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Classical conditioning

Referat / Aufsatz (Schule) 2018 9 Seiten

Psychologie - Kognitive Psychologie

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Table of contents

Classical Conditioning

The phases of classical conditioning
Before Conditioning
During Conditioning
After conditioning

Principles of classical conditioning

Examples of classical conditioning
Fear Response
Taste Aversions
Other real-world examples of classical conditioning

Implications of classical conditioning

References

Abstract

The classical conditioning is also referred to as Pavlovian conditioning where an association is the means of learning. This theory is attributed to the Russian physiologists, Pavlov where he develops a connection between two stimuli. The theory is based on assumptions that through the familiarization with the environment, development of learning arises. Besides, the habits and internal mental is shaped in the environment. Organisms here move their responses from one stimulus to prior neutral stimulus. Classical conditioning is made up of four components that are “unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned responses, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response.” The effectiveness of this theory was the first experiment by Pavlov using a dog. However, the theory has gained sentiments and has been employed in different ‘biopsychosocial perspectives.’

Classical Conditioning

A significant influence brought to the Behaviorism which is a psychological school of thought is the classical conditioning theory which was initiated by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. This theory has a process of learning that occurs through interactions of a naturally occurring and an environmental stimulus. Even though classical conditioning is attributed to the work of a physiologist, its relevance has been in the field of psychology where it is used to predict behavior (Behaviorism). Behaviorism operates with the fundamental principles that learning is said to take place when there are associations with the environment and that the environment has an impact on the behaviors. What is essential with classical conditioning is that before a reflex occurs naturally, there is a need for the use of a signal which is neutral (Goldman, 2012). Pavlov carried his experiment using dogs were for this case, the reflex occurring the salivation of a dog naturally as it is responded to the presence of food while the neutral signal applied was the ringing of a bell. The association of food (the environment) with the tone (natural stimulus) causes salivation of the dog even in a case where there was no food, but the bell is ringing. However, to understand the work of Pavlov, someone needs to get familiarized with the fundamental principles of the classical conditioning process.

The phases of classical conditioning

The process of classical condition primarily deals with the interaction of two stimuli which causes a learning process. It is comprised of three phases; before conditioning, during conditioning, and after conditioning.

Before Conditioning

This is the first phase of classical conditioning that needs the presence of a stimulus that occurs naturally that will spontaneously provoke a response. An excellent example of such a stimulus is the presence of the food which in many animals especially dogs causes salivation which is a response. At this part, the unconditioned stimulus (food) causes an unconditioned response (salivation). The unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that operates under no condition but naturally to initiate a response. For instance, someone may feel hungry after smelling the food aroma; food aroma for this case is the unconditioned stimulus. On the other hand, feeling hungry is an unlearned response but which occurs naturally thus it is called unconditioned response. A neutral stimulus which is perceived as causing no response exists in this point, but it causes no effects unless it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus.

During Conditioning

This is the second part of the process of classical conditioning where the initial stimulus which elicited no response at first (neutral stimulus) is repeatedly associated with the unconditioned stimulus which as a result causes the relationship between the unconditioned response and the neutral stimulus. The neutral stimulus then changes at this point to be a conditioned stimulus. It is conditioned because after pairing it severally with the unconditioned stimulus it comes to stimulate a conditioned response (Cherry and Gans, 2005). In reference to the smelling of the food, in an event where someone smells food and at the same time he or she hears a bell ringing then this happens repeatedly, after some days, when he or she hears the ringing of a bell then getting hungry follows what is called conditioned response. At this point, the ringing of the bell will be a conditioned response

After conditioning

At this phase conditioned response tends to elicit a response (conditioned) even without the presence of the unconditioned stimulus which at the earlier stages played a role of causing a response. The unconditioned stimulus is detached from the conditioned stimulus after repeated pairing which has created a relationship between the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response. The conditioned response is a response learned caused by the former neutral stimulus. For instance, someone tends to get hungry by just hearing the bell ringing even without smelling the food.

Principles of classical conditioning

Classical conditioning is associated with a number of phenomena which the behavioral psychologists have studied and described. These principles are associated with the creation of a response while some are associated with the fading of a response. Studying these principles help in understanding the whole process of classical conditioning.

The first principle is the acquisition. This is the first stage in the learning process where the development of response is initiated and then reinforced gradually. The response is said to be acquired after the initially neutral stimulus develops a capacity to trigger conditioned responses. The second principle is extinction which is described as the disappearance of the conditioned response this happens if the conditioned stimulus happens repeated without the unconditioned stimulus. Thirdly is the spontaneous recovery principle which states that a response which was learned can appear after it has long extinct. Spontaneous recovery also occurs after the period of rest. For example, when we take the case of the dog trained to salivate when it hears the bell then after stopping the reinforcement exercise, the response disappears (Cherry and Gans, 2005). The rest period which represents the period without the use of conditioned then follows. During this period is the bell is ringed, and the dog salivates (a response learned) then it is termed spontaneous recovery. If there is no pairing of the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus after the spontaneous recovery, then extinction would follow. Another principle is the stimulus generalization where the conditioned response may cause other similar responses like the conditioned responses. In this principle, it is taken that people tend to associate things and make a generalization based on the similarities expressed. For instance, the dog may salivate when they hear other sounds similar to that of the bell if it has been conditioned to sounds. On the contrary is the principle of stimulus discrimination which is defined as the ability of a learner to distinguish other stimuli not associated with the unconditioned stimulus from the conditioned stimulus.

Examples of classical conditioning

Classical is both applicable to the real-life situations and to most of the experimental exercise. Some practical examples are the classical conditioning of taste aversions and response to fear.

Fear Response

Watson carried out an experiment using a boy to demonstrate a response to fear. This is a classical conditioning experiment which proved successful. The initial status of the boy was that he was not shy and didn’t fear a white but after the appearance of the rat was associated with loud and terrifying sounds, the boy started to cry when he sees the rat (Watson, 1920). The boy went further to generalize the stimulus by getting scared of white furry substances. Referring to the phases of the classical condition, the white rat before the conditioning process was a neutral stimulus (Floyd, 2018). The unconditioned stimulus was the terrifying sound which caused the unconditioned response of fear. Pairing the rat severally with the unconditioned stimulus made the rat to be a conditioned stimulus which caused the conditioned response of fear in the boy. Watson’s experiment can be a good illustration of the development of phobia through the process of classical conditioning.

Taste Aversions

The aversion of taste is another example of the classical conditioning where the tastes are conditioned. An experiment carried by two researchers (Garcia and Koelling, 1955) gave rise to this phenomena when they established that the rats which were exposed to radiations causing nausea tend to avert the flavored water after the radiation and water were presented repeatedly together. For this case, the unconditioned stimulus is the radiation while the unconditioned response is nausea. Associating radiation to water makes water to be a conditioned stimulus which causes nausea (a conditioned response) after several pairing. This research illustrated that aversions could be developed through conditioning and also can be developed where the conditioned stimulus is earlier presented before the unconditioned stimulus. Taste aversion is necessary for animals especially for their survival by avoiding toxic substances. For instance, when it eats something which causes illness, the animal in the future will avoid the same substance to avert sickness or death. These associations and conditioned responses enable an animal to be biologically prepared.

Other real-world examples of classical conditioning

Drug addiction can be understood through classical conditioning perspective. For example, using a drug severally can make the body to respond to it in the aim to equalize with the effects caused. As a result, the body of the user will have a need for more drugs for the body to tolerate the drug (Saji, 1970). The ability of the body to tolerate the drug also depends on other environmental factors. For instance, when alcohol is consumed daily, it tends to taste in a specific way, and the body will tend to respond to prevent the effects. However, if alcohol is presented in a relaxed setting, the user may overuse it. The different environmental setting would then be a conditional stimulus that makes the body to be ready for the drug which is a conditional response. The absence of the conditional stimuli, however, may hinder the body from adjusting to the effects of the drugs and thus causing effects.

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Details

Seiten
9
Jahr
2018
ISBN (eBook)
9783668934863
Sprache
Englisch
Katalognummer
v469976
Note
Schlagworte
classical

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Titel: Classical conditioning