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Conditioning: Classical And Operant

  • By: Merilee McCurdy & Michelle Swanger
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Classical conditioning, also known as respondent conditioning, is defined as a procedure in which a previously neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response after it is paired with a stimulus that automatically elicits that response (Martin & Pear, 2003). The principle of classical conditioning is based on the fact that certain stimuli (unconditioned stimuli) automatically elicit certain responses without learning (unconditioned responses). Humans exhibit many reflexes that are not learned behaviors. For example, when exposed to our favorite foods, we salivate and when exposed to high temperatures, we sweat. These are natural, unconditioned responses to natural, unconditioned stimuli found in the environment. However, when these unconditioned stimuli are paired with neutral stimuli, the neutral stimuli will begin to elicit the same response as the unconditioned ...

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