Learning. Throughout this paper I will explain classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and imitation of modeling.
According to an ancient Chinese proverb, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” I believe this is true for everyone. Learning is something people do everyday of their lives. It is a lasting change in behavior that results from experience. Throughout this paper I will explain classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and imitation of modeling.
Classical conditioning is a process of learning that changes the behavior of an individual by rewarding or punishing each time an action is performed. The conditioning continues until the individual associates the action with pleasure or distress. Generalization occurs when a person or animal responds similarly to a similar stimulus. Extinction is when the result of a conditioned response decreases or disappears, such as when a conditioned stimulus is no longer accommodated with an unconditioned stimulus. Classical conditioning can be applied to almost everyone at some point in their life. This is especially true for me. Ever since I can remember I have been afraid of lady bugs. My brother would chase me around with them and tell me they were going to hurt me if one landed on me. After being classically conditioned twelve years ago, I am still afraid of lady bugs. Generalization can also be applied to my fear of lady bugs. Whenever I hear a low buzzing noise I get nervous and want to move away from it as soon as possible. However, most of the time it ends up being a different kind of bug and I have generalized it with a lady bug. Throughout the years of my classical conditioning, I have yet to experience the extinction of my fear of lady bugs. However, I am less terrified than I was before. In this story, one can identify the components of classical conditioning the NS, UCS, CS, CR, and UCR. The UCS is my brother yelling and chasing me, the UCR is me being afraid and running away from him, the NS is ladybugs, the CS is also lady bugs, and the CR is me being scared.
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Aside from classical conditioning there is also operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a process of learning that happens through rewards and punishments for different behavior. It is also an association made between a behavior and a consequence for the behavior being done. Reinforcement is the immediate reaction following a particular response with a reward to help strengthen that response. Punishment is the addition of a negative stimulus in order to lessen a response. Lastly, scheduling is the timing and occurrence of reinforcement (also called scheduling reinforcement). There are two main types of scheduling reinforcement: continues reinforcement (the desired behavior being rewarded every time it is shown) and partial reinforcement (the desired behavior being rewarded only part of the time). In my family, the system of rewards and punishments is used is to teach me the importance of academics, chores, and extra curricular activities. If I do well in school every month, our parents will reward me with a monthly allowance (fixed interval). However, if I do poorly in school my parents will take away some of the money (variable interval). I am also awarded more allowance for every “A” and “B” I receive on tests (fixed ratio). To do my chores, the system of rewards and punishments is used every week. For example, at the end of every school week I must clean my room in order to go out with my friends. If my room is not clean I must clean it before I can do anything with friends (punishment), but if it is clean, I can go out with my friends whenever I like (reward). I am also expected to dust my room when it gets dirty. This varies every week, so I am never sure when I need to do it (variable ratio). Rewards and punishments apply to my extra curricular activities, as well. For example, I have been taking private clarinet lessons for about eight years. My parents expect me to practice a certain amount of days per week in return for me to not have to pay. I am rewarded by not having to pay for the lessons and punished (when I do not practice the certain amount of days) by having something valuable taken away.
In psychology learning is influenced in three main ways. The first is modeling. Modeling is a way of learning where an individual learns how to behave or act by observing another individual. The second is called observational. Observational learning is the process of obtaining information by watching others. The third is disinhibition learning. This occurs when an observer watches someone else engage in a threatening activity without being punished. The observer may then find it easier to engage in that behavior. Throughout my life I have experienced all three. When I was younger I used to look up to Britney Spears. I wanted to dress like her, act like her, and even sing like her (modeling). I would mimic everything I saw her do in her music videos and television programs. Also, my mother is one of the biggest influences in my life. In the mornings before elementary school, I would watch intensely while she put on her make-up (observational). I would try to mimic everything she had done. (Usually everything somehow, ended up all over my clothes). However, Britney Spears and my mom have not been my only influences. I am also influenced by my friends. It was a hot and steamy day in June, when a couple friends and I finished watching an awesome “Youtube” video of friends putting Mentos into diet coke. The results were exciting to watch and nothing bad had happened to them. Later that day we decided to buy some Diet Coke and Mentos to try it out for ourselves (disinhibition). As soon as we were all ready to drop the Mentos into the diet coke, one of my friends had dropped his Mentos in too early. The result was… wet. The explosive mixture ended up squirting all over everyone that was standing near him. Almost everyone had to go home and change clothes. We have yet to try that experiment again.