Inside the various learning methods inside behaviorist psychology, operant conditioning is referred to the one that uses rewards and punishments in order to boost learning, therefore shaping a behavior; and we owe it to B.F.Skinner.
One of the key points inside operant conditioning is the reward system, made out by the combination of several loops of rewards, controlled and paced strategically to obtain the best possible outcome from the subject.
In games, operant conditioning is directly the framework that operates beneath the standard guidelines of them all. Whether a player success or fails, the game will represent a continuously cycle of reward & punish (of course tearing apart any electroshock or food retrieval) to the player inside the game’s boundaries. The implementation of such methods will result in a player behavior which will continuously get modified alongside the game, depending on the amount of mechanics and flow systems inside them.
Aggressive conditionings (high rewards and high punishments) ends up into hardly satisfying frameworks for the players to be placed in (even though it is not a global statement). Seeking for a correct balance (and of course taking into account that the field is a game) will end up in an increase of the game’s engagement capabilities.