Talk:Classical conditioning

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The introduction is very technical and could be confusing for readers who aren't informed on the topic already. First I suggest that changing the terms 'conditional' to 'conditioned' would be very helpful. For me personally, I was taught with the terms being 'conditioned' not 'conditional' and I think it makes it easier for readers to grasp the actual concept of each term. Cgraham09 (talk) 20:15, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

The first chunk of the 'Procedure' section explained CS,US,CR & UR to me infinitely better than the introduction. I don't know enough to go editing this stuff but bear this in mind! Snebbit (talk) 09:20, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Alpha conditioning[edit]

Alpha conditioning and classical conditioning are not synonymous. Alpha conditioning refers to the strengsexthening of a pre-existing response to a CS by pairings of the CS and US. In the more general form of classical conditioning the CR that is established may be a response that was not previously elicited by the CS.

i am not very sure if we could use classical conditioning to reducsexe phobia. can someone demonstrate how this could be done?Liyaaa 16:43, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Flooding, a very common way of treating phobia, is analogous to extsexinction. While this isn't a direct asexpplication of classical conditionisexng, it is a concept that comes from classical conditioning. —The preceding unsigned comment wassex adsexded by (talk) 01:28, 2 May 2007 (UTC).

See also systematic densensitization. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DrJBN (talkcontribs) 12:55, 14 April 2010 sex(UTC)

Apetite conditioning on snails[edit]

I've removed the following line from the article, since it is non-encyclopedic:

A lot of interesting work has been done on classical conditioning and apetite conditioning on the snail Helix aspersa. I advise you to look this up.

The line was added by User: If anyone has more information on apetitite conditioning in snails, or even an external link, I'd love to see it. --PJF (talk) 00:28, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Hi, I think that maybe what our anonymous friend was referring to is the research conducted on another snail, the Aplysia californica. Although, it doesn't seem to have much to do with "appetite conditioning", rather, the book I have writes about the "gill withdrawal reflex". I added a short paragraph on this, there is more info in the book, but it would be nice to have habituation and sensitization explained in the article first. My book references the work done in this area by Eric Kandel: Kandel, E. (1976). Cellular basis of behavior. San Fransisco: W. H. Freeman and Company. There is also some web references in the Aplysia californica article. /skagedal[talk] 21:27, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I removed the information on this snail, because it doesn't contribute to a deeper understanding of classical conditioning. --Lova Falk 09:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

similar pages, combine?[edit] and seem to be the same subject

Yeah, I noticed the same thing.

The Conditioning page is now just disambiguation, and should link to both classical and operant. I think it's fine, currently (10/11/06).

Neural structures involved in classical conditioning[edit]

I think this topic is much vast and a number of brain structures are involved. Stating a single brain area such as cerebellum is not comprehensive to cover the Neural structures involved in classical conditioning. Kpmiyapuram 09:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

You're absolutely right! However, at this point I don't have more knowledge about the neural structures that I can share. I see the two lines about the cerebellum as a start, not as a final paragraph. Please expand the topic if you have more information. (By the way, I just fixed the reference that wasn't shown.) Lova Falk 10:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The literature surrounding the neural structures involved in learning is vast and inconclusive. Is it really worthwhile to put in a section on this when it will neccessarily be over-simplified and misleading? If you guys insist on this sort of information here, perhaps it would be better to come at it from a more structured angle. For example, the neural systems involved in the learned probiscus extension in the honeybee is fairly well characterized and could be pressented as a model. References to Hebbian wiring might be instructive. Or perhaps the neural structures of SPECIFIC learning could be discussed, such as place learning or fear learning in rats. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:23, 2 May 2007 (UTC).
I had left a tag requesting expert attention in this particular section. Not sure why it was removed. sorry, i did remove it when i added information about dopamine system. Please expand it if you have more information. Kpmiyapuram 16:54, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

The entire neural structures section should be deleted. Because classical conditioning has many different "forms" - such as fear or eyeblink - these topics should have their own pages (and they do), which handle the discussion of neural structures. Essentially, they rely on different circuits, and these forms of conditioning have been studied specifically to delineate the underlying mechanisms.--Dentate 02:04, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

any comment on "neural structures" pertinent to classical conditioning has to apply to a vast range of unconditioned stimuli and responses across a huge number of species. and the pertinent "neural structures" are in most cases speculative in any vertebrate, much less humans. a more interesting perspective would be evolutionary: what are the least complex organisms in which classical conditioning appears? i'd suggest it is likely that classical conditioning results from convergent evolution, so that there are a variety of neural mechanisms which produce it in different animal (and plant?) lineages. otherwise, delete this useless display of esoterica. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Macevoy (talkcontribs) 21:44, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Main Article Links[edit]

It would be appropriate to reinstate the link to main article Little albert experiment.

Similarly link to mainarticle aversion therapy can also be reinstated.

Another section on systematic desensitization also has a main article. Kpmiyapuram 09:18, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Theories of classical conditioning[edit]

I have merged the two articles S-S and S-R theories into this article. as one of these articles had been tagged to be merged with classical conditioning. the reseon being that these thoeries fall only into the theme of conditioning and hence do not need consideration as articles on their own. Kpmiyapuram 13:24, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

The theory of S-S learning proposes that stimuli are nerually associated with eachother while S-R learning proposes that the neural representation of the conditioned stimulus becomes wired directly to the response. Neither of these theories depend upon "cognitive action". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:05, 2 May 2007 (UTC).
Really, this whole section is quite misleading and badly written. I don't have time right now, so I'll delete it from the page and leave it in here for future re-working
I have undone some parts of deletion by this user. The major part was already undone by another wikipedian. The word badly is not neutral (wikipedia policy?). The section needs to be revised or attention from an expert. I think this is true to a large extent for most part of this article. Regarding the cognitive activity, perhaps it is from original research. see Signalization and Stimulus-Substitution in Pavlov’s Theory of Conditioning Kpmiyapuram 15:19, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

"Stimulus-response theory, referred to a S-R theory, is a theoretical model of behavioral psychology that suggests animals, and people, can learn to associate a new stimulus- the conditioned stimulus (CS)- with a pre-existing stimulus - the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), and can think, feel or respond to the CS as if it were actually the UCS.

The opposing theory, put forward by cognitive behaviorists, is stimulus-stimulus theory (S-S theory). Stimulus-stimulus theory, referred to a S-S theory, is a theoretical model of classical conditioning that suggests a cognitive component is required to understand classical conditioning and that stimulus-response theory is an inadequate model. It proposes that a cognitive component is at play. S-R theory suggests that an animal can learn to associate a conditioned stimulus (CS) such as a bell, with the impending arrival of food termed the unconditioned stimulus, resulting in an observable behavior such as salivation. Stimulus-stimulus theory suggests that instead the animal salivates to the bell because it is associated with the concept of food, which is a very fine but important distinction.

  • This section is simply not correct! Stimulus-response (S-R) theory claims that the CS elicits a response through a direct association with the unconditioned RESPONSE (UR), not the unconditioned stimulus (US), hence the term stimulus-response. Stimulus-stimulus (S-S) theory instead claims that the conditioned response (CR) arises through the association between the CS and the US, and that it is via this association that the CS is able to elicit a response. Consider the following:

I don't own this information, however. I just refer you to the link as I feel it might help to clarify this particular area of confusion. Melissza (talk) 10:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)Melissza

Check out Suki's human experiment as well for her views on s-s theory here =>[1]

To test this theory, psychologist Robert Rescorla undertook the following experiment [1]. Rats learned to associate a loud noise as the unconditioned stimulus, and a light as the conditioned stimulus. The response of the rats was to freeze and cease movement. What would happen then if the rats were habituated to the UCS? S-R theory would suggest that the rats would continue to respond to the UCS, but if S-S theory is correct, they would be habituated to the concept of a loud sound (danger), and so would not freeze to the CS. The expiremental results suggest that S-S was correct, as the rats no longer froze when exposed to the signal light. [2]"

all well and good, but it is very important to pay attention to the freighted language in these "theoretical" positions. "cognitive" in particular is complicated by the fact that classical conditioning has been clearly demonstrated in animals that don't "think" or "form concepts". it's ok to use the term "learned" but only in the technical sense of a behavioral change that is not developmental. and classical conditioning was early understood by using responses that were reflexive or involuntary (eye blink, salivation), rather than "cognitively mediated" or learned, and a theory that does not track or account for generalizing from reflexes to learned responses is probably just playing with words. Macevoy (talk) 22:04, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Merging two other articles[edit]

I agree with the proposal to merge eye blink conditioning and fear conditioning into classical conditioning. Both are clearly examples of classical conditioning and the articles are too small to justify that the're separate. Lova Falk 12:18, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I paste below the comment by another wikipedian who thinks that fear conditioning should not be merged into this article. Kpmiyapuram 15:47, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Fear conditioning is a massive area of research with multiple applications and a vast literature. What determines whether something gets its own page? Will you put blocking into classical conditioning? Overshadowing? Sensory preconditioning? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:35, 2 May 2007 (UTC).
However i think the eyeblink conditioning article has more information on trace and delay conditioning and hence the merge suggestion for this article remains. Kpmiyapuram 15:47, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I've been working on the eyeblink conditioning page. A merger is simply out of the question. A link to fear conditioning or eyeblink conditioning from classical conditioning is much more appropriate. Any help that anyone wants to provide to make eyeblink conditioning page look more professional would be great. There is much more to add, too, which I will start a discussion on tomorrow.--Dentate 01:55, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

again, "eye blink" is a pretty specific, easily measured and physical reflex, while "fear" is a complex emotional state that is in most instances learned (it is quite distinct from a startle response or a freeze response, for example). this page would do well to lay out all the generalities about classical conditioning in the context of reflex or nondevelopmental responses only, and then tackle the conceptual problems and generalizing classical conditioning up the brain stem, through the limbic system, and into the gray mush of "concepts". Macevoy (talk) 22:03, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Aversion Therapy[edit]

Might be appropriate to mention Clockwork Orange. Is this sort of therapy actually DONE anymore? Any Clinicians in the house? It seems totally unethical. It strikes me as something that "psychologists" would use to "cure homosexuality". (<--biased opinions allowed in the talk section, eh? ;))

It's always good to know whom I'm talking to, so please sign your posts using the four tildes (~~~~).
As you can read in the article on Aversion therapy, it is still used. For example alcoholics can take a medicine that makes them really sick if they would drink. The article on aversion therapy also refers to Clockwork Orange. I don't think "Classical conditioning" needs to mention this movie (too specific). However, I think the paragraph on aversion therapy needs to be rewritten and I might just do that myself. Maybe not tonight though. Lova Falk 18:04, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Little Albert[edit]

This whole section really belongs under Fear conditioning with a link to the Little Albert experiment.--Dentate 05:14, 15 August 2007 (UTC)


The main page has no fluidity. After the description of Pavlov's experiment it is probably best to have a brief description of classical conditioning as it has been applied to the human condition. This will demonstrate the relevance and importance to the average reader. For example, you could discuss behavior therapy, systematic desensitization, etc. After this, the majority of the rest of the page should discuss theories of classical conditioning. Here you could discuss theories of Rescorla, Wagner, etc. --Dentate 05:14, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Here is a little list of information that needs to be added with descriptions of each:

Types of Classical Conditioning[edit]

Forward Conditioning[edit]

The onset of the CS precedes the onset of the US. Three common forms of Forward Conditioning are: Short-delay, Long-delay, and Trace.

Short-delay Conditioning[edit]

The onset of the US is delayed relative to the onset of the CS. In this procedure, the CS may completely overlap with the US, or the CS may terminate at some point before the US offset. The term "short" refers to the Interstimulus interval (ISI), and is determined by the type of classical conditioning. For example, in some forms of classical conditioning, such as Eyeblink conditioning, ISIs in the range of 100 to 750 msec are typically considered short. In other forms of classical conditioning, such as in Taste aversion, ISIs in the range of minutes to 1 or 2 hours are considered short.

Long-delay Conditioning[edit]

In this procedure, the onset of the US is still delayed relative to the onset of the CS, but ISIs are longer than in the Short-delay Procedure. While the difference between Short and Long may appear trivial, the distinction is important because some forms of conditioning are best learned with a long delay, while others are best learned with a short delay.

Trace Conditioning[edit]

The CS and US do not overlap. Instead, the CS is presented, a period of time is allow to elapse during which no stimuli are presented, and then the US is presented. The stimulus free period is called the trace interval.

Simultaneous Conditioning[edit]

The CS and US are presented at the same time.

Backward Conditioning[edit]

The onset of the US precedes the onset of the CS.

Temporal Conditioning[edit]

The US is presented at regularly timed intervals, and CR acquisition is dependent upon correct timing of the interval between US presentations. The background, or context, can serve as the CS in this example.

Unpaired Conditioning[edit]

The CS and US are not presented together. Usually they are presented as independent trials that are separated by a variable, or pseudo-random, interval. This procedure is used to study non-associative behavioral responses, such as Sensitization.

CS-Alone Extinction[edit]

The CS is presented in the absence of the US. This procedure is usually done after the CR has been acquired thought Forward Conditioning training. Eventually, the CR frequency is reduced to pre-training levels.

Variations of Classical Conditioning Procedures[edit]

In addition to the simple procedures described above, some classical conditioning studies are designed to tap into more complex learning processes. Some common variations are discussed below.

Classical Discrimination/Reversal Conditioning[edit]

In this procedure, two CSs and one US are typically used. The CSs may be the same modality (such as lights of different intensity), or they may be different modalities (such as auditory CS and visual CS). In this procedure, one of the CSs is designated CS+ and its presentation is always followed by the US. The other CS is designated CS- and its presentation is never followed by the US. After a number of trials, the organism learns to discriminate CS+ trials and CS- trials such that CRs are only observed on CS- trials.

During Reversal Training, the CS+ and CS- are reversed and subjects learn to suppress responding to the previous CS+ and show CRs to the previous CS-.

Classical ISI Discrimination Conditioning[edit]

This is a discrimination procedure in which two different CSs are used to signal two different Interstimulus intervals. For example, a dim light may be presented 30 seconds before a US, while a very bright light is presented 2 minutes before the US. Using this technique, organisms can learn to perform CRs the are appropriately timed for the two distinct CSs. --Dentate 15:14, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Latent Inhibition Conditioning[edit]

In this procedure, a CS is presented several times before paired CS-US training commences. The pre-exposure of the subject to the CS before paired training slows the rate of CR acquisition relative to organisms that are not CS pre-exposed. Also see Latent inhibition for applications.--Dentate 15:14, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Conditioned Inhibition Conditioning[edit]

Three phases of conditioning are typically used:

Phase 1:
A CS (CS+) is paired with a US until asymptotic CR levels are reached.
Phase 2:
CS+/US trials are continued, but interspersed with trials on which the CS+ in compound with a second CS, but not with the US (i.e., CS+/CS- trials). Typically, organisms show CRs on CS+/US trials, but suppress responding on CS+/CS- trials.
Phase 3:
In this retention test, the previous CS- is paired with the US. If conditioned inhibition has occurred, the rate of acquisition to the previous CS- should be impaired relative to organisms that did not experience Phase 2.


This form of classical conditioning also involves three phases.

Phase 1:
A CS (CS1) is paired with a US.
Phase 2:
CS1 is presented in compound with a new CS (CS2), and the compound is paired with the US.
Phase 3:
CS2 is paired with the US. Blocking is measured as an impairment in the rate of learning to CS2 relative to organisms that did not experience Phase 2. Essentially, acquisition to CS2 is blocked during compound training because CRs had already formed to CS1.

Second Order Conditioning[edit]

Sensory Preconditioning[edit]

Conditional Discrimination[edit]

All of this should go after a history of CC section and before any discussion of learning theory. Actually, now that I think of it, discussions of learning theories should really have their own wiki entries. They are far too involved to be relevant on this page.--Dentate 13:15, 16 August 2007 (UTC) </nowiki>

Difficulty of introduction[edit]

I was hoping to link through to this page from the article on electronic dog control collars, but I fear most readers won't understand the dense text in the introduction, let alone the jargonistic nature of the rest of the article. Whilst I appreciate its scientific (and therefore precise) nature, the article reads as if it were written by doctorate students in psychology: would it be possible to make at least the introduction a bit more readable to your average, non-psychology graduate reader? kabl00ey 22:50, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Dense and jargonistic indeed, though I wouldn't say it's particularly precise (or, more importantly, concise). I commented below on this very issue. I stopped short of slapping a cleanup tag on the article, but it definitely needs a huge amount of work in the readability department. Fuzzform (talk) 21:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I suppose this is my fault. I revised the introduction because it looked like a child wrote it. Aside from obvious errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, the basic information was just wrong. I'll think about how to make it more clear to every reader. The other thing is, regarding the shock collar, you might consider linking to operant conditioning instead. You see, in Classical conditioning, the animal has absolutely no control over the stimuli. In Operant conditioning, the punishments and rewards are completely under the control of the animal. So, if the dog simply learns not to bark, then it will avoid the shock. The animal can control the delivery of the shock by not barking.--Dentate 17:21, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Being someone who never studied conditioning like this, the article is extremely difficult to understand. I don't consider myself a genious, but I do consider myself successfully educated on the low-college level at least. To write an article, I find it best to imagine a freshman in high school who never knew classical conditioning ever existed (or any conditioning) trying to read the article.

I'm pretty sure that's easier said than done, considering the nature and intellect of the topic, but this is an encyclopeida afterall -- general knowledge, with some room for deeper understanding and further study.

I'll give you an example: the very first few sentences. I don't know what associative learning is. I didn't know "classical conditioning" was something that could be demonstrated.

"The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral stimulus along with a stimulus of some significance." -- This explains nothing to me. The introduction still hasn't explained what classical conditioning is, thus, inducing it into what, or how? There is a procedure for it? I can easily look it up, but I don't know what a "neutral stimulus" is either, although I am now hinted that "classical conditioning" has something to do with the mind.

Going to, I found out more information about classical conditioning in one paragraph than this entire page. "A process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus that has been repeatedly presented along with an unconditioned stimulus that elicits the desired response." While this is still too complex (though an encyclopedia article has more room), I can now guess what a neutral stimulus is, and generally what the article is discussing. Colonel Marksman (talk) 20:31, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi folks, I must agree that the lede is far too technical and verbose an explanation for a general encyclopedia article.
1- The use of abbreviations is confusing even to the professional reader,
2- The use of jargon and in-jokes e.g. the quote from Rescorla at the end is the wrong to tone to strike in the lede- jokey, appealing to a teen audience, not well-considered,
3- The lede makes no reference to behavior modification, which is what everyone calls it these days. The 1950s-Behaviorist (and very limited) idea of "learning theory" in complex organisms is not something people ascribe to these days unless they are strictly Behaviorists. Are there any left? Nowadays, learning theory takes into account emotion and cognition, which the older school did not. Also, neurobiologist have a lot to say on this subject today, something that psychologists are still way behind on.
4- It's far too long! 3 to 5 lines ought to be the limit.
I'm going to try to put something together in the next day or two. Please edit or revert if you feel this is going in the wrong direction. Laguna greg 21:54, 7 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Laguna greg (talkcontribs)


Is it possible to better organize this page? As it stands, it is difficult to garner the basics of conditioning from the presented information. A simple diagram would help immensely. The many, many subsections describing variations on conditioning are mostly uninformative and are quite confusing; they need to be better organized. The massive list of sections and subsections is enough to turn off any non-expert's interest in the article. Fuzzform 21:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

section removed[edit]

Kpmiyapuram (talk) 18:49, 4 April 2008 (UTC) see previous discussion as some users suggested this section to be deleted

Neural structures involved in classical conditioning[edit]

Dopamine neurons in the pars compacta of substantia nigra and the medially adjoining ventral tegmental area show short, phasic activations after presentation of appetitive US. These phasic dopamine responses transfer to the onset of conditioned stimuli.[3] It has been suggested that the ventral striatum corresponds to the critic and responds during both Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning and the dorsal striatum corresponds to the actor which mainly responds during operant conditioning.[4] Amygdala has long been associated with Pavlovian fear conditioning, but recent views suggest that amygdala also responds to appetitive stimuli.[5] Neurons within the orbitofrontal cortex discriminate between visual stimuli that predict appetitive and aversive reinforcers [6] The cerebellum also appears to be involved in classical conditioning. Researchers demonstrated that lesions to pathways from the cerebellum stop the conditioned response, but do not stop the unconditioned response.[7]


The concept of Cc,and the experiments of Cc, as is doesn't seem (to me) to proove it is learning we are talking about. It could very well be memory. My impression reading the leads of Cc, learning and memory is that psychology, being soft, doesn't care to elaborate hard enough on those issues. For example it could provide clear cut definitions of "learning" and "memory", for a start. I know this is just my personal impression, and I don't have any referenced material to provide on this "criticism". So I am just making a suggestion that someone working on these articles, and more knowledgeable about these staff, could check it out. Also I could point out that the ref intro talks about "conditioned reflexes" and not "conditioned learning". Also, the laymans concept of "memory" is about cognitive recall, while the scientific concept (ie Flip-flop (electronics)) is about signal response being a function of the previous input signal.--Vanakaris (talk) 20:43, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

@Vanakaris: While I agree that these concepts have not been articulated well in the present article, the articles you link to on learning and memory should clarify the meaning of these concepts for you. While the exact nature of learning and memory is constantly debated among psychologists, this should not be taken to suggest that psychology is "soft". Again referring you to your own reference, "hard sciences are characterized as relying on experimental, empirical, quantifiable data, relying on the scientific method, and focusing on accuracy and objectivity". Any book on methodology in experimental psychology will emphasise these characteristics as essential to any pursuit which purports to be experimental psychology. Back to the subject, learning is the process by which memories are formed. If you have a memory, then that in itself is evidence that you have learnt. Melissza (talk) 11:03, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Precursors to Pavlov?[edit]

C. S. Peirce, at the end of part III of "The Fixation of Belief," mentions "...that habit of the nerves in consequence of which the smell of a peach will make the mouth water." This was written in 1877, and the casual way he mentions it implies that CC was well understood before Pavlov's experiments. Maybe the article needs a "Precusors to Pavlov" sub-section? Unfortunately, I don't have the knowledge to write that sub-section -- I just happened to be reading Peirce and was struck by how, already in 1877, he could assume that everyone understood the concept. (talk) 22:34, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

The introduction is completely wrong[edit]

Classical conditioning does not require a "stimulus of some significance" - for example - the phenomena of sensory preconditioning.

The unconditioned stimulus does not necessarily evoke an innate or reflexive behavior - in fact it's more often an emotion than an overt behavior in modern studies.

There does not need to be repeated pairings. Most fear conditioning and taste aversion can be learned in a single trial.

It's also missing what is learned during classical conditioning. See Rescorla 1988 - —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:53, 24 March 2011 (UTC) yeaah! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:18, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Types of classical conditioning[edit]

The section Types of classical conditioning seems very long winded. Couldn't it be reduced to a single paragraph explaining all of them? The individual sub sections are only a few sentences each, it make it a little confusing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Finbob83 (talkcontribs) 14:13, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Seems like classical conditioning is mostly associated with the pavlov's experiment on pavlov's dogs. Classical conditioning falls under associative learning. Associative learning is the most basic form of learning. Associative learning is making new association between events and their environment. Classical conditioning is forms a association between two stimulus. In Pavlov's experiment the dog was conditioned to receive food. Every time the dog was expecting to receive food it would salivate. Pavlov Dogs
added by Taylorbn6 (talk —Preceding undated comment added 04:44, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the Types of Classical Conditioning section is needed in full. Pavlov's Dogs maybe the most well-known example, but there very many others. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:06, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Classical Conditioning Graphic[edit]

I think that this could be improved by adding an info-graphic that reinforces the meaning of classic conditioning. Courtneb (talk) 03:12, 4 December 2012 (UTC)


"reinforces", lol. But yes that's quite a good graphic. I'm sure some editor, who is clever with use of a standard graphics package, could produce a version for upload here. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:00, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I've tried to make some very simple graphics trying to show the main procedures (Forward, Second Order, Temporal, Simultaneous) and effects (extinction, blocking, inhibition). Not sure how to represent other effects though.Nicolas P. Rougier (talk) 08:30, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Sterne's Locke[edit]

"Which strange combination of ideas, the sagacious Locke, who certainly understood the nature of these things better than most men, affirms to have produced more wry actions than all other sources of prejudice whatsoever." Is Sterne suggesting here that Locke knew all about Classical conditioning? or what is his intention/ allusion? Martinevans123 (talk) 15:56, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Criteria for a conditioned response[edit]

How to distinguish a conditioned reflex from an unconditioned one? The article does not answer this question. While describing the mechanisms of classical conditioning, the article never once alludes to the criteria which are used in order to determine whether a given response is conditioned or unconditioned. I’ve just started the corresponding section, but it is in need of expanding. --SU ltd. (talk) 09:29, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

It's going to depend on the context/aim of the conditioning. Goggle search of ""criterion for a conditioned response" gives only nine hits. Bur I see amongst these:
  • "The test criterion for a conditioned response (CR) was that a rat jumped onto the pole in three succeeding stimulus combinations during the tone signal."
  • " A response latency in excess of 10 sec. was taken as a criterion for a conditioned response.
  • "The criterion for a conditioned response (CR) was established as any eyelid movement >0.5 mm from resting level... "
(emphasis added) etc., etc... Martinevans123 (talk) 10:42, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Thank you, Martinevans. I see 2 matches instead of nine. As far as I can understand, you’re citing these two papers. I don’t think a proper answer to my question depends on the mode of conditioning. Perhaps I should clear up my point. Breathing, walking and scratching are examples of innate (i.e., inherited) programs, to which many learned programs are added in the course of one’s life. How to distinguish the learned from the innate? Judging from Russian textbooks on physiology, there’s a set of definite criteria for a conditioned reflex. If they are met, the reflex in question is not unconditioned. Unfortunately, I’m neither a biologist nor a physician by education. And yet not only biologists but also psychologists take human physiology at university. The theory of conditioned reflexes relates to both biology and psychology. So Lova Falk who contributes to the article very much certainly knows the question. I only don’t know whether she’d like to answer. I’ll translate the corresponding text from my textbook and add to this article before I ask her. A full text (translated from Russian) will allow me to make my question more precise. When she has a look at the text, she’ll probably be able to offer her critical remarks. --SU ltd. (talk) 15:44, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Well I certainly got nine. I'm not sure how anyone could propose a single criterion that would cover every circumstance. But I think I now see where you are coming from - the difference between a learned response and an innate one. I'd argue that innate responses are in the domain of physiology, whereas learned responses are in the domain of psychology. But this may be a bit simplistic and circular to be of any use here. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:07, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes, of course, you’ve grasp my point correctly. I’d like to say that not only psychology, but also philosophy deals with the problem I mean. Perhaps another example can serve as an additional illustration of what I mean: Prinz, Jesse (2013). "Morality is a Culturally Conditioned Response". Philosophy Now.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help) Or this: Instinct and the Unconscious by Carl Jung. My question is closer to psychology than physiology. That’s why I think that Lova Falk’s advice might be most helpful. I’m sure she took this material at university while I’m autodidact in this field.

What has led me to create the “Difference between conditioned and unconditioned reflexes” section is the fact that both “conditioned reflex” and “unconditioned response” refers to this article. There’s no separate article about conditioned reflexes in WP. While asking about the criteria for them, I mean the fact that many behavioural patterns seem instinctive though they are not eventually innate. According to Pavlov, instincts are complex unconditioned reflexes. He divided all the reflexes taking place in the organism into two principal groups — unconditioned and conditioned. But it is not always clear in every particular case whether a reflex is really an instinct (unconditioned reflex) or merely seems to be instinctive. This attaches importance to criteria for drawing a line between the two groups of reflexes. That’s why I’ve created the section. I do not state that there is a single criterion. On the contrary, I’ve added a reference to Nikolai Agajanyan’s textbook which names 5 (five) criteria. But he talks about them in Russian, of course. Translating his text into English will take me some time. It’ll probably be a week or two because I am currently occupied in real life. --SU ltd. (talk) 20:14, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Alas, I fear your clear philosophical waters may be muddied somewhat by this behavioural upstart. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:06, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Konorski quote removal[edit]

Sometime around 1930 (later published in translated form 1948) Konorski commented that phyiologists outside the Soviet Union had not paid much attention to Pavlovian conditioning. This historical footnote is so minor, given the enormous history that is omitted, that it breaks the flow and is not appropriate here. Db4wp (talk) 20:44, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your helpful comments both here and in the article itself ("Though conditioning was eventually taken up by experimental psychologists, Konorski noted that it was little noticed by physiologists"). The point is I’m perplexed by the fact that the bulk of Pavlov’s theory of conditioned reflexes is missing from English-speaking textbooks. Proceeding from Looie496’s comment, I supposed that Western scientists do not admit the theory at all. Perhaps you’re pointing out that the situation is quite the opposite. The reflex theory is widely recognized in the West, too. Do I understand your remarks correctly? --SU ltd. (talk) 13:12, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, as perhaps the article shows, Pavlovian conditioning is a mainstay of experimental psychology in the west. Apart from work associated with human cognition and behavior, this area has probably the largest and most coherent theoretical development of any area having to do with behavior. This was started by Pavlov but now goes very far beyond his initial theory. Db4wp (talk) 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Schmidt quote removal[edit]

There is a discursive quote in the introduction that gives some examples of unconditioned reflexes and a short physiological-connectionist interpretation of reflexes. A quotation isn't appropriate here unless, possibly, it is from Pavlov or other classic work. This one appears to be a translation from a 1989 textbook by Schmidt & Thews. Also, the content adds little and doesn't really fit in this introduction. For these reasons I am removing it. Db4wp (talk) 15:10, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Which year did Pavlov make his discovery in?[edit]

Article makes no mention about the history. Separate section requested. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

 I agree, it says such and such discovered the same thing a year later - but doesn't mention which year!  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 28 October 2015 (UTC) 

Moved redundant para to talk page[edit]

This paragraph in the second section is 1- redundant and 2- doesn't flow well, considering that the following section discusses Pavlov's experiment in much greater depth. I moved it here for the time being:

A classic experiment by Ivan Pavlov exemplifies the standard procedure used in classical conditioning.[3] First Pavlov observed the UR (salivation) produced when meat powder (US) was placed in the dog's mouth. He then rang a bell (CS) before giving the meat powder. After some repetitions of this pairing of bell and meat the dog salivated to the bell alone, demonstrating what Pavlov called a "conditional" response, now commonly termed "conditioned response" or CR.

Laguna greg 20:25, 8 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Laguna greg (talkcontribs)

  1. ^ Rescorla, R (1973) Effect of US habituation following conditioning. Journal of Comparitive and Physiological Psychology, 82 17-143
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