Operant vs. Classical Conditioning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Albert Bandura, Learning Pages: 5 (1821 words) Published: March 9, 2012
There are several methods that can be used when it comes to devising a plan or a method of viewing others perceived perceptions. There are many ways in which a person can see how people and/or animals think and get their perceived notions on how things go in life and in the world. In looking at the different ways that things are seen one may look at in three (3) or more ways, those being classical conditioning, social learning and operant conditioning are three very different learning methods. The three methods have the word conditioning in common. What is conditioning? Conditioning is the learning of specific patterns of behavior in the presence of well-defined backgrounds or environments. While classical and operant conditioning are basic forms of learning, social is a type of learned behavior that comes from interactions with different people. Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a person/animal learns to transfer a natural response from one particular event to another, previously neutral event or action. This is done by manipulating reflexes. Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the likelihood of a behavior is increased or decreased by the use of reinforcement or punishment. Operant conditioning deals with more cognitive thought process. Social learning theory is a type learning in which a person/animal learns both negative and positive forms of reinforcement by things they perceive in society or social settings. These three forms of learning have similarities and differences. Their similarities are that they all produce basic phenomena. One such phenomenon is acquisition. All types of conditioning result in the inheritance of a behavior. One of the most famous of experiments that illustrates classical conditioning is Pavlov's Dogs. In this experiment, Pavlov sat behind a one-way mirror and controlled a bell after ringing of the bell, Pavlov gave the dog food. The key to operant conditioning is reinforcement. Reinforcement is when a stimulus is presented that increases the probability that the preceding response will recur in the future. If reinforcement is withheld, extinction will occur in operant conditioning. According to the Classical Learning Theory, we learn by trial and error, just as Skinner’s dog. Psychologist Donald Campbell is of the opinion that trial and error results in long lasting acquired behavior. But Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura, the proponent of the Social Learning Theory, disagrees. He states: "Coping with the demands of everyday life would be exceedingly trying if one could arrive at solutions to problems only by actually performing possible options and suffering the consequences." [Bandura, 1977] Bandura moves beyond the Classical Learning Theory and delves deeper, with his Social Learning Theory. His theory can be summarized as follows:

(a) He says that we learn by observing others.
(b) He focuses on the power of examples and the importance of role models. (c) He stresses the importance of vicarious behavior as a means to modify behavior. Bandura’s theory can be best illustrated by considering the example and the effect of the media. Bandura also said, in this regard, According to “Children and adults acquire attitudes, emotional responses, and new styles of conduct through filmed and televised modeling." Another caution is that TV viewing might create a violent reality, which has to be feared for its capacity to influence the way we deal with people every day. [Lefkowitz, Eron, Walder, Huesmann, 1977] According to his theory, three stages can be identified in the link between passive violence (just watching) and active violence (Actually carrying it out). These three stages are: (a) Attention

(b) Retention
(c) Motivation.
The second stage is retention. According to Williams [1986] people learn things by vicariously experiencing them. A TV viewer can watch the most graphic, explicit and/or violent acts and experience the thrills, the fear, the...
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