July 9, 2012
Dr. Ming Zheng
Classical Conditioning Introduction
Concept of Classical Conditioning and Factors that Affect Classical Conditioning Classical conditioning is learning which has been acquired by experience (Terry, 2009). Pavlov was the first one to experiment classical conditioning by training dogs how to salivate when they heard a bell ring. In order for Pavlov to be able to do this, the first step was to show the dogs food. The showing of food would cause the dogs to salivate. Afterward, Pavlov would ring a bell whenever he brought food out. The experimenter continued to this many times. Eventually, by the time the dogs heard the bell ring, and sometimes even without giving them food, they would salivate immediately because they had associated the ringing of the bell with the food. Pavlov demonstrated how a simple reflex, like salivation, could become conditioned or habituated to an external stimulus, in this case the bell. All this created a conditioned response. Therefore, before conditioning would take place, the food was the unconditioned stimulus and the unconditioned response was the salivation. The bell was the neutral stimulus first, not causing the dogs to salivate. Later on, during the experiment, the bell and the food caused the dogs to salivate, becoming the unconditioned response. Following the conditioning, the bell became the conditioned stimulus causing salivation (learned behavior), and the dog’s salivation was the conditioned response (Terry, 2009). In other words, for there to be classical conditioning four major factors need to be present: the unconditioned stimulus (US) that is something that naturally happens that can incite a natural reflex (Terry, 2009); the unconditioned response (UR) is the reflex response; the conditioned stimulus (CS) is the new stimulus that comes to trigger the conditioned response (CR),
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