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Pavlov-classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a reflexive or automatic type of learning in which a stimulus
acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another
stimulus. The neutral stimulus could be any event that does not result in an overt
behavioral response from the organism under investigation. Pavlov referred to this as a
conditioned stimulus (CS). Conversely, presentation of the significant stimulus
necessarily evokes an innate, often reflexive, response. Pavlov called these the
unconditioned stimulus (US) and unconditioned response (UR), respectively. If the CS and
the US are repeatedly paired, eventually the two stimuli become associated and the
organism begins to produce a behavioral response to the CS. Pavlov called this the
conditioned response (CR).
The reason classical conditioning came about is that Pavlov experimented on dogs. He
experiemented with them by cutting holes in their cheeks and inserting tubes to
measure the rate of salivation. Pavlov would ring a bell immediately prior to serving food
to the dogs and measure the salivation rate. He experimented to see if some sort of
outside stimulus could produce the same result in the dog. He started by ringing a bell at
the same time he served food to the animal. After a while he would ring the bell without
serving any food to the dog. Interestingly, he noted that the dog would produce saliva
when it heard the bell ring, even when no food was presented to it. Pavlov concluded
that this was a learned response. It was, therefore, a conditioned response. He also
found that if the bell were rung too often without the production of food, the dog
would stop salivating.
Skinner-operant conditioning
The theory of B.F. Skinner is based upon the idea that learning is a function of change in overt
behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual's response to events (stimuli) that
occur in the environment. A response produces a consequence such as defining a word, hitting
a ball, or solving a math problem. When a particular Stimulus-Response (S-R) pattern is
reinforced (rewarded), the individual is conditioned to respond. The distinctive characteristic of
operant conditioning relative to previous forms of behaviorism (e.g. Thorndike, Hull) is that the
organism can emit responses instead of only eliciting response due to an external stimulus.

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Reinforcement is the key element in Skinner's S-R theory. A reinforcer is anything that
strengthens the desired response. It could be verbal praise, a good grade or a feeling of
increased accomplishment or satisfaction. The theory also covers negative reinforcers -- any
stimulus that results in the increased frequency of a response when it is withdrawn (different
from adversive stimuli -- punishment -- which result in reduced responses). A great deal of
attention was given to schedules of reinforcement (e.g.…read more


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