classical conditioning

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Related to classical conditioning: operant conditioning


1. in physical medicine, improvement of physical health by a program of exercises; called also physical conditioning.
2. in psychology, a form of learning in which a response is elicited by a neutral stimulus which previously had been repeatedly presented in conjunction with the stimulus that originally elicited the response. Called also classical or respondent conditioning.

The concept had its beginnings in experimental techniques for the study of reflexes. The traditional procedure is based on the work of Ivan P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In this technique the experimental subject is a dog that is harnessed in a sound-shielded room. The neutral stimulus is the sound of a metronome or bell which occurs each time the dog is presented with food, and the response is the production of saliva by the dog. Eventually the sound of the bell or metronome produces salivation, even though the stimulus that originally elicited the response (the food) is no longer presented.

In the technique just described, the conditioned stimulus is the sound of the bell or metronome, and the conditioned response is the salivation that occurs when the sound is heard. The food, which was the original stimulus to salivation, is the unconditioned stimulus and the salivation that occurred when food was presented is the unconditioned response.

Reinforcement is said to take place when the conditioned stimulus is appropriately followed by the unconditioned stimulus. If the unconditioned stimulus is withheld during a series of trials, the procedure is called extinction because the frequency of the conditioned response will gradually decrease when the stimulus producing the response is no longer present. The process of extinction eventually results in a return of the preconditioning level of behavior.
aversive conditioning learning in which punishment or other unpleasant stimulation is used to associate negative feelings with an undesirable response.
classical conditioning conditioning (def. 2).
instrumental conditioning (operant conditioning) learning in which a particular response is elicited by a stimulus because that response produces desirable consequences (reward). It differs from classical conditioning in that the reinforcement takes place only after the subject performs a specific act that has been previously designated. If no unconditioned stimulus is used to bring about this act, the desired behavior is known as an operant. Once the behavior occurs with regularity the behavior may be called a conditioned response.

The traditional example of instrumental conditioning uses the Skinner box, named after B. F. Skinner, an American behavioral psychologist. The subject, a rat, is kept in the box and becomes conditioned to press a bar by being rewarded with food pellets each time its early random movements caused it to press against the bar.

The principles and techniques related to instrumental conditioning are used clinically in behavior therapy to help patients eliminate undesirable behavior and substitute for it newly learned behavior that is more appropriate and acceptable.
physical conditioning conditioning (def. 1).
respondent conditioning conditioning (def. 2).
work conditioning a physical exercise program designed to restore specific strength, flexibility, and endurance for return to work following injury, disease, or medically imposed rest; it may be part of a complete work hardening program when other aspects of functional restoration are required.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing

a form of learning, as in Pavlov experiments, in which a previously neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus when presented together with an unconditioned stimulus. Also called stimulus substitution because the new stimulus evokes the response in question.
See also: respondent conditioning.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

classical conditioning

n. Psychology
A learning process by which a subject comes to respond in a specific way to a previously neutral stimulus after the subject repeatedly encounters the neutral stimulus together with another stimulus that already elicits the response.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing

(klasi-kăl kŏn-dishŭn-ing)
Form of learning, as in Pavlov experiments, in which a previously neutral stimulus becomes conditioned when presented together with an unconditioned stimulus. Also called stimulus substitution because the new stimulus evokes the response in question.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

Classical conditioning

The memory system that links perceptual information to the proper motor response. For example, Ivan Pavlov conditioned a dog to salivate when a bell was rung.
Mentioned in: Amnesia
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing

(klasi-kăl kŏn-dishŭn-ing)
A form of learning, as in pavlovian experiments, in which a previously neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus when presented together with an unconditioned stimulus.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Other factors that affect the robustness of the respondent-carrier function is the biologically relevant circumstance in which the conditioning episode originally occurred, such as the age and impressionability of the individual, and all the other variables that have been shown to affect the susceptibility to, and robustness of, classical conditioning effects.
Ingvar, "Classical conditioning of analgesic and hyperalgesic pain responses without conscious awareness," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol.
Rocchi et al., "Impaired eye blink classical conditioning distinguishes dystonic patients with and without tremor," Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, vol.
We examined whether music can serve as a cue to sexual stimuli in a classical conditioning paradigm in men and women, thereby eliciting conditioned genital responses.
Differential effects of expectancy and associative mechanisms on diminution of unconditioned response in electrodermal classical conditioning. Psicotehma, 14(2), 375-381.
Fuentes, "Nictitating membrane: classical conditioning and extinction in the albino rabbit," Science, vol.
That type of result is interpreted as showing that stimulus-outcome associations were established during the initial classical conditioning phase (see also Colwill & Rescorla, 1988; Delamater, 1996; Holland, 2004; Rescorla, 1991, 1992a, 1994, 2000 for other examples of the use of the outcome-based transfer technique).
While classical conditioning is no doubt a standard part of most if not all introductory psychology courses, habituation is less prevalent as a topic.
In the first chapter, "Classical Conditioning," Richard discusses the impact of the classics on education, home life, and society.
Rachman (1977) proposed that, in addition to the classical conditioning pathway, persistent fear responses may also be acquired through vicarious and informational transmission, although the influence of these pathways appears to vary with different fear types.
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus identified the 'learning curve," and Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov famously trained animals to respond to certain stimuli in what he called "classical conditioning." But when it came to describing how learning actually happens, scientists were stymied.

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