Ivan P. Pavlov's Reflexes Of The Brain

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Behavioral modification can be defined as the utilization of positive reinforcement for the purpose of modifying or controlling the actions of subjects (Schultz, 2011) - especially breaking undesirable habits. Behavioral modifications is based in the school of behaviorism, specially the associationistic reinforcement tradition of learning theory. As the impact of operant conditioning systems of Skinner expanded, vast research developed in the area that has been termed behavioral modification (Chaplin, 1979). Moreover, the most important result of this focus is the modern application of behavioral and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Historical Survey The first use of the term behavior modification appears to have been by Edward Thorndike in
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Pavlov was greatly influenced by Sechenov’s Reflexes of the Brain. Specifically, Pavlov was impacted by Sechenov’s suggestion of the relationship between physical and psychical acts being explained through scientific methods. Pavlov was also committed to the scientific method being used to study the central nervous system. He studied digestion, and the reflexes associated with such, primarily in dogs. His work revealed that glandular secretions of saliva were secreted by food placed directly into the digestive system. He further demonstrated that the animal salivated simply when they saw food, not just when it in contact with the digestive system. Thus, Pavlov concluded that it is the perception of food that elicits the gland secretions, rather than the physical food itself. From these studies and experiments of canine subjects, he developed his classical conditioning model. In such, a conditioned reflex was established by repeatedly pairing an unconditioned stimulus (one that involuntarily elicits a response) with a neutral stimulus (one that does not elicit a response naturally). This pairing eventually resulted in the neutral stimulus becoming conditioned in the organism. The traditional experiment involved a dog salivating to food powder. The presence of the meat powder was paired with an auditory tone, for the dog was conditioned to salivate to the mere sound of the tone. Note that learned reflexes were documented before Pavlov’s work, however, Pavlov is unique …show more content…
Moreover, Skinner believed that what goes on inside the mind is important, yet it is more efficient to study observable behavior. He also thought classical conditioning was much too simple to explain complex human behavior by itself - something else must be occurring as well. As a result, Skinner tried to understand human behavior in the best way he knew - by looking at the causes and effects of any action. He referred to this approach as operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938). Operant conditioning involves intentional actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment, termed operants (Schultz, 2011). Furthermore, Skinner set out to identify the processes which made certain operant behaviors more or less likely to occur. He is regarded as the father of operant conditioning, but his work was based on Thorndike’s Law of Effect. Specifically, Skinner introduced the term “reinforcement” to Thorndike’s law. In other words, behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated; it is strengthened. On the contrary, behavior which is not reinforced is weakened; it tends to die out or be extinguished. Similar to Thorndike’s puzzle box, Skinner studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments in which he placed animals in a Skinner

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