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Medical, Psychology

Classical Conditioning Essay

In medical terms, Classical conditioning is a technique in which, an unconditioned response (UCR) is caused by a neutral stimulus (NS). In this method, a neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and applied to the subject. After successful conditioning, the subject who was initially neutral to that neutral stimulus starts giving an unconditioned response whenever that neutral stimulus is used.

In this example, we generated a startle response in a friend. The person was living in the apartment in the second room. I tried an experiment to generate a startle response in him by classical conditioning. I entered his room once and shouted “Larry, watch out!” and threw a firecracker on his bed. He started jumping and keeping him away from the firecracker. The next morning I did it again, and he again started jumping. After following this routine for four days, when the next morning I opened his door, I shouted “Larry, watch out” and waved at him like I am throwing a firecracker but I wasn’t, Larry started jumping on his bed even when there was no firecracker. In this example the signal was my opening the door and shouting his name, the unconditioned stimulus was the firecracker, and the unconditioned response was his jumping on the bed, and after several days of conditioning my shouting of his name became the conditioned stimulus, and he showed a conditioned response by jumping.

In our second experiment, we take the example of a roommate who makes his bed messy. We induce operant conditioning in the roommate so that he makes his bed every day. The first roommate who is trying operant conditioning on the second cleans his side of the room every day. This action acts as an antecedent in the changing program of the second person’s habit of leaving the bed messy and becomes an inspiration for the second roommate. The second person tries to change his behavior and starts cleaning his side of the room as a response to the antecede. As a reinforcement in the process, the first person behaves nicely with the other and tells him how it is unethical to leave the bed unmade. In this example, self-regulation was not successful as the second person did not change his attitude even after the first roommates complain and several warnings from the warden.

The case we encountered in the hypothetical study can’t have an ideal solution as any action we take can result in worsening the child’s problem. However, a combination of positive and negative actions is needed in this scenario as an antecede stimulus. The negative action can be punishing the child by isolating her and applying the ban on her from playing outside with her friends. There can also be a positive action that will act as a reinforcement in the conditioning process, and that is to provide the kid with gifts and appreciation if she tries to change her behavior. The best approach is to devise the above method and if the child does not show any improvement parents should refer to an experienced therapist that can further observe the case and provide a solution.

In any university system, there is competition between students, and they give their best effort to get good grades. We take an example of a student who is poor in grades, and I will try to inspire him so that he puts more effort into his studies and get his grades better. I will apply the principles of Social Learning theory in my approach to this process. These principles are as follows:

  1. The observer will imitate the behavior model if the model has an impressive personality
  2. There is more chance for an observer to adopt a behavior if he sees the model just like him, and having an admired status.
  3. If the model gets rewarded for his behavior, the observer is more likely to adopt the behavior.
  4. Providing guidance in form of words and actions results in observers’ better understanding and retention.
  5. There is great involvement of the environment in the learning of the observer, and if he gets positive input from the environment, he is more likely to adopt the change.

The first thing I will have to do is to prove myself as a model in front of him and express that I have intelligence and popularity in university, which will be the first inspiring thing for him. The student needs to be reminded that he has the same qualities, status, and intelligence as me and he can get good grades if he gets committed to his studies and provide hard work. As a re-enforcement of the procedure, I can explain to him that by committing himself to studies he will eventually be successful in life. Another thing that can help is that I show him my grades and how I got appreciation from the instructor for performing well on the test. The students need to be described as examples of successful people who achieved their goals by committing themselves to their studies.


Bandura, A., & Walters, R. H. (1977). Social learning theory.

Bible, B. (2015). The Holy Bible The Authorized King James Version. Century Publishing.

Olson, M. H. (2015). An introduction to theories of learning. Psychology Press.



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