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Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning Theory Name Professor Course Date Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning Theory Abstract Ivan Pavlov made attempts to explain behavior and he used the dogs in his experiment. He was able to prove that animals experience classical conditioning. Association has a lot of influence on decision making. The theory breaks complex behaviors into small units which are stimulus and response units. It is possible to scientifically test the small units. The theory explains behaviorism. Introduction Ivan Pavlov was born in 1849 and died in 1936, in Russia. As a scientist, he made effort to understand the digestion process in mammals. His experiment relied on dogs and focused on what activates salivation in dogs. He thought that the presence of food made dogs start drooling but he found that there was more to learn than he expected. The theory can be used to explain anxiety dental patients experience. For example, a patient can experience anxiety when they sit on the dentists chair to get their tooth drilled. The anxiety can result from the environment instead of the pain and noise the patient expects from the drilling. Even a patient receiving fluoride treatment while sitting on a dentists chair will experience anxiety like the one going through tooth drilling. Conditioning is a condition where items such as dentist chair, an environment where dentist center is located, and the dentist office activate anxiety because of the pain even when there is tooth drilling involved. Ivan Pavlov theory explains how people experience anxiety because of association. Classical conditioning has become one of the theories used in psychology. It is has had a significant influence on the development of behaviorism field in psychology. Behaviorism is based on assumption that environment influences behavior and learning happens when one interacts with the environment (Pavlov, 2010). The main point about classical conditioning is involved in introducing a neutral signal prior to a reflex that occurs naturally. In Pavlovs experiment, the neutral signal was the bell sound. Dogs salivation in response to food is the natural reflex. The sound made by the bell indicating it is time for the dogs to eat (environmental stimulus) made dogs salivate. Classical conditioning functions when there are two stimuli which evoke a response after learning. Classical conditioning process involves three stages. First stage Before Conditioning This is the first phase of classical conditioning. It requires a stimulus that occurs naturally which has the potential to activate a response. An example is when a person salivates because there is a smell of food around them. Classical conditioning is a process. Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) elicits an unconditioned response (UCR) (Gershman, and Niv, 2012). In the example about food smell eliciting salivation, the food is the unconditioned stimulus while the salivation response is the unconditioned response. Neutral stimulus only triggers a response after pairing with an unconditional stimulus. The unconditional stimulus naturally, unconditionally and automatically evokes a response (Gershman, and Niv, 2012). There are high chances that when a person smells their favorite food they will feel hungry. The smell of ones favorite meal makes the unconditioned stimulus. Unconditioned response represents an unlearned response which results from an unconditioned stimulus. The unconditioned response represents the unlearned response which naturally acts to help the body respond to unconditioned stimulus. In the example above about food and hunger, feeling hungry because of smelling food represents the unconditional response. Second Stage During Conditioning The neutral stimulus forms an association with an unconditioned stimulus. The association results from the pairing of the unconditioned stimulus and the neutral stimulus (Moore, 2012). After the association, the neutral stimulus changes and becomes a conditioned stimulus. The association conditions the neutral stimulus and it is able to respond to stimulus. After the previously neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus through association with an unconditioned stimulus, it develops the ability to trigger responses (conditioned response) (McLeod, 2014). Using the example about food and smell, if the smell is consistently accompanied by sound from a whistle, when you hear the sound and there is no smell, there are high chances that you will remember the smell. While the sound made by the whistle has no relation with the smell of the meal, it has the potential to trigger a conditioned response. Therefore, the whistle sound is a conditioned stimulus. Third stage After Conditioning After the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus form an association, the conditioned stimulus does not require the unconditioned stimulus to evoke any response (Moore, 2012). It can trigger response on its own. The response evokes is called a conditioned response. The conditioned response is a learned response to the stimulus that was neutral before the association with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, when you are away from a dentist hospital and you hear a noise that you heard while sitting on dentists chair during a tooth drilling, you will experience anxiety or fear because of the pain you felt during tooth care session. Elements of conditioning theory A. Spontaneous recovery Learned responses reemerge after staying for a long time without appearing (Moore, 2012). The process is known as spontaneous recovery. Conditioned responses reemerge after lessened response or extinction for a season. The spontaneous recovery depends on the strength of association between unconditioned stimulus and conditioned stimulus. If the association is weak, the response will become extinct within a short time and it will last longer if the association is stronger. b. Stimulus Discrimination The ability to differentiate between stimuli that have no association with any unconditioned stimulus and conditioned stimuli is known as discrimination (McLeod, 2014). C. Extinction There comes a time when the conditioned responses disappear or decrease and this is known as extinction (Moore, 2012). Extinction occurs when the association between the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus ends. d. Acquisition The first stage where learning happens and the first response is established is known as an acquisition (Rehman, Rehman, 2017). After the response is established it becomes stronger gradually. The acquisition period involves the continuous pairing of an unconditional stimulus with a neutral stimulus. The unconditioned response has the ability to naturally evoke a response even when there is no learning involved. When an association takes place, the animal involved will show a particular behavior as it responds to the conditioned stimulus which was previously neutral stimulus (Rehman, Rehman, 2017). When the above happens the subject can be said to have acquired a response. The response is strengthened or reinforced after it is established. The reinforcement makes sure the subject learns the behavior well. e. Stimulus Generalization Conditioned stimulus triggers similar responses once the response becomes conditioned and this tendency is known as stimulus generalization. In conclusion, classical conditioning theory has made a significant contribution to psychology. It helps in explanation of behaviors that result from the association. These behaviors result from the environment and exposure. According to John Watson who further developed the classical conditioning theory, every response that humans show such as emotional and speech responses are as a result of stimulus as opposed to consciousness. Classical conditioning theory states that all behaviors are learned through association of stimuli. The unconditioned response comes from an unconditioned stimulus. Then there is a neutral stimulus which has no influence unless it forms an association with an unconditioned stimulus. A response is evoked when the unconditioned stimulus forms an association with a conditioned stimulus. References Pavlov, P. I. (2010). Conditioned reflexes an investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex.Annals of neurosciences,17(3), 136. Retrieved from HYPERLINK https// Gershman, S. J., Niv, Y. (2012). Exploring a latent cause theory of classical conditioning.Learning behavior,40(3), 255-268.retrieved from HYPERLINK https// Rehman, I., Rehman, C. I. (2017). Classical Conditioning. Retrieved from HYPERLINK https// McLeod, S. (2014).Classical Conditioning retrieved from HYPERLINK https// Moore, J. W. (Ed.). (2012).A neuroscientists guide to classical conditioning. Springer Science Business Media. CLASSICAL CONDITIONING THEORY Running head CLASSICAL CONDITIONING THEORY Y, dXiJ(x(I_TS1EZBmU/xYy5g/GMGeD3Vqq8K)fw9
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