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Chapter 6

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Chapter 6- Learning Phobias are irrational fears of specific objects or situations. They are often the result from classical conditioning. Learning refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience. Specific kind of learning: conditioning. Conditioning involves learning associates between events that occur in an organisms environment. Classical Conditioning: is a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus. Classical conditioning is sometimes called Pavlovian conditioning. The term conditioning comes from Pavlovs determination to discover the conditions that produce this kind of learning. Vocabulary Associations with Classical Conditioning- Term Meaning The Unconditional/Unconditioned A stimulus that evokes an Stimulus (UCS) unconditioned response without previous conditioning. The Unconditional/Unconditioned An unlearned reaction to an UCS that Response (UCR) occurs without previous conditioning The Conditioned Stimulus (CS) A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response. The Conditioned Response (CR) A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning. *note that the unconditioned and conditioned response often consist of the same behaviour. Although there may be subtle differences between them. Diagram: Process of Classical Conditioning Before conditioning: The UCS elicits the UCR but the neutral S (NS) does not. During conditioning: The NS is paired w/ UCS. After conditioning: The NS alone elicits the response; the NS is now a conditioned stimulus (CS) and the response to it is a CR= conditioned response. Summary: An original neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response that it did not previously elicit. Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively automatic or involuntary. A trial in classical conditioning consists of any presentation of a stimulus (S) or a pair of stimuli. Phobia (classical conditioning of a fear response) Example: Stimulus generalization: woman fears of bridges (old bridge), ultimately generalizes all bridges. Conditioning & Physiological Responses Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen have shown that classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression (a decrease in the production of antibodies), can elicit allergic reactions, and contribute to the growth of drug tolerance. Classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal (stimuli routinely paired with human sexual interactions, such as seductive nightgowns, mood music, lit candles, etc.) and underlie development of fetishes (it seems likely that humans may be conditioned to be aroused by objects such as shoes, boots, leather, etc. that may be paired with events eliciting sexual arousal). Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning Classic conditioning is often portrayed as a mechanical process that inevitably leads to a certain result. Basic processes in classical conditioning that expand on the rich complexity of this form of learning: Acquisition: Forming New Responses Refers to the initial stage of learning something. Pavlov theorized that the acquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity. Stimuli are contiguous if they occur together in time and space. Contiguity alone doesnt automatically produce conditioning. Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses Extinction: the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response to tendency. Consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone, without the unconditioned stimulus leads to extinction in classical conditioning. Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses The reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of non exposure to the conditioned stimulus. Rest interval(a period of non exposure) Recent studies have shown that if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired, the extinguished will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment where acquisition took place (called the renewal effect). Renewal effect suggests that extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than erasing a learned association. Extinction does not appear to lead to unlearning. Stimulus Generalization After conditioning has occurred, organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS used but also to the other similar stimuli.
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