Note:  Don't look at the answers until you have completed the examples on your own.  Click here to go back to Example 1.

Example Number 1

Every time someone flushes a toilet in the apartment building, the shower becomes very hot and causes the person to jump back. Over time, the person begins to jump back automatically after hearing the flush, before the water temperature changes.

This example is classical conditioning because jumping away from hot water is an automatic response.

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Example Number 2

Your father gives you a credit card at the end of your first year in college because you did so well. As a result, your grades continue to get better in your second year.

This example is operant conditioning because school performance is a voluntary behavior.

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Example Number 3

Your car has a red, flashing light that blinks annoyingly if you start the car without buckling the seat belt. You become less likely to start the car without buckling the seat belt.

This example is operant conditioning because buckling a seat belt is voluntary.

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Example Number 4

You eat a new food and then get sick because of the flu. However, you develop a dislike for the food and feel nauseated whenever you smell it.

This example is classical conditioning because nausea is an automatic response.

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Example Number 5

An individual receives frequent injections of drugs, which are administered in a small examination room at a clinic. The drug itself causes increased heart rate but after several trips to the clinic, simply being in a small room causes an increased heart rate.

This example is classical conditioning because the increased heart rate is an automatic response.

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Example Number 6

A lion in a circus learns to stand up on a chair and jump through a hoop to receive a food treat.

This example is operant conditioning because standing on a chair and jumping through a hoop are voluntary behaviors.

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Example Number 7

A professor has a policy of exempting students from the final exam if they maintain perfect attendance during the quarter. His students’ attendance increases dramatically.

This example is operant conditioning because attendance is a voluntary behavior.

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Example Number 8

You check the coin return slot on a pay telephone and find a quarter. You find yourself checking other telephones over the next few days.

This is an example of operant conditioning because checking the coin return slot is a voluntary behavior.

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Example Number 9

Your hands are cold so you put your gloves on. In the future, you are more likely to put gloves on when it’s cold.

This is an example of operant conditioning because putting gloves on is a voluntary behavior.

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Example Number 10

John Watson conducted an experiment with a boy named Albert in which he paired a white rat with a loud, startling noise. Albert now becomes startled at the sight of the white rat.

This is an example of classical conditioning because a startle response is an automatic behavior.

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Copyright 2010 Jim Biederman
Last revised on August 10, 2010
Comments should go to Jim Biederman

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

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