The study of Educational Psychology pairs the science of psychology to educational practices and provides teachers with evidence-based knowledge to support their day-to-day decision making in the classroom (PowerPoint, Mullin). Therefore, it is no surprise that many educational psychologists focus their research and understanding on learning theories about how the human brain processes and stores new information. Learning incorporates 3 critical components; permanent, change, and experience. When written in a sentence together, learning is any relatively permanent change in an organism that results from experience (PowerPoint, Mullin). One domain of learning theories named behavioral learning theories has 2 categories, classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is widely used in modern psychology in the areas of neuroscience and cognitive science, and is the topic of this paper henceforward. .
Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist discovered classical conditioning. Pavlov was a physician who was studying gastric functioning in dogs by examining their saliva in various feeding conditions. During some of his experiments, Pavlov observed that the dogs began to salivate before they were even given any food. Upon further investigation, Pavlov discovered that the dogs salivated in response to hearing a sound from the mechanism that delivered the food. Pavlov realized something unusual was occurring because he knew that dogs don't instinctively salivate in response to a sound (Classical Studies in Psychology, Swartz).
After further investigation, Pavlov realized that the dogs "learned" that every time they heard that sound, they were about to be fed. "This 'pairing' of a stimulus that naturally caused a biological response with another stimulus that did not reflexively cause a response is the essence of classical conditioning" (Classical Studies in Psychology, Swartz).