Behaviorism: Classical Conditioning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Ivan Pavlov Pages: 4 (1181 words) Published: January 23, 2013
There are four primary conditioning theories of behaviorism. These four theories are Pavlov’s (1849-1936) classical conditioning, Thorndike’s (1874-1949) connectionism (also known as law of effect), Guthrie's (1886-1959) contiguous conditioning, and Skinner’s (1904-1990) operant conditioning. According to the text (Shunk 2012) Classical conditioning was discovered around the beginning of the 20th century by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov was studying digestive process in dogs when he discovered that the dogs salivated before they received their food. Pavlov utilized a tuning fork and meat powder. He hit the tuning fork and followed the sound with the meat powder. In the beginning, the dog salivated only to the meat powder, but after this was repeated, salivated at the sound of the tuning fork. In classical conditioning, a subject learns to associate one stimulus with another. The subject learns that the first stimulus is a cue for the second stimulus. In other words, the meat powder is an unconditioned stimulus and the salivation is the unconditioned response. The tuning fork is a neutral stimulus until the dog learns to associate the tuning fork with food. Then the tuning fork becomes a conditioned stimulus which produces the conditioned response of salivation after repeated pairings between the tuning fork and food. According to Guthrie's Contiguous Conditioning the only condition necessary for the association of stimuli and responses is that there is a close chronological relationship between the stimuli. Guthrie states that punishment and reward have no significant role in the learning process because the reward and punishment occur after the association between the stimulus and the response has been made. He also believed that you can use sidetracking to change previous conditioning. Side tracking involves discovering the initial cues for the habit and associating other behavior with those cues. Thus sidetracking causes the internal...

References: Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories: An educational perspective, 6th ed. Boston, MA:
Pearson.Fields, H. (2011). Is Behaviorism Dead? Retrieved from
McLeod, S. A. (2007).Behaviorism. Retrieved from
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