Posts Tagged Classical Conditioning

Classical vs Operant Conditioning

Classical conditioning is identified with Pavlov’s dog. It begins with the observation that some things produce natural responses. “Lucky” smells meat and salivates. By pairing an artificial stimulus with a natural one—such as ringing a bell when the steak appears—the dog associates the two. Ring the bell; the dog salivates.

(Pavlov was smart enough not to use a cat; cats, like humans, are too independent.)

Operant conditioning, in contrast to classical conditioning, is concerned with how an action may be controlled by a stimulus that comes AFTER it, rather than before it. When a reward follows a behavior, then that behavior is likely to be repeated. Today, we refer to this psychology as “behaviorism.”

Burros Frederic Skinner (1904-1990), … >>>