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Updated: Monday, April 12, 1999 10:50:10 AM

Schemas & Just world Belief Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
Sensory Memory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory
Confidence and Memory Heuristics Attribution
Norms Social Influence & Obedience All Notes in one view

Section 2: Classical Conditioning

Important Abbreviations

CS  Conditioned Stimulus CR  Conditioned Response
UCS  UnConditioned Stimulus    UCR  Unconditioned Response
NS  Neutral Stimulus


Before Conditioning
Bell (NS) No salivation response
Food was presented (US) Naturally the animal salivates. (UCS)
After Conditioning
Bell (CS) Salivation response (CR)


Pavlov – Russian physiologist who investigated classical conditioning
      Pavlov received the Nobel prize for studying digestion: He put windows into the digestive tract of dogs and watched portions of the digestion process.  He also studied salivation, which is part of digestion.  When he fed the animals, he measured saliva, which was an unconditioned response.

He found that the dogs would sometimes begin salivating when he would open the door.  The dogs were apparently salivating in accordance to sounds that were associated with the food.

Pavlov decided to study conditioning, which is the most basic form of learning. - If you ring a bell just before you feed an animal for several trials, eventually the bell will elicit salivation.

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Example of Classical Conditioning:  (Take careful note of the terminology used)

Bell (CS) is associated to meat powder (UCS) Salivation
N = Number of Trials

First taught, then do an extinction trial, then wait, until it is extinguished, then wait a day with out any trials, the spontaneous recovery of the Acquisition (or the reappearance of the conditioned stimulus) is smaller than the original response.


FIRST: (acquisition) A dog is first taught that the bell promises food and will salivate when the bell is rung, even before food is presented
SECOND: (Extinction) Now the scientist tries to extinguish the conditioned response so that the the bell will not be associated with the food. To do this the scientist rings the bell, but does not present any food.  After a few trials, the dog finally realizes that the bell no longer promises food, and therefore the dog stops salivating when the bell rings.
Third: (Spontaneous Recovery) In some situations, a previously extinguished conditioned response may reappear after some time has passed. This is call spontaneous recovery. After some time has passed, the dog may again salivate when the bell rings without further learning trials. Spontaneous recovery can be prevented by over extinction: continuing the extinction trials.


___ = Stimulus off
--- = Stimulus on
___---___ = [off on off] the --- is the duration of "on"
Our example is:
CS = Bell
US = Opening the Drawer containing Meat
Paradigm Time
Simultaneous Conditioning. CS ____---____ - ring bell and open meat drawer
US ____---____

Delayed conditioning
        Strongest Conditioning.

CS _------------_
US ______-----_
Trace Conditioning CS __---______
US ______---__
Temporal Conditioning US __---__---__
Backward Conditioning CS ______---_
US ___---____
Stimulus Generalization

If you condition a dog using a bell that rings at 5000 cycles per second and you use the same bell, you get the same response.
But if you ring a bell that rings at 3000 cycles per second you get a diminished salivary responses in comparison to the bell which rings at 5000 cycles per second.

To eliminate generalization and enhance discrimination:, give the animal food over several trials when the the 5,000c/s is rung; then ring bells with frequencies close to 5000c/s but never feed the dog, the dog will then lean to discriminate between a 5000c/s bell and other bells.

John Watson & his assistant Ms. Rayner

"Little Albert" Experiment - The conditioned fear of cute fuzzy animals.

In the beginning little Albert played freely with a white rat.  But later, Watson paired a loud noise with the presentation of the rat.   Albert became afraid of the rat, and subsequently other small cute fuzzy animals.

Mary Cupboard Jones – helped with behavioral psychology and the treatment of phobias.  Invented systematic desensitization (a treatment for phobias).

Conditioned Food Aversion – if you get sick after eating something, there is a likelihood that you will not choose to eat it again, that is, you will avoid the food.

This was used by shepherds who wanted to protect their flock from coyotes.. They would put out some tainted meat that made the coyotes sick. The coyotes would then no longer want eat the sheep.

Conditioned Immune Response - The immune response can be classically conditioned. - Example: if a drug which lowers the immune system is paired over several trials with a specific taste (saccharin) the animal's immune system will be lowered by the taste alone.
Homeostasis - the body strives to maintain a constant biological state.
Conditioned Compensatory Response(learned tolerance)

If a rat is put in a cold dark ice box, his body temperature drops.   After exposing the rat to this situation several times, it will be conditioned.

If the ice box is no longer cooled and the rest of the situation remains the same, what will happen when the animal is put in the box? Will the animal's body temperature increase or will it decrease?

Paradoxically the animal's body temperature will increase!  

The rat's body will be tricked into compensating for the cold, even though there is none - his body temperature will therefor rise. This is an example conditioned compensatory response.

Tolerance – Decreased effectiveness of a drug through repeated exposure.
Learned tolerance Conditioned tolerance. Is created by a conditioned compensatory response.

Example: Some drugs have similar effects/problems… if a drug is taken the body will remember the environment in which the drug was taken, so if you usually take a drug with friends your body begins to build up a tolerance for the drug in the presence of the conditioned stimulus - friends, but later take it by your self, you have a higher likelihood of overdosing because the conditioned stimulus is absent, there is no conditioned compensatory response lessening the effect of the drug. 





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