PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Classical Conditioning, Drug Tolerance, Immunosuppression
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CHAPTER 6: LEARNING
-Phobias: Irrational fears of specific objects or situations.
oUsually the result of classical conditioning
-Learning: Refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to
-Conditioning: Involves learning associations between events that occur in an organisms
-Classical Conditioning: A type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to
evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus
oFirst described around 1900 by Ivan Pavlov
o“Conditioning” comes from Pavlov’s determination to discover the “conditions”
that produce this kind of learning.
Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes”
- While investigating the role of saliva in the digestive process in dogs, he stumbled upon
“psychic reflexes” (now known as classical conditioning)
oWhile presenting the dogs with food to measure the saliva, he found that some
would start salivating before the food – in response to the device that presented
oHe testing this theory with other things, such as a tone, and he got the same results
– eventually the dogs would start salivating to the tone alone.
The tone started out as a neutral stimulus; it did not originally produce the
response of salivation, however he managed to change that by pairing it
with a stimulus (meat) that did produce the salivation response
Terminology and Procedures
-Unconditioned Stimulus: (UCS) Is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response
without previous conditioning.
-Unconditioned Response: (UCR) An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus
that occurs without previous conditioning.
oCausing the dog to salivate
-Conditioned Stimulus: (CS) A previously neutral stimulus that has, through
conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response
-Conditioned Response: (CR) A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs
because of previous conditioning
oSalivating to the tone
- Important to note that the unconditioned response and the conditioned response often
consist of the same behaviour, although there may be subtle differences between them.
-Conditioned Reflex: Pavlov’s “psychic reflex” became known as a conditioned reflex.
oClassically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes
and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively
autonomic or involuntary
-A trial in Classical Conditioning: Involves any presentation of a stimulus or pair of
oClassical Conditioning can occur quite rapidly, sometimes in just one pairing of
the CS and UCS
Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life
- Classical conditioning plays a key role in shaping emotional responses such as fears.
Conditioning and Physiological Responses
-Research has revealed that classical conditioning procedures can lead to
immunosuppression – a decrease in the production of antibodies.
-Studies suggest that classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions and also
contributes to the growth of drug tolerance, and the experience of withdrawal symptoms.
Conditioning and Drug Effects
- Stimuli that are consistently paired with the administration of drugs can acquire the
capacity to elicit conditioned responses in both humans and laboratory animals
oIn many instances, the conditioned responses are physiological reactions that are
just the opposite of the normal effects of the drugs.
oThese responses are called compensatory CRs because they partially compensate
for the drug’s effects.
Acquisition: Forming New Responses
-Acquisition: Refers to the initial stage of learning something.
oAcquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity. Stimuli are
contiguous if they occur together in time and space
Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses
-Extinction: The gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response
oThe consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone without the
unconditioned stimulus leads to extinction
Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses
-Spontaneous Recovery: The reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of
non-exposure to the conditioned stimulus.
oResearch has shown that if a response is extinguished in a different environment
than it was acquired, the extinguished response will reappear if the animal is
returned to the original environment where acquisition took place.
oExtinction does not appear to lead unlearning
Even if you manage to rid yourself of an unwanted conditioned response,
there is an excellent change that it may make a surprise reappearance later
-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
oThe likelihood and amount of generalization to a new stimulus depend on the
similarity between the new stimulus and the original conditioned stimulus
oThe more similar new stimuli are to the original CS the greater the generalization
Phobias: irrational fears of specific objects or situations: usually the result of classical conditioning. Learning: refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience. Conditioning: involves learning associations between events that occur in an organisms environment. While investigating the role of saliva in the digestive process in dogs, he stumbled upon. Eventually the dogs would start salivating to the tone alone. The tone started out as a neutral stimulus; it did not originally produce the response of salivation, however he managed to change that by pairing it with a stimulus (meat) that did produce the salivation response. Unconditioned stimulus: (ucs) is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning: meat powder. Unconditioned response: (ucr) an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning: causing the dog to salivate. Conditioned stimulus: (cs) a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response: the tone.