Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are the key processes to understanding human behavior, and it is important to present examples for both of them. Classical conditioning refers to the process of learning by association which occurs involuntarily, and it is present in the everyday activities of people. For instance, when an individual hears their cell phone chime, they instantly draw their attention to it, even if it is played by another person’s phone. At the same time, people also experience operant conditioning, which is more noticeable because it happens voluntarily. For example, a driver who engages in speeding can be given a ticket which also constitutes punishment for their unpleasant behavior. As a result, in the future, the driver will be conditioned to stick to the speed limit and thus exhibit the necessary type of conduct. Thus, it is vital to monitor how different types of conditioning shape the behaviors of people and subsequently of entire societies.
Clark Hull’s theory of behaviorism is exceptionally interesting since he was among the first researchers to propose a grand theory explaining behavior. Nevertheless, Hull’s proposal continues to encounter a considerable amount of criticism to this day. Specifically, the main argument against Hull’s theory was that it was extremely complex and did not provide an explanation of human motivation (Lefrançois, 2019). Hull also failed to offer a perspective on how secondary reinforcements can reduce drives in people’s behavior. Although the theory explained the work of primary drives, which included thirst and hunger, the secondary reinforcements, according to the theory, did not have any impact on people’s physiological and biological needs. At the same time, despite criticism, Hull’s theory had a major influence on later theorists. For instance, Abraham Maslow designed his hierarchy of needs as an alternative to Hull’s model. Thus, Hull remains an influential researcher and theorist who made a considerable impact on the sphere of behaviorism.
Lefrançois, G. (2019). Theories of human learning. Cambridge University Press.