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Classical operant and observational are all types of conditioning and learning Conditioning in psychology is causing an organism to exhibit a specific response to a stimulus A stimulus is anything that Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which a reflexive orautomatic response transfers from one stimulus to another For instancea person who has had painful experiences at the dentists office maybecome fearful at just the sight of the dentists office building Fear anatural response to a painful stimulus has transferred to a differentstimulus the sight of a building Most psychologists believe that classicalconditioning occurs when a person forms a mental association between twostimuli so that encountering one stimulus makes the person think of the otherPeople tend to form these mental associations between events or stimuli thatoccur closely together in space or time Classical conditioning was discovered by accident by Russianphysiologist Ivan Pavlov Pavlov was studying how saliva aids the digestiveprocess He would give a dog some food and measure the amount of salivathe dog produced while it ate the meal After the dog had gone through thisprocedure a few times however it would begin to salivate before receivingany food Pavlov believed that someme new stimulus had becomeassociated with the food and produced the response of salivation in the dog After an animal has learned a conditioned response to one stimulus it mayalso respond to similar stimuli without training If a child is bitten by a largeblack dog the child may fear not only that dog but other large dogs This iscalled generalization Less similar stimuli will usually produce lessAfter studying classical conditioning in dogs and other animals psychologists became interested in how this type of learning might apply to human behavior American psychologist John B Watson conditioned a baby named Albert to fear a small white rat by pairing the sight of the rat with a loud noise Although their experiment was ethically questionable it showed for the first time that humans
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