Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are two key ideas in behavioral psychology. Using a behavioristic approach, they define two forms of learning. Conditioning is a term that is commonly used in everyday life.
Let’s look at some examples of classical and operant conditioning and the key differences between the two. We’ll look at how parents use them to change their children’s behavior and the impact of this parenting technique.
What Exactly Is Classical Conditioning?
Classical conditioning, also known as Pavlov (classical conditioning)ian or respondent conditioning, is the process of learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus that already elicits an involuntary response, or unconditioned response, with a new, neutral stimulus in order for this new stimulus to elicit the same response.
The newly acquired behavior becomes a conditioned reaction once the new stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus.
As a result, classical conditioning is often referred to as learning by association.
Examples Of Classical Conditoning
There are several examples of classical conditioning in our daily lives. Some are done on purpose, while others are not.
Here are a handful of instances of classical conditioning:
When a father had a rough day at work, he comes home and slams the door. Then he generally starts shouting at his kids for no apparent reason. As a result, the children’s have come to connect door slamming with being shouted at. The children have now been trained to quiver whenever they hear the sound of a door slamming.
A mother returns home with a large shopping bag full of new toys for her child. As a result, every time the child sees her mother return home with a large shopping bag, she is pleased and eager because she has a new toy.
Ivan Pavlov (classical conditioning) (classical conditioning) was a Russian physiologist who developed the idea of classical conditioning, which had a significant impact on the early twentieth-century school of psychology known as behaviorism. He is often regarded as the “Father of Classical Conditioning.”
Pavlov (classical conditioning) initially noticed that his dogs salivated whenever they were given food. The meal is referred to be an unconditioned stimulus or a primary reinforcer since it is a biologically powerful stimulus.
He then devised an experiment. In this experiment, he rang a bell every time he fed his dogs.
Ringing a bell normally produces little response other than attracting the dog’s attention. A ringing bell is referred to as a neutral stimulus.
However, after several repetitions of this process, ringing the bell on its own may trigger the dog to salivate. The dog had now learnt to link the sound of the bell with food, and a new habit, salivation upon hearing the bell, had developed.
The ringing bell was initially a neutral stimulus, but it later evolved into a conditioned stimulus capable of eliciting the same reaction as the unconditioned stimulus (food).
When this occurred, salivation was referred to be a conditioned reaction.
The technique of learning to enhance or reduce a voluntary behavior via reinforcement or punishment is known as operant conditioning. The association process can be carried out at various times, which are referred to as schedules of reinforcement.
Examples Of Operant Conditoning
Parents and teachers make significant use of operant conditioning.
For example, if a child goes to bed on time, his mom will tell him a bedtime tale. Positive reinforcement is used to enhance target behavior through tale reading (going to bed on time).
Animal trainers commonly employ operant conditioning to teach their charges to do stunts. When a dog properly performs a trick, the trainer rewards it with a goodie. To obtain rewards, the dog learns to do tricks.
American psychologist Edward L. Thorndike developed the Law of Effect by observing the behavior of cats attempting to escape a puzzle box. The Law of Effect states that responses that produce a satisfying effect are more likely to be repeated, whereas responses that produce an unfavourable effect are less likely to occur again. This rule of impact was created via observation of animal behavior, but it also applies to humans in many situations.
Example Of The Law Effect
For example, if a child opens a box and is delighted to discover candy inside, he is more likely to open the same box again in the future. If the child opens the box and is startled by a spider leaping out, he is unlikely to open it again.
Bf Skinner And Operant Conditoning
American psychologist BF Skinner rejected the notion that mental emotions such as “pleasing” or “unfavourable” were required to comprehend human action. Instead of thinking or emotion, he created the notion of operant conditioning through observable stimuli and action.
According to Skinner’s theory, behavior could be regulated by its consequences. The procedures of delivering a discriminative stimulus to promote or decrease target behavior are referred to as reinforcement and punishment.
What Are the Differences Between Classical and Operant Conditioning?
There is a significant contrast between classical and operant conditioning:
In classical conditioning, involuntary behavior is associated with a stimulus, whereas operant conditioning is associated with a result.
Because the connection is formed by a naturally occurring occurrence, classical conditioning is passive in the sense that the learner cannot choose whether or not to participate in a new habit. Opportunistic conditioning, on the other hand, includes the learner actively selecting whether or not to get reward or punishment by doing or not performing the target behavior.
Parenting and Operant Conditioning
Parents and instructors frequently employ operant conditioning to influence their children’s behavior. While some solutions appear to be helpful on the surface, they conceal a slew of issues.
One of the most serious issues with behaviorism is that it treats people as though they are all the same, with no respect for their mental states or internal processes. In other words, given the same stimulus, we should all respond in the same way. It is unconcerned with what is going on within the person or what that person thinks or feels.
Behaviourists, for example, think that if a kid receives a reward for doing something, the child will continue or perform more of that action.
This has been demonstrated to be false. Because mental states and internal processing are important.
According to research, if a child receives reinforcement for doing something he already loves, he will do less of it. When a kid is intrinsically driven to perform something, such as sketching art, getting a reward reduces the children’s interest in it. As a result, the “reinforcement” decreases rather than strengthens the behavior, as behaviorists expect. Because higher mental processes like as “free choice” actually matter, behaviorism fails to explain phenomena like this.
If behaviorism were the holy grail of parenting, we would all have beaten our children into submission and they would have done whatever we told them. In reality, most authoritarian parents think this.
But you probably already know (ideally) that this isn’t going to work.
First, your child may act wonderfully in front of you, but they will most likely not while you are not looking.
Second, do you want your children to (really) appreciate you, have a nice connection with you, and come to see you when you’re old and they’ve grown up? Most authoritarian parents, on the other hand, don’t get it.
Classical and Operant Conditioning
If applied correctly, operant conditioning could be highly effective in teaching young children new behavior, such as giving a toddler a sticker for toilet training, awarding a first grader a star for raising his hand before speaking, and so on.
However, keep in mind that discipline entails teaching. If we employ classical and operant conditioning, such as punishment or manipulation, to elicit a behavior instead of teaching, it will eventually backfire. Because children are not lab rats who respond to stimuli without regard for the significance of the therapy.