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Concepts and Ideas of Classical Conditioning

  • Aimee Duncalfe
  • Rena Borovilos

Classical Conditioning and My Behaviour

Behavioural mindset is a theory of learning that is founded after the idea that behaviours are bought through conditioning, which occurs through environmental connection (Cherry, What is Behaviorism?, 2014). Fitness is a particular type of learning that is explored by a number of different physiologists and psychologists throughout record, and can be broken down into two specific types of learning; traditional conditioning and operant fitness. This paper will discuss traditional conditioning while checking out several different samples, including an individual behaviour that can even be identified as traditional conditioning.

Classical fitness is a learning process occurring through associating two stimuli that are repeatedly paired together, producing a conditioned response. (Cherry, What Is Classical Fitness?, 2005). The process of classical conditioning consist of placing a conditioned stimulus before an unconditioned stimulus that in a natural way results within an unconditioned response. When paired frequently, the conditioned stimulus eventually causes a conditioned response, even in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus.

An unconditioned stimulus (UCS) is one which naturally or automatically triggers a response (Cherry, Classical Conditioning, 2005). For example, when you hear a balloon pop, you may immediately bounce in great shock. The sound of the balloon popping is the unconditioned stimulus.

An unconditioned response (UCR) is the computerized response occurring in a natural way in response to the unconditioned stimulus (Cherry, Classical Conditioning, 2005). Utilizing the same example, jumping in reaction to the audio of the balloon popping is the unconditioned response.

The conditioned stimulus (CS) is recently neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the unconditioned stimulus, eventually causes a conditioned response (Cherry, Classical Conditioning, 2005). Suppose that immediately before you noticed the balloon pop, you saw a blinking red light. The flashing red light is unrelated to the audio of the balloon popping, though if the blinking red light was paired multiple times with the balloon popping, experiencing the blinking red light would eventually cause the conditioned response. In cases like this, the conditioned stimulus is seeing the blinking red light.

The conditioned response (CR) is the learned reaction to a recently neutral stimulus (Cherry, Classical Conditioning, 2005). In the same example, the conditioned response would be jumping to the look of the flashing red light.

This process, often found in behavioural training, was unveiled by a Russian physiologist by the name of Ivan Pavlov, who won the Nobel Award in 1904 for his focus on the physiology of digestion (Nobel Multimedia Stomach, 2014). Pavlov's test explored dogs salivating in response to the display of food. In his experiment, the UCS was the demonstration of food, and the UCR was salivating in response to the meals. Pavlov also introduced a CS, the sound of any bell, immediately before delivering the meals to the dogs. By merging the audio of the bell with the demonstration of food, the audio of the bell by themselves would eventually produce the conditioned response of salivation. (Cherry, What Is Classical Fitness?, 2005).

There are several occurrences that take place with regards to classical conditioning. The first levels of learning whenever a response is made is what is known as acquisition. This identifies the time period when the conditioned response is first founded and little by little strengthened (Cherry, Rules of Classical Fitness, 2005). Going back to the first exemplory case of the popping balloon, the conditioned response has been acquired once a person begins to bounce at the look of the blinking red light. In Pavlov's experiment, the conditioned response has been bought as soon as the dog commences to salivate in response to the audio of the bell. After the response has been received, the response can be progressively strengthened to ensure the behavior is well learned. Factors that can effect how quickly acquisition occurs include how recognizable the CS is, as well as the timing of the CS with regards to the UCS. In the event the CS is too simple, or if there is too much of a delay between your CS and the UCS, the learner might not exactly spot the CS enough to form an association between your two. The most effective method is to introduce the CS and then quickly present the UCS so that there is an overlap between the two. A lot more obvious the CS, and the shorter delay between the UCS and the CS, the quicker acquisition will take (Cherry, What's Acquisition?, 2005).

Another occurrence in relation to classical conditioning is extinction. Extinction happens when the rate of recurrence of an CR decreases or disappears whenever a CS is no more paired with an UCS (Cherry, Guidelines of Classical Conditioning, 2005). Returning to the previously used example, if the popping of the balloon were no longer paired with the blinking red light, eventually the conditioned response of jumping to the blinking red light would disappear. In Pavlov's test, if he no more paired the bell with the presentation of the meals, eventually the conditioned response of salivating to the sound of the bell would disappear.

During his research, Pavlov discovered that when extinction occurs, it generally does not mean that the topic returns with their unconditioned state. Allowing a long time or even times to elapse after a response has been extinguished can cause spontaneous recovery of the CR (Cherry, What is Extinction?, 2005). Spontaneous recovery identifies the abrupt reappearance of the CR after extinction or period of reduced response. In case the CS and UCS are no more associated, extinction will appear very quickly after a spontaneous restoration. Pavlov known during his experiment that no longer pairing the audio of the bell with the demonstration of food led to extinction of the salivation response. However, following a two hour recovery period, the salivation response instantly reappeared when the bell was provided (Cherry, Spontaneous Recovery, 2005). This phenomena shows that extinction is not the same as unlearning. While the CR may disappear, it might not exactly have been forgotten or completely taken out.

Stimulus generalization, the trend for the CS to prompt similar responses after the CR has been conditioned, is another incident of classical conditioning (Cherry, What Is Stimulus Generalization?, 2005). In the first example, our subject has been conditioned to hop at the eyesight of our CR, a flashing red light. After the subject matter has been conditioned, he could respond to not just a blinking red light, but all blinking lights. This response to all flashing lights exemplifies stimulus generalization.

Closely related to stimulus generalization, stimulus discrimination is the capability to separate between a CS and other stimuli which may have not been paired with a UCS (Cherry, Principles of Classical Conditioning, 2005). In Pavlov's experiment where the audio of your bell is the CS, discrimination includes having the ability to tell the difference between your sound of the bell and other similar sounds, and would then only share the CR at the audio of the bell.

Another form of traditional fitness is higher order conditioning. This is where a new CS is created, by pairing a second CS with a recently created CS. The next CS operates as a UCS for the first CS. If Pavlov had begun blinking a red light before he sounded the bell, the blinking red light would become the new CS, and would eventually evoke the same CR as the audio of the bell will.

My own behaviour indicates that I've been classically conditioned. Two years ago, I got involved in a vehicle accident. I was driving a vehicle on the highway in the fast street, the street closest to the centre guardrail, whenever i lost control of my car and slammed in to the guardrail, spinning across all three lanes. My car emerged to your final rest after hitting the guardrail closest to the on and off ramps. Before my car accident, I was a very confident driver rather than experienced stress while driving, in general or while driving in the fast lane. Since my car crash, I am unable to drive in the fast lane without becoming very anxious.

Experiencing anxiety is generally an all natural response when getting into a car accident, so getting into a vehicle accident in this example is the UCS, and experiencing stress and anxiety is the UCR. Immediately preceding the car accident, I used to be generating in the fast lane, which is the CS in this situation. As a result of my distressing experience, travelling in the fast lane now produces the same anxious feeling as getting into a vehicle accident because I have associated this factor with my car accident. And so, anxiety is the CR in this example. I have included a diagram in Appendix 1 to demonstrate my behaviour and how it affiliates with the basic classical fitness model.

A CR was achieved rapidly during acquisition of my behaviour. Because the situation was so distressing, the CR was immediate, and I started out to experience anxiousness as quickly as the next time I drove on the road. My behaviour is an excellent example of generalization because I do not only become stressed while driving in the fast street on the same highway or in the same area where I strike the guardrail, but also while driving a vehicle in the fast street on all highways.

There is another possible reason for my behavior. By avoiding driving a vehicle in the fast street, I am lowering the probability of experiencing anxiety. My own behaviour is a great example of negative punishment, which involves eliminating something good or desirable away in order to reduce the probability of a specific behavior reoccurring. While driving a car in the fast lane can be beneficial and often desired, by not traveling in that street, I am reducing the CR of experiencing anxiousness when driving in that lane.

Be it salivating at the smell in our favourite food baking, avoiding a specific restaurant because of a bad experience, or putting on our seatbelt to avoid the automobile from making the obnoxious dinging sound, our everyday lives are filled up with behaviours that are a result of classical or operant fitness, whether we realize it or not. Some of these conditioning experience may maintain positivity ones, others may have more negative effects on our lives, and some may go unnoticed forever. While fitness is much less dominant today as it was throughout the center of the twentieth century, it still remains an influential force in psychology.


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Appendix 1

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