Classical conditioning is a form of basic learning the body automatically responds to a stimulus. One stimulus takes on the properties of another. The Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) is credited for discovering the basic principles of classical conditioning whilst he was studying digestion in dogs. He developed a technique for collecting dog’s salivary secretions. Pavlov (cited in Eysneck M.W 2009) noticed that the dogs would often start salivating before they were given any food or saw the feeding bucket or even when they heard the footstep of the laboratory assistant coming to feed them. Quite by accident Pavlov had discovered that the environmental control of behaviour can be changed as a result of two stimuli becoming associated with each other. These observations led to what’s now called classical conditioning. A neutral stimulus (such as a bell) which normally wouldn’t produce a response (such a salivating) eventually becomes paired with another stimulus (such as the food) this is referred to an unconditional response. When the bell and food (unconditional stimulus) are paired often enough the dogs start to salivate as soon as they hear the bell and before the food is served. When this occurs conditioning has taken place. (Cited in Burns 1995) Pavlov argued that if dogs could be conditioned to salivate then it is possible to apply the process to bodily process that effect illness and mental health disorders. Nowadays classical conditioning is applied in the treatment of phobias and in aversion therapies.(Cited in Burns 1995). Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning is the process of a behaviour in which the likelihood of a specific behaviour is increased or decreased through positive or negative reinforcement. The theory is based on Thorndike (1993) law of effects which state that behaviour is a function of its consequences (cited in O’ Brien 2009). Skinner used observation as a leading approach to operate...
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