BASIC LEARNING CONCEPTS AND CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
How Do We Learn?
Learning is the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviours
Associative learning is learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical
conditioning) or a response and its consequence (as in operant conditioning).
Process of learning associations is conditioning and it takes two main forms:
Classical conditioning learn to associate two stimuli ant thus to anticipate events
Stimulus: any event or situation that evokes a response
Operant conditioning learn to associate a response (our behaviour) and its consequence. Thus we learn to
repeat acts followed by good results and avoid acts followed by bad results
Conditioning is not only form of learning
Cognitive learning: the acquisition of mental information, whether by observing events, by
Watching others, or through language
Why are habits, such as having something sweet with that cup of coffee so hard to break?
Habits form when we repeat behaviours in a given context and, as a result, learn associations-often without our
awareness. For example, we may have eaten a sweet pastry with a cup of coffee often enough to associate the flavour
of the coffee with the treat, so that the cup of coffee alone just doesn’t seem right anymore!
John B. Watson & behaviourism: the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies the
behaviour without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with 1, but not 2.
Putting food in a dog’s mouth cause dog to salivate
Dog began to salivate at sight of food
Respondent behaviour: behaviour that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus
Isolated dog in room first slid bowl in room later by blowing meat powder in dog’s mouth
Paired neutral stimuli with a tone, that dog did not associate with food, with food in the dog’s mouth BASIC LEARNING CONCEPTS AND CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
neutral stimuli: in classical conditioning, a stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning
Food in the mouth automatically unconditionally triggers a dog’s salivary reflex
Drooling is an unconditional response: in classical conditioning, an unlearned, naturally occurring response to an
Food is an unconditioned stimulus: in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally-naturally and
automatically- triggers a response
Salivation in response to the tone is learned- conditioned response: in classical conditioning, a learned response
to a previously neutral stimulus
The stimulus that used to be neutral is the conditioned stimulus: in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant
stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a conditioned response
NS= neutral stimulus
US= unconditioned stimulus
UR= unconditioned response
CS= conditioned stimulus
CR= conditioned response
Acquisition: in classical conditioning, the initial stage, when one links a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned
stimulus so that the neutral stimulus begins triggering the conditioned response. In