Why Do I Do What I Do?

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I found conditioning, both classical and operant, to be one of the most interesting and useful topics covered in this course. Pavlov used dogs, meat powder, and a metronome to prove that a previously neutral stimulus can be paired with another stimulus to elicit an automatic response. Known as classical conditioning, this idea has been seized by advertisers, who have found that by pairing their product with enjoyable stimuli, such as attractive men and women, they can increase desire for their product. Operant conditioning refers to learning controlled by consequences of the organism's behavior. B.F. Skinner proved it with rats where he used what came to be known as the Skinner box, but operant conditioning runs much deeper than this. skinner box.jpgThrough the use of punishment and reinforcement behaviors of animals and humans alike can be controlled. Operant conditioning is the basis for our our prison system (punishment) and job salaries (reinforcement), especially those that are incentive based. Conditioning is constantly occurring, but often goes unnoticed. For example, simply being told "good job" is operant conditioning in progress. And as the following clip from The Office shows maybe humans are as susceptible to classical conditioning as Pavlov's dogs are.

Jim Trains Dwight

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Your points about Operant conditioning are interesting, particularly because they can be applied to many real world situations, such as subtly teaching a new employee the tricks of the trade. I work at a pizza parlor, for example, and many times a form of operant conditioning is employed to help train in new trainees.

What I found most interesting about conditioning is 1.) in classical conditioning slower learning means longer lasting results, and 2.) a combination of operant and classical conditioning can be used to treat drug addiction. I am guilty of forgetting that our brains control us, verses us having control over 100% of our minds. People want to place blame, poke fun, etc at people who struggle with addiction, and it usually has to do with the person's personality or lack of parenting. Although these elements can play a part in drug addiction, it opened my eyes to see it in a scientific way. I will definitely look at drug addiction differently as a result of this course.

Good points that you bring up. I too thought it was very interesting to learn all the different examples that we saw on both operant and classical conditioning. I think that humans are very much susceptible to both especially when it comes to addictions.

I really thought Pavlovian conditioning was an important topic to psychology and how we adapt to our surroundings. I feel like psych is built off of first the biology of the brain and next the topic of learning and development. With pavlovian conditioning we get a condition of reward with action making us more motivated to do things. I feel like life is based off of one big Pavlovian experiment!

I agree with you that classical conditioning is one of the most important concepts covered in psych 1001. I always find it interesting to see what role classical conditioning plays in our everyday life. One of the things that I could think of, other than advertisements, is eating a food then getting sick shortly after eating it, then becoming nauseated from just the smell of that food.

Good examples of learning theory in action.

Which form of conditioning do you feel is most effective? I also found this section very interesting. It can be used in our every-day lives and especially as we enter the stage of our lives that is parenthood.

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This page contains a single entry by scha1140 published on April 29, 2012 10:48 PM.

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