Classical and operational conditioning

Classical conditioning and operational conditioning are two important concepts in behavioral psychology. Although both will lead to learning, the process is quite different. To understand how to use each of these behavior modification techniques, you must also understand the difference between classical conditioning and operational conditioning.

Very good / Joshua Seong


Let’s start with some of the most basic differences.

Classical conditioning

  • First described by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (Ivan Pavlov)

  • Focus on involuntary, automatic behavior

  • Involves placing a neutral signal before reflection

Operant conditioning

  • First described by American psychologist BF Skinner

  • Involves imposing reinforcement or punishment after the act

  • Focus on strengthening or weakening voluntary behavior

Classical conditioning

Even if you are not a student of psychology, you may have at least heard of Pavlov’s dog. In his famous experiment, Ivan Pavlov noticed that after the sound was repeatedly paired with the presented food, the dog began to respond to the sound. Pavlov quickly realized that this was a learned response, and proceeded to further study the adjustment process.

Classical conditioning is a process that involves establishing a connection between a naturally occurring stimulus and a previously neutral stimulus. It sounds confusing, but let’s break it down:

The classic conditioning process involves pairing a previously neutral stimulus (such as a ringtone) with an unconditional stimulus (the taste of food).

This unconditional stimulus automatically triggers salivation as a response to food, which is called an unconditional response. After linking the neutral stimulus with the unconditional stimulus, the bell itself will begin to cause salivation as a response.

The bell is now called a conditioned stimulus, and the response to the bell is called a conditioned response.

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Imagine a dog drooling when it sees food. Animals will do this automatically. He does not need to be trained to perform this behavior; it just happens naturally. Food is a naturally occurring stimulus. If you start ringing the bell every time you provide food to the dog, there will be a connection between the food and the bell. Ultimately, the sound of the bell, or conditioned stimulus, will cause a salivation response.

Classical conditioning is not just a basic term used to describe learning methods; it can also explain how many behaviors affect your health. Consider how a bad habit is formed. Even if you have been exercising and eating a healthy diet, overeating at night can still hinder your dieting efforts.

Thanks to the classic conditioned reflex, you may have developed the habit of going to the kitchen for a snack while watching your favorite TV show every time you play an ad.

Although advertising interruption was once a neutral stimulus, repeated pairing with unconditional stimulus (eating delicious snacks) has turned advertising into a conditioned stimulus. Now, every time you see an ad, you crave sweets.

Operant conditioning

Operative conditioning (or instrumental conditioning) focuses on the use of reinforcement or punishment to increase or decrease behavior. Through this process, a connection is formed between the behavior and the consequences of the behavior.

Imagine that the trainer is trying to teach a dog to fetch the ball. When the dog successfully chases and picks up the ball, the dog will receive praise as a reward. When the animal failed to retrieve the ball, the trainer refused to praise. In the end, a relationship is formed between the behavior of the dog holding the ball and the reward it wants.

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For example, suppose the school teacher does not let students go out to rest and punishes students who speak out of order. As a result, students form a correlation between behavior (nonsense) and consequences (not being able to go out to rest). As a result, problematic behaviors are reduced.

Many factors affect the speed and strength of the learning response.The frequency of reinforcement responses, called the reinforcement schedule, can play an important role in the speed of behavioral learningAnd how strong the reaction became. The type of enhancer used will also affect the response.

For example, although a variable ratio plan will result in a high and stable response rate,The variable interval plan will result in a slow and stable response speed.

In addition to training people and animals to engage in new behaviors, operational conditioning can also be used to help people eliminate unwanted behaviors. Using the reward and punishment system, people can learn to overcome bad habits that may negatively affect their health, such as smoking or overeating.

Classical and operational conditioning

One of the easiest ways to remember the difference between classical conditioning and operational conditioning is to focus on whether the behavior is involuntary or voluntary.

Classical conditioning involves linking involuntary responses with stimuli, while operational conditioning involves linking voluntary behaviors with results.

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In operational conditioning, learners are also rewarded,Classical conditioning does not involve such temptations. In addition, please remember that classical conditioning is passive to learners, while operational conditioning requires learners to actively participate in and perform certain types of behaviors in order to obtain rewards or punishments.

For operational conditioning to work, the subject must first exhibit a behavior, and then can be rewarded or punished. On the other hand, classical conditioning involves forming a relationship with an event that has occurred naturally.

Today, classical and operational conditioning are used by teachers, parents, psychologists, animal trainers, and many others for various purposes. In animal conditioning, the trainer may use classic conditioning by repeatedly pairing the sound of the clicker with the taste of the food. Eventually, the sound of the clicker will start to produce the same response as the taste of the food.

In a classroom environment, teachers may take advantage of operational conditioning by providing tokens as a reward for good behavior.Students can then turn in these tokens for certain rewards, such as hospitality or extra game time. In each case, the goal of conditioned reflex is to produce some kind of change in behavior.

Very good sentence

Both classical conditioning and operational conditioning are important learning concepts that originated from behavioral psychology. Although these two types of conditioning have some similarities, it is important to understand some key differences in order to best determine which method is best for certain learning situations.