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Classical And Operant Conditioning Essay

787 words - 3 pages

There are two main explanations of how organisms learn. Thefirst explanation is known as classical conditioning. The secondexplanation is known as operant conditioning. These two types oflearning are exhibited in our everyday lives through our home,school, and school.Classical conditioning was discovered by Iran PetrovichPavlov. He was originally a physiologist whose main focus wasthe digestive system (Gazzaniga 230). His discovery was madeduring a study on the salivation of dogs when given food. Pavlovobserved that the dogs began salivating at the sound of thescientists footsteps and at their appearance into the room (231).This led Pavlov to study the phenomenon further.The experiments that Pavlov was originally observing werebased on the set of unconditioned stimulus and its unconditionedresponse. What is meant by conditioned is that the response isautomatic and based on instinct. To compliment this name thestimulus is known as the unconditioned stimulus (Myers 260).With Pavlov's new observations a new set of stimulus and responsewas found. This new set is known as the conditioned stimulus andthe conditioned response. What is meant by conditioned responsehere is that the response was learned. The stimulus begins asneutral and causes no conditioned response. However, if theneutral stimulus can be associated with another stimulus, then itbecomes a conditioned stimulus.Classical conditioning can be exemplified in the home,school, and school. In the home a child could smell browniesbaking in the kitchen which makes her mouth water. The browniesare the unconditioned stimulus, the smell is the conditionedstimulus, and the watering of the mouth is the conditionedresponse (Myers 267-68). In work a man may be waiting to befired. When he sees his boss he begins to sweat. Theunconditioned stimulus is getting fired, the conditioned stimulusis the sight of the boss, the conditioned response is thesweating. In school a boy may be in class when suddenly the firealarm goes off at which time the boy walks to exit the building.The unconditioned stimulus is fear of a fire, the conditionedstimulus is the sound of the alarm, and the conditioned responseis the exiting of the building.Operant conditioning is an organism's learning anassociation between how it behaves and what happens as a resultof that behavior (Gazzaniga 244). There are some differencesbetween classical and operant conditioning. First, the operantresponse has to occur completely spontaneously. In classicalconditioning the conditioned response is drawn from an organism.In operant conditioning the response is delivered by the organismwhich then awaits the consequences. Second, in...

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