By pursuing your degree, you have actively sought learning; however, learning does not occur simply because you enroll in a course. Learning is much bigger than the school context, and it’s actually much smaller, too—psychologists have developed theories that break down the specific components involved in how we make links between two stimuli (classical conditioning) and between a stimulus and a response (operant conditioning). We know that we can even learn without experiencing something ourselves, but by simply watching others’ experiences (observational learning). Regardless of what your role is in society, a parent, a friend, or a manager on your job, you are probably responsible for both learning new things yourself and helping others learn and commit information to memory. As you progress through this week’s learning materials, think about the different ways in which you yourself learn, reason, problem-solve, and remember, and how you help others do the same.
According to the course text, learning is defined as a “relatively permanent change in behavior that is brought about by experience” (Feldman, 2020, p. 168). By following the scientific process, psychologists have made great strides in understanding how you learn. Pavlov’s seminal experiment introduced the idea of classical conditioning-learning that occurs when you learn to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events. Classical conditioning paved the way for behaviorism.
Operant conditioning, like classical conditioning, is another form of associative learning. Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behavior is encouraged if followed by a reinforcer and decreased if followed by punishment.
Both classical conditioning and operant conditioning occur every day, though you are probably not used to examining how you learn in these technical terms. For this week’s Discussion, you will have the opportunity to practice your understanding by creating examples of classical conditioning and operant conditioning “in real life.”
This week you will be discussing the concepts of classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Please choose if you would like to apply these learning theories to humans or animals. Be sure that your thread subject line identifies which topic you are posting about (e.g., “Human” or “Animal”)
Post a response to the following:
Think about someone with a specific fear or phobia. Explain how classical conditioning can explain how the fear or phobia developed. Give an example and explain your answer. Include a description of the neutral stimulus (NS), unconditioned stimulus (UCS), conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR) in relation to your example. Support your assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources).
Post a response to the following:
Imagine you are a supervisor at work. How can you use operant conditioning to change an employee’s attendance, customer service, or other behavior?
Include a description of how you would use either positive or negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of a desirable behavior. Also, include a description of how you would use punishment to decrease the frequency of an undesirable behavior. Support your assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources).
Do you own a pet? Call to mind some of your pet’s behaviors or desired behaviors.
Post a response to the following:
Explain how classical conditioning could explain an association your pet has learned. (e.g., The sound of a can opener associated with a meal.) Describe your example and include a description of the neutral stimulus (NS), unconditioned stimulus (UCS), conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR) in relation to your example. Support your assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources).
Post a response to the following:
Explain how operant conditioning could be used to teach your pet a trick or change your pet’s behavior. Include a description of how you would use either positive or negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of a desirable behavior. Also, include a description of how you would use punishment to decrease the frequency of an undesirable behavior. Support your assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources).
Support your reply to a colleagues’ assignment post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources). You may state your opinion and/or provide personal examples; however, you must also back up your assertions with evidence (including in-text citations) from the source and provide a reference.
Respond in one or more of the following ways:
Refer to the Discussion Rubric, located in the Course Information area, for details on how this discussion will be graded.
Note: You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Week 3 Discussion” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.
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