Pavlov's Theory

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov


Classical conditioning is a reflexive or automatic type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus.

People can be trained to perform a certain task or response by providing some sort of trigger, which may be a sound, picture, phrase, etc.

Pros and Cons


  • This theory shoes us how much power we can have over the mind. We can program our mind to work a certain way.
  • Confirms the existence of physiological component and psychological process.
  • Gave a better understanding to the brain to psychologists.
  • Influential to the study of child development.


  • Researchers are unable to determine why classical conditioning occurs.
  • Many individuals consider that using animals for scientific research is animal cruelty.
  • This theory does not take into account everyone's individuality.

General Information

  • Physiologist (1849-1936)
  • Pavlov became famous for his experiments with dogs:
-- Presented the stimulus (food) to the dogs, and in response the dogs began to salivate, while Pavlov rang the bell.

-- Eventually, the dogs associated the ringing bell with food and began to salivate every time Pavlov rang the bell, even if food was not present.

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How the theory could be applied in the classroom

  1. Condition good habits
  2. Condition emotion
  3. Students develop a positive attitude
  4. Students develop sympathy
  5. Students change his/her outlook
  6. The teacher can bring interest into school subjects
  7. Relate learning activities with pleasant events
  8. Develop skills in recognizing differences and similarities among situations to enable them to discriminate and generalize situations

Does this theory still exist in education today?

Conditioning is still practiced today. Teachers using behavioral techniques to reinforce learning use classical conditioning. Classical conditioning may not be used directly. If the overall tone of a teacher's classroom is one of praise and enjoyment in learning, the students will associate this pleasure with the specific class and will be more likely to attend.


"Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)." Learning Theories RSS. Behaviorist Theories, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

"Some Applications of Classical Conditioning to Classroom Teaching." Kidedotals: Social Learning Community. Kidedotals, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

Renata, Rebeca. "Uses of Classical Conditioning in the Classroom | EHow." EHow. Demand Media, 05 Dec. 2010. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.