PSYC 1001 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Classical Conditioning, Little Albert Experiment, Operant Conditioning

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Samuel Mohebban Psychology Chapter 7 Notes
Classical Conditioning
Pavlov and the studying of dogs and their salvation
o After a dog had been brought to the laboratory a few times, it would salivate
before the food placed in its mouth
Acquired through experience of being fed
o Conditional reflex because it depended on environmental conditions
Classical Conditioning- the process by which a previously neutral stimulus (dish)
becomes associated with a stimulus that already elicits a response and, in turn, acquires
the capacity to elicit a similar or related response
o The act of teaching a thing to associate an an act with a prize.
o A dog does not salivate because of the bell, it salivates because the bell has been
repeatedly shown to precede with food
o Pairing of an US and a NS is not enough to produce learning
To become a CS, the NS must reliably signal the US
o Involves the expectation that the CS will be followed by the US, causing the CR
o Does ot atte hethe a aials’ o pesos’ ehaio has oseuees
(different than operant conditioning)
o Central feature is an association between stimuli (associating the NS with US)
o Response is usually reflexive, an automatic reaction to something happening in
the environment (sight of food or sounds of bell)
Unconditioned Stimulus (US)- for a stimulus that already elicits a certain response
without additional learning
o food
o a thing or event that already produces a certain response without any additional
o A think desired by something (food, people, music, etc.)
o When a neutral stimulus (dish), was regularly paired with food, the dog would
learn to associate the dish and the food
The dish alone would cause the dog to salivate
Unconditioned response(UR)- the classical-conditioning term for a response elicited by
an unconditioned stimulus
o a response that is produced
o Salivation
Neutral stimulus- something associated with an event
o A dish/food (dog)
As a neutral stimulus (food) and a unconditioned stimulus (US) became associated, the
neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS)
o The CS then has the capacity to elicit a learned response (conditioned response)
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)- an initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a
conditioned response after being associated with an unconditioned stimulus
o The dish after being conditioned
Conditioned Response (CR)- a response that is elicited by a conditioned stimulus; it
occurs after the conditioned stimulus is associated with a unconditioned stimulus
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Samuel Mohebban Psychology Chapter 7 Notes
o usually similar or related to the original unlearned behavior
o Just seeing a bowl would make a dog salivate
Principles of Classical Conditioning
Extinction- if a conditioned stimulus (dish) is repeatedly presented without the
unconditioned stimulus (food), then the response will weaken and may disappear.
o After applying extinction of a stimulus to something, their ability to
spontaneously present the conditioned response is called spontaneous recovery
This is why completely eliminating a conditioned response often requires
more than one extinction session
Higher-Order Conditioning- When a neutral stimulus can become a conditioned
stimulus by being paired with an already established CS
o Presenting another neutral stimulus to a situation that caused a desired behavior
can now be the CS
Shining a light while also ringing a bell
o Explains why in humans, some words can cause certain emotions
When words are paired with objects or other words that already elicit
some emotional response, they too may come to elicit that response
o Can contribute to forms of prejudice due to a pairing of a word with an action or
Stimulus Generalization- After a stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus for some
response, similar stimuli may produce a similar reaction
o A dog strained to salivate to C on the piano, may also salivate to D on a piano
Stimulus Discrimination- in which different responses are made to stimuli that resemble
the conditioned stimulus in some way
o Playing C on a piano causes salivation while playing C on a guitar does not
Advertising uses classical conditioning
o Pairing a product with music the advertiser thinks you will like, with good looking
people, or with celebrities
o The music, scenery, and people in commercials are thought of as the US for
internal responses associated with pleasure
People can also be conditioned to fear something that is associated with pain, surprise,
and embarrassment
o Humans are more primed to acquire some kinds of fears more readily than
o Fear of spiders, snakes, and heights
o Something known to be dangerous to your health can cause humans to quickly
learn to be wary of them and retain this fear
o Can lead to prejudices
Phobia- when fear of an object or situation becomes irrational and interferes with
normal activities
o An inborn reaction of fear could transfer to a wide range of stimuli; called
stimulus generalization
Little Albert
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Samuel Mohebban Psychology Chapter 7 Notes
o Child who rarely cried
o When given a rat to play with, he never cried and was actually happy to play with
o Albert was afraid of loud noises
o When a loud noise was presented to Albert, he would begin to cry (US)
o Because albert liked rats, researchers tried to condition him to dislike rats using
the loud noises (US)
o Now, after giving the rat to albert (which he enjoyed playing with), the
researchers would make the loud noise (which he disliked), causing him to cry
o After doing this many times [presenting the rat (NS) with the noise (US)], they
would show him the rat, and without even making a sound (US) Albert would cry
as if the noise was present, presenting a CR
o After doing more tests, it was found that albert fear generalized to other hairy
objects such as rabbits, wool, and santa claus masks
Peter (Counterconditioning)
o A method shown to reverse a conditioned response
o Peter was deathly afraid of rabbits
o The rabbit was the CS because when present, would cause a CR (crying)
o After pairing the rabbit (CS) with a snack of milk and crackers, producing positive
feelings in peter. The snack added with the rabbit produced positive feelings in
peter; feelings incompatible with the conditioned response of fear
o At first, researchers kept the rabbit somewhat far from peter when presenting
the snacks because otherwise he would be conditioned to fear snacks like he had
with rabbits
o Gradually over several days, researchers brought the rabbit closer and closer,
eventually making peter learn to like rabbits
o This methodology of healing a dear is used today for helping phobias. This is
also called Systematic desensitization
o To reverse his fear, they used counter conditioning
o Counterconditioning- in which a conditioned stimulus is paired with some other
stimulus that elicits a response incompatible with the unwanted response
Does not eliminate prior learning, but instead leads to new learning that
supplants or overrides old learning
The amygdala- plays a central role in the conditioning of fear because of a receptor for
the neurotransmitter glutamate
o Giving rats a drug that blocks this receptor prevents extinction of a conditioned
fear, whereas giving a drug that enhances the receptors activity speeds up
o Less glutamate=less extinction
o More glutamate= more extinction
o Drugs that cause more glutamate can decrease fear of phobias in humans
(making their conditioned responses extinct)
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