A lecture slide says:

classical conditioning causes a stimulus to signal a positive or negative consequence; the resulting behavior doesn't produce the consequence.

What does it mean by the bolded sentence?


The slide is contrasting classical conditioning with operant conditioning.

In operant conditioning, you train that a behavior is paired with a reward or punishment. For example, a lever press dispensing a food pellet.

In classical conditioning, there is no relevant behavior. Some stimulus (rather than behavior) is paired with an outcome. For example, if there is a tone played before a shock, the tone will cause rodents to freeze in anticipation of the shock, but nothing about their freezing behavior is causing the shock.


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