Classical Conditioning Essay

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Classical conditioning is a type of learning that had a major influence on the school of thought in psychology known as behaviorism. Discovered by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. Behaviorism is based on the assumption that learning occurs through interactions with the environment. Two other assumptions of this theory are that the environment shapes behavior and that taking internal mental states such as thoughts, feelings, and emotions into consideration is useless in explaining behavior. It's important to note that classical conditioning involves placing a neutral signal before a naturally occurring reflex. In Pavlov's classic experiment with dogs, the neutral signal was the sound of a tone and the naturally occurring reflex was salivating in response to food. By associating the neutral stimulus with the environmental stimulus (the presentation of food), the sound of the tone alone could produce the salivation response. In order to understand how more about how classical conditioning works, it is important to be familiar with the basic principles of the process. The Classical Conditioning Process Classical conditioning basically involves forming an association between two stimuli resulting in a learned response. There are three basic phases of this process: Phase 1: Before Conditioning The first part of this process requires a naturally occurring stimulus (Motivation) that will automatically elicit (Bring Out/Draw) a response. Salivating in response to the smell of food is a good example of a naturally occurring stimulus. During this phase of the processes, the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) results in an unconditioned response (UCR). At this point there is also a neutral stimulus that produces no effect -

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