Note:  For each of the ten examples below, decide if the behavior in question was acquired through operant or classical conditioning.   If you decide the behavior is operant, identify which type of consequence was responsible for the behavior change (i.e., positive/negative reinforcement; positive/negative punishment).  If you decide the behavior is classical, identify the US, UR, CS, and CR.  If you want to make this a good learning exercise, you will check your answers only AFTER you have attempted to analyze each example on your own.  You can check your answer against mine by following the answer link after the example.

Classical and Operant Conditioning Examples:

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.

Answer to Example 1

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.

Answer to Example 2

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.

Answer to Example 3

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.

Answer to Example 4

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.

Answer to Example 5

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

Answer to Example 6

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.

Answer to Example 7

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.

Answer to Example 8

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.

Answer to Example 9

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.

Answer to Example 10


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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