Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Classical Conditioning

  • Annie T. GintyEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_448-2



Classical conditioning is learning by association and focuses on what happens before an individual responds. It is often used in behavioral training. Perhaps, the most well-known example of classical conditioning is that of Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov measured salivation responses in dogs. Before conditioning, he rang a bell and noted that there was no increase in saliva from the dogs. Then, during conditioning, he rang a bell (unconditioned stimulus) and immediately put meat powder (conditioned stimulus) on the dogs’ tongues which caused them to salivate (unconditioned response); he continued this several times. Finally, after conditioning, he rang the bell again but without food and the dogs salivated (conditioned response). Pavlov used classical conditioning so the dogs associated an unrelated stimulus (the bell) with food. Thus, they eventually produced the same saliva response they would for food with the bell. For further details, see Coon and Mitterer (2010) (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Pavlovian conditioning


References and Further Reading

  1. Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2010). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior (12th ed.). Wadsworth: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesThe University of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK