PSYC 2330 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Conditioned Taste Aversion, Little Albert Experiment, Key Light
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Classical Conditioning: Foundations
The Early Years of Classical Conditioning
- Studies of classical conditioning began with the work of Russian physiologist
o Started when he noticed that dogs created psychic secretions every
time they were presented food.
Discoveries of Vul’fson and Snarskii
- Performed the first systematic studies of classical conditioning.
- Vul’fson focused on salivary glands.
o Studied salivary responses to various substances placed in the mouth:
dry food, wet food, sour water and sand for example.
o If they had the food placed in their mouth repeatedly, the mere sight
of these foods was enough to make them salivate.
- Snarskii extended the studies with the use of artificial substances.
o Used different colors to color bowls of water.
- Some substances produced distinctive taste and texture sensations in the
mouth, known as orosensory stimuli.
- First time only the feeling of sand in dogs mouth elicited salivation, however
after the sand had been placed in the mouth several times the sight of sand
also came to elicit salivation.
o The association of one feature of an object with another is called
- To study the mechanisms of associative learning, the stimuli to be associated
have to be manipulated independently of one another.
o Pavlov used procedures in which the stimuli to be associated came
from different sources.
The Classical Conditioning Paradigm
- Involves two stimuli: one of these stimuli is a tone or a light. The other
stimulus is food or the taste of sour solution placed in the mouth. In contrast
to the light or tone, the food or sour taste elicits vigorous salivation even the
first time it is presented.
o The light or tone referred to as conditional stimulus b/c the
effectiveness of this stimulus in eliciting salivation depended pairing it
several times with the presentation of food.
o The food or sour taste was called the unconditioned stimulus b/c its
effectiveness in eliciting salivation did not depend on any prior
o The salivation that eventually came to be elicited by the tone or light
was called the conditioned response, and the salivation that was
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always elicited by the food or sour taste was called the unconditioned
- Pavlov used dogs using salivary-fistula technique.
- Most contemporary experiments on Pavlovian conditioning are carried out
with rats, rabbits, and pigeons.
- Little Albert Experiment
o Conditioned rat (CS) with loud abstract noise (US) and made little
Albert afraid (CR) of the rat.
- When rats are scared they become immobile.
- Two different indirect measures of immobility known as conditioned
suppression procedures are:
o Lick Suppression Procedure: rat licking a spout of water, then
presented with a fear CS (i.e. tone). Now measure how long it takes to
lick a certain amount of times.
o Conditioned Emotional Response: rats are first trained to press a
response lever for food reward in a small chamber. Once the rats are
pressing the lever at a steady rate fear conditioning is introduced
consisting of a tone or light paired with a brief shock. As they acquire
the conditioned fear, they come to suppress their level pressing
during the CS. They calculate a ratio and compare to the normal
Eye Blink Conditioning
- Puff of air to the eye (US) was given when a tone was heard (CS). Eventually
began to blink when they heard the tone.
- One experimental paradigm that has contributed significantly to modern
conceptions of Pavlovian conditioning is the sign tracking (autoshaping).
o Not a highly reflexive response like salvation and blinking.
- Sign tracking is investigated by presenting a discrete, localized visual
stimulus just before each delivery of a small amount of food.
o I.e. Pigeon in a chamber with a small circular key that could be
illuminated and that the pigeons could peck. Periodically the pigeons
were given access to the food for a few seconds. The key light was
illuminated for 8 seconds immediately before each food delivery.
o Instead of using the key light to tell them when they should go the
food dish, they started pecking the key itself.
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