PSYC 2120 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: The Sauce (Tv Series), Matching Law, Corporal Punishment
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Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 6: LEARNING
I. Classical Conditioning
1. Learning – relatively durable change in behavior or knowledge that is due to
experience. One of the most fundamental concepts in psych.
a. Incl. acquisition of knowledge and skills, shapes personal habits,
personality traits, emotional responses, personal preferences.
b. Conditioning – learning associations between events that occur in an
2. Phobias – irrational fears of specific objects or situations
3. Classical Conditioning – type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the
capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus.
a. First demonstrated by Pavlov, known as Pavlovian conditioning
B. Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes”
1. Neutral Stimulus – does not provide the conditioned response initially.
2. Learned associations are formed by events in an organism’s environment
C. Terminology and Procedures
1. Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) –stimulus that evokes an unconditioned
response without previous conditioning.
2. Unconditioned Response (UCR) – unlearned reaction to an unconditioned
stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning
3. Conditioned Stimulus (CS) – previously neutral stimulus that has, through
conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.
4. Conditioned Response (CR) – learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that
occurs because of previous conditioning.
5. Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as
reflexes and are said to be elicited because most of them are relatively automatic or
6. Trial – in classical conditioning, consists of any presentation of a stimulus of
any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli.
D. Classical Conditioning In Everyday Life
1. Conditioned Fears
a. Classical conditioning is responsible for a great many irrational fears.
2. Other Conditioned Emotional Responses
a. Advertising campaigns try to use classical conditioning to pair products
with positive images.
3. Conditioning and Physiological Responses
a. Ader and Cohen – classical conditioning procedures can lead to
immunosuppression – decrease in the production of antibodies.
b. Classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions
c. Classical conditioning contributes to drug tolerance.
E. Basic Process in Classical Conditioning
1. Acquisition: Forming New Responses
a. Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something. Pavlov
theorized that acquisition of a conditioned response depended on stimulus
contiguity (occur in the same time and space).
b. Contiguity alone, however, does not produce conditioning.
Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 6: LEARNING
c. Stimulus that are novel, unusual, or especially intense have more potential
to become more CS’s than routine stimuli.
d. Timing of stimulus presentation is also important.
i. Simultaneous conditioning – the CS and UCS begin and end together.
ii. Short delayed conditioning – CS begins just before the UCS and stops
at the same time as the UCS. Best Method
iii. Trace conditioning – the CS begins and ends before the UCS is
2. Extinction: Weakening conditioned responses
a. Extinction – the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned
b. Consistent presentation of the CS alone without the UCS, leads to
3. Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses
a. Spontaneous Recovery: the reappearance of an extinguished response
after a period of nonexposure to the CS.
b. Usually weak
c. Extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than
erasing a learned response.
4. Stimulus Generalization and the Case of Little Albert
a. Organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS,
but to other similar stimulus
b. 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
c. Little Albert
d. The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the
5. Stimulus Discrimination – occurs when an organism that has learned a specific
stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the
a. The less similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the
likelihood of discrimination.
6. Higher order conditioning – a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an
II. Operant Conditioning
A. Thorndike’s Law of Effect
1. Operant conditioning was created by Skinner
2. Operant Conditioning – form of learning in which responses come to be
controlled by their consequences. aka. Instrumental learning (Thorndike)
3. Law of Effect – if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying
effects, and the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened.
B. Skinner’s Demo: It’s All a Matter of Consequences.
1. Demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed
by favorable consequences.