Pavlov's discovery

Essay by mrballin18University, Bachelor'sB+, October 2004

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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.