Chapter 6: Learning
Section 1: Classical Conditioning
• Learning – any relatively permanent
change in an organism’s behavior due to
• Conditioning – learning (pairing different
• Classical conditioning – one stimulus calls
forth the response that is usually called
forth by another stimulus
Ivan Pavlov
• Studied salivation in dogs
• Dogs salivated when received meat
• Salivated at sight of assistants entering
• Pavlov rang a bell – meat given to dogs
• After a while, dogs salivated when they heard
bell even if there was no meat
• Unconditioned Stimulus (US) – stimulus that
causes a response that is automatic, not learned
– The Meat
• Unconditioned Response (UR) - the automatic
response – Salivating
• Conditioned Stimulus (CS) – Learned stimulus The Bell
• Conditioned Response (CR) – learned response
to a stimulus that was previously meaningless –
Higher-Order Conditioning
• A previously learned neutral stimulus comes
to serve as a learned, or conditioned ,
stimulus after being paired repeatedly with a
stimulus that has already become a learned
Taste Aversion
• Learned avoidance of a certain food
• May only take one pairing of food and illness
to create aversion (most C.C. takes many
• When a conditioned stimulus is no longer
followed by an unconditioned stimulus, it will
eventually lose it’s ability to bring about a
conditioned response
• CS is disconnected from the US – the result –
CS no longer causes CR
Spontaneous Recovery
• Organisms can display responses that were
extinguished earlier
• Sometimes response is weaker than original
Generalization and Discrimination
• Generalization – act of responding in the
same ways to stimuli that seem to be similar,
even if the stimuli are not identical
• Discrimination – act of responding differently
to stimuli that are not similar to each other
• Help people adapt to their environments
Applications of Classical Conditioning
• Can help people overcome fears of various
objects and situations, or help children stop
wetting their beds
• A person is exposed to the harmless
stimulus until fear responses to that
stimulus are extinguished
• Effective, but unpleasant
Systematic Desensitization
• People are taught relaxation techniques
• Exposed gradually to whatever stimulus they
fear while they remain relaxed
• Takes longer to work, but not unpleasant
• A pleasant stimulus is paired repeatedly
with a fearful one, counteracting the fear
Section 2: Operant Conditioning
Operant Conditioning
• People and animals learn to do certain things
& not do others because of consequences
• In classical conditioning – conditioned
responses are often involuntary biological
• In operant conditioning – voluntary responses
(we control) are conditioned
• Process by which a stimulus increases the
chances that the preceding behavior will
occur again
• Skinner boxes held rats that were deprived of
• Pressed lever – received food pellets
• Pellets reinforced lever-pressing behavior
Positive Reinforcement
• Increase the frequency of behavior they
follow when they are applied
• Food, fun activities, social approval
• Different reinforcers work with different
• What serves as a reinforcer at one time may
not work later on
Negative Reinforcers
• Encourage a behavior by removing
something unpleasant
• Discomfort, fear, social disapproval
Immediate vs. Delayed Reinforcement
• Immediate much more effective
• Short-term consequences provide more of an
incentive than the long-term consequences
• Examples:
– Most students do better with frequent tests
– Difficult to quit smoking – reinforcement of nicotn
Primary Reinforcers
Secondary Reinforcers
• Function due to
biological makeup of
the organism
• Initially acquire their
value through being
paired with
established reinforcers
• Food, water, warmth,
• (Don’t have to be
taught to value these)
• Money, attention,
social approval
• Increase frequency of behavior
• Some say it’s the same as positive
• Positive reinforcement doesn’t make you get
inside organism’s head to determine what
they find rewarding
Reward vs. Punishment
Positive reinforcement:
• Telling a kid, "Great job! You said this perfectly!" or giving a High 5.
• This is good because, it makes the student want to learn more
independently...he'll be satisfied with learning for learning's sake. This
helps build self-motivation.
• Giving a kid candy for doing a great job or telling the winning team that
they can eat lunch early.
• This is bad because, it'll teach kids to only work hard enough for a
reward. Brattiness could arise with constant rewards.
• Discourage a behavior by being applied
• Strong punishment can quickly end bad
• Not the ideal way to deal with a problem
Schedules of Reinforcement
• When and how often reinforcement occurs
• Partial & Continuous
Continuous Reinforcement
• Reinforcement of a behavior every time the
behavior occurs
• New behaviors learned quickest using this
• Only maintain behavior as long as you’re
being reinforced
Partial Reinforcement
• Behavior not reinforced every time it occurs
• Tends to last longer after no reinforcement
than continuous reinforcement
Fixed – Interval Schedule
• Fixed amount of time
must elapse between
Variable – interval schedule
• Varying amounts of time go between
– Timing of the next reinforcement is unpredictable
Fixed – Ratio Schedule
• Reinforcement provided after a fixed number
of correct responses have been made
• People tend to want to get fixed number of
responses “out of the way”
• If ratio is high, not very effective
Variable – Ratio Schedule
• Reinforcement provided after a variable
number of correct responses have been
• unpredictable
• Repeated performance of the response
without reinforcement
• Can spontaneously recover
• A way of teaching complex behaviors in which
one first reinforces small steps in the right
Applications of Operant Conditioning
• Induce children to acquire gender-appropriate
behavior patterns
• Play with friends who are generous & nonaggressive
• Adults reward kids when they express
attitudes similar to own and punish / ignore
contradictory attitudes
BFT & Behavior Modification
• Biofeedback Training – people receive
reinforcement in the form of information
• Parents often reinforce bad behavior by
pay8ing attention / punishing kids & ignoring
when they behave well
The Bell-and-Pad
Method for Bed-Wetting
• Teaches kids to wake up in response to
bladder tension
• Sleep on a special pad placed on bed
• When kid starts to urinate, water content
triggers a bell, ringing wakes up kid
• After a few weeks, kids usually cured
Section 3: Cognitive Factors in Learning
• Latent Learning
– Learning that remains hidden until it’s needed
• Observational Learning
– Learn by watching or being told how others do
– Learn to predict likely outcomes of actions by
watching others
Albert Bandura & Observational Learning
• Acquire knowledge by observing and
imitating others (Observational Learning )
– Learn to speak, eat, play
– Used in modern advertising
Effects of Media Violence
• TV is a main source of informal
observational learning
• Link between media violence and aggression
– Supplies models of aggressive skills
– See violence as an acceptable way to behave
– Leads to emotional desensitization to violence
in real life
– More likely to behave aggressively and violently

Chapter 4 Notes - Tipp City Exempted Village Schools