Sociology Index


Classical conditioning is a basic form of learning whereby a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that naturally elicits a certain response; the neutral stimulus comes to elicit the same response as the stimulus that automatically elicits the response. In psychology, implications for therapies and treatments using classical conditioning differ from operant conditioning.

There are two competing theories of how classical conditioning works. Stimulus-response theory of classical conditioning suggests that an association to the unconditioned stimulus is made with the conditioned stimulus within the brain, but without involving conscious thought. Stimulus-stimulus theory of classical conditioning involves cognitive activity, in which the conditioned stimulus is associated to the concept of the unconditioned stimulus, a subtle but important distinction.

Classical Conditioning: Eliciting the Right Response 
Robert T. Tauber, The Behrend College, Penn State-Erie 
NASSP Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 526, (1990)
Although techniques such as behavior modification and reinforcement receive more attention, classical conditioning is one means by which educators can evoke more positive student feelings toward school and school subjects.

The Role of Affect in Attitude Formation: A Classical Conditioning Approach 
John Kim, Mukesh Bhargava, Oakland University, Jeen-Su Lim, University of Toledo 
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, 143-152 (1998)
This study investigates the role of affect in attitude formation. Two experiments, using established conditioning procedures, assessed the impact of affect on attitude formation. The results of Experiment 1 indicate that affect can influence attitudes even in the absence of product beliefs. The results of Experiment 2 suggest that affect plays as important or more important a role than the belief mechanism in attitude formation, depending on the number of repetitions.

Dynamics of a classical conditioning model
Balkenius, C., and Mor´┐Żn, J. (1999). Dynamics of a classical conditioning model. Autonomous Robots, 7, 41-56.
Abstract: Classical conditioning is a basic learning mechanism in animals and can be found in almost all organisms. If we want to construct robots with abilities matching those of their biological counterparts, this is one of the learning mechanisms that needs to be implemented first. This article describes a computational model of classical conditioning where the goal of learning is assumed to be the prediction of a temporally discounted reward or punishment based on the current stimulus situation. The model is well suited for robotic implementation as it models a number of classical conditioning paradigms and learning in the model is guaranteed to converge with arbitrarily complex stimulus sequences.

Pavlovian or Respondent Conditioning - An example of classical conditioning involved the salivary conditioning of Pavlov's dogs. During his research on the physiology of digestion in dogs, Pavlov noticed that, rather than simply salivating in the presence of meat powder, an innate response to food that he called the unconditioned response, the dogs began to salivate in the presence of the lab technician who normally fed them. Pavlov called these psychic secretions. Pavlov used bells to call the dogs to their food and, after a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the bell. Thus, a neutral stimulus became a conditioned stimulus as a result of consistent pairing with the unconditioned stimulus. This classic example of classical conditioning, Pavlov referred to as learned relationship and a conditional reflex.