Classical Conditioning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Taste aversion Pages: 5 (1754 words) Published: February 4, 2013
Classical Conditioning Paper
Psychology of Learning-PSYCH/550

The purpose of this paper is to examine and discuss classical conditioning. Much of the material has been covered in class discussion questions based on classical conditioning, allowing for a greater insight from the group of students providing the research of what classical conditioning is. Classical conditioning is defined as, “A process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus that has been repeatedly presented along with an unconditioned stimulus that elicits the desired response.” ( Now we can see what others on the team had to say about classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning was first studied by the Russian physiologist known as Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov was a noble prize winner in 1904 for his work studying digestive processes. His research and theories are still referenced in textbooks and psychology classes around the world today. Pavlov’s research included dogs that would start to salivate when their trainer entered the room. Pavlov suggested that salivation was a learned response. The dogs would respond to the personnel in white lab coats that they associated with the presentation of food. Pavlov focused on investigating how conditioned responses are learned and/or acquired. The study of classical conditioning provides us as humans an insight into how the human mind is able to translate information and experiences and build upon them. Concept of Classical Conditioning

There are many concepts to classical conditioning. The first is unconditioned stimuli (US) this is how stimulus elicits and innate response. An example of this would be eating a type of food. Another concept would be unconditioned response (UR) this would be a reflexive response to the US. If we go off our first example this would be your mouth getting some salvation building up for the food. The third concept would be conditioned stimulus (CS) this would be a neutral stimulus which does not elicit the UR which will be paired with the US during the study or experiment. We could go back to the bell example for this one. The final concept is called conditioned response (CR) this is when there is a response to the US and CS. There also may be some difference in some ways to the UR. Some of the factors that influence classical are as follows. One is the time delay between CS and US. There is better data collected if the delay is between 250 to 700 milliseconds. Also how the information is laid out for the subjects can influence the study. If the information is not easy to understand this could mess with the data. The subjects will have to be screened to make sure the correct people are there for the experiment. The time arrangements of the CS and Us are real important. One would be CS comes first, and while this is happening the US occurs. Another one is the CS comes first, and after this stops the US occurs. A final factor is the CS occurs after the US has already started. Basic Phenomena of Classical Conditioning

There are four basic phenomena of conditioning. They are acquisition, extinction, generalization, and discrimination. Acquisition “refers to the development of a conditioned response as a result of CS-US trials” (Terry; 2009). There are some procedures that may have several pairings to have a conditioned response (CR) and then there are others that have a fast CR developed. Controlled procedures are used to help determine that a behavioral change was due to conditioning and not something else from the procedure. In unpaired control procedures, “both the CS and the US are presented during the experimental sessions, but the two stimuli explicitly occur separately from one another” (Terry; 2009). During an experiment session when a CS and the US are each separately programmed to occur...

References: Garcia. J.F. and R. Koelling (1966), “Relation of Cue to Consequence in Avoidance Learning “Psychonomic Science” 4, 123-124
Kentribdge B (2002) Basic concepts in classical Conditioning, Comparative Psychology, Retrieved from
Terry, W. S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.
Malaka, R. (1999). Models of classical conditioning. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 61(1), 33-83. doi:
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