Pavlov's Classic Conditioning

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One concept that has always been very interesting to me is Ivan Pavlov's conditioned reflex research finding. The way he figured out the phenomenon of the conditioned reflex is the classic experiment where Pavlov surgically attached tubes to dog's saliva glands to measure the amount and when saliva is produced. First he showed when food was brought to the dogs that they would salivate. He then showed that when a metronome was set randomly there would be no salivation from the dogs. The next part of the experiment involved having the metronome tick, and then present food to the dogs; making them salivate. After numerous times of "conditioning" the dogs with the metronome and food, they would begin salivating after just the sound of the metronome tick regardless if food was presented or not. The experiment shows how after an animal is "conditioned" with a stimulus, a conditioned reflex occurs. The picture below shows the concept, but with a bell ding instead of a metronome tick.

Pavlov dog.gif

I believe this proof is very important because it is possibly considered to be one of the main ways people learn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo7jcI8fAuI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfZfMIHwSkU&feature=related

As shown in the You tube video in the first link, the first roommate presses a button and then shoots his roommate with an air-soft pistol. After numerous times of being shot after hearing the first roommate press the button, the second roommate flinches even without the gun being shot. The second video, is a more staged test from the TV series "The Office" where Jim makes a sound on his computer and then asks Dwight if he wants an altoid. After multiple times of giving Dwight an altoid after Jim makes the sound on his computer, Dwight begins to crave an altoid when he hears the sound. These are just a few examples of how classic conditioning works.

After watching the Youtube video, I was curious to see if I could come up with a similar experiment and get the same result. This past weekend when I was home, I made a timer ding and then fling a rubber band at my brother. I proceeded to do this for an entire day. The next morning, right when my brother came out of his room I dinged the timer, and he immediately ran back in his room to protect himself. I then asked him why he ran into his room, and he answered by saying he thought I was going to shoot a rubber band at him after the timer dinged. This showed me that classic conditioning is a viable form of learning from past experiences, and proved the Youtube video wasn't just acted out.

I am still very interested in finding other ways that the conditioned reflex technique can possibly teach people. I wonder if a stimulus is used before some sort of physical therapy process is done, if eventually after hearing/seeing a stimulus the body possibly heals itself. A stimulus could be used something like a placebo, where if the body/mind thinks it will be healed, it may possibly heal itself. I wonder to what extent can humans/animals learn from Pavlov's classic conditioning technique.

Sources
http://www.learning-theories.com/classical-conditioning-pavlov.html
http://tokenasianfriend.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-pavlovs-response.html

Mitch Gutzman

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This page contains a single entry by gutz0030 published on October 9, 2011 12:42 PM.

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