Elements of Learning and Behavior

Classical Conditioning

Reflexes and other involuntary behaviors are elicited by specific stimuli. Also known as Pavlovian conditioning. A process whereby one stimulus that does not elicit a certain response (NS) is associated with a second stimulus (US) that does, as a result,

Conditioned Response (CR)

The response, often similar to the unconditional response (UR), that is elicited by the conditioned stimulus (CR)

Conditioned Stimulus (CS)

A previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the unconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response.

Excitatory Conditioning

Learning that a stimulus predicts the presence of another stimulus (Pavlov's initial studies) . Conditioning procedure in which the NS is associated with the presentation of a US.
When a conditioned stimulus (CS) has a positive relationship with the uncon


Decrease in strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus.
-we stop attending to low intensity background noises (clocks, traffic, etc.)
long term=slowly decreases over time
(Moving to Chico with train. we hab

Inhibitory Conditioning

Learning that the stimulus predicts the absence of another stimulus. The response is less likely to occur when the stimulus is present. CS- tells you something is NOT going to happen.
The NS eventually becomes a CS- and will result in inhibitory condition

Opponent-Process Theory

Individuals often experience extremely positive and negative emotions within a short period of time. heart rate spiked during the big drop, and processes were set in motion to bring it back to normal levels.
a theory proposing that an emotional event elic


A relatively simple involuntary response to a stimulus.


increase in strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations eliciting stimulus
-soldiers under attack do not habituate sounds of explosions, their reaction is stronger.
(Devon really enjoys sneaking up on his co-worker, Jay, and scaring

Unconditioned Response (UR)

The response that is naturally elicited by the unconditioned stimulus (US)

Unconditioned Stimulus (US)

A stimulus that naturally elicits a response.


refers to the process of developing and strengthening a conditioned response (CR) through repeated pairings of a neutral stimulus (NS) with an unconditioned stimulus (US).
Slower acquisition affected by less intensity. The nature of the NS and the US affe


One stimulus of the compound is already a CS
The CS is presented simultaneously with an NS during conditioning. The NS never becomes a CS, despite its pairing with the US.
(While he was in a shelter, Rover learned that the presence of humans reliably sign


Acquired CRs can be eliminated through extinction. Reliable presentation of the CS without the US leads to elimination of the CR. Once extinction has eliminated a CR, simply the passage of time is enough for recovery.
The conditioned response is weakened

Higher-Order Conditioning

Neutral stimuli can be conditioned to existing CSs. This new CS will elicit the CR, but in a weaker form. The new CR will also be easier to extinguish.
The process whereby a neutral stimulus that is associated with a CS (rather than a US) also becomes a C


A compound stimulus is conditioned to a US, which elicits a UR. Not all stimuli are equally salient. The more salient stimulus becomes a stronger CS and interferes with conditioning of the other, less salient stimulus.
(In the wasabi example, which of the

Stimulus Discrimination

Responding differently to one stimulus than another is evidence of stimulus discrimination.
the dog salivates in the presence of 2000hz but not 1900hz, it is able to discriminate between the two stimuli.
specific to that one thing, sound, sight, smell, et

Stimulus Generalization

Responding similarly to stimuli that resemble the CS is evidence of stimulus generalization.
example: dog is conditioned to salivate to the tone of a pitch at 2000HZ, and it will salivate to similar tones as well. although, it is more likely to salivate t


Any activity of an organism that can be observed or somehow measured.


A relatively permanent change in behavior that results from some type of experience

Methodological Behaviorism

Watson proposed this which states that psychologists should ONLY study observable behaviors. (Thinking as a behavior is unreliable)
Environmental Events -> X Internal Events X -> Observable Behavior
Type of behaviorism that believes psychologists should s

Radical Behaviorism

Type of behaviorism that believes only environment influences behavior. Behaviors do not depend on thoughts, feelings, or other internal processes; rather, they are natural events that occur as a result of other events in the environment. (Skinner)


If-then statements. If a rat gets a food pellet when it presses a lever, then a contingency exists between lever pressing and food.

Dependent Variable (DV)

The outcome of the study (a measure of behavior).

Independent Variable (IV)

our manipulation. What we re manipulating/ changing

Motivating Operation

any procedure that affects the appetitiveness or aversiveness of an event. Motivation could be changed through this stimuli. Could abolish (satiated) or establish (deprivation).
Too much of one thing or too little of one thing could change your motivation

Single-Subject Design

Can be used to demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships using only one or a few individuals. Single-subject designs include the simple-comparison design (AB Design), reversal design (ABA Design), multiple-baseline design, and changing-criterion design,

Control Group Design

not exposed to experiment. Frequently used to compare atleast 2 random groups. Statistical group differences are attributed to the IV.

What is the position of each of the 5 schools of behaviorism on the causal role of internal or private events in behavior? (identify the textbook diagram describing each school of behaviorism and its founder)

1. Methodological Behaviorism: Watson's behaviorism restricted analysis to behavior that was publicly observable. Methodological because of its emphasis on measurement. Inspired by Pavlov's work, Watson is an S-R theorist.
2. Hullian Neobehaviorism: Hull

For what 4 reasons did Skinner reject internal events as explanations of behavior?

1. He agreed with Watson's concern that, since we do not have direct access to the internal events of others, we must rely on their verbal reports of such events, which are often unreliable
2. It is often difficult to determine the actual relationship of

What are the 2 types of motivating operations, and how do they differ from one another? Provide an example for each.

1. Abolishing (satiated)- When satiated with something you like, aversiveness increases. (too much of something=bad)
2. Establishing (Deprivation)- When deprived of something you like, appetitiveness increases. (too little of something=bad)

In what ways are control group designs disadvantageous?

Not well suited for investigating the effect of a certain treatment on a particular individual.
They typically focus on the average performance of all subjects in each group. Little attention is given to the performance of individual subjects, even if som

According to your textbook, what are 4 main reasons why animals are useful in the conduct of behavioral research?

1. the ability to control their genetic makeup
2. the ability to control their learning history
3. researchers are often able to more strictly control the experimental environment for animals than for humans
4. Some research cannot ethically be conducted

What are 4 important characteristics of the a-process and b-process in opponent-process theory?

1. The a-process correlates closely with the presence of the emotional event. (fear)
2. The b-process is slow to increase and slow to decrease. (excitement)
3. With repeated presentations of the emotional event, the b-process increases in both strength an

Describe each of the 4 temporal arrangements of stimuli and their effectiveness in classical conditioning. (Hint: review figure 3.8 and practice drawing examples of each)

Most effective: delayed
then trace,
simultaneous : poor
and then backwards

What are some factors that influence the asymptote and speed of conditioning?

Asymptote: The maximum amount of conditioning that can take place in a particular situation.
Intensity of the US affects the asymptote.
Intensity of the NS affects the asymptote.
Animal will learn faster if the sound (or NS) is MORE intense. and vice vers