Classical conditioning

John Brzozowski

Classical Conditioning

            During class we learned about classical conditioning and the results of the experiment done by Pavlov. The theory of classical conditioning has to do with stimulus and responses or reflexes. In his study he was able to pair the sound of a metronome with the presentation of food; which elicited the unconditioned response of salivation by the dogs. He was then able to have this unconditioned response by the dogs, without the unconditioned stimulus of the food, by just playing the metronome. Therefore the dogs learned to respond to the sound because they expected it to be immediately followed by the unconditioned stimulus, being the food.

After going over this in class I tried to look back in my life to see if there was any time where I either unknowingly used classical conditioning on someone or had it done to me without my knowledge. I could not think of anything, but my roommate who takes the same class had an idea. He decided to use this method to condition me into having an unconditioned response without the unconditioned stimulus. His conditioned stimulus was him saying the words, “John, mint!” which would then be followed by him throwing a small mint at me with great force and accuracy. This would elicit the unconditioned response of me cringing. He did this enough times so that when he no longer paired the conditioned and unconditioned stimulus together, he could still get the response he intended. He had effectively conditioned me to respond without the correct stimulus. I realized what he was doing after the first time he had not paired the two stimuli together and therefore the extinction period was not very long. But effectively, we proved the findings of Pavlov to be true.

3 thoughts on “Classical conditioning

  1. Mao Lin

    i am a fingernail bitter when i was about 7~8 years old and my mom had used taste aversion on me in order to fix my nail bitting problem; however, she used sneak’s bile to execute her plan. Your example is very vivid and very relatable to our life, which is much easier to understand. Every time i want to bite my fingernails, i will think about the sneak and the bitter taste of snake bile and they stopped me from bitting fingernails. By using the negative reinforcement, my mom successfully helped me to change the habit of bitting my fingernails.

  2. Stephanie Tara Unger

    I found this experiment very interesting! When we were learning about classical conditioning, I also wondered if I have experienced something like this. It is really neat to think that you become trained to do something without being aware that we are doing it. I really enjoy how you and your friend tested the experiment for yourselves recently, as opposed to just looking back on a past experience and seeing if it would work for this method. I definitely plan to try something like this on one of my friends, or perhaps my little brother, because it makes you realize how interesting and in depth the concepts and methods of psychology are.

  3. Maggie Yanowitz

    John, your experiment sounds very fun and highly informative! I am sure your roommate got a kick out of watching you cringe every time he said “John, mint!” However, I do wonder if the fact that you knew you were trying to elicit a conditioned response, influenced your behavior and thus the extinction period. I was wondering if you have seen the the tv show, the Office, because they have a very similar skit regarding classical conditioning that I am sure you would find highly ammusing!

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