classical conditioning

What is the Behaviorism Theory?
Behaviorism is a view that operates on a principle of “stimulus response”.
Behaviorism is the prediction and control of human behavior where independent
thinking play no essential part of its teaching methods.
To a behaviorist, human learning is solely an objective and experimental branch of
natural science.
Then behavior is shaped with positive or negative reinforcements. Positive rewards
indicate the application of a stimulus. Negative rewards indicate the withholding of a
stimulus. Learning is defined as a change in behavior in the learner.
What assumptions do behaviourists make?
 Behaviourists regard all behaviour as a response to a stimulus.
 They assume that what we do is determined by the environment we are in, which
provides stimuli to which we respond, and the environments we have been in in
the past, which caused us to learn to respond to stimuli in particular ways.
 It is unnecessary to speculate about internal mental processes when explaining
behaviour: it is enough to know which stimuli elicit which responses.
 Behaviourists also believe that people are born with only a handful of innate
reflexes (stimulus-response units that do not need to be learned) and that all of a
person’s complex behaviours are the result of learning through interaction with
the environment.
 They also assume that the processes of learning are common to all species and so
humans learn in the same way as other animals.
 Thus:
 Learning is manifested by a change in behavior.
 The environment shapes the behavior.
 The principles of proximity and reinforcement are
central to explaining the learning process.
 Learning is the acquisition of new behavior through
Classical conditioning:
— Classical conditioning is the natural reflex that
occurs in response to a stimulus. It is a technique
used in behavioral training in which a naturally
occurring stimulus is paired with a response.
Pavlov became famous for his behavioral
experiments with dogs. He won the Nobel Prize
in 1904 .
Pavlov’s Experiment:
He provided dogs with a stimulus (food.) The dogs would produce his desired
reflex (salivation.) He would ring a bell. Eventually the dogs associated the bell
with food and they would begin to salivate when he rang the bell. This process is
called classical conditioning.
Operant Conditionning:
Operant Conditioning: A method of learning that happens
through rewards and punishments Skinner conducted
experiments with pigeons. He would reward them when he
saw them behaving in a desired manner. He was able to
teach them complex tasks using the stimulus-response
He believed people shape their behavior based on the rewards/positive
reinforcement they receive. He believed human behavior is based on stimulusresponse theory.
Found that reinforcement is a powerful motivator.
How do behaviourists explain human behaviour?
Behaviourists explain behaviour in terms of (1) the stimuli that elicit it and (2) the events that
caused the person to learn to respond to the stimulus that way. Behaviourists use two processes
to explain how people learn: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
In classical conditioning, people learn to associate two stimuli when they occur together, such
that the response originally elicited by one stimulus is transferred to another. The person learns
to produce an existing response to a new stimulus.
In operant conditioning, people learn to perform new behaviours through the consequences of
the things they do. If a behaviour they produce is followed by a reinforcement then the
likelihood of that behaviour being repeated increases in future (the behaviour is strengthened).
A consequence can be reinforcing in two ways: either the person gets something good (positive
reinforcement) or they avoid something bad (negative reinforcement). Conversely, if a
behaviour is followed by a punishment then the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated in
future decreases (the behaviour is weakened). Whereas classical conditioning only allows the
person to produce existing responses to new stimuli, operant conditioning allows them to learn
new responses.
Classroom Implications:
 The teacher will reward positive behavior. Behaviors that are rewarded will increase.
 The teacher will not reward negative behavior. Behaviors that are not rewarded will
decrease .
 Since students learn without teaching in their natural environments, teachers will
arrange special opportunities to expedite learning .
The teacher should:
1. Give the learner immediate feedback.
2. Break down the task into smaller steps.
3. Repeat the directions as many times as possible.
4. Work from the most simple to the most complex tasks.
5. Give positive reinforcement.