Classical Conditioning

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  • A type of learning in which organisms learn to associate stimuli. It is also known as Pavlovian conditioning, after Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), a Russian physiologist who incidentally discovered classical conditioning while studying the digestive system in dogs. Pavlov leashed his dogs in a harness and placed food in their mouths, after which he measured the saliva flow through a tube inserted into their cheeks. After several repetitions, Pavlov observed that his dogs started to salivate before the food was placed in their mouths. They would salivate merely by seeing the assistant in charge of bringing the food or listening to his footsteps approaching the cage. Pavlov realized that the dogs had learned to anticipate the food and to associate the food with, for example, the ...

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