Classical Conditioning Theory

750 Words3 Pages
Classical conditioning was discovered in the 20th century as the first type of learning. Although there were previous speculations, Ivan Pavlov more often identified with the theory. Ivan Pavlov, a well trained Russian physiologist, was studying digestive physiology in dogs when stumbling upon what he would define as classical conditioning (C). While nothing is actually learned during classical conditioning, it is recognized as a type of learning where an organism associates separate stimuli, allowing them to form a response (A). John Watson followed up Pavlov with an experiment known as “Little Albert” that would test whether or not classical conditioning could be applied to humans (C). The combination of the two experiments left behind a set of principles and methods that allow us to apply classical conditioning to studies today.

In Pavlov’s study of digestion in dogs, he began to recognize that the lab dogs would salivate before being given their food. He was curious about his observation and began to pursue further investigation. Paying closer attention, Pavlov noticed that the dogs would begin salivating when the research assistants entered the lab to feed the dogs (A). He noticed the dogs associating one stimulus with another and named this as classical conditioning. Years later Watson became curious whether or not the concept would be applicable to humans. For this, he began his study known as “Little Albert.” In Watson’s experiment, a young baby named Little Albert was presented with a with white rat. At the beginning of the experiment, Little Albert did not show fear towards the rat. The rat was then presented to Little Albert with a loud banging noise by hitting two bars together behind his head. When Little Albert l...

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...imultaneously shoot three shots every time, the dog will learn to be scared of the owner removing the gun from the gun case. The US in this scenario is the shooting of the gun. This US causes the dog to run and hide, which is the UR, a very natural response. Removing the gun from the case and the sight of the gun is a NS. When the NS and US are paired they cause a CS. Removing the gun from the case, and quickly following with a shot, became the CS. The CS caused a CR, which is the fear of removing the gun from the case.

Ivan Pavlov and John Watson are two very influential figures that are affiliated with classical conditioning. As shown in the provided experiences, information is not acquired, therefore there isn’t anything being incorporated into memory. Instead, classical conditioning is a type of learning that results from the pairing of more than one stimuli.
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