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Pavlovian Conditioning

  1. Bridget L. McConnell,
  2. Ralph R. Miller

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0648

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McConnell, B. L. and Miller, R. R. 2010. Pavlovian Conditioning. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. State University of New York at Binghamton

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Pavlovian conditioning, also known as classical conditioning, is a reliable training procedure that results in an organism responding to a stimulus that previously did not evoke a response. It involves pairing an initially innocuous stimulus, such as a light or tone, with another stimulus that naturally provokes a response, such as food or an electrical shock. The previously neutral stimulus comes to control responding and typically evokes the same behavior that the biologically significant stimulus provoked, albeit weaker. Once a stimulus acquires behavioral control, it is known as a conditioned stimulus (CS) because it required conditioning, or training, to elicit the behavioral response that the unconditioned stimulus (US) naturally evokes. The innate reaction to the US is called the unconditioned response (UR), and the acquired response to the CS is called a conditioned response (CR).


  • classical conditioning;
  • conditioning;
  • instrumental conditioning;
  • stimulus competition)