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Conceptos de condicionamiento clásico en los campos básicos y aplicados

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Pérez-Acosta, Andrés M.
Cruz, Julio Eduardo




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Centro Interamericano de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Ciencias Afines


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El condicionamiento clásico, lejos de tener una clara y única definición, se presenta en la literatura psicológica básica bajo múltiples conceptos basados en diferentes corrientes epistemológicas, tanto de la psicología como de las neurociencias. El objetivo principal de este artículo es presentar un análisis de la literatura acerca de condicionamiento clásico con el fin de discernir los conceptos, explícitos o implícitos, tanto en el campo básico como en el aplicado, el último principalmente en lo referido a las aplicaciones clínicas (psicoterapia). Se detectaron cuatro conceptos bien diferenciados de condicionamiento clásico: 1) Reflexológico (original pavloviano); 2) Conductista (liderado por B.F. Skinner); 3) Cognoscitivo (liderado por R.A. Rescorla); y 4) Neurobiológico (liderado por Eric R. Kandel). Los dos primeros se refieren más al condicionamiento clásico como método mientras que los dos últimos se refieren al condicionamiento clásico como proceso. En la literatura psicológica clínica los conceptos son más implícitos que explícitos; además tales conceptos son más de tipo reflexológico o conductista que cognoscitivo o neurobiológico. Las aplicaciones detectadas bajo esos conceptos han sido: las terapias aversivas y el recondicionamiento (bajo el concepto reflexológico), las terapias de exposición (bajo el concepto conductista), la formación de preferencias del consumidor hacia marcas publicitarias (bajo el concepto cognoscitivo) y el condicionamiento del sistema inmunológico (bajo el concepto neurobiológico). A partir de este análisis conceptual se sugiere partir siempre de un ejercicio de identificación del concepto de condicionamiento clásico que se va a seguir ,con el fin de efectuar futuras intervenciones, clínicas o en cualquier otro campo, más precisas y efectivas.
Classical conditioning, far from have a clear and unique definition, appears in basic psychology literature under multiple concepts based on different epistemological streams, as much of psychology as of neurosciences. The main goal of this article is to make an analysis of literature on classical conditioning with the purpose of discerning the concepts, explicit or implicit, as much in the basic field as in the applied one, the last one mainly referred to clinical applications (psycotherapy). Four different concepts of classical conditioning were detected: 1) Reflexological (Pavlovian original concept), 2) Behaviorist (led by B.F. Skinner), 3) Cognitive (led by R.A. Rescorla), and 4) Neurobiological (led by Eric R. Kandel). Both, the first and the second, refer about classical conditioning like a method whereas both, the third and the fourth, refer about classical conditioning like a process. In clinical psychology literature the concepts are more implicit than explicit; in addition, such concepts are more reflexological or behaviorist ones than cognitive or neurobiological ones. The applications detected under those concepts have been: the aversive therapies and the reconditioning (under the reflexological concept); the exposition therapies (under the behaviorist concept); formation of preferences of the consumer towards advertising brands (under the cognitive concept) and the conditioning of the immunological system (under the neurobiological concept). From this conceptual analysis it is suggested to start always from an exercise of identification of classical conditioning’s concept that is going away to follow, with the purpose of carrying out future interventions, clinical or in any other field, more precise and effective. Classical conditioning is one of the learning processes more early studied and theorized in psychology. Also their applications arose very early and at the present time, they include treatment of various medical and behavioral problems that go from phobias to psychoactive drug abuse. In psychology texts, the original experiment of Pavlov has been so macerated that classical conditioning has become a simple cartoon of the environmental control of behavior. Although first English version of Conditioned Reflexes is seventy five years old, it seemed that many students and professionals of psychology do not understand that classical conditioning already goes far away from Pavlov and the conditioned reflexes. However, we considered that the same scientific literature also has been responsible for foment the stereotype. In this revision we try to go beyond the typical examples of classical conditioning, in basic and applied fields, to unravel the multiple definitions of this process that have arisen like product of theory and research, but that in the scientific literature remains underlying to a large extent. This conceptual and theoretical exercise would be sterile if it’s not understood the relevance of having conceptual and theoretical clarity about the techniques that use a clinical psychologist or an expert in modification of behavior. The variety of procedures reported in psychological texts and specialized journals must not lead to clinical psychology/behavior modification students to fall in a technical approach in intervention design. It’s necessary to start with a minimum conceptual and theoretical light, in this case about classical conditioning. The concepts and theories of classical conditioning have been multiplied throughout the 20th century. But until now we do not know on some systematic effort to identify the origins of this conceptual diversity. Although the advance at basic level is Conceptos de condicionamiento clásico INTERDISCIPLINARIA, 2003, 20,2, 205-227 207 remarkable, there is an important difference between basic level and applied level, because clinical interventions are made entirely under reflexological and behaviorist perspectives and it does not seem to have interest to identify and surpass the old concepts and underlying theories. But knowledge on new perspectives would be a useful way to improve intervention techniques
Palabras clave
Condicionamiento Clásico , Análisis Conceptual , Psicoterapia , Reflexología , Análisis Experimental Del Comportamiento , Psicología Cognoscitiva , Neurobiología.
Classical Conditioning , Conceptual Analysis , Psychotherapy , Reflexology , Experimental Analysis Of Behavior , Cognitive Psychology , Neurobiology