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Educational Psychology Define and contrast the three types of behavioral learning theories (contiguity, classical conditioning, and

operant conditioning), giving examples of how each can be used in the classroom.

Developed by W. Huitt & J. Hummel (1999)

Behavioral earning !heory "ccording to the behaviorists, learning can be defined as #the relatively permanent change in behavior brought about as a result of experience or practice.$ Behaviorists recogni%e that learning is an internal event. &owever, it is not recogni%ed as learning until it is displayed by overt behavior.

Behavioral earning !heory !he term 'learning theory' is often associated with the behavioral view. !he focus of the behavioral approach is on how the environment impacts overt behavior. (emember that biological maturation or genetics is an alternative explanation for relatively permanent change.

Behavioral earning !heory !he behavioral learning theory is represented as an )*( paradigm. !he organism is treated as a #blac+ box.$ ,e only +now what is going on inside the box by the organism-s overt behavior.
)timulus ()) .rganism (.) (esponse (()

Behavioral earning !heory !he feedbac+ loop that connects overt behavior to stimuli that activate the senses has been studied extensively from this perspective.

Behavioral earning !heory /otice that the behaviorists are only interested in that aspect of feedbac+ that connects directly to overt behavior. Behaviorists are not interested in the conscious decision of the individual to disrupt, modify, or go against the conditioning process.

Behavioral earning !heory !here are three types of behavioral learning theories0 1ontiguity theory 1lassical or respondent conditioning theory .perant or instrumental conditioning theory

1ontiguity !heory 1ontiguity theory is based on the wor+ of E. (. 2uthrie. 3t proposes that any stimulus and response connected in time and4or space will tend to be associated.

1ontiguity !heory Examples0 " baseball player wearing a certain pair of soc+s on the day he hits three home runs associates wearing the soc+s and hitting home runs. " student ma+ing a good grade on a test after trying a new study techni5ue ma+es an association between the stimulus of studying and the response of getting a good grade.

1ontiguity !heory 2uthrie-s contiguity theory is one foundation for the more cognitively* oriented learning theory of neural networ+s.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


1lassical conditioning was the first type of learning to be discovered and studied within the behaviorist tradition (hence the name classical). !he ma6or theorist in the development of classical conditioning is 3van Pavlov, a (ussian scientist trained in biology and medicine (as was his 2erman contemporary, )igmund 7reud).

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


Pavlov was studying the digestive system of dogs and became intrigued with his observation that dogs deprived of food began to salivate when one of his assistants wal+ed into the room. &e began to investigate this phenomena and established the laws of classical conditioning. )+inner renamed this type of learning 'respondent conditioning$ since in this type of learning, one is responding to an environmental antecedent.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


2eneral model0 )timulus ()) elicits 8(esponse (() 1lassical conditioning starts with a reflex (()0 an innate, involuntary behavior. !his involuntary behavior is elicited or caused by an antecedent environmental event. 7or example, if air is blown into your eye, you blin+. 9ou have no voluntary or conscious control over whether the blin+ occurs or not.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


!he specific model for classical conditioning is0 " stimulus will naturally (without learning) elicit or bring about a reflexive response :nconditioned )timulus (:)) elicits 8 :nconditioned (esponse (:()

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


!he specific model for classical conditioning is0 /eutral )timulus (/)) *** does not elicit the response of interest !his stimulus (sometimes called an orienting stimulus as it elicits an orienting response) is a neutral stimulus since it does not elicit the :nconditioned (or reflexive) (esponse.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


!he /eutral4.rientiing )timulus (/)) is repeatedly paired with the :nconditioned4/atural )timulus (:)).

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


!he /eutral )timulus (/)) is transformed into a 1onditioned )timulus (1)). !hat is, when the 1) is presented by itself, it elicits or causes the 1( (which is the same involuntary response as the :(. !he name changes because it is elicited by a different stimulus. !his is written 1) elicits 8 1(.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


3n the area of classroom learning, classical conditioning is seen primarily in the conditioning of emotional behavior. !hings that ma+e us happy, sad, angry, etc. become associated with neutral stimuli that gain our attention.

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


7or example, the school, classroom, teacher, or sub6ect matter are initially neutral stimuli that gain attention. "ctivities at school or in the classroom automatically elicit emotional responses and these activities are associated with the neutral or orienting stimulus "fter repeated presentations, the previously neutral stimulus will elicit the emotional response

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


Example0 1hild is harassed at school 1hild feels bad when harassed 1hild associates being harassed and school 1hild begins to feel bad when she thin+s of school

1lassical 1onditioning !heory


3n order to extinguish the associated of feeling bad and thin+ing of school, the connection between school and being harassed must be bro+en.

.perant 1onditioning !heory


.perant conditioning is the study of the impact of conse5uences on behavior. ,ith operant conditioning we are dealing with voluntary behaviors. !he details of operant conditioning are presented separately.