Compare and Contrast Classical Conditioning with Operant Conditioning

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Topic: Compare and contrast classical conditioning with operant conditioning. We are constantly learning whether we realize it or not. From the moment we are born our lives begin to be shaped into what is socially acceptable and morally right in our cultures. We learn and retain what we have been taught. There are two major ways that our behaviors can be learned, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning, both a form of behavioral learning. Classical conditioning is when we find a stimulus that will evoke a particular response from the subject being studied (i. . humans or animals). In a scientific setting we can control the response that we want to evoke. For example Pavlov’s study with the dogs salivary glands, he controlled the setting in which the animals we deprived of food, and then when given food or they saw the scientist bringing in the food he got the dogs salivary response, even when the machine stopped working. Classical conditioning enables the subject being studied to learn about specific stimuli. The stimuli can evoke signals of danger, food, sex, dominance, submission, fears, and cues relating to territory.

Another example might be if you get food poisoning from a specific restaurant, you will likely not eat there again because you associate the restaurant with the sickness you acquired from eating there. Pavlov’s and his associates explored five major conditioning processes: extinction, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination. A dog’s salivation can come neutrally or it can be trained. A bell or a certain tone followed by an event can train a certain response from a dog or human, for example if you ring a bell then feed your dog the dog will associate the bell with the food.

If a special someone always wears a certain smell when they are around you, and you happen to smell that scent you will become excited. This type of learning is called acquisition. Acquisition is the initial learning. But as quick as you learn a trigger signal you can also not associate it with an event. If you normally ring a bell before feeding the dog and you just ring the bell without the food, the dog won’t associate the bell with food anymore. This is called extinction.

Extinction is the diminished responding that occurs when the CS (tone) no longer signals an impending US (food). Wait a few hours and ring the bell with the follow up with food and the salivation to the tone would reappear spontaneously. A dog or human will also generalize that certain tone and touch with other tones or touches that are similar. For example you rub a dog on his belly and he starts to salivate, then you scratch his back leg and he salivates a little also that is generalization.

Dogs and humans can also discriminate against other tones or things. A dog can be trained to respond to only one tone and not others. A human might be afraid of a rat but falls in love with a hamster. Classic conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov. It is a form of conditioning where a conditioned stimulus is paired with and comes after the unconditioned stimulus until the conditioned stimulus can create the same response on its own that the unconditioned stimulus makes.

A popular example of this is when a dog is trained to expect food when it hears a bell ring. The trick of classic conditioning is to have the dog think it will receive food every time is hears the bell and then always expect it. Eventually, the dog will hear the bell ring and salivate immediately even if there is no food because it correlates the sound of the bell to the bowl of food. Operant conditioning is a process of behavior adjustment where the subject is encouraged to behave a certain way through positive or negative reinforcement.

This causes the subject to associate the satisfaction or discontentment of the reinforcement with the behavior. The responses of the operant conditioning are usually voluntary and are controlled by their consequences whereas responses of classical conditioning are usually reflexive and are put under the control of stimulus events that go before the response. Operational conditioning is different from classical conditioning such that actions are followed by consequences.

For instance I have used operational conditioning with my son by informing him that if he cleans his room he can go outside and play. If he does no clean his room he cannot go outside. Of course he wants to play outside, so he makes sure that his room is clean. The removal of an undesirable outcome or the use of punishment can be used to decrease or prevent undesirable behaviors. For example, a child may be told they will lose recess privileges if they talk out of turn in class. This potential for punishment may lead to a decrease in disruptive behaviors. about. com psychology) The mind and senses work together in wondrous ways; associating a sound with a taste or an action with a specific end event. A cause and effect type of event occurs. Classical conditioning and operational conditioning are both ways of learning what to expect and ways to find the best outcome. Dogs figured out that if they roll over on their back and stare at you then you will most likely scratch their belly. Works cited http://psychology. about. com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/introopcond. htm. Cherry, Kendra. 11/18/2011.

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