Classical Conditioning Basics - 278-279
• Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)
• Classical Conditioning - a type of learning in which one learns to link two or more
stimuli and anticipated events.
• His ideas laid the foundation for man of psychologist John B. Watson's ideas.
• Watson urged his colleagues to discard reference to inner thoughts, feelings and
motives. The science of psychology should instead study how organisms
respond to stimuli in their environments.
• Pavlov's direction came from an incidental observation - without fail, putting food
in a dog's mouth caused the animal to salivate.
• The dog began to salivate at the sight of food, the sight of the food dish, the sight
of the delivery, and the sound of the delivery.
• Pavlov began to imagine what the dog was thinking and feeling as it drooled in
anticipation of the food.
• To explore more, they experimented.
• To eliminate other influences, they isolated the dog in a small room, secured it to
a harness, and attached a device to divert its saliva to a measuring instrument.
• They then presented food from the next room - sliding it in a food bowl, then later
blowing meat powder into the dogs mouth.
• They paired the neutral stimuli (NS) - events the dog could see or hear but
didn't associate with food - with food in the dog's mouth.
• Just before placing food in the dog's mouth to produce salivation, Pavlov
sounded a tone. After several pairings of tone and food, the dog began salivating
to the tone alone.
• A dog does not learn to salivate in response to the food in its mouth - food in the
mouth automatically, unconditionally, triggers a dog's salivary reflex.
• Thus, Pavlov called the drooling an unconditioned response (UR).
• He called the food an unconditioned stimulus (US). • Salivation in response to the stone is learned - because it is conditional upon the
dog's associating the tone and the food, we call this response the conditioned
• The stimulus that used to be neutral (the tone previously meant nothing but then
creates salivation) is the conditioned stimulus (CS).
• NS = Neutral Stimulus
• US = Unconditioned Stimulus
• UR = Unconditioned Response
• CS = Conditioned Stimulus
• CR = Conditioned Response
Conditioning Processes - 280-283
• Acquisition is the initial stage, when one links a neutral stimulus and an
unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus begins triggering the
• Through Higher-order Conditioning, a new neutral stimulus can become a new
conditioned stimulus. If a tone regularly signals food and produces salivation,
then a light that becomes associated with the tone may also begin to trigger
• Extinction is the diminished responding that occurs when the CS (tone) no
longer signals an impending US (food).
• Spontaneous Recovery is the reappearance of a weakened CR after a pause.
• Generalization is the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for a
stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses - EXAMPLE:
a dog conditioned to salivate when rubbed would also drool a bit when scratched.
• Discrimination is the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned
stimulus and a stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. EXAMPLE:
confronted by a guard dog = heart race, confronted by a guide dog = no heart
Applications of Classical Conditioning - 283-284 • Used to influence human health and well-being through areas like
consciousness, motivation, emotion, health, psychological disorders and therapy.
• Former drug users feel cravings when they are again in the drug-using context
(with people or in places they associate with previous highs) - drug counsellors
advise addicts to steer clear of people or setting that may trigger these cravings.
• Immune system - when a particular taste accompanies a drug that influences
immune system responses, the taste by itself may come to produce an immune
• "Little Albert" feared loud noises. When Little Albert was presented a white rat, as
Albert went to touch it, a hammer was struck against a steel bar behind his head.
• After seven repeats of seeing the rat and hearing the noise, Albert burst into
tears at the sight of the rat.
• Five days later, this fear moved onto rabbits, a dog, and a fur coat.
• A man, who for 30 years had a fear of going into elevators alone, followed his
therapists advice - force yourself into an elevator 20 times a day. Within 10 days,
his fear was mostly gone.
Operant Conditioning: Reinforcement - 286-289
• Operant Conditioning is a type of learning in which behaviour is strengthened if
followed by a reinforce or diminished if followed by a punisher.
• A form of associative learning - learning that certain events occur together.
• B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)
• His work elaborated on Edward L. Thorndike, called the law of effect - rewarding
behaviour is likely to recur.
• He developed a behavioural technology that revealed principles of behavioural
• Designed the operant chamber (skinner box) - a box which has a bar that an
animal presses or a key that an animal pecks to release a reward of food or
water. It has a device to record these responses. • Concept of reinforcement: any event that strengthens a preceding response.
• To get the animal to do something, you tease it out of them with shaping - the
researcher guides behavio