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Chapter 3 - Classical Conditioning

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PSYC 2330
Francesco Leri

The Early Years of Classical ConditioningThe Discoveries of Vulfson and Snarskii First systemic studies of classical conditioning were done by two of Pavlovs students in the lab o Vulfson used real substances which were placed in the mouth of a dog and eventually the mere sight of the substances were enough to elicit salivation o Snarskii used artificial substances like black sour water placed in the mouth Eventually the dog would salivate to the sight of black water or black water in a bottleOrosensory stimulistimuli that are distinguishable by sight and also produce a distinctive texture and tasteAssociation between one feature of an object with another is called object learningStudying learning requires the two stimuli to be able to be independently manipulated which is hard to do when both stimuli belong to the same object Later on Pavlov used procedures where the stimuli to be associated came from different sources The Classical Conditioning Paradigm The tone or light is the conditional stimulus because the effectiveness of it eliciting salivation is conditional on the pairing of the presentation of foodThe presentation of food was unconditioned stimulus because its effectiveness in eliciting salivation did not depend on any prior trainingThe eventual salivation from the light or tone was called the conditioned responseThe salivation to the food was the unconditioned responseStimuli and responses whose properties did not depend on prior training were called unconditional and those stimuli and responses whose properties emerged only after training were called conditionalExperimental SituationsFear Conditioning Watson and Rayner conditioned a fear response in a ninemonthold infant to a white rat by pairing it with the US or a steel bar being hit with a hammer Eventually Albert was scared of the white rat but the fear also generalized to other furry things a rabbit Santa clause cotton woolNow we use mice with an aversive US of a brief electric shock through the floor the CS may be a discrete stimulus or the contextual cues of the place where the aversive stimuli is encountered The rats UR to the shock is freezingFreezing is defined as immobility of the body and the absence of movement of the whiskers associated with sniffingThere are two indirect measures of immobility both involve the suppression on ongoing behaviour and are referred to as conditioned suppression procedures o One method called the licksuppression procedure The rats are slightly water deprived and lick readily when placed in an experimental chamber The fear CS is presented and the licking behaviour is suppressed The time it takes to make a certain amount of licks is recorded and measured as the behavioural index of conditioned fear o Another is called conditioned emotional response procedure CER The rats are trained to press a response lever for food reward in a chamber this provides the behavioural baseline for measurement of fear Once they are at a constant rate the fear conditioning is introduced which consists of a tone or light paired with a brief shock Once the rats begin to aquire the conditioned fear they come to suppress their lever pressing during the CSUses a suppesion ratio to measure the suppession of lever pressingGreater disruptions of lever pressing are represented by lower values of the suppression ratiomore fear to the CS is 0 0300 while unaffected by the CS will be 05 30 before 30 after3060 Suppresion ratioCS respondingCS respondingpreCS respondingThe smaller the suppression ratio the more motionless the animal is because the CS elicits more conditioned fearEyeblink ConditioningPuff of airUS ToneCS BlinkURStill active area of research because it provides a powerful tool for the study of problems in development aging and Alzheimers diseaseAlso used in the study of neurobiology of learningautism fetal alcohol syndrome and OCDWhen looking at the graph for the infants who were conditioned to puff of air and tone the yaxis is the rate of eyeblinks The paired group responded to the CS at a much higher rate from the beginning of the second session one week laterThis experiments shows many things o Classical conditioning requires the pairing of a CS and a USthe unpaired group did not develop a response to the CS
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