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Learning to Love Through Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Cognitive-Social Learning Coursework

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2022

People’s consciousness is very complicated and the processes it has to provide are not very understood. People are born with the definite instincts that are to breathe, to eat and to move. All other skills and abilities people receive living in the world, communicating with people, in other words being the part of the society. Some people may think that all they can do was either implemented by nature of they learned it to do in early childhood and what they need to do just to receive knowledge at schools or Universities and be learned to practice these knowledge. What about feelings? Do people always feel only because they possess this ability from the very beginning of their lives? No, people should learn to feel: to love and to hate, to be afraid and to courageous, to like somebody and to feel hostility.

Considering my experience in learning to feel, it is crucial to mention that all of the feelings were cultivated in me since my childhood, when I learned to love my relative, to hate children who offended me, to be indifferent to people who pass by and so on. I have never thought that I will have to learn to love. It was strange for me that being able to love my parents and relatives I had to study how to love the person from the opposite gender.

Understanding the learning love process, it is important to consider this learning experience from different aspects, such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning and cognitive-social learning. These three processes are different in nature as influence different issues, but at the same time their direction to the behavioral learning makes them common.

Classical conditioning is “a process in which an organism learns to respond in a particular way to a stimulus that previously did not produce that response” (Wittig, 2000, p. 110). This means that while experiencing love my organism learned to respond, to produce that new feeling. The first try to feel love is called conditioned stimulus, while the other tries, that is situations when person falls in love for a second, third and other times are named the unconditioned stimulus.

People’s consciousness is structured in such a way that once having been taught of something, it is impossible to forget it. That is like to ride the bicycle, if you was taught to ride if in childhood, even after 20 or 30 years person is able to fide it without extra trainings. The same situation is with love, once being learned to love it is impossible to forget this feeling. After having experienced love for the first time, people’s organism is ready to respond for this feeling, in this situation we deal with conditioned response and in the cases of unconditioned stimulus the unconditioned response takes place (Wittig, 2000).

Operant conditioning is considered to ne the most researched technique which involves “increasing or decreasing a particular behavior by associating the behavior with a positive or negative condition” (Lidwell, Butler & Holden, 2003, p. 144). This technique has three basic concepts, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. These three basic concepts are usually used while implementing learning as strategies. In the case of my learning to love only the first, positive reinforcement technique, was possible as learning love is a great process which is used to encourage person. While learning to love I was told that love is amazing, that loving a person is like the fly in the sky when there is only two of us and we are free. It was possible for me to learn to love only by positive reinforcement only as only understanding the positive consequences may force me to do something.

According to cognitive-social learning people “generate internal rules linking social behavior to consequences and guide their behavior according to these rules” (Cicchetti & Cohen, 2006, p. 439). Cognitive-social learning usually occurs after observing other people’s experience.

It is crucial to mention that my experience in learning to love was supported by watching the happy consequence of love through my parents’ example. Seeing them happy after so many years of common existence and love, it is the main stimulus for me to learn to love and to enjoy this feeling. The other social processes which influenced my understanding of love were different movies and TV-shows about love, where people’s feelings were so nice, clean and tender but at the same time passionate and emotional that it was impossible to sustain from desire to experience the same feelings.

In conclusion, this experience in learning how to love helped me to understand a lot of different things in the world and obtain the priceless knowledge which will definitely help me in future. I got to know that it is impossible to possess everything you want and to make person love, I understood that love may hurt, that feeling is a very difficult notion which is impossible to express with words, but what is more important, I understood that people should love as this feeling is the best and it feels your heart with warmth and calmness which are very important in the modern world.

Reference List

Cicchetti, D. & Cohen D. J. (2006). Developmental Psychopathology: Theory and method. John Wiley and Sons.

Lidwell, W., Butler, J., & Holden, K. (2003). Universal Principles of Design: A Cross Disciplinary Reference. Rockport Publishers.

Wittig, A. F. (2000). Schaum’s outline of theory and problems of introduction to psychology. McGraw-Hill Professional.

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"Learning to Love Through Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Cognitive-Social Learning." IvyPanda, 6 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-love-through-classical-conditioning-operant-conditioning-and-cognitive-social-learning/.

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IvyPanda. "Learning to Love Through Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Cognitive-Social Learning." July 6, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-love-through-classical-conditioning-operant-conditioning-and-cognitive-social-learning/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Learning to Love Through Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Cognitive-Social Learning." July 6, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/learning-to-love-through-classical-conditioning-operant-conditioning-and-cognitive-social-learning/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Learning to Love Through Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Cognitive-Social Learning'. 6 July.

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