Garcia, John Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Classical conditioning
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A learned response performed by a human or other animal to a signal that was previously associated with an event of consequence for that human or animal. A conditioned reflex, also known as a conditioned response, is an acquired response in which the subject (which can be a human or other animal) learns to associate a previously unrelated neutral stimulus with a different stimulus that elicits some kind of reaction. The term conditioned reflex was first used by the Russian physiologist, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, to denote the criterion measure of a behavioral element of learning, that is, a new association between the signal and the consequential event, referred to as the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus, respectively. In Pavlov's classic experiment, the conditioned stimulus was a bell and the unconditioned stimulus was sour fluid (food) delivered into the mouth of a dog restrained by harness; the conditioned stimulus was followed by the unconditioned stimulus regardless of the dog's response. After training, the conditioned reflex was manifested when the dog salivated to the sound of the bell (see illustration). See also: Information processing (psychology); Learning; Reflex
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