Operant Conditioning Theory Paper

The field of behaviorism has been influenced by the work of many psychologists. The two most popular figures in this field are probably Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner. Their theories, Classical and Operant conditioning are still used as part of therapies that have developed since their work has been published. Classical conditioning was developed by Ivan Pavlov in the 1950s. Classical conditioning is a type of behavior modification in which a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus are paired in close succession so that they illicit an unconditioned response from the subject. Eventually, the unconditioned stimulus is phased out and the subject continues to respond the same way to the conditioned stimulus. The end result is a conditioned response to the conditioned stimulus (Sparzo 2014). The most famous example of his work is his experiment with dogs that were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell. The bell would ring and immediately after the dog was given food. The conditioned response is salivation at the sound of the bell, even without food being presented (Corey 2013). From this discovery, Pavlov realized that the responses could be generalized, the subject could learn …show more content…
One common therapy that uses the principles of these theories is aversion therapy. If a patient has a negative response to their behavior, they are less likely to continue the behavior, and eventually the behavior will become extinct. Using positive feedback can modify the behavior of a patient or client as well. There are several other therapy techniques that have built upon these theories, such as systematic desensitization, exposure therapies, and EMDR (Corey 2013). All of these techniques involve changing the behavior responses of the subjects and may not have been developed were it not for the work done by Pavlov and

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