Pavlov discovered that a neutral stimulus when paired with a natural reflex producing stimulus will begin to produce a learned response. For example at school when the lunch bell begins we begin to salivate. Pavlov’s work laid the foundation for John B. Watson’s ideas. Watson had an idea of behaviorism which said that psychology should be an objective science based on observable behavior. Watson wanted to focus on how organisms respond to stimuli in their environments. John Garcia challenged the prevailing idea that all associations can be learned equally well.
Garcia researched the effects of radiation on laboratory animals, and noticed that the rats began to avoid drinking water from plastic bottles in radiation chambers. At first he believed it was classical conditioning but after performing experiments John concluded it was taste aversion. Conditioned taste aversion occurs when a subject associates the taste of a certain food with symptoms caused by a toxic, spoiled, or poisonous substance. For example if you were to become violently ill after eating seafood, you probably would have a hard time eating it again.
The taste and smell would become a conditioned stimulus for nausea. B. F. Skinner developed a behavioral technology that revealed principals of behavior control. Skinner designed an operant chamber, popularly known as a skinner box. The box has a bar or key that an animal presses to release food or water, and a device that records these responses. Skinner also used something called shaping which is a procedure in which reinforces, such as food; gradually guide an animal’s actions toward a desired behavior.
An example of this would be a mother playing catch with her daughter gradually backing up to increase the distance between the two of them. Albert Bandura researched observational learning. He thought that higher animals, especially humans, can learn without direct experience but by observing and imitating others. Albert Bandura performed the Bobo doll experiment that demonstrated that children are likely to imitate the behavior of adults.