Change in behaviour. Concepts have infiltrated our popular culture. When you hear something,
you think you knew it all along. Often the case we don’t really know even though we think we
know something all along.
Theories of learning. Language of learning and behaviour. Try to understand things from the
perspective of psychologists. All the ways that experience influences us in a relatively durable
Cognitive understanding of how humans learn. Development of phobias.
Pavlov was famous for Pavlovian Conditioning. Found a way of measuring reactions. Noticed
that dogs would start to salivate even before the food was given to them. Unconditioned
stimulus is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning. No
prior experience required for the dog to salivate. Unlearned reaction.
A bell would go off every time the food was given to the dog. As a result of this experience after
several tries, the dog would salivate whenever the bell would go off.
The result of this was a conditioned response. A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that
occurs because of previous conditioning. A conditioned stimulus is a previously neutral stimulus
that has, through conditioning acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.
Elicited behaviours: natural response. Involuntary.
Trial: consist of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli.
Can ask questions such as how many trials does it take to evoke the saliva?
Some things are picked up really quickly but some take time. If you witness a traumatic event,
there is a possibility that one trial will evoke a response.
Usually takes a lot of trials.
CC in everyday life:
Fears and other Emotional responses: Example is a dentist who didn’t believe in freezing. Prof
had a lot of cavities. Scared of dentist drill. Learned response from the past. Just the sound of
the drill evokes an involuntary response.)
Advertising (evaluative condition of attitudes): Advertisers pair products with positive symbols
such as sex symbols) Example: Calvin Klein
Business Negotiations: Take client out to dinner/lunch. Nice feeling gets associated with your
Physiological responses: amount of urine excreted due to conditions. Rats were given a drug
that reduces the ability to respond to bacteria (immunosuppressant). Given IMS with funny tasting liquid. Started giving the rats just the liquid and the rats started suppressing their system
from just the liquid.
Smell is one of the most powerful trigger to bringing back memories.
Sex and the single quail: Quails were put in boxes to live. Put in a special cage. The cage got
associated with having sex. The quail was taken out one at a time and put in with the female
and they were able to measure how much semen was produced. The quails that were put in the
cage and were used to having sex in the cage produced double the semen than the other
Conditional and Drug Effects: Lots of drugs that influence our body force the user overtime to
produce a tolerance. Rituals associated with heroin. Rituals trigger certain compensatory
responses and to help the person with homeostasis by counteracting the drug. The drug is then
taken in the different place with different people, and the result is that there is a stronger impact
and may lead to overdose.
Basic processes in CC:
Acquisition: the initial stage of learning something. Measure the stimulus contiguity. How similar
are the stimuli. How do we determine what is going to trigger associations. In a situation, where
an event occurs CS that is novel, unusual or especially intense may stand out. Stimulus
contiguity does not automatically produce conditioning. How do we get learning to happen more
Timing (simultaneous vs. short-delay vs. Trace) the way to get conditioning to happen more
effectively is to have the bell go off and then the food. ½ second delay is ideal.
Best way to create and association.
Extinction: the ability to push that out of the way. If you can associate that dentist drill with
something else. The association weakens and maybe causes the negative learned response to
be suppressed. It can be brought back.
Spontaneous Recovery: the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of non
exposure to the CS. If you bring someone that witnessed a traumatic event at an location and
bring the person back to that location, their fear will come back and this also occurs in a similar
place to the actual location.
Psychologists scared Little Albert and made a big sound when the rat was close to him. 5 days
later, Albert was scared of the white rat, a rabbit, a white wolf and anything that was similar to
the rat. Is adaptive. The more similar the stimuli are to the original stimuli, the more chance
there is of a generalization.
Generalization Gradient: The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization.
A dog hears a car coming to the door and out comes his owner. This happens several times.
Soon the dog gets excited whenever a car approaches the driveway. At first, this will occur with
every car. But soon the dog is able to discriminate and point out the actual car. Occurs when an
organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way
to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus. This is also adaptive. The less similar new
stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the likelihood (and ease) of discrimination. Learning to
discriminate means the organism is generalizing to a smaller and smaller range of similar
Higher- Order Conditioning: You spend some time and you do a good job of conditioning the
tone to the meat powder. The tone would produce the saliva. Then you introduce a red light with
the tone, and over time the red light will also evoke saliva. Overtime the tone (conditioned
stimuli) functions as it were unconditioned stimuli.
A person views a video screen. The researcher flashes words on the screen. When done, the
people that saw the flashes had an increase in self esteem.
Operant Conditioning: BF Skinner. ABC. A= Antecedent/Behaviour/Consequence
We operate in this world such that if we see certain situations, we do certain behaviours which
lead to rewards/consequences.
Responses come to be controlled by their consequences.
Thorndike’s Law of Effect: he put a cat in a maze. When the cat got out of the maze, it would get
a treat. Wanted to see how quickly or slowly would the cat get out of the maze. The cat slowly
learned how to get out of the maze, but sped up at a steady pace. “If a response in the stimulus
leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimuli is strengthened.” It slowly
happens over time.
Learning is instrumental in obtaining some desired outcome. (Instrumental Learning).
Favourable effects led to a gradual stamping in.
B F Skinner: Found ways of measuring things. Organisms tend to repeat those responses that
are followed by favourable consequences.
Reinforcement: that favourable response is reinforcement. Occurs when an event following a
response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response. Much of everyday
behaviour is regu