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Chapter 6

Psy100, Chapter6 summary

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter 6Classical ConditioningLearningLearning is a relatively enduring change in behaviour that results from experience It is an adaptation gained from experience Classical conditioning occurs when a neutral object comes to elicit a reflexive response when it is associated with a stimulus that already produce that response Pavlovs Experiment A neutral stimulus unrelated to the salivary reflex a bell is presented together with a stimulus that reliably produces the reflex such as food to the dog This pairing or conditioning trial is repeated a number of times Then on critical trials the bell sound is presented alone and it is found that salivary reflex is measured Under these conditions Pavlov found that the sound of the bell alone produced salivation as the dog has learned to associate the bell with food This type of learning is referred to as classical conditioning TerminologyUnconditioned response UR is a response that does not have to be learned Unconditioned stimulus US is a stimulus that elicits a response without any prior learning Conditionedis learned response CRConditioned stimulus CS is a stimulus that elicits a response only after learning has taken place The UR and CR are not identical The CR is usually less strong than the UR Acquisition The initial learning of a behaviour the gradual formation of an association between the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli The critical element in the acquisition of a learned association is that the stimuli occur together in time referred to as contiguity as concluded by Pavlov However the strongest conditioning actually occurs when there is a slight delay between the CS and the US Extinction Sometime previous associations have to be unlearned when they are no longer adaptive or consistent This process is known as extinction The CS is extinguished when the CS no long predicts the US Spontaneous Recovery A recovery in which a previously extinguished response reemerges spontaneously following presentation of the CS If the recovery is only paired with CS and CR the process is temporary and will quickly fade unless the CS is again paired with the US The recovery is also weaker each revival Stimulus GeneralizationIt occurs when stimuli that are similar but not identical to the CS produce the CR This response is adaptive as in nature CS is seldom experienced repeatedly in identical fashion Stimulus Discrimination This is a learned tendency to differentiate between two similar stimuli if one is consistently associated with the US and the other is not SecondOrder ConditioningA phenomenon in which a CS does not become directly associated with an US but rather with other stimuli that themselves are associated with the US Essentially it involves two CS Although it has a powerful influence most secondorder conditioning occurs implicitly without our awareness or intention PhobiasPhobia is an acquired fear that is out of proportion to the real threat It develops through the generalization of a fear experience Animals can be classically conditioned to fear a neutral object
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