Classical Conditioning in practice

Classical Conditioning in practice;
By Ebony Teesdale
Classical conditioning was fist described by physiologist Ivan Pavlov. It is
a form of learning that occurs through the repeated association of two or
more different stimuli. Classical conditioning is used in a number of
different settings, most have therapeutic benefits.
When people develop behaviours that are harmful to themselves or others,
aversion therapy is used to eradicate these behaviours. Aversion therapy
is a form of behaviour therapy that applies classical conditioning
principles to block or discourage undesirable behaviour. They associate
undesirable behaviour with an unpleasant stimulus such as a feeling of
disgust, pain or nausea. The aim of aversion therapy is to suppress or
weaken the undesirable behaviour. One of the limitations in aversion
therapy is that the learned aversion often fails to generalise situations
other than those under which learning took place.
Systematic desensitisation is a kind of behaviour therapy that attempts to
replace an anxiety or fear response with a relaxation response through a
classical conditioning procedure. The process requires the client to
associate being relaxed with the fear- arousing stimulus through a series
of graded steps. The steps of desensitisation are the client is taught to
relax. The second phase of treatment is to break down the fear-arousing
situation into a logical sequence. The basic principle is that the client is
gradually desensitised to anxiety or fear-arousing objects, activities or
In psychological experiments an ethics code is put in place to protect the
rights of the participants. In classical conditioning any ethical issues
demand attention.