Classical vs. Operant Conditioning

Classical vs. Operant Conditioning

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Study done at home showing the effects of operant and classical conditioning.

Operant Conditioning
     For my first experiment I tried to induce a startled response in my roommate by using Classical Conditioning. Since we have a lot of traffic in and out of our apartment I decided that every time someone opened or closed the front door I would clap loudly in his ear and he would startle. After a couple of times I discontinued this behavior to see if he would still startle when someone opened the door. The unconditioned stimulus is the loud clapping noise. The unconditioned response is the startled response. The door opening or closing starts out as the neutral stimulus, but becomes the conditioned stimulus capable of producing the conditioned “startled” response. The experiment was partly successful. Instead of being startled my roommate seemed more upset by me clapping in his ear. When I stopped the behavior and the door opened he would just look at me to see if I was going to perform the clapping action. I could say the actual response he gave of being angry would be the conditioned and unconditioned response rather than being startled.
     For the next part of the experiment I conditioned behavior using operant conditioning. The behavior I conditioned was for one of my roommates to clean the apartment. I offered to go to the store and buy some groceries if one of my roommates would clean the house. When I got back from the store the house was clean.

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At my apartment now if me or one of my roommates goes to the store to buy groceries another roommate will usually clean the apartment. I was successful in doing this experiment as I was able to use positive reinforcement to condition the behavior of cleaning the house. My roommates have formed a link between getting more groceries and cleaning.
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