Explaining Behaviorism: Operant & Classical Conditioning Essay
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Operant and classical conditioning are both theories that a behaviorist may use when studying different types of behaviors. Although both of these theories are used to study behavior, they are total opposites from one another. Let’s look at classical conditioning first. Classical conditioning is a process that creates the association between a naturally existing stimulus and a neutral stimulus(Schultz, 2016). A neutral stimulus can involve anything that does not result in a response to an organism until it is met with a natural response also known as an unconditional stimulus.
One behaviorist that did the great study on classical conditioning was Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov used dogs in a simple study to show how the neutral stimulus and unconditional stimulus formed classical conditioning. Pavlov used a bell (neutral) to associate with bread that he would give the dogs. Whenever Pavlov rang the bell no matter if a food was present or not the dogs began to salivate (natural). This study that Pavlov conducted is different from operant conditioning. Operant conditioning uses a voluntary response which is then followed by a reinforcing stimulus (Schultz, 2016). In simpler terms, an individual will make an association between particular behaviors and their consequences. Known as the father of operant conditioning, B.F Skinner used rats in a study to show how this works. The rats were placed in the box with a lever and when the lever was pressed (voluntary response), food was released (reinforcement).
The procedure used in my case study about Carlos was the successive approximation. Successive approximation is defined as an organism will be reinforced as its behaviors become successive towards the final desired behavior ( ). This procedure used ties strongly into operant conditioning. As discussed earlier, operant conditioning uses reinforce to increase or decrease the desired behavior. Carlos began to fall behind in school and get in trouble with his friends. Becoming a freshman in high school, Carlos looked forward to joining the school’s basketball team. This dream of joining was taken away by his parents for his recent troublesome behaviors. In order to regain his dream, Carlos\’s parents used positive step by step reinforcements until he was back on track and earned his way to try out for the team.
In order for a foundation of any principal to become justified, some sort of experiment needs to be conducted
After reading a historical experiment by John Watson called “Little Albert”, I believe Watson did violate one of the APA ethical codes. During his experiment, Watson used a 9-month-old baby and introduced him to a bunch of furry animals. In particular, Watson used a rat followed by a loud hammer sound to associate the hammer with the rat. The loud sound of the hammer could have affected the babies hearing and being scared could have made the babies heart race. The code that could be violated would be principal E “concern for others wellbeing”. Mary Cover Jones, on the other hand, had a much different approach which I believe did not break any APA ethical codes. Mary Cover Jones took care of her patient Peter as she associated food with a rabbit that Peter was scared of. Every time Peter saw food, the rabbit was in sight which he started to associate with and later on was able to stroke the rabbit. Reading this, I believe Mary Cover Jones was in guidelines with each and every APA ethical code.