Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) pioneered the concepts of conditional and unconditioned response. Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who accidentally discovered these reactions, while studying the digestive system of dogs. His discovery significantly influenced the field of behavioral psychology. Conditioned and unconditioned responses are the essential elements of classical conditioning, which is important for the study of the social learning theory and behavioral theories of psychotherapy. They are also used in the management of behavior in school environments and residential treatment services.
While researching the digestive system of dogs, Pavlov placed meat powder in dogs ‘ mouths and measured reactions in different bodies. He discovered that the dogs started to salivate in response to the meat powder, before it was presented to them. Pavlov found this answer exciting and gave up his research to start studying what he later called classical conditioning.
unconditional reactions occur naturally. These are innate reflexes such as yawning or sneezing. In the example of Pavlov’s dogs, the unconditioned response is drooling. Dogs naturally salivated reaction to the food. The food is called an unconditional stimulus, since it triggers the naturally occurring or unconditional, response.
conditional reactions do not occur naturally. They occur due to exposure and experience. Pavlov observed that the dogs after exposure to meat powder, started salivating when they recognized the cues that the meat powder was on the way, as when the researcher prepared meat powder or when the researcher entered the room. He experimented with this response by ringing a Bell before presenting the food. The dogs began to salivate when he called on, even when there was no food present. In this case, drooling is a conditional response to a ringing Bell, because the dogs were conditioned to associate the Bell with food.
The use of air conditioning and unconditional Responses
Related reactions can be observed each day through an individual’s response to the environment. Fear of snakes is an example. Children are not necessarily born afraid of snakes. But they learn to fear them when they hear parents scream when they see a snake in the yard or talking about their own fears when they see one on TV. Get good grades is another example. A child does not know an “A” on a test is good until the teacher or the parents pay tribute to him to receive A.