Classical conditioning involves the neutral stimulus (NS) becomingdirectly associated with the Unconditioned stimulus (US) and, because of this association, comes toelicit a response that is related to the US (Powell, Honey & Symbaluk,2013). There are five key terms thatcome with classical conditioning, the unconditioned stimulus, conditionedstimulus, neutral stimulus, unconditioned response and conditionedresponse. The unconditioned stimulus(US) is the stimulus that naturally elicits a response, and the unconditionedresponse (UR) is the response that is naturally elicited by the US (Powell,Honey & Symbaluk, 2013). The conditioned stimulus (CS) is the stimulusthat, although initially a neutral stimulus (NS), comes to elicit a responsebecause it has been associated with the US. The conditioned response (CR) isthe response that is elicited by the CS (Powell, Honey & Symbaluk,2013). Elicited is used tocharacterize behaviour that is controlled primarily by antecedent events orstimuli such as an unconditioned stimulus (US) or a conditioned stimulus (CS)in a Pavlovian or classical conditioning procedure (Domjan, 2016). Classical Conditioning was first discovered by Russian physiologist IvanPavlov.
Pavlov had the idea dogs do not need to learn some things. E.g.
dogs do not need to learn to salivatewhen there is food around. In his studyPavlov was able to show the existence of the unconditioned response when thedog was presented with a bowl of food and then measured the levels ofsalivation. Nonetheless, Pavlov thendiscovered that the presence of any object or an event which the dog hadlearned to associate the food with would prompt the same response to that ofseeing the food.After the works of Pavlov, other researchers wanted to see if they couldreplicate similar results in other animals in regard to classicalconditioning. Kvitvik, Berg, & Ågmo (2010) conditioned male rats to associate anodour with trying to procreate with a female rat.
Once conditioned, they found that the malerats spent longer in the places that had the odour and female rats than theplaces that just had the female rats. Also,the time took to choose a room was also shortened when rats were next to thearea with the conditioned odour. Thisshows that the male rats associated the odour with the urge to pro create whenin fact the odour itself had no meaning. von Essen, Pauls, Thum, & Sprecher (2011) used Drosophila larvae as a model tostudy visual classical conditioning. In their study they were able show thatlarvae can associate positive or negative cues with either light or darkness, whichled them to changing their native light-preference.
Also, showing that early forms of harmlesslight can be conditioned to be avoided in such larvae. Thus, showing that light can be used as aconditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus. Biologically we are very similar to animals,”There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in theirmental faculties” (Darwin, 1871).
With this information, we research has shown its effects on humans. Watson & Rayner (1917) would be a good example of this. Though it is key to point out beforehand that this is a case study and their originalaim was to condition fear into their participant. In their study they found that “LittleAlbert” showed emotional maturity and would interact a lot with a white rat. A hammer hit against a steel bar produced aloud noise that Albert showed dislike to. This was used to conditioned fear in Albert. Through conditioning Watson & Rayner wereable to condition Albert to now fear the white rat that we once liked. Additionally, through this they found that healso showed a fear to anything like the rat, such as a fur coat, rabbit anddog.
This was the first research thatshowed a neutral and fairly harmfulness stimulus such as a rat or a fur coatthrough conditioning can implicit a negative response. Blass, Ganchrow, & Steiner (1984) were able to show classicalconditioning in 2-48-hour year old babies after they learned to associate a tensecond head stroke with the feeding of sucrose solution through a pipette. This was shown by the experimental groupshowing more head orient and sucking responses than the control group duringthe head stroking intervals.
Thus,showing that the babies in the experimental group had learned to associate thehead stroke with the feed from the pipette The purpose of this study was toreplicate findings that are like those of Pavlov. However, unlike Pavlov, we would see if wecould replicate these results in human participants. Using a lemon sherbet as the food to bringabout salivation and a picture of a daisy as the neutral stimulus. We hypothesise that there we will seesalivation levels increase as the study goes on. Thus, when seeing the daisy, it will bringabout salivation levels close to that of eating the lemon sherbet.
This hypothesis is like the results to thosefound in Pavlov’s work. If ourhypothesis is correct than we know classical conditioning exists and is notjust present in animals but humans too.