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PSYC 2330 (89)
Chapter 7

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2330
Francesco Leri

Chapter 7 The Associative Structure of Instrumental Conditioning  Edward Thorndike - Instrumental response occurs in the context of specific environmental stimuli  Three events to consider when analysing instrumental learning: the stimulus context (S), the instrumental response (R), and the response outcome (O). Figure 7.1 S O R - The instrumental response (R) occurs in the presence of the distinctive stimuli (S) and results in the delivery of the response outcome (O). The S-R Association and the Law of Effect  Believed by Thorndike that it is the key to instrumental learning and the law of effect  Instrumental learning involves the establishment of an S-R association; the role of the reinforcer is to “stamp in” the S-R association. th  The S-R association was disfavoured during the later part of the 20 century but has recently been resurged in S-R mechanism.  Wood and Neal recently proposed a new comprehensive model of human habits that is similar to Thorndike’s S-R Association  Also being used as one of the mechanisms to explain habitual nature of drug addiction (taking the drug of abuse of viewed as an instrumental behaviour that is initially reinforced by the positive aspects of drug experience, however, with repetitive use, taking the drug becomes habitual because it becomes and automatics response to contextual cues, without regard to the consequences. 12 Expectancy of Reward and the S-0 Association  Not considered until approximately 40 years after the law of effect  Reinforcement of the instrumental response will inevitably result in pairing these stimuli (S) with the reinforce of response outcome (O) (represented by the dashed line in figure 7.1  Earliest and most influential accounts was offered by Clark Hall (1930) and later elaborated by Kenneth Spence. Two-Process Theory  Two distinct types of learning: Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning  They are related in a special way, during the course of instrumental conditioning the stimuli (S) in the presence of which the instrumental response is reinforced becoming associated with the response outcome (O) through pavlovian conditioning and this is the result of an S-O association  Way to test is to use the Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer Test
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