Academic Master

Medical, Psychology

use of Classical Conditioning to produce an unconditioned response

In medical terms, Classical conditioning is a technique in which a neutral stimulus (NS) causes an unconditioned response (UCR). In this method, a neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and applied to the subject. After successful conditioning, the subject 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 once entered his room, 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 was 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. 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 daily. The first roommate trying operant conditioning and the second cleans his side of the room daily. This action acts as an antecedent in the changing program of the second person’s habit of leaving the bed messy and inspires 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 unsuccessful as the second person did not change his attitude even after the first roommate complained 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 worsen the child’s problem. However, a combination of positive and negative actions is needed in this scenario as an antecedent stimulus. The negative action can be punishing the child by isolating her and banning her from playing outside with her friends. There can also be a positive action that will reinforce the conditioning process: 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 who 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 the 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 gets his grades better. I will apply the principles of social learning theory to this process. These principles are as follows:

  1. The observer will imitate the behavior model if the model has an impressive personality.
  2. An observer is more likely to adopt a behavior if he sees the model as being just like him and having an admired status.
  3. If the model is rewarded for his behavior, the observer is likelier to adopt the behavior.
  4. Providing guidance in 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 my 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 is committed to his studies and provides hard work. As a re-enforcement of the procedure, I can explain that by committing himself to studies he will eventually succeed in life. Another thing that can help is showing him my grades and how I got appreciation from the instructor for performing well on the test. The students need to be described as successful people who achieve their goals by committing 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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