Learning can be understood as the fairly long-lasting change in the behaviour, arising out of the experience. It is useful for us to adapt ourselves according to the environment. The simplest form of learning is called conditioning, which can be of two kinds, i.e. classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical Conditioning is one in which the organism learns something through association, i.e. Conditioned Stimuli and Unconditioned Stimuli.
Operant Conditioning is the type of learning in which the organism learns by way of modification in behaviour or pattern through reinforcement or punishment. Take a read of this article to get the understanding of the differences between Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning.
Content: Classical Conditioning Vs Operant Conditioning
|Basis for Comparison||Classical Conditioning||Operant Conditioning|
|Meaning||Classical conditioning is a process in which learning is possible by forming association between two stimuli.||Operant Conditioning, refers to the learning in which the organism studies the relation between responses and its consequences.|
|Stresses on||What precedes response?||What follows response?|
|Based on||Involuntary or reflexive behavior.||Voluntary behavior.|
|Responses||Under control of stimulus||Under control of organism|
|Stimulus||Conditioned and Unconditioned stimulus are well defined.||Conditioned stimulus is not defined.|
|Occurrence of unconditioned stimulus||Controlled by experimenter.||Controlled by organism.|
Definition of Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning or say respondent conditioning is a learning technique in which the experimenter learns the relation between two stimuli, that precedes the natural response. It indicates that the occurrence of one stimulus signals the possible occurrence of another.
Classical conditioning was coined by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, who was a Russian Physiologist. It assumes that an organism learns something, through his/her interaction with the environment, that tends to mould the behaviour and the state of mind. The components of classical conditioning are:
- US or Unconditioned Stimulus: The stimulus that causes the organism to react unconditionally or naturally.
- UR or Unconditioned Response: Occurs naturally when the unconditioned stimulus is offered or displayed.
- CS or Conditioned Stimulus: The stimulus that causes one to react to something as it is associated with something else.
- CR or Conditioned Response: It is a learned response, to a neutral stimulus.
Classical conditioning is based on certain factors which are:
- Time relations between stimuli.
- Type of unconditioned stimuli, i.e. aversive or appetitive.
- Intensity of conditioned stimuli.
Definition of Operant Conditioning
Operant refers to the controlled, voluntary response or behaviour of the living organism. Learning through operant is called operant conditioning. Here, the response of an individual relies on the consequence that occurs subsequently. In other words, it is a simple process of learning in which the likelihood of response is increased by manipulating the outcome. It is commonly used the theory of workforce motivation.
Otherwise called as instrumental conditioning, it was propounded in the year 1938 by B.F. Skinner, (an American Psychologist). It posits that the frequency of the response increases, if it has a favourable consequence, whereas the frequency will decrease if it has an undesirable consequence. In this, the experimenter learns to understand the behaviour of the organism and effects of such behaviour.
The determinants of operant conditioning are as under:
- Reinforcer, i.e. the consequence
- Nature of response or behaviour
- Time interval between the occurrence of response and reinforcement.
Key Differences Between Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning
The differences between classical conditioning and operant conditioning are explained in the points hereunder:
- Classical Conditioning is a type of learning, that generalizes association between two stimuli, i.e. one signifies the occurrence of another. Conversely, Operant Conditioning states that living organisms learn to behave in a particular manner, due to the consequences that followed their past behaviour.
- In classical conditioning, the conditioning process in which the experimenter, learns to associate two stimuli, on the basis of involuntary responses that occurs before it. As against, In operant conditioning, the behaviour of the organism will be modified as per the consequences that arise afterwards.
- Classical conditioning relies on involuntary or reflexive behaviour, in essence, physiological and emotional responses of the organism such as thoughts, emotions and feelings. On the other extreme, operant conditioning is one that is based on voluntary behaviour, i.e. active responses of the organism.
- In classical conditioning, the responses of the organism, are under the control of the stimulus, whereas in operant conditioning, the responses are controlled by the organism.
- Classical Conditioning, defines the conditioned and unconditioned stimulus, but, operant conditioning, does not defines conditioned stimulus, i.e. it can only be generalised.
- When it comes to the occurrence of the unconditioned stimulus, it is controlled by the experimenter, and so the organism plays a passive role. Contrary to this, the occurrence of the reinforcer is under the control of organism and thus, the organism acts actively.
To sum up, classical conditioning is one in which you associate two stimuli, but there is no involvement of behaviour. On the contrary, operant conditioning is a type of conditioning in which the behaviour is learned, maintained or modified, as per the consequences, it produces.