Classical Conditioning

1 January 2017

As far as a conditioned response goes, emotions greatly come into play. Emotions are triggered by something, or maybe someone. One famous study that proves classical conditioning can trigger a phobia, -check your punctuation -is the case of “Little Albert”. John Watson and Rosalie Rayner performed a study with a nine month old baby. They would show him a rat, and then make a loud scary noise using a steel bar. Over the course of a few months, little Albert developed a fear of the rat because of the frightening noise associated with it.

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However, classical conditioning is not that simple, fears don’t just simply develop one time something bad happens. “Classical conditioning does not occur every time a bell rings, a baby startles, or a wolf eats some tainted lamb chops. Several factors influence the extent to which classical conditioning will occur. ” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011). Learning can play a big part in classical conditioning. If a bad experience happens repeatedly with a certain object, or place, this can become a fear.

Many people I have known who are afraid of dogs were bitten as a child, or have had many experiences where a dog has acted aggressively towards them. There are many arguments about what people learn through classical conditioning, however prepared learning is something people have learned over time. For example, people are more afraid of spiders, snakes, and more dangerous things because they know it is more likely to hurt them. Operant conditioning differs from classical conditioning because it involves behavior. “B. F.

Skinner, who spent years experimenting with the ways in which behavior is controlled by the environment, called it operant conditioning. ” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011) Basically behavior is controlled by outcomes of certain situations. Reinforcement is also involved in operant conditioning. There can be positive reinforcement and also negative reinforcement. As far as addictions are concerned both positive and negative reinforcement is involved. Positive reinforcement by doing drugs is the high someone gets. Maybe the drug makes them feel calmer or happier, and this is the positive aspect.

It isn’t long until negative reinforcement comes into play concerning drugs. This can be the bodily harm it does to people, getting arrested, or hurting friends and family members. With operant conditioning, someone who is thinking of doing drugs, especially a younger person maybe sees it in their environment, and that it is a cool thing to do. They may see someone else do drugs, and then become popular so they want to do it also. It is not just the high they are seeking but the general social outcome of the situation. For example, steroids is a widely used drug.

It is a good example of an outcome that causes people to use it. People have seen others use steroids and become muscular or obtain the perfect body overnight. They are just thinking of the positive reinforcement steroids provides for them. The positive reinforcement outweighs the negative, and sometimes it is too late. They do not think about the people that have died from using steroids, or have suffered the nasty side effects. Also, some people try a drug just to try it for that first time, but they do not realize how addictive it can truly become.

The difference between classical conditioning and operant conditioning, is that classical conditioning involves emotions, and operant conditioning involves behavior. Classical conditioning involves a stimuli triggering an action in another stimuli, like Pavlov’s dogs salivating with association to being fed. Operant conditioning requires that the person or subject do something to receive positive or negative reinforcement. Extinction is basically to unlearn a certain reaction. “Extinction occurs when a CR is weakened by presentation of the CS without the UCS. (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011). As far as classical conditioning is concerned, extinction happens when a conditioned stimuli is no longer present. For example, if a dog is used to being rewarded with a treat by performing a trick, and it no longer receives a treat after doing the trick several times it might stop doing the trick, the reaction becomes extinct. ”Extinction in classical conditioning refers to the process by which a CR is weakened by presentation of the CS without the UCS; that is, the response is extinguished. (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011) Extinction in classical conditioning can also be the curing of a phobia. If a person was bitten by a dog as a child, they may have a fear of dogs as an adult. If they face their fears by petting a dog, walking a dog, or simply interacting with dogs and having repeatedly good experiences with dogs, the fear becomes extinct. As far as operant conditioning goes, extinction happens when a behavior no longer produces its usual consequences. This greatly applies to disciplining a child.

For example, if a child is normally put on time out every time they have a temper tantrum, they will learn not to have a temper tantrum. Extinction occurs when the parent stops disciplining the child, or putting them on timeout. The child will no longer expect a timeout or a negative reinforcement for having a temper tantrum, which is why it’s so important for parents to stay consistent with discipline. The same thing can happen in a positive way. A child may constantly get rewarded for good grades. After a few times of not getting rewarded, the child may care less about getting good grades and not try as hard.

This is when extinction occurs. “Extinction in operant conditioning occurs if enough trials pass in which the operant is not followed by the consequence previously associated with it. ” (Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen,  2011) Extinction can also happen through overcoming addictions. Many people have gambling addictions. As far as operant conditioning is concerned, the person gambles and gets good results or “lucky streaks” by winning a lot of money. They become addicted to this outcome, and soon gamble all their money away.

The good consequence of winning money is no longer provided for them, and maybe they have to hit rock bottom and lose everything until they have overcome their addiction, or until it becomes extinct. Check your spacing! In conclusion classical conditioning and operant conditioning can be a part of our daily lives. We learn that over time if we do certain actions, positive or negative outcomes are a result. There is still a lot to learn about these types of conditioning, but it certainly helps us understand the human mind a little bit better. Works Cited: Always use a separate reference page!

Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen. (2011). Psychology, Sixth Edition. Retrieved from Robin Kowalski, Drew Westen, University of Phoenix website. All key elements of the assignment are covered in a substantive way. ?       The paper is  1,050- to 1,400-word paper in which you discuss phobias and addictions as related to classical and operant conditioning. Phobias and addictions are two emotional difficulties which learning theorists can account for. | Content| Points Earned6/6 The paper is  1,050- to 1,400-word paper in which you discuss phobias and addictions as related to classical and operant conditioning.

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