Learning: Classical and Operant Conditioning

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We learned many interesting and insightful topics over the course of the semester in Psychology 1001. I believe the topic that has made the biggest impact on my life, and will impact my future, is classical and operant conditioning. I had never heard of either of these topics before taking Psych 1001, but as the semester winds to a close I am beginning to realize how much I notice examples of classical and operant conditioning in my everyday life.

Five years from now I think classical and operant conditioning will still be resonating in my every day experiences. It has made such an impact on the way I "learn" today that I believe it will have a strong impact on my learning in the future. Now that I have learned the basics of classical and operant conditioning, I have begun to notice them everywhere. The other day I was putting on lotion at my house and it was the same lotion that we had in our resort in Arizona last year on a family vacation. Immediately as I smelled the scent of the lotion I started to think about and reminisce on the trip to Arizona. It felt as if I was lying right next to the pool surrounded by rocks and cacti. It was so cool to experience this, because I knew it was an example of classical conditioning.

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Five years from now I think I will also remember operant conditioning simply because it was amazing that the discoveries made by Skinner were made right here at the University of Minnesota, which is really cool! During lectures, when Dr. Peterson explained how Skinner taught pigeons to play ping pong I was absolutely stunned to see that this could actually happen. This was done by shaping and chaining, which was arguable one of the largest discoveries in Psychology...and it was discovered during his time here, at the U! Another thing that stood out to me, and something I will definitely remember, was that Skinner taught pigeons to guide missiles from airplanes to enemy targets (Lilienfeld 219). The concept of shaping is truly fascinating to me, and these examples from Skinner's repertoire will stay with me for a long time.


Overall, this course has taught me many intriguing things and I have learned so much about Psychology that I never knew before. It truly was a very interesting class. Five years from now, I believe I will distincly recall classical and operant conditioning. They struck me as very interesting topics that I had never known before taking this course. However, they are two things I will be able to take away from this course and remember clearly for years to come!

Check out this example of Classical Conditioning from The Office!

Sources: "Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding" Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, Nancy Woolf

1 Comment

I definitely agree with you about classical responses and conditioning! I to have had the same reminiscing with other things like lotion that bring me back to a place. For some reason, hot sauce always makes me salivate like the dog with meat powder! I love me some hot wings. The fact that this can be taught to go away too just astounds me.

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This page contains a single entry by mahad015 published on April 25, 2012 8:44 PM.

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