Operant and Classical Conditioning

  • Demonstrate an example of classical conditioning from your own life.
  • Demonstrate an example of operant conditioning from your own life.
  • Evaluate and defend which type of conditioning you felt was the most effective.

The classical conditioning is an educational method that was developed by psychologist John B. Watson and further explored by Ivan Pavlov and his dog, which was used in early psychological studies to show the relationship between stimuli and responses. Classical conditioning refers to a learning process in which a certain behavior leads to a stimulus and this results in another response from an organism. Classical conditioning can also be defined as a type of learning through association [1].

In the field of psychology , there are four types of classical conditioning:

– Unconditioned stimulus (UCS); this is an action that doesn’t need any previous reference to produce a specific reaction. An example would be food for hungry person or pain for someone who is injured;

– Conditioned stimulus (CS); this is an action that is already known by the organism and it is associated with another stimulus. Through Classical conditioning , the CS will be able to produce a different reaction;

– Unconditioned response (UCR); this is what people do in response to unconditioned stimuli when they are not conditioned yet;

– Conditioned response (CR); this represents how people act in response to conditioned stimuli [2].

This type of learning occurs through associations between two or more things, so when one exists, it causes the other one too. Classical conditioning can explain emotional responses by discovering how certain stimuli cause specific reactions in organisms. It was first documented by Ivan Pavlov with his famous experiment involving dogs and food with bells ringing in the background. Classical conditioning is considered to be one of the most important and usual methods in which organisms learn [3].

On the other hand, there are two types of classical conditioning:

-Classical extinction; this is when a conditioned stimulus stops having its original effect after being repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus;

– Spontaneous recovery; this term refers to how past associations can spontaneously come back with just a several presentations of the conditioned stimulus [4].

In order to better grow and adapt, humans tend to find ways to predict things that happen by forming connections between events. Classical conditioning has been used throughout history as a form of learning through association, including for emotions and thought processes.

How could classical conditioning be used to teach the attribute of courage?

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