We find that children learn much by mere imitation. They observe doing various things. They then try to intimate the same activities and learn many things in this way. Even in school the children learn reading and writing and many other processes by imitation, and most of our behaviour is imitated.
Thorndike put some cats in a cage and studied their behaviour as regards the process of imitation. He came to the conclusion that cats do no imitate. Therefore, he does not give value to this theory. But the apes of Kohler imitated. In fact animals differ in this tendency. There is no doubt in it that man learns a lot by imitation.
By conditioning we modify the behaviour of an individual in such a way that the response originally connected with a particular stimulus comes to be aroused by a different stimulus. The classical experiment of Pavlov will make the process of conditioning clear.
Pavlov was Russian psychologist. In one of his experiments he fitted a tube in the lower jaw of a dog. The dog was kept hungry and was offered food at a fixed time. Simultaneously with this act of offering the food to him, a bell was rung.
It was natural that the dog secreted saliva when he saw the food. The saliva went into the tube and it was measured. The experiment went on for some days.
After that the bell was rung one day but no food accompanied it. The dog secreted the saliva even then. It was observed that the saliva went on coming in the same quantity with the ringing of the bell for some days.
The actual stimulus to bring forth the response, i.e., the secretion of saliva, was the sight of the food but it was conditioned in such a way that another stimulus which ordinarily had nothing to do with secretion of saliva begin to stimulate it.