• What does it mean to learn something?
• How do you know you’ve learned?
• Our capacity to
learn new
behaviors that
enable us to
cope with
Successful Adaption
• Successful adaption
requires both nature (the
needed genetic
predispositions) and
nurture (a history of
appropriate learning).
Example: Infants to 5 year olds learn to
associate different facial expressions with
their accompanying behaviors and tones
of voice.
• A relatively permanent change
in behavior that results from
experience interacting with
the world
• Seal balances ball receives food
• Balances ball again to gain more food
How do we learn?
Most learning is associative learning
• Learning that certain events occur together
• Linking two events
Classical Conditioning
Operant Conditioning
Observational Learning
Classical Conditioning
• Do you cringe at the sound of a dentist’s drill??
• Do you salivate when passing your favorite
• How did you learn these behaviors?
• It all started with Ivan Pavlov, his dogs, and
classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning
• A type of learning where a stimulus (something that we can
respond to) gains the power to cause a behavior or action
• In Pavlov’s case the stimulus was the food
– What behavior did it cause in the dogs??
• Others stimuli??
– What about Psychology class??
– What power does it have?
Operant Conditioning
• This is the Reinforcement
and punishment type of
– Learning in which the
frequency of a behavior
depends on the consequence
that follows that behavior
– Touching a hot oven
• learn not to touch same hot oven
because of reinforcement of
• burning hand
“The Law of Effect”
• “Any behavior that has good consequences will be
repeated and any behavior that has bad
consequences will be avoided”
– Edward Thorndike
Observational Learning
• Learning by observing others
– learning that occurs as a
function of observing, retaining
and replicating behavior
observed in others
Basic Concepts of
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS): a
stimulus that naturally and automatically
triggers a response.
Leads To…
Unconditional Response (UCR):
the unlearned, natural reflex
brought on by the UCS.
Neutral Stimulus (N):
a stimulus that before conditioning
does not lead to a particular response
Conditioned Stimulus (CS): an originally irrelevant (neutral)
stimulus that, after training (or pairing) becomes associated
with the UCS.
Conditioned Response (CR): the learned response to the CS
Pavlov spent the rest of his life outlining his
ideas. He came up with 5 critical terms that
together make up classical conditioning.
Spontaneous Recovery
Stimulus Generalization
Stimulus Discrimination
• The initial stage of learning something.
• The phase where the neutral stimulus (NS) is
associated with the UCS so that the NS
comes to elicit the CR (thus becoming the
Does timing matter?
Ideally the UCS should be paired with the
NS right away to
gain the greatest level of conditioning
• The diminishing of a conditioned response (CR)
• Will eventually happen when the UCS does not
follow the CS.
Is extinction permanent?
Spontaneous Recovery
The reappearance, after a rest period, of an
extinguished CR
Involves reconditioning
- - this conditioning will be
learned much quicker
Stimulus Generalization
• The tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for
stimuli similar to the CS to elicit similar responses.
– The greater difference between the original stimulus and the
related stimulus, the weaker the conditioned response is
Stimulus Discrimination
• The learned ability to distinguish between a CS and
other stimuli that do not cause a response (CR)
Generalization, Discrimination, Extinction, or
Spontaneous Recovery
• Sinbad was frightened by a barking, lunging spaniel. Now he is afraid of
all dogs.
– generalization
• Sheila was frightened by a German Shepherd when she was 5, but now
she is happy whenever she sees a dog.
– extinction
• Nathan hates the sight of a bee, but loves to watch hummingbirds.
– discrimination
• When Kim was small, she got sick after eating a bad oyster. Now she
reuses to eat anything that comes out of the sea.
– generalization
• Romeo loves the smell of his girlfriend’s perfume, but thinks all other
kids of perfumes are unpleasant.
– discrimination
• Jamie had finally recovered from her fear of roller coasters, but one
night when she was walking by the amusement park, the sudden
screeching noise of the roller coaster made her heart jump in fear.
– Extinction and Spontaneous recovery
• Leonardo used to love the scent of his girlfriend’s perfume, but now
that they’ve broken up, it’s just another odor to him.
– extinction
Exercise in Classical Conditioning
The Office
How about fear?
Are we born with it or do we acquire it??
Classical Conditioning
Little Baby Albert
Important People in Classical
• John Watson and Rosalie Rayner
– Little baby Albert and fear conditioning
• Robert Rescorla
– Importance of cognition in learning and
– predicting events – knowing the difference
between what is expected to happen and what
actually happens
– “Flush” example
• John Garcia
– Taste aversion
• A dislike to a particular food or drink acquired
through classical conditioning
Hot water example
Every time someone flushes a toilet in the apartment building, the
shower becomes very hot and causes the person to jump back.
Over time, the person begins to jump back automatically after
hearing the flush, before the water temperature changes.
The hot water is the US
The jumping back is the UR
The toilet flush is the CS
The jumping back to the flush alone is the CR
The Balloon Experiment
Someone pops a balloon with a needle,
and we flinch or jump. The balloon
popping is the UCS. Our flinch or jump is
the UCR. But if we jump before the balloon
pops just because we see the needle
approaching the balloon, the needle
becomes the CS, and our flinch becomes
the CR.
Commercials or Advertising
We use the UCS, UCR, CS, and CR in our
everyday lives.
In a Nestea commercial they show people that
are hanging out by a pool, it makes you feel
cool or refreshed. The pool is the UCS and
us feeling refreshed is the UCR.
When you go to the store and see the Nestea
brand iced tea, you feel refreshed because
you learned that that’s how it’s advertised to
make you feel. So the tea is the CS, and you
feeling refreshed is the CR.
Taste Aversion
• Taste aversion is your avoidance of certain tastes,
just because of how they taste, or how they make
you feel.
• John Garcia and Robert Koelling discovered a way
to show how taste aversion could develop. They
paired a nausea-producing drug with a certain
food or drink. The drug that produces nausea is
the UCS and the nausea, or you feeling sick, is the
UCR. They would use that same food or drink with
the nausea-producing drug repeatedly. Eventually
just the thought, taste, or smell of that food could
create nausea. So that food becomes the CS, and
your nausea is now the CR.
Classical Conditioning WS
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