Pavlov Classical Conditioning Experiment

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Pavlov’s most famous experiment is usually known simply as “Pavlov’s Dog” was an experiment to see whether a conditioned reflex could take place if a neutral stimulus, such as playing a tone, was associated with a natural, unconditioned reflex, such as eating. He hypothesized that after repeating the process a number of times, the dog will associate the tone with food and begin to salivate at the sound of the tone, even without the presence of food. The dog in question would be placed in a room free from sensory input, and was strapped in a harness to prevent movement. Saliva levels were measured by a tube fitted in its mouth, which was surgically implemented through a vivisection. The dog was presented with a meat powder, which as expected…show more content…
During the specific experiment that he discovered classical conditioning, he was researching salivary reflexes in dogs. As expected, when Pavlov presented the dogs with food, they began to salivate. However, he soon realised that the dogs would start to salivate without the presence of food, but in the presence of the lab assistant who fed them. Pavlov then decided to change the direction of his research into investigating more into classical conditioning. Another psychologist, named John B Watson, was inspired by Pavlov’s work and conducted an experiment on a young boy named Albert to see if classical conditioning could work on human subjects. Albert was noted to be a healthy baby who reacted negatively to almost nothing and rarely cried. Watson presented Albert with a white rat and followed with a loud banging noise. After repeating this several times, Albert was conditioned into being afraid of the rat on its own, and had a similar reaction to other furry, white animals, and even Santa Claus! Watson therefore concluded that despite the fact that human brains were far more complex than a dog’s, the same ideas could be…show more content…
His work is considered to be very valid, despite the fact that he was originally a physiologist whose main field of study was the gastric systems of animals. One of his core ideas was that some things are hard-wired into our brains, and after his findings from his experiments he decided to dedicate his work into further research. Pavlov was qualified and competent in his research, as before he studied classical conditioning he received a Nobel Peace Prize, as well as his research being endorsed by the Russian government. All his experiments were accurately recorded, which meant when other psychologists further expanded on his research, their new findings were consistent with Pavlov’s belief. However, many consider Pavlov’s method of research using dogs unethical, as the dogs were surgically implanted with recording devices to measure salivation. As well as this, he oversaw similar research conducted on human children. His writings suggest they were surgically implanted in a similar way to the dogs to provide accurate readings. Inspired by Pavlov’s theory, psychologist John B. Watson conditioned a toddler into having a fear of white rats. His research was also applied unethically to ‘aversion therapy’ for homosexual men during the fifties, where they would be subject to electric
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