Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning And Observational Learning

884 Words Oct 15th, 2016 4 Pages
Learning is defined by psychology as the process of acquiring, through experience, new and relatively enduring information or behaviors. But how do we learn? Behaviorism, founded by psychologist John B Watson, has broken learning down into three main theories; classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. These theories break the learning process down into a series of associations, reinforcements, punishments, and observations. Classical conditioning was discovered not by a psychologist, but by a Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. While studying dogs digestive systems, Pavlov made an observation that would lay the foundation for classical conditioning. Every day the dogs were fed by his lab assistants who wore white coats. Pavlov noticed that within a short time, as soon as the dogs saw the white lab coats, they began salivating in the expectation of food. Intrigued by this, Pavlov conditioned the dogs to salivate in response to the sound of a bell. Pavlov’s dogs showed how an association can be formed between a neutral stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. Psychologist John B Watson performed one of the most well-known experiments in the study of classical conditioning, the “Little Albert” experiment. Watson and his assistant conditioned an eleven month old baby to fear white rats. The child was exposed to a white rat, a neutral stimulus that he had no fear of. Next, every time “Albert” was saw the white rat, a loud noise was made…

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