classical conditioning

classical conditioning

Definition of classical conditioning

Classical conditioning is defined in Psychology as “a process by which a stimulus that previously did not elicit a response comes to elicit a response, in reflex—like fashion, after it is paired with one or more trials with a stimulus that already elicits a response” (Gray, 1999, p 100). Having to do with the reflexes, the definition of classical condition can be abbreviated into the idea of involuntary behavior. The example of Pavlov’s dog illustrates this as the dog came to associate the sound of a bell with food, causing a reflexive action of salivating, resulting in salivation even when the bell was not paired with food.

Personal experience with classical conditioning

My boyfriend has two dogs whom he loves very dearly and spends much time playing with. They are both extremely affectionate and smother people with kisses. However, their overzealous behavior often leads to fighting between the two of them, especially over attention from any new corner to the house. They also have two different personalities: one is passive and one is very nervous, and sometimes has a problem with uncontrollable urination when very excited. On one occasion when I was at my boyfriend’s house, I was sitting with the passive dog in my lap, watching television when I saw the other dog approaching. Thinking nothing of it, I remained seated, stroking the fur of the dog on my lap. The other dog, watching this, suddenly ran towards me and jumped in my lap. Immediately after this I felt a warm sensation spreading on my lap and realized the dog had urinated on me. The feeling of discomfort immediately took hold and I jumped up, desperately wanting to shed the clothes I was in and take a bath. The dog ran around me in circles and I was scared it would urinate again on my feet so I ran from her as fast as I could into another room to tell my boyfriend what had happened and to borrow some extra clothes. Needless to say I am never at ease any...

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