Major Movements in Psychology


What is associative or classical conditioning?

Associative conditioning, also called classical or Pavlovian conditioning, refers to a form of learning in which a person or animal is conditioned to respond in a particular way to a specific stimulus. If a neutral stimulus is paired with an emotionally meaningful one, than the neutral stimulus will become associated with the second stimulus and elicit the same response. For example, if a child learns to associate a particular perfume with a beloved grandmother, the child will develop a positive response to the perfume. In contrast, if the child learns to associate going to the doctor with getting a painful shot, then the child will learn to fear the doctor. This basic concept is used in child rearing, advertising, political campaigns, the treatment of addictions, and much of animal training.


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