Sat August 20, 2011 By: Priyanshi Tyagi

What are conditional and unconditional reflexes? Give an example of each.

Expert Reply
Sun August 21, 2011

Unconditioned reflex:

It is a reflex which can be evoked even immediately after birth and needs no previous encounter with the stimulus exciting it.

For example, a puff of air to the cornea of the eye is an unconditioned stimulus that produces a blinking response.

Conditioned reflex:

It is a reflex, acquired after birth by  applying  an indifferent stimulus before or along with the stimulus for an inborn reflex. In other words, it is an acquired response that is under the control of (conditional on the occurrence of) a stimulus

For example, a tone sounded just prior to the puff of air being delivered to the cornea of the eye. Without prior training, the tone does not elicit an eye blink: however, after a number of tone-puff pairings, the tone alone comes to elicit the blinking response.
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