For this assignment I had to do some research on one of my habits that I developed through classical conditioning. This theory was discovered by a Russian physiologist known as Ivan Pavlov. The main research motivation was to study the role of saliva in dogs.
He came across this theory while he was studying the dogs closely. He noticed there are 4 steps to classical conditioning and 2 types of classical conditioning present. There are many habits that you can develop through classical conditioning but for this assignment I will be discussing one of the habits I had developed through classical conditioning. I would be also stating how classical conditioning works and how to recognize classical conditioning or operant conditioning. The habit I will be talking is related to my everyday life. My dad usually comes to pick me up and I have developed a habit that whenever I hear a honk of a car I would go down to the car. I developed this condition through classical conditioning and in this essay I will explain in details how this came to be and how those 4 steps work with the habit I developed. To justify this essay I will be providing a alternative reason why I developed that habit or condition in my normal life.
Classical conditioning refers to learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus is paired with a previously neutral stimulus. There are 4 steps to fully complete a classical conditioning and these steps are stated as unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, unconditioned response and conditioned response. These four steps shape the definition of classical conditioning. The way classical conditioning works is that the previously neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with the unconditioned stimulus. At this point, the once neutral stimulus becomes known as the conditioned stimulus. The person has now been conditioned to respond to this stimulus. Classical conditioning was discovered while Pavlov was doing a research on salvia in dogs and while doing that he discovered that the dogs were salivating to the sound of the bell which was rang before the food was brought to the dogs and one day they only rang the bell but no food was brought after the bell which made the dogs salivate because that’s what they’re really used to in their daily life.
Soon he discovered that it is called classical conditioning where your mind is conditioned to react in a certain way that it takes something as a hint and prepares to react even before that action is done. He was able to justify why certain people develop behaviours that turn into habits. There are 5 critical terms that make up classical conditioning which are stated as Acquisition, Extinction, Spontaneous recovery, Generalization and Discrimination.
Another interesting fact is that John B. Watson was able to continue this study on to human beings. This way he did a experiment on a 11 month year old child to see if the child was scared of the white rat that he used in the experiment. The unconditioned stimulus is when it naturally and automatically triggers a response. The unconditioned response is something that isn’t learned but happens naturally in the reaction to unconditioned stimulus. The conditioned response is something that has been conditioned to be responded in a certain way. The conditioned stimulus is a neutral stimulus that we perform everyday which allows us to become associated with the unconditioned stimulus, eventually happens to trigger a conditioned response.
To give a example for these 4 steps lets assume that the bell for lunch has rang and everyone in the class gets ready for lunch every single day of the week and the teacher would tell students right before the bell to clean up the tables but whenever the bell would ring for lunch lets assume it would make everyone hungry and mentally prepare them to eat lunch. Now the unconditioned stimulus is the teacher stating to clean up before the bell goes off. The unconditioned response is the students getting hungry and the conditioned stimulus is the bell ringing.
Last but not least the conditioned response is same as the unconditioned stimulus. There are many examples like in your everyday life that you could come across. People can create a classical conditioning environment easily by doing certain experiments at home or workplace. To do a experiment on a someone do something several trails and paired it with something right away because every timing is very important for this experiment and after you have conditioned them to something then don’t do that certain thing and you would notice that they react to it even if you don’t do it. This way their minds have been conditioned to a behaviour. Those might take a little time but sooner the person you experiment it on might develop a habit and that can be considered classical conditioningEveryone in everyday life do things that become habits for them and somehow considered classical conditioning because they learn it through something that happens before the actual thing.
Just like that in my everyday life I developed few habits and out of that the one I am aware of is when my dad usually picks me up from my friends house or anywhere I would always get a call around 8 pm since that is my curfew I would start packing my bags or whatever I have to do last minute before he calls and states that he is downstairs. Usually he would give me a call and then honk the horn to let me know that i should come out to the car. The way I developed a habit Is that most of the time my dad would be late to pick me up so he would call me and to let me know that but as a habit I would start packing my stuff and going downstairs as I pick up the call. Sometimes he wouldn’t be here yet but because my brain has set the call something he does before he comes so whenever he would call me around 8 pm I would mentally prepare myself to leave that place and go outside the car. If I was to apply the 4 steps to classical conditioning then the unconditioned stimulus wold be him honking the car and the conditioned stimulus would be him calling me around 8 pm.
The conditioned response would be that I would go downstairs or outside to the car. The unconditioned response would be the same as conditioned response which is going downstairs to the car. I have included a appendix in this essay which has made it easier to look at my classical conditioning behaviour. This way my behaviour is easily described in details.
There are many classical conditioning processes that can be related to my behaviour but today I will be only relating two of those processes to my behaviour that I have developed. Those two behaviours that I will be relating to is generalization and higher order conditioning. Generalization is when the conditioned stimulus somehow shows similar responses after the response has been conditioned. So to justify my behaviour with this process I would state that whenever I would be out of the house and hear a car honking on the road I would assume that its my dad trying to get my attention. This way I used my already developed behaviour in a similar situation that influenced my every day life. People often use their already developed behaviour responses in other similar situations because that’s how their brain processes the behaviour in a every day life. Another way I can justify my behaviour is by higher order conditioning which is when a conditioned stimulus is created then by pairing a new stimulus with a previously created conditioned stimulus.
So pairing my conditioned stimulus with a new one would be pairing the call I get before my dad arrives to seeing a black SUV outside. This way my mind would be already prepared to see a back SUV car outside and even though could be any SUV I would still go outside and check. This was I have developed higher order conditioning where my Brain ties another conditioned stimulus to a new one.
There many more ways where you could develop new types of conditioning that could relate to your already behaviour. If you were to use this explain in the study that Pavlov did then light being turned on before the bell was rang can be used as higher order conditioning because we are pairing two conditioned stimulus together. This way the dogs would be mentally prepared for the bell and then the food.To provide a alternate explanation for my behaviour I would be using another conditioning method which is cognitive theory. This theory states that we think to learn new things in life and that our brain is a very intelligent source.
This theory has 3 things to consider which are behavioural factors, environmental factors and personal factors. In Cognitive theory we have to relate these 3 things and and mostly one makes the other happen. My behaviour relates to one of the basic concepts of the cognitive theory which is reproduction and this means that the aim to increase the repeating of a certain behaviour by making sure that a individual is in a comfort zone and motive to increase knowledge and learn even more about the behaviour and then practise that specific behaviour. Just like I learned more often to respond to my dad calling I taught myself to give my attention whenever I would get that call and stay more alert which increased my behaviour till now. In conclusion, after looking into my normal lifestyle I was able to figure out few behaviours that I did over and over again.
Then I used the 4 steps to conclude if I developed any by classical conditioning and how that has changed my daily life. There many ways you can develop a behaviour through classical conditioning and in my essay I have defined few other ways you could develop classical conditioning. Even though discovery made by Pavlov was accidentally he was able to figure out why certain people behave in a certain way in their daily life or over a course of time. I have also learned that we may not notice it but we at least have developed one behaviour through classical conditioning in life and sometimes it does stay with you.