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What Is a Conditioned Response?

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Conditioned Response

In Pavlov's classic experiment, the conditioned response is a dog salivating to the sound of a bell.

Image: Rklawton - Wikimedia Commons

Definition:

In classical conditioning, the conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus. For example, let's suppose that the smell of food is an unconditioned stimulus, a feeling of hunger in response the the smell is a unconditioned response, and a the sound of a whistle is the conditioned stimulus. The conditioned response would be feeling hungry when you heard the sound of the whistle.

While studying classical conditioning, you might find it helpful to remember that the conditioned response is the learned reflexive response.

Some examples of conditioned responses include:

  • Many phobias begin after a person has had a negative experience with the fear object. For example, after witnessing a terrible car accident, a person might develop a fear of driving. This is a conditioned response.

  • The sound of a can opener or bag being opened can trigger excitement in pet. If your pet is accustomed to being fed after hearing the sound of a can or bag being opened, he or she might become very excited whenever they hear that sound. This behavior is a conditioned response.

  • Many children receive regular immunizations, and a child may cry as a result of these injections. In some instances, a child might come to associate a doctor's white jacket with this painful experience. Eventually, the child might begin to cry whenever they see anyone wearing a white jacket. This crying behavior is a conditioned response.

Related Terms:

More Psychology Definitions: The Psychology Dictionary

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