Intro to Generalization and Discrimination – Blog 5

The next blog topics will be about Generalization and Discrimination, but before I get into those you will need an understanding of Classical Conditioning.

Classical conditioning is “a simple form of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to evoke by another stimulus by being paired repeatedly with the other stimulus” (Rathus, Maheu, & Veenvliet, 2012). In other words, it is how you react to a certain situation because the two have been paired time and time again.

Here are the steps to Classical Conditioning:
1: The unconditioned stimulus (UCS) will draw out an unconditioned response (UCR).
Ex: A certain person (UCS) brings out happiness for Tom (UCR).
2. UCS becomes paired with the Conditioned Stimulus (CS).
Ex: Mary (UCS) wears a vanilla scented perfume (CS) every time she sees Tom.
3. The CS has been paired with the UCS and has created a Conditioned Response (CR).
Ex: Every time Tom smells vanilla scented perfume (CS) he becomes happy (CR) because he has paired it to how he feels when he sees Mary.
4. Neutral Stimulus is the CS, but before it had any meaning.
Ex: The vanilla scented perfume did not use to cause happiness until he met Mary and paired the two.

As a child I was never afraid of going to the dentist, I actually really liked it because I loved the fresh and clean feeling after they were done. When I moved to Riverview we got a new dentist and a couple years after I had gotten my first cavity. When I went in to get my cavity filled, the freezing needle was a little scary, but I dealt with it and knew that after that I would not be able to feel anything.
The dentist came back five minutes after and started filling the cavity. It turns out I was not completely frozen yet and could feel everything that he was doing. I had mentioned that I could feel it and he asked me if I could bare through it because he was almost done. I ended up sitting through the whole procedure being able to feel everything and instantly became afraid of the dentist whenever I heard the sound of their instruments.

Before and After
Before psych I was aware of the fact that I was scared of the dentist, but I never really knew why. It was not until after Classical Conditioning that I could look back and pin point where the fear had all started. I can now also  tell what will set off the fear.


McLeod, S. (2014, April 19). Classical Conditioning | Simply Psychology. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from

Rathus, S., Maheu, S., & Veenvliet, S. (2009). Psych (2nd ed.). Toronto: Wadsworth


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