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Respondent Conditioning - What is it?

06 Aug 2017 10:24 PM | Joanne Tudge (Administrator)

What is Conditioning?

Conditioning is a process of changing behavior.

Involuntary behaviors, also known as respondent behaviors, are elicited due to a person’s emotional reaction to a situation. In a process known as respondent conditioning (or classical conditioning), the presence of one stimulus begins to reliably predict the presence of a second stimulus. As a result, the association, through conditioning, starts to affect how a person responds emotionally to the first, eliciting stimulus. If the conditioning process is aversive, an initial pleasant or happy emotional response can change into a negative conditioned emotional response, such as fear or anxiety. It can work the other way around too, in that a negative emotional response can be changed to one of happiness and joy, i.e. a positive conditioned emotional response.

The wonderful thing about respondent conditioning is that when we grasp the scientific principles behind it, we can then use it in the workplace and our training lessons to modify a trainee’s behavior.  We can counter-condition a problematic response to one that is more readily acceptable to all concerned

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