behavioral conditioning | Definition

behavioral conditioning

Behavioral conditioning is a type of learning that occurs when an animal or human associates a particular stimulus with a particular response.


This type of learning involves repeating a specific behavior or action in response to a particular stimulus, until the behavior becomes automatic or reflexive.  There are two main types of behavioral conditioning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning involves learning to associate a neutral stimulus (such as a bell ringing) with a naturally occurring stimulus (such as food). After repeating this process several times, the animal or human will eventually respond to the neutral stimulus as if it were the naturally occurring stimulus (for example, by salivating at the sound of a bell).

Operant conditioning involves learning to associate a particular behavior with a consequence, such as a reward or punishment. For example, if a child is given a cookie every time they clean their room, they are more likely to repeat the behavior of cleaning their room in the future. On the other hand, if a child is punished every time they throw a tantrum, they are less likely to repeat that behavior in the future.

Behavioral conditioning is a powerful tool for shaping and modifying behavior and is used in a variety of settings, including psychology, education, and advertising.


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