Classical conditioning Essay

Submitted By nhiton
Words: 784
Pages: 4

Whether we know it or not, many actions that we do numerous times a day are direct results of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. These three basic types of learning are explanations of how we learn things in order to survive in the world.
Classical conditioning was developed from the findings of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov through doing experiments with his dogs. After that, this study has been applied a lot on human behaviors in order to explain their responses. One of my examples illustrates the learning process of classical conditioning is that I feel nauseous when I take the trash out of my house. My sister and I live together in one house, so there is not much trash to take out twice a week. I am the one to do that chore every Monday morning before going to school. For some people such as my sister, they consider it a dirty task, but it is normal to me. Early one morning, I pulled the trash bag out of the garbage can. It was quite heavy since we had party the night before, so I put the bag on the floor and dragged it. On the way, the bag tore and dropped the trash all over the place. Then, I freaked out and went back in the house to take a new bag and gloves. It was extremely gross as there were tons of maggots crawling on the rotten food that I had left for a week. I almost vomited while putting them in the new bag. After this horrible experience, I always feel sick whenever I hold the trash bag. In this case, the trash bag used to be my neutral stimulus (NS), and the unconditioned stimulus (US) was the rotten food with maggots that caused the nauseous feeling (unconditioned response). However, after the NS and US were paired, I feel nauseous (condition response) whenever I hold the trash bag (conditioned stimulus).
Another type of learning is operant conditioning. In this learning type, the consequences of a behavior change the probability of the behavior’s occurrence: reinforcement or punishment. Reinforcement is the process that strengthens the behavior. For example, at the end of the month, my sister always spends all of her allowance, so she asks me to lend her some money. At the beginning of the month, she has money again, so she not only gives the money back to me but also invites me to dinner. This is considered positive reinforcement because I will be happy to lend her money again the next time since she introduces a pleasant stimulus – invites me to dinner. On the other hand, punishment is the process that weakens the behavior. For instance, after the rain, I opened the car window in order to breathe some fresh air while driving; suddenly, a love bug flew into my car. I could not focus on driving because I was so scared. It flew around in my car and would not leave.…