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Compare and contrast Classical and Operant Conditioning. Are

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             In order to examine classical and operant conditioning, it necessary to first define the subject from which they are derived, that is learning. “Learning is any relatively permanent change in behaviour produced by an experience.” Classical and Operant conditioning are two of several theories on learning which take the behaviourist approach. “Classical conditioning is an association of one event with another that results in a pattern of behaviour.” Operant conditioning however, is “learning that takes place as a consequence of behaviour.” This essay will attempt to examine the differences and similarities between classical and operant conditioning, and thereafter, will examine situation where neither classical nor operant conditioning are present.
             Classical conditioning is most commonly associated with Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936). It was during his research on digestion in dogs that his discoveries led him to investigate a dog’s tendency to salivate in response to a stimulus, a reflex action that was involuntary. Pavlov rang a bell (conditioned stimulus) each time the dog was offered food (unconditioned stimulus). The dog gradually began to associate the ringing of the bell with the food, and so every time Pavlov rang the bell the dog salivated (conditioned response) weather or not food was present.
             Operant conditioning is most often allied with B.F. Skinner who developed Thorndike’s law of effect. Skinner showed that by identifying responses and rewards then it is possible to produce model chains of behaviour. Skinners experiment consisted of a hungry rat in a box with a lever in it. Whenever the level was pressed a food pellet was delivered. While the rat was investigating its new surroundings, it accidentally pressed the lever and a food pellet was delivered. The rat began to press the lever more and more frequently and food pellets were delivered. The food acted as the reinforcement for the b...

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Compare and contrast Classical and Operant Conditioning. Are. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:51, August 28, 2016, from