The Psychology of Learning and Behaviour Final Exam Review.docx
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The Psychology of Learning and Behaviour Final Exam Review
Chapter 8: Avoidance and Punishment
- Negative reinforcement is when a behaviour increases in frequency if some stimulus is removed
after the behaviour occurs. It is a behaviour strengthening procedure in which an aversive
stimulus is removed or omitted if the behaviour occurs.
- Punishment in which behaviour is followed by an unpleasant stimulus. A behaviour reduction
process in which the occurrence of behaviour is followed by an aversive stimulus.
- Avoidance is when a response prevents an unpleasant stimulus from occurring in the first place.
- Negative punishment in which a pleasant stimulus is removed or omitted if behaviour occurs.
- Omission is often used instead of negative punishment.
- Avoidance punishment is a type of negative reinforcement in which performing a response
prevents an aversive stimulus from occurring in the first place.
- Avoidance paradox is the puzzle about how the non-occurrence of an aversive event can serve
as a reinforcer for an avoidance response.
- A shuttle box is an experimental chamber with 2 rectangular compartments. An animal may be
required to move from one compartment to the other to escape or avoid an aversive stimulus.
- The 2 factors in the two-factor theory are classical conditioning and operant conditioning and
according to the theory both are necessary for avoidance responses to occur.
- One problem with the two-factor theory concerns the relationship between fear and avoidance
- One-factor theory states that the classical conditioning component of two-factor theory is not
necessary. There is no need to assume that escape from a fear eliciting conditioned stimulus is
the reinforcer for an avoidance response, because avoidance can in itself serve as a reinforcer.
- Free-operant avoidance is a procedure developed by Sidman it is an avoidance procedure in
which shocks occur at regular intervals if the subject does not respond but a response
postpones the next shock for a fixed period of time.
- Two important expectations in an avoidance situation is an expectation about the consequences
of a response, and an expectation about the consequences of not responding.
- Cognitive theory of avoidance suggests that a subject’s behaviour will change in an avoidance
task whenever there is a discrepancy between expectancy and observation.
- Response blocking involves presenting the signal that precedes shock but preventing the subject
from making the avoidance response.
- Species-specific defence reactions are innate behaviour patterns, a defensive reaction that
occurs when an animal encounters any kind of new or sudden stimulus in the wild. SSDR’s
usually fall into 3 categories, which are freezing, fleeing, or fighting.
- Learned helplessness is Seligman’s term for impaired ability to learn an avoidance response that
occurs after a subject has been exposed to inescapable aversive stimuli. The 3 dimensions of
learned helplessness are: 1) the sense of helplessness may be specific to one situation or fairly
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global, 2) The person may attribute his/her helplessness to internal or external factors, and 3)
the person may view this helplessness as stable (long term) or unstable (short term).
- Punishment has the opposite effect on behaviour as positive reinforcement, reinforcement
produces an increase of behaviour, and punishment produces a decrease in behaviour.
- Factors influencing the effectiveness of punishment are: manner of introduction, immediacy of
punishment, schedule of punishment, motivation to respond, availability of alternative
behaviour, and punishment as a discriminative stimulus.
- Behaviour decelerators refer to all techniques that can lead to a slowing, reduction, or
elimination of unwanted behaviours.
- Punishment and omission are 2 of the most obvious methods for reducing undesired
behaviours, but they are not the only ones.
- Over correction involves restitution (making up for the wrong doing) and positive practice
(practicing a better behaviour).
- Extinction of an undesired behaviour occurs because it is followed by some positive reinforcer,
and if it is possible to remove that reinforcer the behaviour should eventually disappear through
- Response blocking for behaviours that are too dangerous or destructive is response blocking
which is physically restraining the individual to prevent to inappropriate behaviour.
- Escape extinction can be used when an undesired behaviour is maintained by escape from some
situation the individual does not like.
- Non-contingent reinforcement is the delivery of free reinforcers at random times.
- If it is not feasible to remove the reinforcer that is maintaining an undesired behaviour, it is
sometimes possible to present so much of the reinforcer that is loses its effectiveness due to
Chapter 9: Theories and Research on Operant Conditioning
- Operant conditioning may be describes as learning by doing.
- For Thorndike, the performance of the response was a necessary part of the learning process.
- Tolman produced a cognitive map which is a general understanding of the spatial layout of for
example a maze.
- Latent learning is Tolman’s term for the hidden learning that occurs or trials when no reinforcer
is delivered, but can only be seen in the subject’s behaviour once trials with reinforcement
- The term biofeedback encompasses any procedure designed to supply the individual with
amplified feedback about some bodily process.
- Tolma claimed that rats could still learn a maze if they were carried through it because they
developed a cognitive map.
- Experiments on latent learning have shown that reinforcement is necessary for the performance
on an operant response, but not for the learning of the response.
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- In eye blink conditioning with a puff of air as the unconditioned stimulus, a one factor theorist
could argue that preventing an air puff from hitting the eye acts as a reinforcer when the animal
blinks in response to the conditioned stimulus.
- In experiments on the control of heart rate by reinforcement, electrical stimulation of the brain
was used as reinforcement for rats paralyzed with curare.
- In using EMG biofeedback for tension headaches, patients listen to clicks that indicate tension in
their forehead muscles, and they are told to try to reduce the rate of clicking.
- Need reduction theory (Clark Hull) proposes that all primary reinforcers are stimuli that reduce a
biological need will act as reinforcers.
- Drive reduction theory states that a strong stimulation of any sort that is aversive to an
organism and any reduction in this stimulation acts as a reinforcer for the immediately
- Trans-situationality means that a stimulus that is determined to be a reinforcer in one situation
will also be a reinforcer in other situations.
- Premacks principle provides a straight forward method for determining whether behaviour will
act as a reinforcer for another. It states that more probable behaviours will reinforce less
- The phrase more probable means that the behaviour that the subject preformed for a larger
fraction of the time in the base line session.
- Reinforcement relativity is when there are no absolute categories of reinforcers and
reinforceable responses, and which role a behaviour plays depends on its relative location on
the probability scale.
- Premacks principle and punishment is that less probable behaviours will punish more probable
- Reciprocal contingency ensures that 2 behaviours occur in a fixed proportion.
- Response deprivation theory states that unless a schedule happens to require exactly the same
ratio of 2 behaviours that a subject chooses in base line conditions, one of the behaviours
become a relatively precious commodity because of its restricted availability.
- Functional analysis is a method that allows the therapist to determine what reinforcer is
maintaining the unwanted behaviour.
- Automatic reinforcement is sensory stimulation from the behaviour that may serve as its own
- Optimization theory is the theory that the consumer will distribute their income in whatever
way maximizes their subjective value.
- Elastic demand is the theory that if the amount of a commodity purchased decreases markedly
when its price increases.
- In elastic demand means that changes in the price of a product have relatively little effect on the
- The fact that such things as sex and artificial sweeteners are reinforcers is a problem for need
- The procedure of using a series of test conditions to determine what is maintaining a person’s
maladaptive behaviour is called functional analysis.
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