Behavior and Learning

Behavior and Learning

Numerous psychological phenomena go on in the human body. Some of these phenomena are voluntary or involuntary; while other can be conditioned. This paper seeks to address classical conditioning based on Ivan Pavlov observations. According to McSweeney & Murphy (2014), the classical conditioning theory involves learning new behaviors through the process of association. In layman terms, when two stimuli are linked together, they produce a newly learned response in an individual or an animal (Olson, 2015). Olson (2015) is convinced that classical conditioning can explain all aspects of human psychology since everyone has at one point been conditioned to respond to two linked stimuli.

Based on my personal experience, classical conditioning can occur even in the most natural way. For instance, I used to live in quiet apartment, until a new neighbor moved into the room next door. Every time he would go to work very early in the morning, and everything would be very normal during the day. He would come home at around 7 pm, a time that coincided with my studying time, and he would play quite loud music until midnight. I could not change my studying time, and all efforts of pleading with him to turn his stereo down fell on deaf ears. He would turn it down for like 20mins, and he would be back at it again. I resolved to wear earmuffs in the evening when he would play loud music just to concentrate on my work. With time, I found myself wearing earmuffs every time I heard him open his door before he could even turn on the stereo. Sometimes it would turn out that he did not play any music at all, but I had taken up a habit of wearing earmuffs whenever I would hear him opening his door.

I would identify the aspects of my classical conditioning process as follows:

Neutral Stimulant (NS) = Neighbor unlocking door

Unconditioned Stimuli (UCS) = Loud Music

Unconditioned Response (UCR) = Seeking and wearing earmuffs

With time;

Conditioned Stimuli (CS) = Neighbor unlocking door

Conditioned Response = Seeking and wearing earmuffs even before he turned on his stereo, including days that he did not turn the stereo on at all.

In my case, the neighbor opening his door is a stimulant that produces no response. However, once it is linked to loud music, which is an unconditioned stimulus, at this point it becomes a conditioned stimulus. At this stage, the process of association takes place when the unconditioned stimulus is associated with a conditioned stimulus on a number of occasions for the learning to take place (Henton & Iversen, 2012).

In this situation, classical conditioning helped me find means of avoiding distractions and losing concentration in my school work. McSweeney & Murphy (2014) state that classical conditioning is a significantly important adaptive mechanism which helps in shielding individuals from harm, and also preparing them for important biological and psychological events.

My mind became conditioned to seeking alternative means of keeping me in a study mode as my neighbor took out his keys to open his door. I believe that if somehow this learning process did not occur, I would never have been able to cope or adapt to the new conditions that were created in my environment by the new neighbor. To date, I have always associated new neighbors with loud, disturbing noises in general, even before I learn whether they have a big sound system or if they play loud music or not. I believe I developed a phobia to a new neighbor opening the door through the process of generalization.  Somehow I always associate the sound of the neighbors’ keys opening the door to loud noises, even when there is no loud music involved.
















Henton, W. W., & Iversen, I. H. (2012). Classical conditioning and operant conditioning: A response pattern analysis. Springer Science & Business Media.

McSweeney, F. K., & Murphy, E. S. (2014). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of operant and classical conditioning. John Wiley & Sons.

Olson, M. H. (2015). An introduction to theories of learning. Psychology Press.