Classical Conditioning Theory

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Classical Conditioning:
Classical conditioning involves learning new behavior through association (McLeod, 2008). Classical conditioning is a process where an unconditioned stimulus is paired with a stimulus that automatically creates a response also known as a conditioned stimulus (Shrimp, 1991). The conditioned stimulus elicits the unconditioned stimulus after the pairing is made (Shrimp, 1991). The entire process consists of three steps (McLeod, 2008). Classical conditioning is based on empirical evidence shown through controlled experiments (McLeod, 2008). Classical conditioning is demonstrated without the person or animal’s knowledge. It is something that occurs over a period of time (McLeod, 2008). Major researchers that have contributed to classical conditioning are: John Watson, Ivan
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A key experiment done on classical conditioning is that of Ivan Pavlov. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physician/researcher. Pavlov conducted an experiment that originally studied dogs and salivation. In Pavlov’s famous study, the dogs learned to associate a bell to food. Because the dogs didn’t do this originally, this was considered a new learned behavior (McLeod, 2007). There have been several other experiments on classical conditioning. Another experiment done by John B. Watson called “The Little Albert” experiment looked at 9-month-old Albert’s response to different stimuli (McLeod, 2008). The unconditioned stimulus was a loud noise, the unconditioned response was fear, the conditioned stimulus was a rat and finally, the conditioned response was fear. Researchers presented the stimuli repeatedly over time, which eventually led Albert to develop a phobia of white rats. Little Albert was conditioned by the series of stimuli to be afraid when he saw

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