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Lecture 7

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Classical Conditioning, Observational Learning, Behaviorism

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Lynda Hutchinson

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Chapter 7 (Learning)
What is learning?
- A relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behavioural potential) due to
What is behaviourism?
- Approach that emphasizes the study of observable behaviour and the role of the
environment as a determinant of behaviour
What is conditioning?
- Basic kind of learning that involves associations between environmental stimuli and
the orgais’s resposes
Classical Conditioning: Pavlov
Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who found out (by accident) that dogs can formulate
responses to neutral stimuli through a process called conditioning
He believed this finding generalized to humans and was one of the ways that humans
Knew that the US (unconditioned stimulus food_ triggers the UR (unconditioned
response- salivation)
Therefore, to condition dogs, he paired a neutral stimulus (sound of a bell) with food
(US), to elicit the unconditioned response (UR) of salivation
The result was the sound of the bell (the neutral stimulus) produced salivation in dogs
in the absence of food
These new salivary responses clearly were not inborn, so they must have been required
through expirence
What does this mean?
It’s a matter of instinct
It’s a atter if oditioig
Matter of fact
You can call me Pavlov the dog
Classical Conditioning
New Reflexes from Old
Pavlov focused on analyzing the environment in which the conditioned reflex arose
Original salivary reflex consisted of an US, food in the dogs mouth, and an UR salivation
Unconditioned stimulus(US) meant a thing or event that elects an automatic response
Unconditioned response(UR) meant the response was already produced
Conditioned stimulus (CS), initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned
response after being associated with an unconditioned stimulus
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Conditioned response (CS), a response that is elicited by a conditioned stimulus; is
occurs after the conditioned stimulus is associated with an unconditioned stimulus
The procedure by which a previously stimulus becomes conditioned stimulus eventually
became known as classical conditioning and is also called pavlovian or respondent
Principles of Classical Conditioning
Occurs in all species, from one-celled amoebas to Homo sapiens
The optimal interval between the presentation of the neutral stimulus presentation of
the neutral stimulus and the presentation of the US is often quite short, sometimes less
than a second
The weakening & eventual disappearance of a learning response
Occurs when the CS is no longer paired with the US
It is not the same as unlearning
The reappearance of the response is called, spontaneous recovery. It explains why
completely eliminating a conditioned response often requires more than one extinction
Higher-Order Conditioning(HOC)
A neutral stimulus can become a conditioned stimulus by being paired with an already
established CS(HOC)
Explains why some words trigger emotional responses in us, and why they can inflame
us to anger or evoke warm, sentimental feelings
When words are paired with objects or other words that already elicit some emotional
responses, they too may come to elicit that response. e.x. a child may learn a positive
response to the word birthday, because of its association with gifts and attention
May contribute to the formation of prejudices
Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination
After a stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus for some response, other similar
stimuli may produce a similar reaction, a phenomenon known as a stimulus
Stimulus generalization is described nicely by an old proverb: "He hath been biten by a
snake fears a rope"
Stimulus discrimination: In which different responses are made to stimuli that resemble
the conditioned stimulus in some way
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Review and Extend
Where might you see conditioning in other areas of your life?
Tired whe it’s dark outside
If you listen to a song when you are sad and you re listen to that song later it will bring
up emotions
What is actually learned In Classical Conditioning?
Classic conditioning is the most effective when stimulus to be conditioned precedes the
unconditioned stimulus
Conditioned stimulus becomes a signal for the unconditioned stimulus
Evolutionary adaptation, that enables the organism to anticipate and prepare for a
biologically important event that is about to happen
Many psychologist think humans and animals learns by classical conditioning
To become a CS a neutral stimulus must reliable signal or predict the US
Robert Rescorla ("if a tone sounds, food is likely to follow"): showed that a series of
imaginative studies, that the mere pairing of an unconditioned stimulus and a neutral
stimulus is not enough to produce learning
To become a conditioned stimulus, the neutral stimulus must reliably signal, or predict,
the unconditioned stimulus
Rescorla concluded, the organism is better seen as an information seeker using logical
and perceptual relations among events, along its own preconceptions, to form a
sophisticated representation of its world
**"Information seeking," preconceptions", and "representations of the world" open the
door to a more cognitive view of classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning in Real Life
John B. Watson, was the first psychologists to recognize the real-life implications of
pavlovs theory
Watson believed that the whole rich array of human emotion and behaviour could be
accounted for by conditioning principles
He also said: we learn to love another person when that person is paired with stroking
and cuddling
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