How Organism Learn: Classical and Operant Conditioning
There are two main explanations of how organisms learn. The first explanation is known as classical conditioning. The second explanation is known as operant conditioning. These two types of learning are exhibited in our everyday lives through our home, school, and school.
Classical conditioning was discovered by Iran Petrovich Pavlov. He was originally a physiologist whose main focus was the digestive system (Gazzaniga 230). His discovery was made during a study on the salivation of dogs when given food. Pavlov observed that the dogs began salivating at the sound of the scientists footsteps and at their appearance into the room (231). This led Pavlov to study the phenomenon further.
The experiments that Pavlov was originally observing were based on the set of unconditioned stimulus and its unconditioned response. What is meant by conditioned is that the response is automatic and based on instinct. To compliment this name the stimulus is known as the unconditioned stimulus (Myers 260). With Pavlov's new observations a new set of stimulus and response was found. This new set is known as the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response. What is meant by conditioned response here is that the response was learned. The stimulus begins as neutral and causes no conditioned response. However, if the neutral stimulus can be associated with another stimulus, then it becomes a conditioned stimulus.
Classical conditioning can be exemplified in the home, school, and school. In the home a child could smell brownies baking in the kitchen which makes her mouth water. The brownies are the unconditioned stimulus, the smell is the conditioned stimulus, and the watering of the mouth is the conditioned response (Myers 267-68). In work a man may be waiting to be fired. When he sees his boss he begins to sweat. The unconditioned stimulus is getting fired, the conditioned stimulus is...
Cited: Gazzaniga, Michael S. Psychology. Philadelphia: Harper & Row
Myers, David G. Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers, 1995.
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