Little Albert and Classical Conditioning.

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Of all the things I've learned this semester, I do believe that one of the things that I will remember in 5 years is Little Albert and classical conditioning.

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Classical conditioning is a form of learning discovered by Ivan Pavlov. It contains a conditioned stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, conditioned response and unconditioned response. Basically in Pavlov's study, he learned that salivating is a unconditioned response, but that salivating to food was a conditioned response. The dogs that he did the study on began salivating when he produced a metronome, which had become a conditioned stimulus, because food was given right after it. Prior to the food being given, it was merely an unconditioned stimulus.

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The Little Albert experiment was an experiment performed by John B. Watson. Watson used classical conditioning to make Little Albert fear bunnies. Little Albert soon began to fear anything that resembled bunnies, even Santa Clause.

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I know for a fact that I'm going to remember Little Albert and classical conditioning 5 years, even if I refer to Little Albert as Little Alfred, or Little Alvin. When the class first learned about Little Albert, I was seriously horrified that someone would do this to a poor, helpless child. I often wonder whatever happened to him (apparently no one knows) and if he ever got over his fear of bunnies and things that resembled them.
The entire concept of classical conditioning was really a hard one to grasp and I still sometimes feel as though I don't understand it. However, it really stuck out to me because it's really interesting, just like all of psychology.

3 Comments

This topic is something that I will also remember in years to come. Now psychologists wouldn't be able to conduct an experiment like Watson did, but as unfortunate as it was for Little Albert it showed how powerful classical conditioning is. I'm sure Albert didn't live a happy life, and probably hated Christmas, but he should be considered a hero.

Classical conditioning is a very interesting topic in Psychology and your blog made it even better. I loved your example of little Albert and I loved the cartoon dogs. It's amazing how classical conditioning works.

I agree sometimes I don't fully understand classical conditioning even though it seems to be extremely prevalent in everyday life. It is interesting to see how it plays out so frequently and naturally.

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This page contains a single entry by mouax351 published on April 27, 2012 10:26 PM.

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