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Classical and operant conditioning - Assignment Example

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Ivan Pavlov, a renowned Russian psychologist credited for accidentally discovering classical conditioning was initially interested in studying hard-wired, innate reflexes such as salivating in dogs. An adherent of behaviorism, Pavlov operated under its profound assumptions…
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Classical and operant conditioning
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Download file to see previous pages According to radicalized behaviorism, past experiences defined by a person’s environment (environmental histories) and reinforcing consequences influence people’s behaviors. It was after conducting his “puzzle box” experiment that B. F. Skinner developed the operant conditioning theory, which presumed that antecedent consequences influence behavior. He defined “operant” as active behaviors that operate upon the environment to generate different consequences (Meyers, 2004).
Classical and operant conditioning share certain similarities. Firstly, both discuss the concept of extinction of behaviors, which occurs after extended absence in the occurrence of associations between behaviors and their responses. In classical conditioning, pairing of the neutral stimulus with the unconditioned stimulus to trigger an unconditioned response needs to occur on a regular basis in order to prevent extinction of the conditioned response. Conversely, lack of regular reinforcement in operant conditioning also weakens the association between behaviors and responses leading to extinction of desired behaviors. Forgetting plays an integral role in weakening of associations. Spontaneous recovery can occur in both classical and operant conditioning whereby, the organism re-learns extinct behaviors automatically. This occurs due to strengthened relationships between behaviors and responses. On the other hand, classical and operant conditioning contrasts in various ways. Classical conditioning focuses on involuntary behaviors, whereas operant conditioning focuses on voluntary behaviors. Pavlov’s interest lay in understanding involuntary reflexes in organisms. Therefore, he designed experiments that sought to uncover innate, hardwired responses and their environmental triggers. On the other hand, B. F Skinner’s focus was on understanding the influence of reinforcement on voluntary behaviors. He identified ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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