Ivan Pavlov's Theory Of Classical Conditioning

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Classical conditioning is the first type of learning to be discovered and studied by behaviorists. In classical conditioning, no new behaviors are learned, but rather associated or paired with something else. In the early 1900’s a Russian physician and physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, was studying digestion in dogs, when he observed something remarkable about their behavior. Pavlov built a mechanism to measure the salivation of dogs when they were fed a meat powder. He monitored their natural reaction to the powder by attaching tubes to their salivary glands. Pavlov soon noticed that his dogs began salivating when they observed a sight, sound, or smell that they had come to associate with being fed. After observing the dogs’ association,…show more content…
The bell in the experiment, Pavlov called the neutral stimulus (NS). The bell had absolutely no effect on the dogs until they had been conditioned to respond in association to its sound. Once the dogs were conditioned to the sound of the bell, the bell became known as the conditioned stimulus (CS). After being conditioned to its sound, the saliva that the dogs produced in response, he called this the conditioned response (CR). With this experiment, Ivan Pavlov was able to describe a non-conscious, instinctual type of learning. In 1920, John B. Watson, the father of Behaviorism, was also able to demonstrate this type of conditioning with is experiment deemed “Little Albert”. In this experiment with a small child named Albert, he introduced the child to a small white lab rat, in which the child was initially unafraid of. While conducting this experiment, every time the child was presented the white rat, a loud noise was paired, in which the child was naturally afraid of. Overtime, the child began to cry at the sight of the rat, even without the noise. The child became so afraid that…show more content…
Unlike Pavlov’s dogs that stopped salivating when the bell stopped, the child would continue to be afraid of these things because we are hard wired to avoid things that we fear or that may bring us harm. Without being unconditioned to the response, the child would likely go through life being afraid of the conditioned stimulus. Cases of classical conditioning can be observed in our everyday lives. About two years ago I adopted a kitten from a local family. The kitten was an outside cat in which the family fed dry cat food. When I brought the kitten home, I began feeding her twice a day, a wet cat food. I opened the cans with an electric can opener when I fed her, the sound would always frighten her away. She would run and hide, and I would have to try and coax her out from under my bed, or where ever else she decided to take refuge. The electric can opener was the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), and her fear of the can opener was her natural, unconditioned response (UCR). After a few days, whenever I opened her cat food she would wait until the can opener stopped and sly into the kitchen after a minute or two once she was certain there was no threat to
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