The Basics of Classical Conditioning

Paper Info
Page count 2
Word count 644
Read time 3 min
Topic Sociology
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US

The most interesting lesson gained from reading others’ posts was people’s reactions when fronted with a situation. Additionally, classical conditioning was mainly linked to adaptation, where people and animals react to a repeated action that has an expected outcome. Although it was a critical topic, the insights gained from the posts were consistent with my thoughts. In most cases, people or animals naturally respond to different issues differently. However, I believe that their response can be altered depending on the condition they are placed. However, the reaction to different situations depends on the action that follows.

Even though the actions taken by people or animals are always regarded as a natural process, they are conditioned behaviors that can trigger a different response if they are performed before an action. In other words, conditioning makes people act in a certain predictable way if the environmental conditions are continuously exerted. The key classical conditions that influence an individual’s behavior include unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, the conditioned stimulus, conditioned response, extinction, generalization, and discrimination.

The unconditioned stimulus is the natural trigger of a response, for instance, drinking water. The unconditioned response is, however, a reaction to the stimulus. For instance, feeling thirsty after seeing a glass of drinking water. I remember riding a bicycle on a hot afternoon when I saw a couple of drink water in a nearby park. Immediately, I also became thirsty and decided to quench my thirst. Choi et al. (2020) illustrate that unconditioned stimulus and response are naturally occurring processes that people can never control. This illustrates that despite having the knowledge of the condition, people find it difficult to control their reaction to these conditions; they, at times, occur without realizing it.

A conditioned stimulus, also regarded as a neutral stimulus, is exhibited when a stimulus is repeated prior to an unconditional stimulus. It aims to arouse an unconditioned response. For instance, hooting a bus before driving away. Condition response is, however, the reaction to the conditioned stimulus. For instance, boarding a bus after hearing the hoot at the bus stop. Usually, the response is like an unconditioned response.

Biblically, Moses’s action in the war between the Amalekites and Israelites is a clear example of conditioned stimulus and response. When Moses lifted his hands during the battle, the Israelites emerged victoriously; however, the Amalekites triumphed when Moses lowered his hands (Exodus 17:11, The New King James Version). This is a conditioning stimulus and response because the Israelites believed that God was on their side when Moses lifted his hands; as a result, they would fight hard to win the war. However, they believed God abandoned them when Moses lowered his hands; hence, they lost concentration in the fight, and the Amalekites prevailed.

Another basic of classical conditioning is the extinction that is exhibited in the knowledge. Extinction refers to a presentation of a continuous conditioned stimulus that is not accompanied by an unconditioned stimulus. For instance, in the book of Job, Job’s wife becomes weary of God and asks her husband, Job, to curse God and die. In this case, extinction is realized when, after pleading with God and obediently serving Him, He still allows Job to experience pain and suffering (Job 2:9, NKJV).

As a result, there is a reduced response to his previous good deeds to the family, prompting Job’s wife to lose faith in Him. However, the basic condition of generalization is the ability to react to a stimulus that symbolizes the original conditioned stimulus. For instance, during my ride on a hot sunny day, I felt thirsty when I saw people carrying containers resembling water bottles. Finally, discrimination is also an essential aspect of classical conditioning. Discrimination is the ability to react differently to non-identical but similar stimuli. For instance, I never felt thirsty when passing a gas station even though the petrol’s physical appearance resembled water.


Choi, B. R., Kim, D. H., Gallagher, M., & Han, J. S. (2020). Engagement of the lateral habenula in the association of a conditioned stimulus with the absence of an unconditioned stimulus. Neuroscience, 444, 136-148. Web.

The Bible (1983). The New King James Version (NKJV), Oxford UP.

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EssaysInCollege. (2022, October 12). The Basics of Classical Conditioning. Retrieved from


EssaysInCollege. (2022, October 12). The Basics of Classical Conditioning.

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"The Basics of Classical Conditioning." EssaysInCollege, 12 Oct. 2022,


EssaysInCollege. (2022) 'The Basics of Classical Conditioning'. 12 October.


EssaysInCollege. 2022. "The Basics of Classical Conditioning." October 12, 2022.

1. EssaysInCollege. "The Basics of Classical Conditioning." October 12, 2022.


EssaysInCollege. "The Basics of Classical Conditioning." October 12, 2022.