What makes classical conditioning different from operant conditioning?  

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Classical and operant conditioning are both central to behavioral psychology. Both result in learning, but their processes are quite different.

Classical conditioning was first prescribed by the Russian psychologist by the name of Ivan Pavlov. Classical conditioning focuses on involuntary and automatic behaviors. During classical conditioning, a previously neutral signal is placed before an unconditioned reflux occurs. Eventually, the signal becomes associated with and instigates the reflux.

The American psychologist by the name of B.F. Skinner is accredited with first describing operant conditioning. Operant conditioning focuses on strengthening or weakening voluntary behaviors by applying reinforcement or punishment after a behavior. In this way, an association between the reinforcement or punishment and the behavior is made. As a result, punished behaviors lessen and rewarded behaviors occur more frequently.

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