Learning—a relatively permanent change in behavior or the potential to
make a response that occurs as the result of an experience.
Maturation is not learning. You don‘t ‗learn‘ to walk.
o Physiologist interested in digestion
o Won Noble Prize in Medicine in 1904
o Collected Saliva from dogs
o Psychic Secretion—Pavlov‘s term for reaction
o Saliva followed footsteps, unlocking the door, keys
o Stumbled upon Classical Conditioning
Responses are elicited/pulled from the organism.
If we have the right stimulus, we can make the organism respond
in a certain way
Involuntary, reflect ANS
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS or US)—built in. Does not need to be
Unconditioned Response (UCR)—UCS gives rise to UCR
Neutral Stimulus—elicits no response before conditioning.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)—learned
Conditional Response (CR)—learned
o CS means nothing, elicits no response (bell)
o UCS elicits UCR (hotdog)
o Associate CS with UCS, elicits response
o CS elicits CR
Essentially, Signal Substitution
Elements of Classical Conditioning
o Generalization—stimuli that are similar to the conditioned
stimulus will elicit the response. Response is spreading out to
other stimuli. (snake—rope, red—orange)
o Discrimination—opposite of generalization. (CR=Red, will not
response to green)
o Acquisition—training stage during which a particular response
o Forward Conditioning—CS presented first, followed by UCS
with ~.5 second gap.
o Blocking—conditionability of CS is weakened when it is paired
with a UCS that has been previously associated with another
CS o Extinction—get rid of a response. Extinction occurs with
repeated presentation of CS alone without UCS.
o Spontaneous Recovery—response will come back after
extinction. Forces keeping you from responding weaken over
time. (ex. Bad fall while skiing)
Application of Classical Conditioning
o Can an infant hear?
Drug Tolerance—Bodies have a natural tendency to attempt to
counteract drugs, which is what helps to build up tolerance. So, if a
routine is normally followed before taking drug (specific location),
this routine can become a CS for the body to begin effects to
counteract drug. So, if drug is taken in absence of the routine, the
amount normally needed for desired effect (after tolerance) may
cause an overdose because the body is not preparing itself in the
way that it normally does.
Attitudes—classical conditioning can create an attitude toward
something, if it is often paired with a positive or negative UCS.
Taste-Aversion—development of aversion to flavor that has been
paired with illness. Most often, it is a novel flavor. Illness can take
place hours after food is consumed. Even if higher brain knows this
food did not cause the illness, it often cannot overpower the
primitive association causing the aversion.
o Kids undergoing chemotherapy who ate a weird ice cream
before did not develop as many other food aversions because
the ice cream blocked them.
People are essentially robots, product of their environment.
Responses are said to be emitted
The participant must make a response to produce a change in his
Voluntary, reflect CNS
Key Concept is reinforce
o Either positive or negative
o Primary (related to biology of organism) or secondary
(conditioned or learned)
Primary Positive: food, sleep, shelter, sex (Holiday Inn
Reinforcers) Secondary Positive: money, credit cards, points, bingo
Primary Negative: shock, pain, extreme temperatures,
Secondary Negative: low self esteem, exclusion,
violation of personal space
Used in psychiatric hospitals, juvenile detention centers,
group homes, family homes
Use tokens (secondary reinforcers) that can be turned
in for a back-up reinforce
Built on Contingencies (If, then Statements)
Law of effect—Thorndike‘s view that reinforcers promote learning,
whereas punishment leads to unlearning.
o Ex. Animals in puzzle boxes
Shaping—form of operant conditioning in which a desired response
is taught by reinforcement of successive responses that more
closely resemble target response.
o Ex. Mute mental patient taught to speak by demanding first
eye contact, then lip movement, then speech, and being
rewarded with gum.
o Most of Skinner‘s work involved rats and pigeons. Used
―Skinner Box). Rat presses lever, receives pellets.
Cumulative Record: charts all of the responses that an
organism has made up to a point. It can‘t go down.
o Pigeon Ping Pong, Rat Basketball, and Student Rat
o Little Johnny (six-year-old with brain damage). Johnny bangs
his head against wall, followed by attention from parents.
Extinction by not rewarding behavior
Extinction burst—behavior increases initially (looking for
the positive reinforcement)
o Greenspoon Effect: We do not have to be aware of
contingencies in order for them to be effective in altering
Classroom behavior of teacher
Annoying telephone calls and reinforcers
Baseline: # of plural words during an interview
Experimental Stage: reinforce plural words
Results: # of plural words goes up
o Premack Principle [a.k.a. Grandma‘s rule]—highly desirable
behavior is used to reinforce a less desirable behavior
Eat broccoli (less desirable) before ice cream (highly
desirable) Shaping [a.k.a successive approximations]: reinforcing
behaviors that approximate desired behavior
Case of mutism (move lips, speak)
Shirt buttoning, Figure 8s, most animal tricks
There is no difference between positive reinforcement and negative
reinforcement in terms of their effects on behavior. They both
Negative Reinforcement—withdrawal of negative reinforcer is
o Stuttering. White noise plays until individual speaks fluently.
This is negative reinforcement because a desired behavior is
reinforced with the removal of an undesirable stimulus.
o Headaches. You take aspirin, pain goes away
Two-process theory—Classical Conditioning explains
why phobias develop, but not why they continue.
Punishment—Withdrawal of positive reinforcer or presentation of a
o Punishment supresses reduces behavior, but does not often
o Punishment can also be positive and negative. Positive
punishment is inserting an unwanted response and negative
punishment is removing a desired response.
o Smuck‘s Story
Discriminative Stimulus—stimulus telling participant that a response
will be reinforced
Schedules of reinforcement
Behavior followed by nothing (no reinforcement)
behavior is extinguished
Every time you behave a certain way, there is
Ex. Soda machine
o Partial or Intermittent
Ratio Schedules of Reinforcement (think ―number‖)
FR (fixed ratio). After a fixed number of
behaviors, there will be reinforcement
FR of 1 would be continuous reinforcement
Ex. Piece work ($ for completing widgets),
being paid by bushel for picking apples
VR (Variable Ratio) –do not know how many
behaviors are needed to produce reinforcement. (A mean of the number of behaviors needed is the
# for VR)
Can lead to high rates of behavior,
particularly when we are dealing with high
Ex. Las Vegas one-armed bandit
Resistant to extinction –hard to get rid of.
Nick Nerd and Sarah—if she says yes once,
he thinks there is alwa