

Negative reinforcers

In negative reinforcement, making a behavior stronger by removing the negative stimulus or reinforcers and thus increases the frequency of the responses. For example, a rat presses a lever and turns off the electric shock.

Primary reinforcers

Any reinforce that are biologically pre-established to act as reinforcement. Examples are food, water, and sex.

Negative reinforcers

It is an aversive event, whose removal of such event would follow an operant response, where it increases the likelihood of that behavior happening again in future.

For example, a child saying thank you and please for not engaged in the chore of setting the table would act as negative reinforcers and this would likely to happen in future.


The process in which making a behavior weakened or presentation of an adverse event, thus less likely to happen or decrease the behavior in future. An example is spanking a child for misbehaving.

Negative punishment

By removing the pleasant stimulus when the behavior occurs again, such behavior could be reduced.

Positive punishment

Punishment by application, where unpleasant or unfavorable events are presented to weaken the response

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