Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, and Observational Learning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Psychology Pages: 2 (658 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Our understanding of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning has allowed us to unlock many of the answers we sought to learn about human behavior. Classical conditioning is a technique of behavioral training, coined by Ivan Pavlov, which basically states that an organism learns through establishing associations between different events and stimuli. This helps us understand human behavior in an assortment of ways. It makes it clear that almost everything we do is based on patterns of stimulus and response. For example, if you were bitten aggressively by a dog as a child, you may be still scared of dogs today. That is because the dog caused you pain, which in turn caused you have anxiety towards dogs. Because you associated the dog with pain, and the pain caused you to have anxiety, therefore you brain associated seeing a dog with feelings of anxiety. Same thing applies to getting a text message. Let’s say you’re sitting around doing nothing an all of the sudden your phone vibrates. You’ll probably go and check to see what message you got. This relates to a classical conditioning experiment because you have associated your phone vibrating with getting a message. Operant conditioning, although similar to classical conditioning, has many different aspects. Operant conditioning is another behavioral training technique that was coined by B.F Skinner. Operant conditioning basically states that behavior is influenced by the consequences that follow. Seems simple, right? That’s because it is. Operant conditioning applies to many aspects of our everyday life even without our knowledge. For instance, we’re in class and a teacher asks a question. You answer it and happen to get it right. The teacher then gives you 5 points extra credit as a reward. That’s going to make you want to answer more questions correctly, right? That’s exactly what operant conditioning is based upon. This helps us better understand human behavior because it tells us...
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