Ivan Pavlov Theory of Classical Conditioning Child Development 

Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who discovered the classical conditioning theory which means learning through association. The process involves two stimuli that are linked to arouse a response from a person or an animal which is learned.

Stages of Ivan Pavlov Theory

There are three stages of classical conditioning which are as follows:

Before Conditioning (Stage 1)

This stage involves a natural response or an unconditioned response of an organism produced by an unconditioned stimulus. The organism produces an unlearned response.

During Conditioning (Stage 2)

This stage involves a stimulus that produces neutral or no response and is associated with an unconditioned stimulus which then becomes a conditioned stimulus.

After Conditioning (Stage 3)

In this stage, the conditioned stimulus is associates with the unconditioned stimulus to produce a new conditioned response.

Pavlov’s Dog Experiment

Pavlov conducted his experiments mostly on dogs who were known to salivate as a response to a bell. Each time the dog heard the bell ring, the dog was fed due to which it started associating the sound of the bell with the image of food.

Firstly, he produced a sound of a bell to which the dog did not respond, which was a neutral response. Following this, he gave them food (unconditioned stimulus) and they salivated (unconditioned response). He started feeding the dogs with the sound of a bell repeatedly and after some repetitions, the fig started salivating every time they heard the sound of a bell. The bell became the conditioned stimulus and the salivation became the conditioned response.


The first psychologists who applied classical conditioning’s principles to human behavior were Watson and Rayner to learn more about the development of different phobias.

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