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General Psychology


Classical conditioning is a learning process in which one stimulus is ... Gambling You get money randomly but only if you keep playing (lotto, slot machines) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: General Psychology

General Psychology
  • Chapter 5 Learning

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but
by the moments that take our breath away.
Classical Conditioning
  • Classical conditioning is a learning process in
    which one stimulus is associated with, and comes
    to predict, another stimulus, thus leading to a
    similar response.

  • The Unconditioned Stimulus (US) is unlearned and
    leads to an automatic response, the Unconditioned
    Response (UR)
  • The Conditioned Stimulus (CS) is a neutral
    stimulus that, after repeated pairing with an
    unconditioned stimulus, becomes associated with
    it and leads to a Conditioned Response (CR)

  • Pavlov
  • Conducted a study on dogs where he collected the
    saliva that the dogs would secrete naturally in
    response to food placed inside the mouth
  • he then observed saliva collecting when the dogs
    heard their food dishes rattling, when they heard
    the laboratory assistants coming to feed them,
    and when they saw the attendant who fed them or
    saw food

  • Pavlov demonstrated that dogs could be
    conditioned to salivate to a variety of stimuli
    never before associated with food
  • Meat powder (US) salivation (UR)
  • Bell (CS) just before meat powder salivation

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Modern Day Pavlovs Pets

So what does this have to do with us?
  • It influences our behavior, thoughts, and emotions

  • You can learn something similar.
  • Look at the next page and try to relax, imagining
    yourself there

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Other terms to know
  • Extinctionthe CS is presented repeatedly without
    the US, so you stop responding to the CS
  • Often used in therapya snake is repeatedly
    presented to you (live or in imagination)
  • without any harm coming to you
  • Spontaneous recoveryafter extinction has
    occurred, you respond weakly again to the CS
  • After you and your love have broken up and you no
    longer like the smell of his/her cologne, you
    catch a whiff of it a month later and feelings of
    love stir again, though weakly

  • Generalizationyou respond with the CR to stimuli
    that are similar to the CS
  • A war veteran jumps when a book falls with a
    bang, reminding the veteran of bombs in war
  • Discriminationyou dont respond to stimuli that
    are similar to the CS
  • You dont jump at the sound of the coffee
    grinder, even though it first reminds you of the
    dentists drill

  • Higher-order conditioning
  • Conditioning that occurs when conditioned stimuli
    are linked to form a series of signals
  • E.g. You start to shake at just the sight of the
    lab for blood work or the dentists office
    because you associate it with the original CS

Benefits of Classical Conditioning
  • It allows us to predict and prepare
  • It can be biologically adaptive
  • It can be biologically protective

Biological bases
  • The Limbic system
  • The hippocampus makes the memories
  • The amygdala attaches strong emotional/ fear
    responses to memories

  • Factors influencing classical conditioning
  • There are four major factors that facilitate the
    acquisition of a classically conditioned
  • How reliably the conditioned stimulus predicts
    the unconditioned stimulus
  • The number of pairings of the conditioned
    stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus
  • The intensity of the unconditioned stimulus
  • The conditioned stimulus occurs just before the
    unconditioned stimulus

Other Examples
  • What happens when you smell coffee?

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  • What happens when you smell the perfume or
    cologne of your first love?

  • What happens when you see this man (Hitler)?

  • What happens when you see and smell these foods?

  • What happens at the eye doctors when they puff
    air in your eye?

What happens when you hear and see this?
Advertisements and Commercials
  • Take 2 minutes and write down any ads that come
    to mind. Share them with your group and compare
    ideas. Plan to share with the class?

XC opportunity describe five print or TV ads
and ID the US, UR, CS, CR for each (due in one
Taste Aversions
  • If youve ever had food poisoning, you usually
    avoid that food for a long time!
  • Addictions treatment sometimes purposely uses
    taste aversion to treat some alcoholics
  • Use a drug (Anabuse) that makes the person very
    ill if they drink anything with alcohol

Sometimes classical conditioning gets in the way
  • Chemotherapy
  • Patients become so ill, they associate food, the
    hospital, nurses, doctors, and other cues with
    the chemo
  • If give a unique, strong food first, patients are
    less likely to associate the illness with the
    chemo and related cues and instead blame the food

  • Drug users
  • Relapse is so likely because of the cues
    associated with using in their environments

  • Phobias/emotional conditioning
  • Blood drawn/injections
  • Dentist
  • Loud noises

Instilling phobias
  • Watson and Rayner conducted a study to prove that
    fear could be classically conditioned
  • The subject of the study was known as Little
  • Loud noise (US) Fear, crying (UR)
  • Presented white rat (CS) just before loud noise
  • White rat (CS) Fear, crying (CR)

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  • Go to the following website and read the original
    article by Watson and Rayner regarding Little
  • Website http//

Why are phobias so easily conditioned?
  • We are biologically predisposed to fear things
    that can harm us
  • You are more likely to develop a phobia to
    snakes, bees, spiders, heights than to flowers,
    leaves, grass, the desert
  • You develop taste aversions so you will avoid
    poisonous foods

  • Watson also had ideas for removing fears and laid
    the groundwork for some behavior therapies used
  • Watson and Jones found 3-year-old Peter, who was
    afraid of rabbits, and tried Watson's
    fear-removal techniques on him
  • Peter lost his fear by pairing candy with the
    sight of the rabbit, which moved closer each time

You try it
  • Pair up. One of you will be the experimenter, the
    other the participant. Choose one of the
  • Experimenter stands behind the participant and
    uses a pencil to tap the desk 3 times and then
    the students head. Do this 5 times in a row and
    on the 6th time, tap the desk but not the
    persons head. See what the participant does.
    Wait 2 minutes and tap the desk again. What
  • Take the resting pulse of the participant.
    Experimenter taps pencil on the desk 5 times and
    then participant gets up and hops on 1 leg for 30
    seconds. Take pulse. Repeat this 4 more times.
    Participant then rests for 2 minutes. Tap desk
    again 5 times but do not have participant hop.
    Take pulse.
  • Record your data.

Use It in Your Life
  • Pick one or two places to do all of your
  • You will learn to associate that environment with
  • Even better, study in the empty classroom where
    you will be tested
  • The place should be one that is not already
    associated with non-learning activities (e.g.,
    dont use your bed)

Operant Conditioning
  • B. F. Skinner
  • Pioneer in operant conditioning
  • Believed that the causes of behavior are in the
    environment and do not result from inner mental
    events, such as thoughts, feelings, or perceptions

  • Operant conditioning
  • A type of learning in which the consequences of
    behavior are manipulated in order to increase or
    decrease that behavior in the future
  • Reinforcer
  • Anything that strengthens a response or increases
    the probability that it will occur

  • Positive and negative reinforcement
  • Positive reinforcement
  • A reward or pleasant consequence that follows a
    response and increases the probability that the
    response will be repeated
  • E.g. A child who gets an MM for using the big
    potty is more likely to use it in the future.
  • Negative reinforcement
  • The termination of an unpleasant stimulus after a
    response in order to increase the probability
    that the response will be repeated
  • E.g. If you are grounded until you clean your
    room, you are more likely to clean it in the
    future to avoid grounding.

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  • Primary and secondary reinforcers
  • Primary reinforcer
  • A reinforcer that fulfills a basic physical need
    for survival and does not depend on learning
  • Examples are food, water, sleep,
  • warmth/ coolness, sex
  • Secondary reinforcer
  • A neutral stimulus that becomes reinforcing after
    repeated pairings with other reinforcers
  • Examples are money, grades, praise, attention,

  • Shaping behavior
  • Shaping
  • An operant conditioning technique that consists
    of gradually molding a desired behavior
    (response) by reinforcing responses that become
    progressively closer to the desired behavior

  • Extinction
  • The weakening and eventual disappearance of a
    learned response when reinforcers are withheld
  • When parents stop praising homework, the child
    stops turning it in
  • Temper tantrums end when parents stop giving in
    to them
  • Spontaneous recovery also occurs in operant
  • The return of a previously extinguished response
  • A brief tantrum reoccurs just to see what Mom and
    Dad will do

  • Generalization in operant conditioning is the
    tendency to make the learned response to a
    stimulus similar to the one for which it was
    originally reinforced
  • After learning to use the big potty at home, the
    child is able to use the restroom in public
  • Discrimination in operant conditioning involves
    learning to distinguish between a stimulus that
    has been reinforced and other stimuli that may be
    very similar
  • Some children refuse to use a public bathroom
    because it has not been reinforced

  • Schedules of reinforcement
  • Continuous reinforcement
  • Reinforcement that is administered after every
    desired or correct response
  • You get a smiley face ? every time you get an A
    on a paper
  • Most efficient way to condition a new response
  • Once the response has been conditioned, partial
    or intermittent reinforcement is often more
    effective in maintaining or increasing the rate
    of response

  • Partial reinforcement
  • A pattern of reinforcement in which some but not
    all of the correct responses are reinforced
  • The two types of schedules of reinforcement
  • Ratio schedules
  • A certain number of responses must be made before
    one of the responses is reinforced
  • Interval schedules
  • A given amount of time must pass before a
    reinforcer is administered

  • Fixed-ratio schedule
  • A schedule in which a reinforcer is given after a
    fixed number of correct responses
  • Effective way to maintain a high response rate
  • You get to go outside to play after you finish 2
    pages of homework

  • Variable-ratio schedule
  • A schedule in which a reinforcer is given after a
    varying number of nonreinforced responses based
    on an average ratio
  • Results in higher, more stable rates of
    responding than a fixed-ratio schedule
  • GamblingYou get money randomly but only if you
    keep playing (lotto, slot machines)

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  • Fixed-interval schedule
  • A schedule in which a reinforcer is given
    following the first correct response after a
    fixed period of time has elapsed
  • You get paid every 2 weeks as long as you went to
  • A characteristic of the fixed-interval schedule
    is a pause or a sharp decline in responding
    immediately after each reinforcement and a rapid
    acceleration in responding just before the next
    reinforcer is due

  • Variable-interval schedule
  • A schedule in which a reinforcer is given after
    the first correct response following a varying
    time of nonreinforcement based on an average
  • Your studying pays off when your teacher gives
    you a pop quiz
  • Maintains remarkably stable and uniform rates of
    responding, but the response rate is typically
    lower than that of the ratio schedules

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  • Punishment
  • The removal of a pleasant stimulus or the
    application of an unpleasant stimulus, which
    tends to suppress a response
  • Lowers the probability of a response by
  • Following it with an aversive or unpleasant
    consequence (scolding, fine) positive
  • Following it with the removal of a pleasant
    stimulus (time out, remove privilege) negative

Increases behavior
Decreases behavior
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  • Disadvantages of punishment
  • Punishment does not extinguish an undesirable
    behavior rather, it suppresses that behavior
    when the punishing agent is present. But the
    behavior is apt to continue when the threat of
    punishment is removed and in settings where
    punishment is unlikely.
  • Punishment indicates that a behavior is
    unacceptable but does not help people develop
    more appropriate behaviors. If punishment is
    used, it should be administered in conjunction
    with reinforcement or rewards for appropriate

  • The person who is severely punished often becomes
    fearful and feels angry and hostile toward the
    punisher. These reactions may be accompanied by a
    desire to retaliate or to avoid or escape from
    the punisher and the punishing situation.
  • Punishment frequently leads to aggression. Those
    who administer physical punishment may become
    models of aggressive behavior.

  • Alternatives to punishment
  • Many psychologists believe that removing the
    rewarding consequences of undesirable behavior is
    the best way to extinguish a problem behavior
  • Using positive reinforcement, such as praise,
    will make good behavior more rewarding

  • Making punishment more effective
  • Punishment is most effective when it is applied
    during the misbehavior or as soon afterward as
    possible. Interrupting the problem behavior is
    most effective because doing so abruptly halts
    its rewarding aspects.
  • Ideally, punishment should be of the minimum
    severity necessary to suppress the problem
    behavior. The intensity of the punishment should
    match the seriousness of the misdeed.

  • To be effective, punishment must be applied
    consistently. A parent cannot ignore misbehavior
    one day and punish the same act the next.
  • No matter which punishments are used, you need 3
    times as many rewards as punishments for it to be

  • Learned helplessness
  • The learned response of resigning oneself
    passively to aversive conditions, rather than
    taking action to change, escape, or avoid them
    learned through repeated exposure to inescapable
    or unavoidable aversive events
  • Associated with depression
  • Result of severe punishment

  • Observational learning/Modeling
  • Bandura
  • Contends that many behaviors or responses are
    acquired through observational learning, or as he
    more often calls it now, social-cognitive
  • Observational learning
  • Learning by observing the behavior of others and
    the consequences of that behavior learning by
  • An observer must also be physically and
    cognitively capable of performing the behavior in
    order to learn it

  • Disinhibitory effect
  • Displaying a previously suppressed behavior
    because a model does so without receiving
  • Inhibitory effect
  • Suppressing a behavior because a model is
    punished for displaying the behavior

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  • Learning from television and other media
  • Research demonstrating the influence of models on
    behavior has raised concerns about what viewers,
    particularly children, learn from television
  • Bandura
  • Suspected that aggression and violence on
    television programs tend to increase aggression
    in children
  • Demonstrated how children are influenced by
    exposure to aggressive modelslive, film, or
    cartooneven years later into adulthood
  • Banduras research provided the impetus for
    studying the effects of televised violence and
    aggression in all entertainment media (TV, video

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