This psychological concept is a four-level learning procedure that involves reflexes. Ivan Pavlov was the first to study the Classical conditioning after raising curiosity about his laboratory dogs when they began salivating before food was actually in their mouths (Coon, p. 261). He further discovered that if he used an appropriate sequence of events, the dogs would salivate at the sound of a buzzer or the appearance of a light. The Classical conditioning requires the existence of an unconditioned stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response in the experimental subjects. It also requires a conditioned stimulus that triggers a conditioned response on the experimental subjects.
In a primary school, the pupils always take predetermined breaks at predetermined intervals. In this experiment, the experimenter introduced a new system into the school, and repeated the experiment on the pupils several times to establish the conditioned and unconditioned responses and stimuli. In this experiment, an alarm siren was introduced to accompany the lunchtime bell. The other periodic breaks remained to be signaled by the bell only. On the first day, when the student alarm was sounded a t lunch hour, the students did not respond and remained in their classrooms. The teachers also continued with their lessons. The experimenter then moved from class to class to inform the subjects that the alarm siren sounded after the bell signaled lunch alongside the bell. The experiment continued for some time, and then the experimenter sounded the siren at the last break before lunch. On this day, the teachers left the classrooms and the pupils headed to the dining hall instead of the playground. The experiment concluded that the students had associated the alarm siren with lunchtime break and the bells with other breaks. Therefore, in the conclusion, it was realized that unconditioned stimulus in this experiment was the bell and the conditioned stimulus was the alarm siren. Additionally, the breaks signified the unconditioned responses, but the lunch break and heading to the dining hall signified the conditioned response.
Components of Social Conditioning
Classical conditioning uses four components of social conditions and four concepts as follows. The unconditioned stimulus refers to the component that naturally, unconditionally, automatically triggers a response, and the unconditioned response is the unlearned response occurring in response to the aforementioned stimulus (Coon, p. 263-4). The conditioned stimulus on the other hand represents the previously neutral component that after being associated with unconditioned stimulus triggers a conditioned response, which is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus (Coon, p. 264). These components have been indicated in the above experiment distinctly to indicate how they lead to different behaviors.
Higher order Conditioning
After conducting an experiment on the classical conditioning, and the conditioned stimulus has successfully elicited the conditioned response, this conditioned stimulus can be used for further conditioning as the unconditioned stimulus to produce the conditioned response (Chance, p. 66). This process is called the higher order conditioning, or the Second Order Conditioning. It is a classical conditioning term that refers to the situation in which a stimulus that was previously natural is paired with a conditioned stimulus to produce a conditioned response. For instance in the above experiment, the experimenter decided to eliminate the lunch bell, and instead sound the alarm alone at the lunchtime break. When the bell was sounded at the same time several times, the students also associated it to lunch break and they headed to the dining hall. However, when the siren was sounded at the last break before lunch without the bell, the response was the same; the pupils headed to the dining hall for lunch, even though it was not yet time for lunch.
Partial Reinforcement Schedules
A reinforcement schedule refers to a pattern where reinforcement is given over time. In partial or intermittent reinforcement, someone provides reinforcement on only the occasions on which the response occurs (Nicholas, p. 125). There are four main types of partial reinforcement schedules classified into two categories: ratio schedule, which happens after a number of responses; and interval schedule that happens at a predetermined time interval (Nicholas, p. 130). The subdivisions of these categories include fixed and variable interval and rations.
Fixed Ratio – For every As a child scores in his homework, he gets to choose a new toy, and for every time he tops his class at the end of the term, he chooses a new place to visit for the holidays and the friends to accompany him.
Variable ratio – in fishing, it uncertain the intervals that a person might catch fish in casting his net. The angler might catch fish with every cast, or at the fifth cast, or at the 2nd or third cast.
Fixed interval – after every two weeks, a parent sends his son in school $50 to spend on his shopping
Variable interval – the boy’s father sends him $50 for his shopping at random dates unpredictable to the boy, for instance after three days, then after two weeks, and then after ten days.
Nicholas Lionel. Introduction to Psychology. Claremont, Cape Town: Juta and Company Ltd, 2009. Print.
Chance Paul. Learning and Behavior: Active Learning Edition: Active Learning Edition: PSY 361 Learning Series. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
Coon Dennis. Psychology: A Modular Approach to Mind and Behavior: A Modular Approach to Mind and Behavior: Advantage series. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2005. Print.