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Compare and contrast classical and operant conditioning.

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  • Essay length: 736 words
  • Submitted: 23/10/2003
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University Degree Developmental Psychology

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KONTEAS BENNY

10/5/2003

Psychology

Compare and contrast classical and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning focuses on learning associations, and refers to the conditioning reflexes. For example how animals learn to associate new-presented stimuli with bodily functions e.g. Pavlov dog learnt through association that the noise of the bell meant food so when hearing it made it salivate. These principles of classical conditioning were first outlined by Pavlov and then taken on by Watson. Pavlov believed jugging by his experiments that dogs had learnt to associate new external stimuli (sound of the bell), with the first presented stimuli (food) that caused the salivation as a reflex.

On the other hand operant conditioning involves learning through the consequences of behavioral responses. The principles of operant conditioning were investigated by Thorn dike, and where taken on by Skinner which he developed. Thorndike studied cats, and the way they would learn to escape from his puzzle box by trial and error

Classical and operant conditioning share many of the same basic principles and procedures. For example, it has been pointed out that the basic principles of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, and stimulus generalization are common to both types

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