Pavlov's Classical Conditioning

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Classical conditioning is a learning process in which a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with an adjusted stimulus over and over again until the subject elicits a conditioned reaction. This technique is said to have inspired behaviorism and is regarded as one of the most important discoveries in psychology. It is also known as respondent conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning in tribute to the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov who was the first to discover classical conditioning around 1900. Pavlov was experimenting with dogs to learn more about their digestive process when he accidently discovered the phenomenon. He inserted devices in the dogs’ mouth to measure their saliva. During his experiments Pavlov started to notice that…show more content…
the tendency to give a conditioned response to stimuli similar to conditioned stimuli.There are a number of different elements associated with classical conditioning that are very important to highlight in order to understand the complexity of this technique. When little Albert learnt to cry at the sight of the rat or when the dog learnt to salivate at the sound of the tone, they had actually completed the first stage of learning also known as Acquisition. This refers to the initial stage of learning when the stimulus comes to evoke the conditioned…show more content…
Consistently presenting only the conditioned stimuli had let to the gradual weakening and disappearance of the conditioned response also known as Extinction. However, after the dog’s conditioned response of salivation to the tone had been fully extinguished, Pavlov presented the tone again after a two hour “rest interval” i.e. a period of non-exposure to the conditioned stimulus, and noted that the response of salivation, although weak, had reappeared. Pavlov (1927) referred to this sudden reappearance of saliva as Spontaneous Recovery. This occurs when an extinguished response reappears after a rest interval. Another fundamental principal of classical conditioning is the Stimulus Generalization which has already been discussed in little Albert experiment. Stimulus generalization explains why the fear of a certain object often has an emotional impact to many similar objects. However, a subject can be taught to discriminate between similar stimuli and only to react to a particular stimulus. This is called Stimulus Discrimination. The process of classical conditioning as it regulates in our daily lives is much more diverse and rich in real world
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