Classical Conditioning

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One concept that I have learned this year in Psychology that I will remember five years down the road will probably have to do with Pavlov's research and discoveries regarding classical conditioning. When I first learned about Pavlov's experiments with German shepherds it made me think of my own dog and how we got her to learn tricks. It's funny, sometimes when I make her do tricks I even think of Pavlonian conditioning and how she was able to learn how to do the trick because of the conditioning process.
The thing about classical conditioning that I think is unique is that it doesn't only apply to dogs. It applies to humans too, and in more ways than I thought. As a refresher, classical conditioning is based on acquisition-the learning phase that a conditioned response is established, and extinction-the gradual reduction and elimination of the conditioned response.
Phobias and addiction to drugs are hugely based on classical conditioning. A person can overcome their fear when they are repeatedly presented with the conditioned stimulus. The conditioned response may be large at first but overtime it will gradually get smaller (extinction). And when dealing with drugs, we saw that when an individual is exposed to the drug and does not take it to receive the effects, eventually their desire and craving to use the drug will diminish.
I've learned a lot about human behavior and how we function in this psychology class, but I think that a lot of our behaviors come back to the idea of classical conditioning. And I don't think I'll be forgetting it anytime soon.


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This is so relatable for me! I've been classically conditioning my dog for years and I've never known that there was a term for it, let alone a vital milestone in psychology. A couple winters back when my dog was still a puppy, I classically conditioned her to ring a bell when she needed to go outside. Granted she learned on her own that ringing the bell meant playing in the snow, so you sometimes have to account for other variables. One thing that i might have mentioned would be the difference between classical conditioning and operant conditioning, because in most cases with drugs it is operant conditioning that gets people hooked and sees side effects.

I'm glad that you brought up drug addiction and extinction. I found that concept really interesting and you can see it applied with things like nicotine patches and other such methods to kick a bad habit. However, its important to keep in my that there are other psychological factors to drug addiction as well, so these methods do not always have the best end result. These are relatively successful in rehab programs, but they are very painful and difficult for the patient.

I also had a dog and we actually used classical conditioning for our dog as well. I never really realized that we did until reading your post. Although I'm not sure how well it worked with my dog because she was pretty stubborn. I agree that classical conditioning is something that I probably won't be forgetting five years from now.

Classical conditioning is one of the few concepts in psychology that I found applicable real-life. I had experienced it multiple times a day (via television commercials) and never knew there was a name for it. Also, the perspective on drug addiction is very interesting because based upon things we've read in class and this post, it seems as though curbing a drug habit should be relatively easy if people only knew that classical conditioning works wonders. Great post and very easy to relate to many situations in everyday life.

Classical conditioning is definitely a interesting topic! It makes me think differently about things i react to in real life, like my hatred of oranges. Learning makes me approach my friends differently if I want to subliminally change an unwanted behavior. The experiment to not eat oranges around me is still in the process but hopefully it will be a success. One, because that would be awesome to train someone like a dog. Two, i really hate oranges.

The main thing I was thinking about this reading was how my dog has issues with some classical conditioning. Such as he can't play fetch, but he knows where not to go with the invisible fence and his collar. I just found it weird that can teach a dog to jump a wall and i cant get him to get a ball.

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This page contains a single entry by gaust024 published on April 29, 2012 11:55 PM.

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