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Classical Conditioning In Relation To Distrust In Relationships

1244 words - 5 pages

Classical conditioning is the theory that involves a subject learning a new behavior by the process of association. A naturally occuring stimulus (the unconditioned stimulus) is paired with a response (the unconditioned response). Then, a neutral stimulus (the conditioned stimulus) is paired with the unconditioned stimulus and eventually the conditioned stimulus produces the initial response of the unconditioned stimulus without the unconditioned stimulus being present. The response, therefore, becomes the conditioned response. This study had a major influence on the psychological study of behaviorism. “Behaviorism is based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment” (Cherry 1). Classical conditioning was discovered by the work of Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936). Pavlov first experimented on classical conditioning by proving he could train a dog to salivate to the sound of a bell the same way a dog naturally salivated to the sight of food. Associating food with the sound of the bell, Pavlov was successful in training the dog to respond the same way to the bell as he would involuntarily respond to the food alone.
Behaviorist John B. Watson and graduate student Rosalie Raynor expanded on Pavlov’s initial discovery and used classical conditioning to prove that phobias could be established in humans by associating a neutral stimulus to a stimulus that already creates fear in a subject. This experiment was proven with what is known as the Little Albert Experiment. There are three stages in the classical conditioning process; stage 1: before conditioning, stage two: during conditioning, and stage three: after conditioning. In stage one of Watson’s experiment, infant, Little Albert, was scared by the hammer being struck against a metal bar. The loud noise was the US which caused Little Albert to become scared and begin crying, this then became the UR. For the second stage, a white rat was used as Watson’s CS, the CS must be a neutral stimulus that initially has no effect on the UR. Little Albert showed no phobia towards the rat before conditioning occurred. By pairing the US with the CS, the infant learned to associate the loud noise of the hammer and metal bar with the white rat. After strengthening the association between the US and the CS by repetition, Little Albert eventually became fearful and upset when only presented with the once neutral stimulus, the white rat. This response was the CR which marked the completion of step three. Little Albert was now afraid of the white rat because it triggered his fear of the loud noise. Classical conditioning can be used to prove many forms of behavior between subjects when looking at the the right unconditioned/ conditioned stimuli and unconditioned/ conditioned responses. The theory of classical conditioning can be used to explain the development of distrust and trust issues in the relationships between people.
“Trust: belief that someone or...

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