The World of Work Project

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a means of changing a being’s behaviors through the use of rewards and punishments relating to specific biological stimulus. Pavlov’s dogs are a classic example of classical conditioning.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Classical conditioning

Classic conditioning often involves food.

Classical conditioning, which is also known as Pavlovian conditioning (after Ivan Pavlov and his famous dog…), is a form of operant conditioning. It is similar to reinforcement theory and says that the results an individual experiences as a consequence of undertaking actions or behaviors, will affect how they act in the future. More simply, rewards and punishments can be used to change the ways that people and animals behave.

Classical conditioning and reinforcement theory are, however, subtly different. Where reinforcement theory typically uses a social mechanism to reward or punish behaviors, classical conditioning is founded on specific biological stimulus.

The most classic examples of this from Pavlov’s work include conditioning dogs to expect food as the result of the ringing of a bell. There’s lots more to his work than this simple explanation suggests, and it’s worth a bit of exploration if you have time.

The World of Work Project View

We don’t have much to add to this post, which is really just a stub. We don’t expect classical conditioning to be used in the workplace.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is really just a stub on an interesting topic that we’ve not fully explored. If you’d like to learn more, this article titled “Pavlov’s Dogs” is a good starting point.


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