Classical Conditioning Essay two: Discuss the processes involved in Operant and Classical conditioning.

Essay by jonesy456University, Bachelor's June 2004

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Essay two: Discuss the processes involved in Operant and Classical conditioning.

Haberlandt (1997) refers to learning as changes in behaviour and knowledge through experience. In order to use these knowledge individuals must remember what they learn and continuously adapt to the changing environment. Two specific theoretical components assess how individuals develop the changes to the environment. The first theory Operant (Instrumental) conditioning consists of determining the Learning consequences of behaviour by assessing Thorndike's Law of Effect and the exploration of the concepts of Reinforcement, Generalisation, Discrimination, and Shaping and Chaining. The second theory of Classical Conditioning determines how learning occurs with the relationship between stimuli, and the theoretical component of Phenomenology.

Initial observations of how instrumental responses became more frequent when they repeatedly produced a reinformcent were observed by Thorndike which enabled him to determine the difference between the behaviours resulting in the development of the correct decision versus insight or intelligence.

He assessed the reactions of cats to food. He put hungry cats in cages with food just out of reach outside. The cats first tried a variety of behaviours to get the food. At some point they pressed the lever to get out the door. When they were put back in the cage again they repeated this process but gave the correct behaviour more rapidly. After a sufficient number of trials the cats immediately pressed the lever to get out of the cage. Thorndike argued that this is not insight or intelligence, as the cats would have then escaped from the cage immediately every time after first discovering the "solution". Instead, he observed a steady decline in the frequency of behaviours other than the "correct" one. Even showing the cat what to do did not alter this process.

This lead Thorndike to formulate the Law of Effect,