Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning
“Don't become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.” Said Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist whose discoveries paved the way for an objective science of behavior. For his original work in this field of research, Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1904. By then he had turned to studying the laws on the formation of conditioned reflexes, a topic on which he worked until his death in 1936. He was not always a man of science however; in fact his father worked as a village priest and prepared Pavlov for a religious career. It was his Behaviorism in psychology is based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment. Two other assumptions of this theory are that the environment shapes behavior and that taking internal mental states such as thoughts, feelings and emotions into consideration is useless in explaining behavior. One of the best-known aspects of behavioral learning theory is classical conditioning. Discovered by Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. It's important to note that classical conditioning involves placing a neutral signal before a naturally occurring reflex. In Pavlov's classic experiment with dogs, the neutral signal was the sound of a tone and the naturally occurring reflex was salivating in response to food. By associating the neutral stimulus with the environmental stimulus, the sound of the tone alone could produce the salivation response. In order to understand more about how classical conditioning works, it is important to be familiar with the basic principles of the process. The unconditioned stimulus is one that unconditionally, naturally, and automatically triggers a response. For example, when you smell one of your favorite foods, you may immediately feel very hungry. In this...
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