Classical conditioning was discovered by Ivan Pavlov. His discovery
was made during a study on the salivation of dogs when given food. Pavlov observed
that the dogs began salivating at the sound of the scientists footsteps and at their
appearance into the room. This led Pavlov to study the phenomenon further.
The experiments that Pavlov was originally observing were based on the set of
unconditioned stimulus and its unconditioned response. What is meant by conditioned is
that the response is automatic and based on instinct. The stimulus is known as the
unconditioned stimulus . With Pavlov's new observations a new set of stimulus and
response was found. This new set is known as the conditioned stimulus and the
conditioned response. Conditioned response is when the response is learned. The
stimulus begins as neutral and causes no conditioned response. However, if the neutral
stimulus can be associated with another stimulus, then it becomes a conditioned stimulus.
Classical conditioning can be exemplified in the home, and school. In the home a
child could smell brownies baking in the kitchen which makes his mouth water. The
brownies are the unconditioned stimulus, the smell is the conditioned stimulus, and the
watering of the mouth is the conditioned response. In working situation, a man may be
waiting to be fired. When he sees his boss he begins to sweat. The unconditioned
stimulus is getting fired, the conditioned stimulus is the sight of the boss, the conditioned
response is the sweating. In school a boy may be in class when suddenly the fire
alarm goes off at which time the boy walks to exit the building. The unconditioned
stimulus is fear of a fire, the conditioned stimulus is the sound of the alarm, and the
conditioned response is the exiting of the building.
In closing, classical conditioning is a very good explanation of an organism's way
of learning. These two explanations are valid and existent. This can be seen through our
experiences in the home, work, and school.