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PSY340 Psychology: Classical and Operant Conditioning (Essay Sample)


PSY340: Psychology of Learning
Module 8: Final Examination
Essay Questions
Part 2 consists of 2 essay questions taken from Modules 1-8. You will need to respond to the essays and send them to your instructor by placing them in the assignment box.
1. Define classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
Identify and explain the similarities and differences between the two types.
Create a real-life example where either classical or operant conditioning may be used.
Explain how the specific type of conditioning worked in the situation and why it was selected over the other type of conditioning for the situation.
2. Identify two real-life experiences in which learning principles can apply.
Discuss each experience and the principles of learning that are applicable.
Be sure to fully explain each of the learning concepts that apply to these two experiences.
Identify ways in which learning in the two experiences can be inhibited and improved.
The Final essays typically require about two pages(double-spaced)each to write an accurate andcomplete response.
The word principles used in the essay question means any of the learningconcepts we have covered in the course.


Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical and Operant Conditioning
Learning is widely viewed as a process that influences one’s behaviour. It dictates and directs peoples’ behaviours so that they react to different situations differently. It is influenced by various factors like a person’s heredity history, physical challenges, learning environment, intelligence and reinforcement among other factors. These influences ones permanent change of behaviour and reactions to various stimuli. Many researchers have come up with various theories that support the learning process. This paper aims at presenting a discussion on classical and operant theories of learning, their similarities and differences, real life situations where the two theories were successfully applied, real-life experiences where the principles of learning can be applied, the learning concepts in the experiences and the ways through which learning can be inhibited or improved in the experiences.
Classical Conditioning
This theory was developed by Ivan Pavlov who was a Russian scientist. He emphasized on influencing subjects in his experiments to behave in a certain desired manner. This was demonstrated by his experiments in using conditioned stimulus to obtain conditioned responses and unconditioned stimulus, which elicited unconditioned or normal responses. Pavlov engaged dogs in his experiments to test the effect of reinforcement in exhibiting a certain desired behaviour (Henton & Iversen, 2012).
Before conditioning, Pavlov tested the reaction of the dogs at the introduction of food and this made the dogs salivate at the sight of food. In this experiment, the food was used as unconditioned response to give the unconditioned salivation response. During conditioning, he introduced the bell without food, and when the bell rang, no salivation was observed from the dogs. He later accompanied the ringing of the bell with food and salivation was observed from the dogs. Here, the bell was used as a conditioned stimulus to produce the desired conditioned salivation response. Pavlov further rang the bell and withdrew the food but the dogs would still salivate in the hope of receiving food. This illustration demonstrated the use of reinforcement in strengthening a desired behaviour on grounds that what is rewarded gets repeated severally (Henton & Iversen, 2012). The theory relies on various principles for it to manifest. These include reinforcement, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination, which imply that the subjects choose the stimulus to respond to.
Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning is a learning theory advanced by B.F. Skinner a Harvard psychologist. The theory advocates for voluntarism, which allows people to choose a desired way in which to behave. He argued that behaviour is a function of its consequences where one is rewarded by their actions where rewards increase positive behaviour while punishment reduces negative behaviours. Through his experiment with the rats, he found out that if people behave in a desired way, reinforcement is given as a result of their response. According to him, the response exhibited was responsible for triggering the reward as reinforcement for the desired action and behaviour; this was demonstrated by the skinner boxes and the rats where hunger was used to trigger the pressing response for the release of food pellets as a reward for the rats’ action of pressing the lever. The theory emphasizes on positive reinforcement as a way to stimulate and strengthen certain desired behaviours (Skinner, 1938).
Similarities and differences between classical and operant conditioning
The two learning theories present almost similar experiences and associations, but they are different in various aspects. These differences ar...
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