Can you compare and contrast classical conditioning and operant conditioning in at least 250 words?

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Yojana_Thapa's profile pic

Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Similarity and difference between Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning


-Both forms of associative learning


- Classical Conditioning forms associations between stimuli (a CS and the US it signals), two outside stimuli are associated with one another. Involves “Respondent Behavior”.

Respondent Behavior

Behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus, for Pavlov's dog salivated in response to the meat powder and later to the tone. Meaning his salivation is biological.

It is the organism learning associations between events it does not control

- Operant conditioning is behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences. (your actions are associated with consequences)

Actions followed by reinforces (a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it) increase; those followed by punishers decrease.

Operant Behavior

Behavior that operates in the environment, producing (rewarding or punishing stimuli) consequences; behavior that gets reinforced is more likely to repeated

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samhous | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Classical condition concerns the conditioning of reflexive behavior. Several terms are helpful in understanding this form of conditioning. Classical conditioning occurs when an unconditioned stimulus, (US) that elicits a unconditioned response (UR), is paired with a neutral stimulus, until presentation of the neutral stimulus alone elicits the former UR. . For example, dog food(US) elicits salivation from dogs(UR). However, if a neutral stimulus is paired with the unconditioned stimulus an organism will respond to the neutral stimulus as it would to the US. For example, a bell is dinged (NS) every time a dog is given dog food (US). After a while, the dog will associate the ding with the food and thus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS), that elicits a conditioned response (CR), namely salivation.

Operant conditioning, on the other hand concerns the modification of volitional, or voluntary, behaviors. Operant conditioning is conducted through reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Reinforcement is the presentation of a pleasurable stimulus after a behavior, which in turn increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur (give a dog a treat for sitting). Punishment decreases the likelihood that a behavior will occur (a dog is shocked for crossing a line). Extinction occurs when a behavior is not rewarded, and therefore no longer functional (if a dog does not receive food for whining, he will eventually quit whining).

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