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Classical and Operant Conditioning

According to the course text, learning is defined as a “relatively permanent change in behavior that is brought about by experience” (Feldman, 2015, p. 168). By following the scientific process, psychologists have made great strides in understanding how you learn. Pavlov’s seminal experiment introduced the idea of classical conditioning-learning that occurs when you learn to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events. Classical conditioning paved the way for behaviorism.

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Operant conditioning, like classical conditioning, is another form of associative learning. Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behavior is encouraged if followed by a reinforcer and decreased if followed by punishment.

Both classical conditioning and operant conditioning occur every day, though you are probably not used to examining how you learn in these technical terms. For this week’s Discussion, you will have the opportunity to practice your understanding by creating examples of classical conditioning and operant conditioning “in real life.”

This week you will be discussing the concepts of classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Please choose if you would like to apply these learning theories to humans or animals, and then respond to the discussion prompts in the thread for the category of your choice. For example, if you choose to respond to the Human prompts, you will need to submit two initial threads: one for Classical Conditioning and one for Operant Conditioning. Be sure that your thread subject line identifies which topic you are posting about (e.g., “Human-Classical Conditioning” and “Human-Operant Conditioning.”)

Human:

Classical Conditioning

Post by Day 3 a response to the following:

Think about someone with a specific fear or phobia. Explain how classical conditioning can explain how the fear or phobia developed. Give an example and explain your answer. Include a description of the neutral stimulus (NS), unconditioned stimulus (UCS), conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR) in relation to your example.

AND

Operant Conditioning

Post by Day 3 a response to the following:

Imagine you are a supervisor at work. How can you use operant conditioning to change an employee’s attendance, customer service, or other behavior?

Include a description of how you would use either positive or negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of a desirable behavior. Also, include a description of how you would use punishment to decrease the frequency of an undesirable behavior.

Animal Training

Do you own a pet? Call to mind some of your pet’s behaviors or desired behaviors.

Classical Conditioning

Post by Day 3 a response to the following:

Explain how classical conditioning could explain an association your pet has learned. (e.g., The sound of a can opener associated with a meal.) Describe your example and include a description of the neutral stimulus (NS), unconditioned stimulus (UCS), conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR) in relation to your example.

AND

Operant Conditioning

Post by Day 3 a response to the following:

Explain how operant conditioning could be used to teach your pet a trick or change your pet’s behavior. Include a description of how you would use either positive or negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of a desirable behavior. Also, include a description of how you would use punishment to decrease the frequency of an undesirable behavior.

RESOURCES::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Readings

Feldman, R. (2012). Psychology and your life (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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