Classical Conditioning 1
Classical conditioning was the first type of learning to be discovered and studied
within the behaviorist tradition (hence the name classical).The major theorist in
the development of classical conditioning is Ivan Pavlov, a Russian scientist trained in
biology and medicine (as was his contemporary, Sigmund Freud). Pavlov was studyingthe digestive system of dogs and became intrigued with his observation that dogs
deprived of food began to salivate when one of his assistants walked into the room. He
began to investigate thisphenomena and established the laws of classical conditioning.
Skinner renamed this type of learning "respondent conditioning" since in this type of
learning, one is responding to an environmentalantecedent.
Classical conditioning is Stimulus (S) elicits >Response (R) conditioning since
the antecedent stimulus (singular) causes (elicits) the reflexive or involuntary responseto occur. Classical conditioning starts with a reflex: an innate, involuntary behavior
elicited or caused by an antecedent environmental event. For example, if air is blown
into your eye, youblink. You have no voluntary or conscious control over whether the
blink occurs or not.
The specific model for classical conditioning is:
1.Unconditioned Stimulus (US) elicits > Unconditioned Response(UR): a stimulus
will naturally (without learning) elicit or bring about a relexive response
2.Neutral Stimulus (NS) ---> does not elicit the response of interest: this stimulus
(sometimes called an orienting stimulus as it elicits an orienting response) is a
neutral stimulus since it does not elicit the Unconditioned (or reflexive)
3.TheNeutral/Orientiing Stimulus (NS) is repeatedly paired with the
Unconditioned/Natural Stimulus (US).
4.The NS is transformed into a Conditioned Stimulus (CS); that is, when the CS is
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