Q. Show your acquaintance with the cognitive approach to classical conditioning and describe how classical conditioning principles can be used to solve everyday problems. 20 marks, CSE 2016

4 thoughts on “Learning”

  1. The theory of classical conditioning is propounded by Ivan pavalov.The basic principle behind this theory is that how a conditioned stimulus start evoking the conditioned response replaing the unconditioned stimulus which provides unconditioned respose.
    The acquaintance of cognitive approach can be justified as-
    The traditional explanation of theory believes that it is a mechanical process but modern explanations says that cognitive process plays its own role like while GENERALISATION cognition helps to find similar stimulus and generalising the response.for example -one can generalise tbe rwsponse in case of similar sound of bees,wasps etc.
    In same way during DISCRIMINATION cognition hepls us to recognise two different stimuli and accordingly discriminating the response.
    The everyday life problems like phobias ,neurotic behaviour,nicotine addiction etc can be solve by this theory.
    For instance- if a child donot eat green vegetables we can make him eat like first provide child with the
    green veggie(cs)————no response(cr)
    Favourite dish(ucs)——— salivation unconditioned response(ucr)
    With time and pairing of this cs and ucs child will develop a taste for green vegetables and change in behaviour will be
    Green veggie(cs)——salivation unconditional response(ucr)

    1. Think more of cognitive factors and support your points with studies.
      Application of classical conditioning you have suggested is consistent with the principles but add research studies to support the points.
      You should have cited applications like flooding, implosion, conditioned taste aversion etc.

  2. Classical conditioning is a basic form of learning in which through the process of repeated pairing, a neutral stimulus aquires the capability to elicit a response that was previously elicited only by a natural stimulus. However, many studies reveal that this process is not entirely mechanical and does involve the role of cognition, as illustrated below:

    1. Role of Expectancy:

    When paring of a Conditioned Stimulus(CS) and an Unconditioned Stimulus(US) is carried out in a random manner, subjects fail to acquire a firm expectancy that a particular US will definitely follow a particular CS and hence conditioning fails to occur. This shows that expectancy (a cognitive factor) plays an important role in classical conditioning.

    Also, while Forward conditioning works very efficiently in establishing a conditioned response, it generally fails in the case of Backward Conditioning. This is because in Forward Conditioning, the subject expects the US to follow the CS. This expectancy is not present in the case of Backward Conditioning resulting in its failure.

    Further, the occurrence of the phenomenon of Blocking i.e. the fact that conditioning to one stimulus prevents the conditioning to another stimulus also testifies the role of expectancy.

    2. Mental Imagery:

    The studies conducted by Holzman and Levis(1991) give evidence to the fact that through the process of pairing, even a mental (cognitive) image of a particular stimulus can be made to elicit a conditioned response.

    3. Role of memory:

    Generally, for conditioning to take place, the time gap between the presentation of CS and US should be minimum. However, in case of conditioning of human beings, this gap can be larger which shows that memory may be an important factor in classical conditioning.

    Application of Classical conditioning priniciples in solving problems of daily life:

    1. In routine tasks like performing everyday chores, driving a car, following traffic signals etc. We hardly give a thought before changing gear or applying brakes

    2. In predicting the weather and taking necessary measures such as carrying an umbrella if its cloudy

    3. Correctly typing at the keboard, typewriter etc. without paying attention to the individual keys

    4. Training pets to come running at a particular sound

    5. Leaving the way for an ambulance, hearing its siren

    6. Development of taste aversions that save us from notorious food stuffs

    7. Treating addictions and phobias through desensitisation technique

    8. Judging people by their outfits (doctors, policemen etc)

    9. Spottting people we know even without seeing their face just by their dressing or way of walking or purfume

    10. Taking decisions based on past experiences (e.g. avoiding a particular route if bitten by a dog in the past)

    11. Avoiding road trips if aware of a curfew or VIP movement

    1. First part of the answer is almost appropriate. Second part of the answer however is not substantial. You have merely written points. You have not specified exactly how classical conditioning mechanisms would work. Marks 7+0/20

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