Have you ever seen someone behave the way they do and
wonder why they do so? Have you ever noted your reactions
towards certain things or situations and thought “why am I like
this?” or “I need to change my habits”?
All of these are because of how we are conditioned to behave in
certain situations or towards some people.
We, humans, are bound to learn every day. We also change
behavior according to the old and new things we learn and come
across. The process of learning, unlearning, relearning is called
Conditioning Theory refers to the behavioral process, whereby a
reaction (response) becomes more frequent to a given object
(stimulus) as a result of reinforcement, which is a reward for the
response in a given situation.
Conditioning is classified into three types;
1. Classical conditioning
2. Operant conditioning
3. Observational conditioning
When an individual learns a process that involves creating an
association between a naturally existing stimulus and a
previously neutral one, it is called classical conditioning.
Phantom vibration is the best example of classical conditioning
in the current lifestyle of most humans. You have your mobile
phone in your pocket that always makes you feel like it is
vibrating even though it is not. This is called phantom vibration.
Things like these aren’t intentionally learned by a person, one
just gets conditioned to them with time.
Operant conditioning is a method of learning that involves
reinforcement. It can be both punishment and rewards. Through
operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior
and a consequence (whether negative or positive) for that
When your behavior is reflected on what might the results be, it
is operant conditioning.
A child finishing homework before going to school, because it
doesn’t want to get punished by the teacher or wants to get an
award by the teacher for completing the homework. Both these
situations fall in operant conditioning. Because the action is
driven by the expected result or the result that has to be avoided.
Here, the punishments are the negative reinforcement and
rewards are the positive reinforcement.
Learning things by seeing, observing, and recognizing from the
outer world is observational conditioning. It is a form of social
learning which takes various forms, based on various processes.
Observational learning is learning that occurs through observing
the behavior of others.
This is the most common type of conditioning every individual
comes across throughout their lifetime. A child observes other
people and learns to do things. You visit a store for the first
time; you observe other customers and follow them. The reels,
memes, and trolls these days are all because of observational
You might question which is the best-suited one to get the best
behavior? One is never enough. The right type has to be used in
the right situation and only then one can mold the best-expected
behavior in life.
Comment below about which one you use in what situation.