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Lecture 3

PSY 110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Little Albert Experiment, Classical Conditioning, Systematic Desensitization

Course Code
PSY 110

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Unit 2 Conditioning
2/11 and 2/16
Classical Conditioning-bond formed between unconditioned stimulus (unlearned) and a neutral
stimulus (becomes a conditioned stimulus after pairing)
Spontaneous recovery- reverting back to old conditioned response
Learning is a change in behavior from experience
Pavlov and dogs that salivated (salivation=unconditioned response) because he taught them to
associate a bell with a full food bowl, they would salivate(conditioned response) even when the
bowl was empty (conditioned stimulus)
Ex: baby talk and tickling US=tickle and UR=laugh, after time the baby talk led to laughter (CR)
Example; the office and addiction
Us=mint UR=salivate NS=computer chime NS=computer chime CR=salivate at sound of chime
Us=nicotine ur=craving ns=alcohol cs=alcohol elicits nicotine craving cr=crave nicotine when
drink alcohol
Why do we care about classical conditioning? It applies to us (ex: food aversions), many phobias
are a result of CC
Experiment done by Watson and grad student, tried to get patients to develop a phobia, Little
Albert experiment. Used classical conditioning to expose infant to white rat and fear it
Couldn’t discriminate between white rat and other white objects
Became frightened of everything white (generalization)
Treatments of phobias based on CC
educate themselves on the phobia (reasonable fear?) and show photographs until they’re sick of
it (desensitization)
1. Systematic desensitization (SD) used to extinguish CC fear response to an object ex: first
show lots of photos of snakes until they don’t get chills at snake photos, then replace CR
of fear with CR of relaxation, next make a list of feared stimuli. Once they learn how to
relax and slow heart rate, pair feared stimuli with relaxation (least feared first)
2. Flooding exposes them to their most feared stimulus all at once and they find out nothing
terrible happens. Similar to SD because they’re learning relaxation and exposing them to
the stimulus. It’s quicker, but it’s more likely to have relapses (less extinction of phobia
means more likely for spontaneous recovery)
Operant Conditioning-forming an association between behaviors and consequences
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