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Classical Conditioning

1849 - 1936
• Early life of biography
• Famous piece of work: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
• Contribution to Psychology: Classical Conditioning
• World-recognized book by Pavlov entitled: “Conditioned Reflexes”
• Conflicting Theory: Classical Conditioning vs. Operant Conditioning
Early Life Biography
 He was born in Ryazan, Russian Federation on September 14, 1849.

 He got his first education from a theological seminary.

 He was inspired by eminent Russian critics and decided to abandon his

religious beliefs for science.

 He demonstrated intellectual curiosity along with an unusual energy

which he referred to as "the instinct for research".

 Later on… he studied Natural Science at Saint Petersburg.

Towards Success
 In 1875 Pavlov completed his course with an outstanding record.

 With his overwhelming interest in Physiology, he studied two more courses

in Post Graduate and Doctorate degree where got several Gold Medal

 He presented a doctorate’s thesis titled: “The centrifugal nerves of the


 In 1890, he headed the Department of Physiology at the Institute of

Experimental Medicine.

 His research into the physiology of digestion led him logically to create a
science of conditioned reflexes. – “The Work of the Digestive Glands”
Nobel Prize Winner
 In his study of the reflex regulation of the activity of the digestive glands,
Pavlov paid special attention to the phenomenon of psychic secretion, which
is caused by food stimuli at a distance from the animal.

 He came to a hypothesis that psychic activity was of a reflex nature, to

conclude that even here a reflex - though not a permanent but a temporary or
conditioned one - was involved.

 In 1903 at the International Medical Congress in Madrid, Pavlov deduced

three principles for the theory of reflexes: the principle of determinism, the
principle of analysis and synthesis, and the principle of structure.
Physiology of Digestion

He noted that dogs would salivate before the delivery of
food. Pavlov rang a bell when feeding the dogs which they
soon learnt to associate with food. After some time the
dogs salivated in response to the bell alone.
Contribution to Psychology: Classical Conditioning
 is a form of learning in which the conditioned stimulus (CS), comes to
signal the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus

 The US is usually a biologically significant stimulus such as food or

pain that elicits a response from the start; this is called the
unconditioned response or UR.
 The CS usually produces no particular response at first, but after
conditioning it elicits the conditioned response or CR.
 Classical conditioning differs from operant or instrumental
conditioning, in which behavior emitted by the subject is strengthened
or weakened by its consequences (i.e. reward or punishment).
Methods & Illustration: Classical Conditioning

Pavlov “classical conditioning” experiment

Methods & Illustration: Classical Conditioning

Learning Responses
Methods & Illustration: Classical Conditioning

Process Flow
Methods & Illustration: Classical Conditioning

Process Flow
Methods & Illustration: Classical Conditioning
1 2

Pavlov ringing the bell (conditioned

The dog is given a food
stimulus)before he give the dog the
(unconditioned stimulus),then the
food, unconditioned stimulus),then
dog elicits a salivation
the dog elicits a salivation
(unconditioned response)
(unconditioned response)

Pavlov ringing the bell (conditioned

stimulus),Then the dog elicits a
salivation (conditioned response)

Observed Phenomena: Classical Conditioning
 Acquisition - During acquisition the CS and US are paired an there is a gradual
increase in learning. It starts off slow, rapidly rises and then slowly fades away.

 Extinction - The process of presenting a CS alone, without the US, that causes the
learned behavior to disappear eventually is called extinction.

 External Inhibition - may be observed if a strong or unfamiliar stimulus is

presented just before the CS. This causes are duction in the conditioned response
to the CS.
 Stimulus Generalization - occur if, after a particular CS has come to elicit a CR,
another test stimulus elicits the same CR.
 Stimulus Discrimination - One observes stimulus discrimination when one
stimulus ("CS1") elicits one CR and another stimulus ("CS2") elicits either another
CR or no CR at all.
Contribution to Psychology: Classical Conditioning
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 The concept for which Pavlov is famous is the
"conditioned reflex" (or in his own words the
conditional reflex) he developed jointly with his
assistant Ivan Filippovitch Tolochinov in 1901.

 This primarily is an investigation of the

physiological activity of the cerebral cortex.

 Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned reflexes – 642 page

book published in Oxford, England by Oxford Univ.
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 He had come to learn this concept of conditioned
reflex when examining the rates of salivations
among dogs.

 In the spring of 1924, in a series of lectures

delivered at the Military Medical Academy in
Petrograd to an audience of medical men and
biologists, a systemized exposition was delivered
based on the 25 years of research about the
activities of the cerebral hemispheres in the dog.
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Pavlov had learned that when a buzzer or
metronome was sounded in subsequent time with
food being presented to the dog in consecutive
sequences, the dog would initially salivate when the
food was presented.

 Lecture 1
The development of the objective method in
investigating the physiological activities of the
cerebral hemispheres.

(Concept of Reflex - Variety of Reflexes – Signal

reflexes as the most fundamental physiological
characteristic of the hemispheres.)
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”

 Lecture 2
Technical methods employed in the objective
investigation of the functions of the cerebral

(Response to signals as reflex action Unconditioned

and conditioned reflexes. Necessary conditions for
the development of conditioned reflexes.)
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”

 Lecture 3
The formation of conditioned reflexes by means
of conditioned and direct stimuli.

(Agencies which can be used as conditioned stimuli.

—Inhibition of conditioned re- flexes: external
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 4
Internal inhibition of conditioned reflexes: (a)

(1st type: external inhibition of conditioned

reflexes, as exhibited in numerous cases of
temporary clashing between conditioned reflexes
and other extra excitatory processes in the brain

2nd type: the positive conditioned stimulus itself

becomes, under definite conditions, negative or
inhibitory; it now evokes in the cells of the cortex a
process of inhibition instead of the usual
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 5
Internal inhibition (continued) : (b) Conditioned

(A positive conditioned stimulus is firmly

established in a dog by means of the usual
repetitions with reinforcement.

A new stimulus is now occasionally added, and

whenever the combination is applied, which may
be at intervals sometimes extending to hours or
days, it is never accompanied by the unconditioned
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 6
Internal inhibition (continued) : (c) Delay.

(A form of classical conditioning in which the

conditioned stimulus precedes the unconditioned
stimulus by a significant time period and the
organism learns to withhold its conditioned

This interval can be made very short, 1-5 seconds,

or even a fraction of a second, provided that the
beginning of the conditioned stimulus precedes the
moment of application of the unconditioned
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 7
The analyzing and synthesizing activity of the
cerebral hemispheres.

( (a) The initial generalization of conditioned

stimuli. (b) Differential inhibition.

Stimuli which evoke conditioned reflexes are

perpetually acting as signals of those agencies in
the environment which are in themselves
immediately favorable or immediately destructive
for the organism. )
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 8
The analyzing and synthesizing activity of the
cerebral hemispheres (continued) :

( (c) Examples of the analysis of stimuli. (d)

Synthesis and analysis of compound simultaneous
stimuli. (e) Synthesis and analysis of compound
successive stimuli.

Stimuli which evoke conditioned reflexes are

perpetually acting as signals of those agencies in
the environment which are in themselves
immediately favorable or immediately destructive
for the organism. )
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 9
The irradiation and concentration of nervous
processes in the cerebral cortex:

( (a) The irradiation and concentration of

inhibition within a single analyzer.

It was shown that in response to an unlimited

number of stimuli there can be brought about in
the cerebral hemispheres an activity which serves
to signal the approach of the comparatively small
number of agencies which are of vital importance
to the organism either in a favorable or in an
injurious sense. )
Ivan Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”
 Lecture 10
Irradiation and concentration of nervous
processes in the cerebral hemispheres
(continued) :

( (a) (b) Irradiation and concentration of

inhibition over the entire cortex ; (c) Irradiation
and concentration of excitation.

the progress of inhibition from one analyzer to

another over the whole cerebral cortex.)
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant

 By the 1920s, John B. Watson had left academic psychology, and other
behaviorists were becoming influential, proposing new forms of learning other
than classical conditioning. Perhaps the most important of these was Burrhus
Frederic Skinner.

 Skinner believed that we do have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply
more productive to study observable behavior rather than internal mental

 Skinner’s view was that classical conditioning was far too simplistic to be a
complete explanation of complex human behavior. He believed that the best
way to understand behavior is to look at the causes of an action and its
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant

 Operant Conditioning - deals with operants- intentional actions that have an

effect on the surrounding environment.

 It is a learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by

reward or punishment.

 The most important law of operant conditioning is psychologist Thorndike’s

Law of Effect that states that if stimuli followed by pleasant consequences or
rewards are more likely to elicit behavior in the future.
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant
Skinner said:

 Law of Effect - Reinforcement. Behavior which is reinforced tends to be

repeated (i.e., strengthened); behavior which is not reinforced tends to die out-
or be extinguished (i.e., weakened).

 In his book, "The Behavior of Organisms", published in 1938, where he built

his analysis only on observable behavior and its equally observable

 Operant behavior is said to be "emitted"; that is, initially it is not elicited by any
particular stimulus; the behavior of an individual varies from moment to
moment, in such aspects as the specific motions involved, the amount of force
applied, or the timing of the response.
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant
Skinner’s Puzzle Box:

 A Skinner box, also known an operant conditioning chamber, is an enclosed

apparatus that contains a bar or key that an animal can press or manipulate in
order to obtain food or water as a type of reinforcement.
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant
Conflicting Theories: Classical vs. Operant
Classical + Operant Conditioning

Even though classical and operant conditioning are both associated with the
activation of different brain regions, they often interact and work together to
maintain behaviors, especially unwanted behaviors such as phobias. Phobias can
be acquired through classical conditioning by pairing a neutral stimulus with
something that really causes pain. These responses can be permanent unless the
person is subjected to the extinction process where they confront the fear
without the presence of the unconditioned stimulus. Phobias can be acquired
through operant conditioning by repeatedly reinforcing avoidance of a mildly
fearful situation. Phobias are maintained by operant conditioning through
negative reinforcement by avoiding the object or situation that causes the phobia.
As the anxiety is reduced, the avoidance behavior is negatively reinforced and the
phobia is maintained.
iii. Rescorla, Robert A. Pavlovian Conditioning — It's Not What You Think It Is. (1988) American Psychologist
xv. Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex.
Translated and Edited by G. V. Anrep. London: Oxford University Press.
xvi. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904". Retrieved 28 January 2013.
xvii. Windholz, George (1997). "Ivan P. Pavlov: An overview of his life and psychological work". American
xviii. "Ivan Pavlov". Science in the Early Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia.