Classical Conditioning Theory: August 9th, 2010

Classical Conditioning Theory

Classical conditioning can be defined as a certain learning that has been obtained through one’s experience. The most known examples and experiments of Classical Conditioning have been done by a Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov. The most known examples and experiments have been attempted on dogs. In these examples, Pavlov trained the dogs to salivate when a bell rang. Pavlov first showed the dogs the food and then rang the bell. After time progressed, Pavlov was eventually able to just ring the bell without showing the dogs the food. Therefore causing the dogs to salivate when the bell rang(Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009).

In Classical Conditioning, there are four major components: unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, unconditioned reflex, and the conditioned reflex (EruptingMind Self Improvement Tips: Free Health, Money & Self Improvement Advice, Ideas & Tips, 2010). The unconditioned stimulus is something which can suggest a reaction without prior occurrence or learning. The unconditioned stimulus is anything that causes a habitual reflex response. For example, when the dog in Pavlov’s experiment eats more food, the animal begins to salivate. With the  conditioned stimulus, learning must be attained first before it can create a reaction. An unconditioned reflex happens automatically and does not need to be learned. For example, when the doctor hits your knee to test your reflex, one’s knee flies up automatically without previous learning and acquired knowledge. A conditioned reflex is a reflex that can be evoked by the conditioned stimulus (EruptingMind Self Improvement Tips: Free Health, Money & Self Improvement Advice, Ideas & Tips, 2010).

Classical Conditioning is exposed to everyone on a daily basis. A scenario in which one could apply the Classical Conditioning Theory is advertisement for certain products such as a beer commercial. Numerous beer ads or commercials feature beautiful women. The unconditioned stimulus would be the attractive women. The women naturally elicits the feeling of arousal in most men which would be the unconditioned response. The beer is associated with the effect of feeling excited or aroused. The scenario in the commercial or music also accompanies the feeling of the unconditioned response. The unconditioned reflex may cause a man to become aroused, leading him to become erect. The conditioned reflex would make the man watching the commercial to go out and buy that exact beer on the commercial because it depicts a beautiful women, good times, and becoming sexually aroused. Therefore every time the man drinks or sees the ad, this is what now will begin to happen to him. All due to classical conditioning.


EruptingMind Self Improvement Tips: Free Health, Money & Self Improvement Advice, Ideas & Tips. (2010). Pavlov Classical Conditioning Theory. Retrieved from

Olson, M., & Hergenhahn, B. (2009). Introduction to the Theories of Learning (8th ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


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