The Field Of Behaviorism: Ivan Pavlov And B. F. Skinner

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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 …show more content…
It is also widely applicable to the real world. For example, a child can be taught to stop sucking their thumb by applying a bitter tasting substance to the thumb. When the child tastes something unpleasant, they refrain from putting their thumb in their mouth and eventually will break their habit. The limitations of Pavlov’s Classical conditioning is that his work involved responses that are already naturally occurring reflexes. Salivation is a natural response to food. This makes his work applicable only to situations where a reflexive response occurs. In the case of the thumb-sucking child, it is a reflex to spit out something that tastes

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