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Classical and Operant Conditioning

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Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are forms of associative learning. Classical conditioning is defined as a learning process in which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response. In classical conditioning the stimulus triggers the response of an organism. There are four concepts created by Pavlov that give classical conditioning a better understanding. The unconditioned stimulus triggers the unconditioned response. This means that without learning a stimulus can produce any reflex. The Neutral stimulus is a stimulus that does not affect the unconditioned response. The unconditioned stimulus is then paired with the neutral stimulus and presented to the organism. This transforms into a conditioned stimulus. This means that the previous neutral stimulus is presented to the organism it causes an unconditioned response. Whereas operant conditioning is a form of associative learning in which the consequences of a behavior change the probability of the behaviors occurrence. In operant conditioning there is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement that are both used to increase good behavior. There are also negative reinforcers and negative punishment to decrease bad behavior. These types of learning are part of our everyday lives and many times we fail to notice. Here are some of the examples of classical and operant conditioning that are used in the media.

Many ads and commercials use classical conditioning to make their ads seem more appealing. While looking for a gift around Valentine's Day last year I remember seeing an ad about a particular cologne making your valentine's day better. The ad went on and on about how their cologne would make the woman fall in love with you and you would live happily ever after together. Therefore this cologne would make your significant other fall in love with you over and over again every time they got a whiff of it. The unconditioned stimulus would be the date, which led to the unconditioned response of living happily ever after. The conditioned stimulus was the scent of the cologne and the conditioned response would be falling in love. Another commercial that I recall that uses classical conditioning is an edible arrangement commercial. In the commercial a guy buys his wife an edible arrangement, hoping to make her happy and spark up their relationship so not only will she be happy but he can possibly "get lucky" later too. His plan works and the commercial shows them kissing and both being happy towards the end. Therefore the unconditioned stimulus would be the present because when people get presents they are happy. This led to the unconditioned response of the woman being happy because this is the response you get from the present. The neutral stimulus would be the fruit because if someone just saw fruit they would not automatically become happy. The conditioned stimulus would be the arrangement because it causes the happiness to occur. The conditioned response is



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