Unit 6: Classical Conditioning vs. Operant Conditioning Although learning theory has expanded far beyond classical conditioning and operant conditioning, they are still the foundational hallmarks of learning theory. Together they form the basis of understanding how most learning occurs. Therefore, we will now closely examine these two types of conditioning: classical (Pavlovian) and operant conditioning. Because operant conditioning is more complex than Pavlovian conditioning, we will learn about different aspects of it over the course of the next few units. This unit will focus on the basics of both classical conditioning, which focuses on the relation between stimuli and responses and then, operant reinforcement, where an animal encounters a specific consequence after performing a behavior and is therefore either more or less likely to perform that behavior in the future.
Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 3 hours to complete.
☐ Subunit 6.1: 1.5 hours
☐ Subunit 6.2: 1.5 hours
Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify the fundamental processes of classical conditioning.
- Define the following terms associated with classical conditioning: unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, and conditioned response.
- Identify the fundamental processes of operant conditioning.
- Define the following terms associated with operant conditioning: reinforcement, punishment, positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
- Explain two fundamental differences between classical and operant conditioning
6.1 The Stimulus and Response Relation in Classical Conditioning
- Reading: AllPsych.com: Psychology 101’s “Classical and Operant
Link: AllPsych.com: Psychology 101’s “Classical and Operant
Instructions: This link has great basic information on classical conditioning. As you begin to understand the basic concepts, you can investigate the site for examples and definitions of more advanced concepts. Understanding the relations and development of conditioned stimuli and conditioned responses is key to understanding classical conditioning.
6.2 Avoidance and Extinction in Classical Conditioning
- Reading: Indiana University: Purdue University Fort Wayne’s
“Instrumental Conditioning and Avoidance Conditioning”
Link: Indiana University: Purdue University Fort Wayne’s
“Instrumental Conditioning and Avoidance
Instructions: Please read the entire article.