Classical Learning

To understand better how learning affects people thoughts and behaviors, psychologists conduct research on forms of learning that involve the building of associations between various stimuli as well as between stimuli and responses. Classical conditioning is one type of associative learning (Terry, 2009). People are not born with automatic responses to reactions. Individuals learn how to respond by observing the relationships or associations between events in the world.
Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, research on the digestive processes of dogs was the first laboratory demonstration of a basic form of associative learning (Terry, 2009). Discovering classical conditioning by accident Pavlov and others also refer to this type of learning as Pavlovian conditioning (Terry, 2009). Classical conditioning occurs during the repeatedly pairing of a conditioned stimulus or CS with an unconditioned stimulus UCS, which naturally brings about an unconditional response, or UCR. Eventually the conditioned stimulus will elicit a conditioned response, or CR, without the presentation of the unconditional stimulus (Terry, 2009). Pavlov’s research suggests that classical conditioning is automatic allowing the substitution of one stimulus for another in producing an automatic, reflexive response (Terry, 2009). This kind of learning helps animals and people prepare for events involving food, pain, or other unconditioned stimuli.
The factors that affect classical conditioning include the timing, predictability, and strength of signals, the amount of attention they receive and how easily signals associate with other stimuli (Terry, 2009). As the intensity of the UCS increases, the speed and the strength of the conditioned response also increase (Terry, 2009).   Some stimuli, however, are easier to associate than others. Pairing stimuli determines the speed and strength of conditioning (Terry, 2009). In some cases, however; such as learning an aversion to certain tastes, the...