How to Explain Behaviorism, version 1: Operant and Classical Conditioning
Operant and classical conditioning are two different ways in which organisms come to reflect the order of the environment around them. They are not perfect processes and they certainly cannot explain facet of human and non-human behavior. That said, they are surprisingly reliable processes, and they can explain much, much, more about human and non-human behavior than anyone would have thought before extensive study of those processes began.
It is probably best to think about operant and classical conditioning as offering two different types of developmental stories. They are not stories about what a behavior is, now, but rather stories about how that behavior got to be that way. Classical conditioning stories are about things happening around the animal, no matter what the animal does. Operant conditioning stories involve consequences of the animal's action, i.e., what happens when the animal operates upon the world as an active agent. There is some debate about whether we need two types of stories. There are good reasons to go either way, including some recent genetic evidence that they can be disentangled. None of that really matters here; all that matters is that you understand the two types of stories and their consequences for future behavior.
What did is the difference between classical conditioning and operant conditioning?
I'm confused by................
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re familiar with the work of Ivan Pavlov: The Russian researcher who trained his dogs to salivate on command through classical conditioning methods. The takeaway is that if you train someone (or something) with rewards or punishment (e.g. food or electric shocks), they will eventually perform a given task (salivating) without prompting, or even subconsciously.
If we apply this experiment in the workplace, we may be inclined to believe that carrots and sticks work to motivate our employees. We may reward them with bonuses or threaten them with reprimanding language in order to get them to do their work better. However, decades of research show that the reasons we work determine how well we work. We expand on this concept in our book, Primed to Perform.
While it’s true that carrots and sticks can serve to compel employees to perform, this doesn’t serve to sustain high-performing cultures. Sure, if you threaten to fire your employee if they don’t produce a PowerPoint, they will likely produce the PowerPoint. However, because they are doing so out of emotional and economic pressure, their performance is likely to suffer. The same is true for rewards.
What did you learn?
What is confusing?
Summarize 4-6 sentences
Summarize 4-6 sentences
If new neurons are being formed every day in our brain, how can we hold on to these cells and not let them simply die away?