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Chapter 6

PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Operant Conditioning Chamber, Reward System, Drug Tolerance

Course Code
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

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Readings- Chapter 6
Classical Conditioning
Learning: a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge thats due to experience
Conditioning: learning associations between events that occur in an organisms environment
Classical conditioning: a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a
response that was originally evoked by another stimulus
Pavlov’s Demonstration: Psychic Reflexes
Ivan Pavlov; Russian Psychologist
Did experiments on dogs, with meat powder (unconditioned stimulus) & a bell (conditioned
stimulus); as soon as they heard the bell, they would create salivation
Terminology & Procedures
Unconditioned stimulus: (meat powder & salivation) a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned
response without previous conditioning. The unconditioned stimulus response is an
unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning
Conditioned stimulus: (bell & salivation) a previously neutral stimulus that has, through
conditioning, acquired capacity to evoke a conditional response. The conditioned response is a
learned reaction to conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning
Unconditioned response & conditioned response often consist of the same behaviour, with
minor differences
When evoked with the meat powder, salivation ws an unconditioned response; when evoked
by the bell, salivation was a conditioned response
Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life
Most researchers work with extremely simple responses, ie, eyelid closure, knee jerks, flexing
of limbs, & fear responses
Phobias are a good example of emotional responses (fear)
Fears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical conditioning
Conditioning & Physiological Responses
Immunosuppression: decrease in the production of antibodies
Study animals are given a drug (the US) that chemically causes Immunosuppression while
they are given an unusual tasting liquid to drink (the CS). Days later, some of the animals

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are re-exposed to the CS by giving them the liquid again. Measurements of the antibody
production indicate that animals exposed to the CS have a reduced immune response
Continued use of drugs may lead to an increased drug tolerance; more drugs needed
for a response
Classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal one can be conditioned to
become sexually aroused by a neutral, nonsexual stimulus- such as a phone- if paired
with opportunities
Conditioning of human sexual interactions such as sexy nightgowns, candles, mood
Conditioning & Drug Effects
Compensatory CR: partially compensate for some drug effects; they help maintain
balance in the physiological processes
Most drug users have routines that lead to consistent pairing of drug administration &
certain stimuli (syringes, cocaine bottles, specific settings etc)
Eventually the environmental cues bring out the compensatory CRs that partially
cancel out some of the anticipated drug effects
As the compensatory CRs strengthen, they neutralize more of a drugs pleasurable
effects, producing a decline in the users tolerance
When drug users break away from their routines taken in new ways or new places-
the usual compensatory CR may not occur
The drugs now have a stronger impact than usual, increasing the risk of an overdose
When people try to quit, exposure to drug-related cues may trigger compensatory
CRs that increase drug cravings & relapse
Acquisition: Forming New Responses
Acquisition: the initial stage of learning something
The acquisition of a conditional response depends on the stimulus contiguity
Contiguity alone does not produce conditioning
Stimuli have more potential to become CSs than routine stimuli because they are
more likely to stand out among other stimuli
Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses
Extinction: the gradual weakening & disappearance of a conditioned response

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The consistent presentation of the conditioned stimuli alone, without the
unconditioned stimulus
Ie, when Pavlov only presented the bell to a previously conditioned dog, the bell
gradually lost its capacity to bring out the response of salivation
Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses
The reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of non-exposure to the
conditioned stimulus
After experimenting with the dog, Pavlov made him rest. The next day the bell rang
and the salivation response appeared
The salivation amount was less than before
If a response is extinguished in a different environment that it was attained, it will
return if put back in the original environment renewal effect
Extinction suppresses a conditioned response; doesnt fully erase it
Stimulus Generalization
After conditioning, organisms will also respond to stimuli similar to the exact CS used
Stimulus generalization: occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a
specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the
original stimulus
Ie if you got into a accident on a specific bridge, ALL bridges will scare you now
Stimulus Discrimination
Occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus doesnt
respond in the same way to a new & similar stimulus
Higher-order Conditioning
A conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus; meat
powder is a conditioned stimulus to a dog. If meat powder paired with a red light
become a conditioned stimulus, if you show the dog just the red light, it will respond
Recent Directions in Pavlovian Conditioning
Neuroscience of learning in responses
Some have used conditioning to raise peoples self-esteem
Operant Conditioning aka Instrumental Learning
Originally came from B. F. Skinner
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