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A COMPARISON BETWEEN CLASSICAL AND OPERANT CONDITIONING This essay outlines the basic principles of classical and operant conditioning and considers the similarities and differences between these two models of learning CLASSICAL CONDITIONING Classical conditioning is so named after the experimental procedure devised by the physiologist Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936 when he changed his focus from the digestive system to conditioning after noticing a dog salivate when it saw the bucket in which its food was kept Pavlov devised an instrument to measure the salivation of the dog when giving it meat powder The meat powder was the unconditioned stimulus UCS and the response was salivation an unconditioned response UCR Unconditioned means that the response is automatic based on instinct He then rang a bell the neutral stimulus and directly afterwards gave some meat powder UCS to the dog The dog responded by salivating Pavlov repeated this several times a day for 1 week and discovered that if he rang the bell but did not give the dog meat powder it still salivated He now saw the bell as a conditioned stimulus CS and the salivation as a conditioned response CR as it had been learned If a neutral stimulus that does not produce a response is repeatedly paired with a UCS that does produce a response then the neutral stimulus will become a CS and also produce a response An everyday example of this would be a person leaving a building upon hearing the fire alarm The UCS is fear of a fire the CS is the alarms ring and the CR is leaving the building Principles to Classical Conditioning Stimulus Generalisation - this refers to using similar stimuli to the CS a bell with a slightly higher ringing tone to the original one for example that will probably evoke the salivary response The more different the stimuli the weaker the CR will be Stimulus Discrimination
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