Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning Assignment

Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning Assignment Words: 1209

What do you think are the differences and similarities between Classical conditioning and Operant conditioning? Many people believe that Classical and Operant are similar. Several people don’t know what the similarities and differences of Classical and Operant are, several people think it is the same learning method, which in this case I’m going to compare and contrast each behavior and give you information about each one, so you could have a better understanding of each method and what they do. Classical and Operant are very similar to each other.

They are widely practiced; Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which an organism learns to transfer a natural response from one stimulus to another, previously neutral stimulus. Manipulating reflexes does this. Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the likelihood of a behavior is increased or decreased by the use of reinforcement or punishment. Operant conditioning deals with more cognitive thought process. Both have similarities and differences, as do all forms of learning methods. Their similarities are that they both produce basic phenomena.

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One such phenomenon is acquisition. Both types of conditioning result in the inheritance of a behavior. Hopefully, in this paper I will show you the basic structure of each method. What is conditioning? Conditioning is the acquisition of specific patterns of behavior in the presence of well-defined stimuli. Classical conditioning is defined as: a process by which a previously neutral stimulus acquires the capacity to elicit a response through association with a stimulus that already elicits a similar or related response.

Is one of the most famous of experiments that is discovered by a Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), classical conditioning is a form of learning in this experiment; Pavlov sat behind a one way mirror and controlled the presentation of a bell. The bell was the conditioned stimulus. A conditioned stimulus was an originally neutral stimulus that could eventually produce a desired response when presented alone. Directly after the ringing of the bell, Pavlov gave the dog food. The food was the unconditioned stimulus.

This means that the food caused an uncontrollable response whenever it was presented alone. That response would be the salivation of the dog. A tube that was in the dog’s mouth then measured the saliva. When the unconditioned stimulus was paired with a conditioned stimulus, it eventually resulted in a conditioned response. Extinction results if there is a decrease in frequency or strength of a learned response due to the failure to continue to pair the Unconditional Stimulus and the Conditional Stimulus. Pavlov revealed this trait when experimenting with dog’s amounts of saliva in response to meat.

He started noticing that after many repetitions, the dogs were salivating before the meat was even introduced. Pavlov concluded that some other stimulus that was repetitively associated with the meat was triggering the salivation. This simple concept describes how many actions are carried out in society today. Operant conditioning is defined as: “The type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment. ” Through operant conditioning subjects associate behaviors with their consequences.

Therefore, they become more likely to repeat rewarded reinforced behaviors and less likely to repeat punished behaviors. Operant conditioning involves acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination. It involves operant behavior because the act operates on the environment to produce rewarding or punishing stimuli. Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behaviors are neutral operants, reinforcers, and punishers. Each responses are different neutral operants is the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior being repeated.

Reinforcer is a responses from the environment that increase the probability of behavior being repeated, the reinforcer can be either positive or negative. Then we have punishers which is a responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated, the punishment weakens behavior. Extinction can also occur in operant conditioning. The key to operant conditioning is reinforcement. Reinforcement is when a stimulus is presented that increases the probability that the preceding response will recur in the future. If reinforcement is withheld, extinction will occur in operant conditioning.

Another factor that is involved in conditioning is spontaneous recovery. That is the reappearance of an extinguished response after the passage of time, without further training. If Pavlov’s dogs did not hear the bell for a few years, and if when they heard it later they drooled, it would be an example of spontaneous recovery. Something similar occurs with operant conditioning. If an animal was conditioned to behave in a certain manor, but then their reinforcement was stopped, that animal may still have a reaction to the stimulus at a much later date.

Organisms that are being conditioned through operant or classical conditioning can go through something that is known as stimulus generalization. This is when there is a transfer of a learned response to different but similar stimuli. An example would be if one of Pavlov’s dogs salivated to the sound of a bell that was different from the one that they were originally conditioned with. Stimulus discrimination is another phenomena that occurs with classical and operant conditioning. Discrimination is when an organism learns to respond to only one stimulus and inhibit the response to all other stimuli.

It is the reverse of generalization. If an organism hears many different sounds, but is only given reinforcement for responding to only one of the sounds, it learns to discriminate between the sounds. Some of the differences between operant and classical conditioning lie in the extent to which reinforcement depends on the behavior of the learner. In classical conditioning, the learner is automatically reinforced. That is how it learns to respond to a once neutral stimulus. In operant conditioning, the learner must provide a correct response in order to receive the reinforcement.

Another difference between the two forms of conditioning is the type of behavior to which each method applies. Classical conditioning applies to a behavior that is always wanted. It was Pavlov’s purpose to have the dogs salivate on command. In operant conditioning, a behavior can be learned or extinguished. If you wanted to train a dog not to do something, you would use a form of punishment. In conclusion, I hope that after reading this you will find yourself more knowledgeable in the area of classical and operant conditioning.

Now you have an idea and a better understanding of each method, we know that they are both similar, but they are different in a few ways. In today’s life we are pulled and pushed by many events in our environment. We sometimes just don’t act to a stimulus, we also conduct ourselves in ways that seem designed to create or get certain environmental changes or stimuli. My dog may begin to bark when it wants to go outside. If you want something while eating you may say pass me this or that please. Most of the days in our lives seem to demonstrate this type of behavior both are fairly reliable ways to teach an organism to act in a specific manor.

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Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning Assignment. (2018, Dec 24). Retrieved January 28, 2023, from