conditional reflex


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Related to conditional reflex: conditioned response

conditional reflex

a reflex action which is modified by experience, so that whilst the response remains the same the stimulus is replaced by one different from the original. The classic example is the experiment by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) with dogs, where the smell, sight and taste of food causes them to salivate. Pavlov rang a bell immediately before producing food and, after considerable repetition, salivation could be brought about by ringing the bell in the absence of food (a Pavlovian response).
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According to Roger Smith, a historian of psychology, many Western psychiatrists and psychologists viewed the Pavlovian concept of conditional reflexes not as new theoretical knowledge but as an instrument to bring about the old Victorian idea of internal moral control.

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