Psych - Ch.1, Ch. 7 Intro, Learning

limits of intuition

gut feelings

hindsight bias

I knew it all along" phenomenon


When we think we know more than we actually know.

case study

When one individual is studied in depth.


a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them

naturalistic observation

observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation


when one trait/behavior accompanies another

correlation coefficient

number from 0 to 1 (pos or neg) relating the extent to which two variables vary together. 0 = no correlation, 1 = strong correlation

illusory correlation

perception of a relationship where no relationship actually exists

illusion of control

perception of uncontrollable events as subject to one's control or as more controllable than they are

regression toward the mean

tendency for extremes of unusual scores or events to regress toward the average


a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience

associative learning

learning to associate a response with a consequence

classical conditioning

learning to associate one stimulus with another

operant conditioning

learning to associate a response with a consequence (pos or neg)

neutral stimulus

a stimulus that before conditioning does not produce a particular response

unconditioned stimulus

Stimulus that normally produces a measurable involuntary response

unconditioned response

in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth.

conditioned stimulus

in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a conditioned response

conditioned response

in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS).


the initial learning stage in classical conditioning in which an association between a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus takes place


a conditioning process in which the reinforcer is removed and a conditioned response becomes independent of the conditioned stimulus

spontaneous recovery

after a rest period, an extinct conditioned response spontaneously recovers, but if the conditioned stimulus persists alone, the conditioned response becomes extinct again

stimulus generalization

tendency to respond to stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus

stimulus discrimination

the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli

Ivan Pavlov

Russian physiologist who observed conditioned salivary responses in dogs (1849-1936). Underestimated the importance of cognitive processes and biological constraints in psychological science.

John Watson

the researcher of classical conditioning famous for conditioning an 11month old baby (Little Albert) to fear white rats

cognitive processes

Mental processes such as thinking, knowing, problem solving, remembering, and forming mental representations.

biological predispositions

Idea that learning is constrained by an animal's biology--animals are predisposed to learn associations that are naturally adaptive. (Instinct)

John Garcia

psychologist who studied taste aversion

respondent behavior

behavior that occurs as an automatic response to a stimulus (classical conditioning)

operant behavior

behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences (operant conditioning)

B. F. Skinner

American psychologist who championed behaviorism and studied operant conditioning. Developed operant chamber

Edward Thorndike

Pioneer in operant conditioning who discovered concepts in intstrumental learning such as the law of effect. Known for his work with cats in puzzle boxes.

law of effect

idea that rewarded behavior is likely to occur again (Thorndike)

operant chamber

Box used in operant conditioning in which an animal must manipulate a bar or key to obtain a reinforcer like food or water (Skinner box)


a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it


operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior towards the desired target behavior through successive approximations (ex. mine detecting rats, dolphins)


any event that strengthens the behavior it follows

positive reinforcement

reinforcer that ADDS a desirable stimulus

negative reinforcement

reinforcer that REMOVES an adverse stimulus

primary reinforcer

reinforcer composed of things we immediately need (food, water)

conditioned reinforcer

reinforcer composed of things that we associate with primary reinforcers (money to buy food)

immediate reinforcer

reinforcer that occurs immediately after behavior

delayed reinforcer

reinforcer that is delayed a certain amount of time (ex. receiving a paycheck at the end of work week)

continuous reinforcement

Reinforcement schedule in which a behavior is reinforced each time, resulting in fast acquisition.

partial reinforcement

Reinforcement schedule in which a behavior is reinforced part of the time, resulting in slower acquisition but greater resistance to extinction.

fixed ratio schedule

When response is only reinforced only after a certain number of responses

variable ratio schedule

When response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses (greater resistance to extinction)

fixed interval schedule

When response is reinforced only after a specified amount of time has elapsed (ex. studying for a test only when it draws near)

variable interval schedule

When response is reinforced at an unpredictable time (ex. pop quiz)


an aversive even that decreases the behavior it follows


preventing success or development, harmful, unfavorable


tending to repel or dissuade

positive punishment

Administration of an aversive stimulus (ex. parking ticket)

negative punishment

Withdrawal of a desirable stimulus (ex. revocation of license)

cognitive maps

mental representation of layout of environment

latent learning

learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it

intrinsic motivation

the desire to perform a behavior for its own sake

extrinsic motivation

the desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishments

observational learning

learning by observing and imitating the behavior of others

mirror neurons

Frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. May enable imitation, language learning, pain, and empathy.

Albert Bandura

researcher famous for work in observational or social learning including the famous Bobo doll experiment

Breland and Breland

Wrote "The Misbehavior of Organisms" which showed biological predispositions that make some types of learning easier for different organisms.

instinctual drift

the concept that sometimes learning goes against the innate abilities of species.

higher-order conditioning

a procedure in which the conditioned stimulus in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus. (ex. onion breath kiss)