Classical Conditioning

Topics: Operant conditioning, Classical conditioning, Extinction Pages: 5 (1616 words) Published: August 19, 2012
Always add a cover page per APA guidelines! Good content-focus on APA formatting and punctuation-you can do it!! Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning
Phobias in a human being are a very powerful thing. So powerful that they can be developed at a very early age, and affect the rest of our lives. There are many types of phobias, some are more common than others, such as heights, insects, or needles. I have also seen phobias as weird as pickles and rabbits! Despite how weird a phobia might be, these phobias have developed a certain way: Through classical or operant conditioning. As far as a conditioned response goes, emotions greatly come into play. Emotions are triggered by something, or maybe someone. One famous study that proves classical conditioning can trigger a phobia, -check your punctuation -is the case of “Little Albert”. John Watson and Rosalie Rayner performed a study with a nine month old baby. They would show him a rat, and then make a loud scary noise using a steel bar. Over the course of a few months, little Albert developed a fear of the rat because of the frightening noise associated with it. However, classical conditioning is not that simple, fears don’t just simply develop one time something bad happens. “Classical conditioning does not occur every time a bell rings, a baby startles, or a wolf eats some tainted lamb chops. Several factors influence the extent to which classical conditioning will occur.” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011). Learning can play a big part in classical conditioning. If a bad experience happens repeatedly with a certain object, or place, this can become a fear. Many people I have known who are afraid of dogs were bitten as a child, or have had many experiences where a dog has acted aggressively towards them. There are many arguments about what people learn through classical conditioning, however prepared learning is something people have learned over time. For example, people are more afraid of spiders, snakes, and more dangerous things because they know it is more likely to hurt them. Operant conditioning differs from classical conditioning because it involves behavior. “B. F. Skinner, who spent years experimenting with the ways in which behavior is controlled by the environment, called it operant conditioning.” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011) Basically behavior is controlled by outcomes of certain situations. Reinforcement is also involved in operant conditioning. There can be positive reinforcement and also negative reinforcement. As far as addictions are concerned both positive and negative reinforcement is involved. Positive reinforcement by doing drugs is the high someone gets. Maybe the drug makes them feel calmer or happier, and this is the positive aspect. It isn’t long until negative reinforcement comes into play concerning drugs. This can be the bodily harm it does to people, getting arrested, or hurting friends and family members. With operant conditioning, someone who is thinking of doing drugs, especially a younger person maybe sees it in their environment, and that it is a cool thing to do. They may see someone else do drugs, and then become popular so they want to do it also. It is not just the high they are seeking but the general social outcome of the situation. For example, steroids is a widely used drug. It is a good example of an outcome that causes people to use it. People have seen others use steroids and become muscular or obtain the perfect body overnight. They are just thinking of the positive reinforcement steroids provides for them. The positive reinforcement outweighs the negative, and sometimes it is too late. They do not think about the people that have died from using steroids, or have suffered the nasty side effects. Also, some people try a drug just to try it for that first time, but they do not realize how addictive it can truly become. The difference between classical conditioning and...
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