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The difference between classical and operant conditioning - Peggy Andover

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Why is it that humans react to stimuli with certain behaviors? Can behaviors change in response to consequences? Peggy Andover explains how the brain can associate unrelated stimuli and responses, proved by Ivan Pavlov's famous 1890 experiments, and how reinforcement and punishment can result in changed behavior.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Alan Foreman
  • Educator Peggy Andover
  • Narrator Peggy Andover
Additional Resources for you to Explore
As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, Dr. Andover uses empirically-supported techniques to treat clients ranging in age from childhood to adulthood with a variety of presenting problems.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. From his childhood days ,Pavlov demonstrated intellectual brilliance along with an unusual energy which he named "the instinct for research". Pavlov devoted his life to the study of physiology and sciences, making several remarkable discoveries and ideas that were passed on from generation to generation. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1904.
Here is a slide show of Pavlov's dogs.
Classical and operant conditioning are two important concepts central to behavioral psychology. While both result in learning, the processes are quite different. In order to understand how each of these behavior modification techniques can be used, it is also essential to understand how classical conditioning and operant conditioning differ from one another.
Here's a clip from The Big Bang Theory. In the clip, Sheldon uses operant conditioning techniques. He also mentions some scientists on the forefront of thought in this field.
B. F. Skinner interview showing operant conditioning with pigeons (see the video here). Discusses schedules of reinforcement.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Alan Foreman
  • Educator Peggy Andover
  • Narrator Peggy Andover