Classical Operant Conditioning and Phobias

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Classical and Operant Conditioning and Phobias

Classical and Operant Conditioning, the two main methods of learning found in chapter 5of the textbook, Psychology are said to contribute to the attaining of phobias. These 2 types of conditioning vary in style and effectiveness, however both are responsible for shaping behavior, attitude and perception. In this paper we will first discuss how phobias can be developed through classical conditioning, second we will discuss how phobias can be developed through operant conditioning, third we will discuss the differences between classical and operant conditioning, and lastly we will define extinction and how it can be achieved in both classical and operant conditioning. Phobias and Classical Conditioning

Definitions associated with Classical Conditioning
1. “Unconditioned reflex- a reflex that occurs naturally, without any prior learning” 2. “Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)- a stimulus that produces a reflexive response without any prior learning” 3. Unconditioned response (UCR)- an organism’s unlearned, automatic response to a stimulus” 4. “Condtioned response (CR)- in classical conditioning, a response that has been learned” 5. “Conditioned stimulus (CS)- a stimulus that the organism has learned to associate with the unconditioned stimulus” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen, 2009, p. 158 ). Overview of Classical Conditioning

The Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov is responsible for discovering and studying the form of learning now called Classical Conditioning. The most popular and widely used example of classical conditioning is the example of Pavlov’s Dog. Essentially, Pavlov trained or taught a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell. In this example, “shortly before presenting the UCS (the food), Pavlov presented a neutral stimulus-a stimulus (in this case, ringing a bell) that normally does not elicit the response in question. After the bell had been paired with the unconditioned stimulus (the food) several times, the sound of the bell alone came to evoke a conditioned response, salivation” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen, 2009, p. 158 ). Another example used in the textbook is the example of a cat running into the kitchen every time he hears a can opener because he associates that sound with the opening of his cat food. Classical conditioning is essentially taking an innate or unconditioned reflex that occurs in the presence of an unconditioned stimulus and pairing it with a neutral stimulus, then removing the unconditioned stimulus which results in the producing the unconditioned reflex with the occurrence of the neutral stimulus. Classical Conditioning in relation to phobias

The textbook gives an example of the fear of hypodermic needles in adults and contributes them to the vast exposure of immunizations as infants. This, of course, is a very irrational fear. Many adults have the knowledge that hypodermic needles are relatively painless, yet many of them exhibit fearful reactions to such needles. Oftentimes when babies are taken to the doctor’s office for immunizations they cry as a result of fear or discomfort. As those babies grow up they associate the crying to the immunizations, thus continuing to be fearful of hypodermic needles. Phobias and Operant Conditioning

Definitions associated with Operant Conditioning
1. “Law of Effect-Law proposed by Thorndike which states that the tendency of an organism to produce a behavior depends on the effect the behavior has on the environment” 2. “Operant Conditioning- learning that results when an organism associates a response that occurs spontaneously with a particular environmental effect; also called instrumental conditioning” 3. “Operants-behaviors that are emitted by the organism rather than elicited by the environment” 4. “Reinforcement-a conditioning process that increases the probability that a response will occur” 5. “Reinforcer-an environmental consequence that occurs after an...
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