Compare and Contrast Classical Conditioning with Operant Conditioning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning, Behaviorism Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: March 4, 2012
Topic: Compare and contrast classical conditioning with operant conditioning.

We are constantly learning whether we realize it or not. From the moment we are born our lives begin to be shaped into what is socially acceptable and morally right in our cultures. We learn and retain what we have been taught. There are two major ways that our behaviors can be learned, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning, both a form of behavioral learning.

Classical conditioning is when we find a stimulus that will evoke a particular response from the subject being studied (i.e. humans or animals). In a scientific setting we can control the response that we want to evoke. For example Pavlov’s study with the dogs salivary glands, he controlled the setting in which the animals we deprived of food, and then when given food or they saw the scientist bringing in the food he got the dogs salivary response, even when the machine stopped working. Classical conditioning enables the subject being studied to learn about specific stimuli. The stimuli can evoke signals of danger, food, sex, dominance, submission, fears, and cues relating to territory. Another example might be if you get food poisoning from a specific restaurant, you will likely not eat there again because you associate the restaurant with the sickness you acquired from eating there.

Pavlov’s and his associates explored five major conditioning processes: extinction, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination. A dog’s salivation can come neutrally or it can be trained. A bell or a certain tone followed by an event can train a certain response from a dog or human, for example if you ring a bell then feed your dog the dog will associate the bell with the food. If a special someone always wears a certain smell when they are around you, and you happen to smell that scent you will become excited. This type of learning is called acquisition. Acquisition is the initial learning. But as quick...
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