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What Does Classical Conditioning Mean In Psychology

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Stage : During Conditioning:

Psychology: What is Classical Conditioning?

During this stage, a stimulus which produces no response is associated with the unconditioned stimulus at which point it now becomes known as the conditioned stimulus .

For classical conditioning to be effective, the conditioned stimulus should occur before the unconditioned stimulus, rather than after it, or during the same time. Thus, the conditioned stimulus acts as a type of signal or cue for the unconditioned stimulus.

In some cases, conditioning may take place if the NS occurs after the UCS , but this normally disappears quite quickly. The most important aspect of the conditioning stimulus is the it helps the organism predict the coming of the unconditional stimulus.

Often during this stage, the UCS must be associated with the CS on a number of occasions, or trials, for learning to take place. However, one trail learning can happen on certain occasions when it is not necessary for an association to be strengthened over time .

What Does Classical Conditioning Mean

What is the definition of classical conditioning? This psychological theory was first introduced by Ivan Pavlov. The theory states that a subject can be conditioned to respond differently to a previously neutral stimulus if the neutral stimulus is paired up with any other stimulus that creates the required response. By presenting both stimulus simultaneously, the subject will unconsciously associate its current response to the neutral stimulus too.

This technique is widely used to train animals. By creating a positive stimulus and then matching it to the neutral stimulus that needs to be taught, the trainer can modify the animals behavior and get the response he is looking for after repeating the process for a given period of time. This method is also called Pavlovian conditioning.

Heres an illustration of how this works.

Stimulus & Fear Conditioning

  • Stimulus generalization when a new stimulus that is similar to the conditioned stimulus can evoke the same conditioned response without the need to condition.
  • Stimulus discrimination the opposite of generalization. Its the ability to discern between two similar stimuli.

The infamous Little Alert experiment demonstrates the concept of stimulus generalization well. In this controversial study, researcher John B. Watson conditioned baby Albert to be afraid of a white rat by pairing it with a frightening clanging sound . After repeatedly making the loud sound whenever the child touched the animal, baby Albert became scared simply by seeing the animal .

Watson found that the babys fear of the white rat wasnt limited to only white rats. The baby became scared of other small animals, too, such as white rabbits or dogs. The poor child also became scared of white soft objects such as white cotton balls. So the fear of one stimulus was generalized to the fear of other stimuli that shared similar properties.

Fear conditioning doesnt always require repetitions to form. Sometimes, one traumatic experience is enough to create associative learning and generalization to other stimuli.

Classical conditioning created by an extreme aversive event like this can be very powerful and result in phobia, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder 79. Studies have shown that some patients of PTSD have lower stimulus discrimination10 leading to difficulty in extinction.

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What Is Operant Conditioning

In contrast to classical conditioning, operant conditioning involves encouraging or discouraging a specific behavior using reinforcement. While classical conditioning is training dogs to salivate to the sound of a metronome, operant conditioning is training them to sit by giving them a treat when they do.

B.F. Skinner proposed the theory of operant conditioning, and he used a simple experiment with a rat to develop the theory. In the experiment, a hungry rat is placed in a box. As the rat explores, it discovers a lever. When it pushes the lever, it gets food. Over time, the rat learns to push the lever to receive food.

Operant conditioning can involve positive reinforcement, such as giving a dog a treat or a rat getting food. It can also involve negative reinforcement, such as rewarding a dog for walking close to its owner by relaxing the unpleasant tension on the leash. Sometimes, operant conditioning involves punishment. In all examples of operant conditioning, a target behavior is reinforced using consequences.

Useful Things To Know About Instrumental Conditioning

What Is Operant Conditioning and How Does It Work?

Most of the things that affect the strength of classical conditioning also affect the strength of instrumental learningwhereby we learn to associate our actions with their outcomes. As noted earlier, the bigger the reinforcer , the stronger the learning. And, if an instrumental behavior is no longer reinforced, it will also be extinguished. Most of the rules of associative learning that apply to classical conditioning also apply to instrumental learning, but other facts about instrumental learning are also worth knowing.

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Operant Conditioning Involves Choice

Another thing to know about operant conditioning is that the response always requires choosing one behavior over others. The student who goes to the bar on Thursday night chooses to drink instead of staying at home and studying. The rat chooses to press the lever instead of sleeping or scratching its ear in the back of the box. The alternative behaviors are each associated with their own reinforcers. And the tendency to perform a particular action depends on both the reinforcers earned for it and the reinforcers earned for its alternatives.

Cognition In Instrumental Learning

Modern research also indicates that reinforcers do more than merely strengthen or stamp in the behaviors they are a consequence of, as was Thorndikes original view. Instead, animals learn about the specific consequences of each behavior, and will perform a behavior depending on how much they currently wantor valueits consequence.

Things can get more complicated, however, if the rat performs the instrumental actions frequently and repeatedly. That is, if the rat has spent many months learning the value of pressing each of the levers, the act of pressing them becomes automatic and routine. And here, this once goal-directed action can become a habit. Thus, if a rat spends many months performing the lever-pressing behavior , even when sucrose is again paired with illness, the rat will continue to press that lever . After all the practice, the instrumental response is no longer sensitive to reinforcer devaluation. The rat continues to respond automatically, regardless of the fact that the sucrose from this lever makes it sick.

Habits are very common in human experience, and can be useful. You do not need to relearn each day how to make your coffee in the morning or how to brush your teeth. Instrumental behaviors can eventually become habitual, letting us get the job done while being free to think about other things.

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This Is The Curve Of Acquisition Extinction And Spontaneous Recovery The Rising Curve Shows The Conditioned Response Quickly Getting Stronger Through The Repeated Pairing Of The Conditioned Stimulus And The Unconditioned Stimulus Then The Curve Decreases Which Shows How The Conditioned Response Weakens When Only The Conditioned Stimulus Is Presented After A Break Or Pause From Conditioning The Conditioned Response Reappears

Acquisition and extinction involve the strengthening and weakening, respectively, of a learned association. Two other learning processesstimulus discrimination and stimulus generalizationare involved in distinguishing which stimuli will trigger the learned association. Animals need to distinguish between stimulifor example, between sounds that predict a threatening event and sounds that do notso that they can respond appropriately . When an organism learns to respond differently to various stimuli that are similar, it is called stimulus discrimination. In classical conditioning terms, the organism demonstrates the conditioned response only to the conditioned stimulus. Pavlovs dogs discriminated between the basic tone that sounded before they were fed and other tones , because the other sounds did not predict the arrival of food. Similarly, Tiger, the cat, discriminated between the sound of the can opener and the sound of the electric mixer. When the electric mixer is going, Tiger is not about to be fed, so she does not come running to the kitchen looking for food.

General Processes In Classical Conditioning

What is classical conditioning?

Now that you know how classical conditioning works and have seen several examples, lets take a look at some of the general processes involved. In classical conditioning, the initial period of learning is known as acquisition, when an organism learns to connect a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus. During acquisition, the neutral stimulus begins to elicit the conditioned response, and eventually the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus capable of eliciting the conditioned response by itself. Timing is important for conditioning to occur. Typically, there should only be a brief interval between presentation of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus. Depending on what is being conditioned, sometimes this interval is as little as five seconds . However, with other types of conditioning, the interval can be up to several hours.

How does this occurconditioning based on a single instance and involving an extended time lapse between the event and the negative stimulus? Research into taste aversion suggests that this response may be an evolutionary adaptation designed to help organisms quickly learn to avoid harmful foods . Not only may this contribute to species survival via natural selection, but it may also help us develop strategies for challenges such as helping cancer patients through the nausea induced by certain treatments .

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How Does Classical Conditioning And Operant Conditioning Really Differ

I was taking a practice ap psychology test and was curious how operant and classical conditioning are different.

My test claims that the difference comes from the fact that Classical conditioning is based on an involuntary action and Operant Conditioning is based on voluntary action but obviously this is false since what may be involuntary/reflexive for some may not be the same for others.

An example they gave is how someone may move their hand away from an iron because of ‘reflex’ whereas they will attempt to do well on a test because they are aware of a reward, but what about someone that has a lot of experience with the given subject and simply does well on the test because they reflexively feel the need to do well. I know for me personally when given a math problem that I can’t immediately solve or outline a heuristic for solving I tend to drop all external thoughts and work on it, often with a the same determination with which my dog chases after a squirrel.

This is of course because over time I have gained enough experience, practice, and interest in the field to do so. Thus for others attempting to solve problems will be a voluntary action, but for me personally I have an involuntary need to work on them.

But then again, when someone throws a ball at me, being that I don’t have much experience with sports, I tend to first think “theres a ball!” before the reflex for catching initiates while for others that tends to fire off immediately.

Pavlov Demonstrates Conditioning In Dogs

In the early part of the 20th century, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov , shown in Figure 8.2, was studying the digestive system of dogs when he noticed an interesting behavioural phenomenon: the dogs began to salivate when the lab technicians who normally fed them entered the room, even though the dogs had not yet received any food. Pavlov realized that the dogs were salivating because they knew that they were about to be fed the dogs had begun to associate the arrival of the technicians with the food that soon followed their appearance in the room.

With his team of researchers, Pavlov began studying this process in more detail. He conducted a series of experiments in which, over a number of trials, dogs were exposed to a sound immediately before receiving food. He systematically controlled the onset of the sound and the timing of the delivery of the food, and recorded the amount of the dogs salivation. Initially the dogs salivated only when they saw or smelled the food, but after several pairings of the sound and the food, the dogs began to salivate as soon as they heard the sound. The animals had learned to associate the sound with the food that followed.

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What Is An Example Of Ns In Psychology

A Neutral Stimulus is a stimulus that produces no response other than catching your attention. For example, let’s say you have to bring your child to the pediatrician for a shot. Prior to the shot, the pediatrician presses a buzzer to call her assistant to come in and help her administer the vaccine.

How Do Companies Use Classical Conditioning

Explaining Behaviorism: Operant &  Classical Conditioning ...

In classical conditioning, the advertiser attempts to get consumers to associate their product with a particular feeling or response, in the hope that the consumer will then buy the product. … Another example of classical conditioning occurs in ads where you see people having a good time using a product.

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Neurological Response To Conditioning

Consider how the conditioned response occurs in the brain. When a dog sees food, the visual and olfactory stimuli send information to the brain through their respective neural pathways, ultimately activating the salivation glands to secrete saliva. This reaction is a natural biological process as saliva aids in the digestion of food. When a dog hears a buzzer and at the same time sees food, the auditory stimulus activates the associated neural pathways. However, because these pathways are being activated at the same time as the other neural pathways, there are weak synapse reactions that occur between the auditory stimulus and the behavioral response. Over time, these synapses are strengthened so that it only takes the sound of a buzzer to activate the pathway leading to salivation.

Classical Conditioning: How It Works With Examples

A Step-by-Step Guide to How Classical Conditioning Really Works

By Saul McLeod, PhD | Updated on November 22, 2021

Classical conditioning is learning through association and was discovered by Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In simple terms, two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal.

John Watson proposed that the process of classical conditioning was able to explain all aspects of human psychology.

If you pair a neutral stimulus that already triggers an unconditioned response that neutral stimulus will become a conditioned stimulus similar to the original unconditioned response.

Everything from speech to emotional responses was simply patterns of stimulus and response. Watson denied completely the existence of the mind or consciousness. Watson believed that all individual differences in behavior were due to different experiences of learning. He famously said:

“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestorsâ .

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Classical Conditioning Vs Operant Conditioning

While classical conditioning has to do with automatic, learned responses, operant conditioning is a different type of learning.

In operant conditioning, you learn a behavior by the consequence of that behavior, which in turn affects your future behavior.

So, when a behavior has a satisfying result, you learn to associate it with that result and work to have it repeated. On the flip side, a negative result will cause you to avoid that behavior to avoid that result.

In dog training, good behavior is rewarded with treats, making it more likely for your dog to be a good boy or girl in order to get the treat.

On the other hand, bad behavior may not be rewarded, or it may receive punishment. That will make your dog less likely to do it in the future.

While classical conditioning is considered unconscious learning, operant conditioning is what most people would consider a habit. Its about reinforcement and is considered more controlled. Classical conditioning is considered more of a reflex.

Phase : Before Acquisition

What is Classical Conditioning? in 2 minutes

Before classical conditioning begins, the unconditioned stimulus produces an unconditioned response in an individual naturally. This is a reflex reaction that doesnt require training or practice. It is also called the primary reinforcer.

E.g.: In Pavlovs experiment, feeding dogs food naturally causes them to salivate . This reaction was an unconditioned reflex.

In this stage, neutral stimuli do not trigger an unconditioned response. A new neutral stimulus could be anything, e.g. a sound, smell, taste, object, scene, etc. It doesnt produce a response until it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus.

E.g.: Ringing the bell by itself did not elicit salivation in Pavlovs dogs initially.

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How Spontaneous Recovery Works

In order to understand exactly what spontaneous recovery is and how it works, it is essential to begin by understanding the classical conditioning process itself. How does classical conditioning take place?

Classical conditioning involves forming an association between a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus that naturally and automatically produces a response. Flinching in response to a loud sound or salivating in response to the smell of dinner cooking in the oven are both examples of unconditioned stimuli.

Your response to these things takes place automatically without any learning, which is why it is referred to as the unconditioned response. After repeatedly pairing something with the unconditioned stimulus, the previously neutral stimulus will begin to trigger the same reaction, at which point it becomes known as a conditioned stimulus. The learned reaction to the conditioned stimulus is now referred to as the conditioned response.

For example, in the famous Little Albert experiment, researchers John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner repeatedly paired a loud sound with the presentation of a white rat . The child in their experiment was previously unafraid of the animal but naturally frightened by the loud noise .

After multiple pairing of the noise and the sight of the rat, the child eventually began to display the fear response whenever he saw the white rat . So what might have happened if Watson and Rayner had stopped pairing the rat and the noise?

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