Example of Classical, Operant and Behavior Conditioning in My Life

Write a 1-2 page paper that details each of the Conditioning in My Life

  1. Classical Conditioning – Describe a fear or phobia that you possess, and that was learned through classical conditioning. If you are among the “fearless,” have a friend share a fear with you. Show how the principles of classical conditioning (unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response) apply to the development of your fear or phobia.
  2. Operant Conditioning – Describe one of your childhood learning experiences that involved operant conditioning, such as having to do something to get a reward or avoid punishment. Discuss how the principles of operant conditioning (behavior consequences, reinforcement, or punishment) applied to your learning experience.
  3. Behavior Modification – Describe a small behavior that you would like to change in someone you live with: a roommate, sibling, parent, child, or partner. Examples include leaving their things in the living room or not emptying the trash. Show how the principles of operant conditioning (behavior consequences, reinforcement, or punishment) could be used to keep this behavior in place. Describe how you could use behavior modification to change this behavior.

Examples of Conditioning in My Life

Classical Conditioning

Classical Conditioning is a learning process influenced by direct interactions with an environmental stimulus. The placing of neutral signals before any known naturally occurring reflex therefore occurs, eventually shaping behavior (McSweeney, 2014). Classical Conditioning can occasion the learning of extreme and irrational fears which are referred to as phobias. Neutral stimuli that characteristically cause no fear end up being linked with a specific unconditioned stimulus. The result is a fear response towards the said neutral stimulus, which then creates a phobia. My fear of snakes, universally referred to as ophidiophobia, is an example of a response that was learned through Classical Conditioning.  It is essential to acknowledge that I was not initially afraid of snakes. However, all this changed when I received a painful bite from a grass snake prompting my life-long fear of snakes. Nonetheless, my ophidiophobia can be explained using Classical Conditioning.  The biting episode taught me to link the snake bite (an unconditional stimulus) with snakes, which, before the incident, was an unconditioned stimulus. From that point onwards, snakes became a conditioned stimulus that would always evoke fear. Snakes now arouse a conditioned response; which is extreme apprehension that reminds me of the first bite.

Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning is a learning technique that uses rewards and punishment to create a specific behavior. The resultant effect is that the subject is now capable of associating a particular demeanor and its consequence. Operant Conditioning is an offshoot of Thorndike’s law of effect. It posits that positive consequences predict the repetition of a particular behavior (Skinner & Ferster, 2015). Strengthening often occurs when an action is frequently reinforced and weakened when punishment is applied.  One of my childhood experiences with Operant Conditioning involved a daily routine of completing homework. My mother devised a technique that usually involved rewarding me with candy whenever I finished my homework. The simple act of completing this seemingly menial task was rewarded with candy; therefore imprinting a new demeanor.

Behavior modification

Behavior modification is possible using Operant Conditioning. For instance, my younger siblings usually fail to clean their room regularly, preferring to spend their day watching television shows, and playing computer games. Their behavior can be transformed by first making sure that they are aware of the behavior consequence. Failure to clean their rooms will result in no television or gaming time as a form of punishment. However, cleaning their room will be rewarded with an opportunity to watch their favorite shows and engage in gaming activities, thus transforming their behavior.

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