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18 Cards in this Set

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Classical Conditioning
First proposed and studied by Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is one form of learning in which an organism "learns" through establishing associations between different events and stimuli. For example, when a neutral stimulus (such as a bell) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (such as food) which produces some involuntary bodily response all on its own (such as salivating), the neutral stimulus begins to trigger a response by the organism similar (some salivation) to that produced by the unconditioned stimulus. In this way, the organism has "learned" that the neutral stimulus equals something good (just like the unconditioned stimulus).
Drive Reduction Theory
How do you know when it is time to get a glass of water? You know because you get this feeling of being thirsty which motivates you to reduce the thirst by drinking water. This is what happens according to drive reduction theory. According to this theory, some physiological need (need for water) occurs that creates a state of tension (you feel thirsty) which in turn motivates you to reduce the tension or satisfy the need (drink water).
Counterconditioning is a type of therapy based on the principles of classical conditioning that attempts to replace bad or unpleasant emotional responses to a stimulus with more pleasant, adaptive responses. For example, do you remember the case of Little Albert - the boy that John Watson conditioned to fear little white rats? Well, if Watson attempted to "uncondition" the fear response to the rats, he would be engaging in counterconditioning - attempting to replace the unpleasant response (fear) to the rats with a more pleasant response (happiness
Higher Order Conditioning
This is a classical conditioning term that refers to a situation in which a stimulus that was previously neutral (e.g., a light) is paired with a conditioned stimulus (e.g., a tone that has been conditioning with food to produce salivating) to produce the same conditioned response as the conditioned stimulus. Wow…if you understand how a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (conditioning), you understand higher order conditioning because this is really just extending the conditioning one more level...the conditioning is happening not by pairing the stimulus with something that naturally produces a response, but with something that has been conditioned to produce a response.
Learned Helplessness
When an organism (person, animal, etc.) is prevented from avoiding some aversive stimulus repeatedly (e.g., continuous electric shocks) the organism will reach a state in which it becomes passive and depressed because he believes that there are no actions it can take to avoid the aversive stimulus. Esssentially, the organism just gives up trying to avoid it and just takes the aversive stimulus. Thus, the organism learns that it is helpless against the aversive stimulus.
Negative Reinforcement
With negative reinforcement the occurrence of a behavior is increased by removing an unpleasant stimulus. For example, your dog can avoid being spanked when it sits in response to your command. If the dog has been getting spanked, not getting spanked is rewarding (removal of unpleasant stimulus) so the frequency of the behavior will increase. People confuse negative reinforcement with punishment--just remember that with reinforcement you increase the occurrence of the behavior but punishment extinguishes a behavior.
Operant Behavior
In psychology we often compare and contrast two different types of conditioning or learning: operant conditioning and classical conditioning. Within each of these are types of learning. Operant behavior (which goes along with operant conditioning) refers to behavior that "operates" on the environment or is controllable by the individual. Operant behavior is done because it produces some type of consequence. For example, you are probably familiar with Pavlov's dog (classical conditioning) in which the dog salivated in response to meet powder. The dog couldn't control the salivation…that's classical conditioning. However, if the dog understood that by coming when called it would receive a treat, then it would be engaging in operant behavior.
Operant Conditioning
Operant Conditioning is a type of learning in which a behavior is strengthened (meaning, it will occur more frequently) when it's followed by reinforcement, and weakened (will happen less frequently) when followed by punishment. Operant conditioning is based on a simple premise - that behavior is influenced by the consequences that follow. When you are reinforced for doing something, you're more likely to do it again. When you are punished for doing something, you are less likely to do it again. For more detailed information about operant conditioning, take a look at the B.F. Skinner Foundation located at:
Partial Reinforcement
Partial reinforcement is reinforcing an organism only sometimes and not everytime the desired behavior occurs. Think of trying to teach your dog to sit. Will he learn to sit faster if you reward the dog every single time he sits when you tell him to or if you reward him only sometimes? Of course he will learn to sit slower using this partial reinforcement approach.
Phobias are unsound or illogical fears of objects or events. It is thought that phobias are learned or conditioned responses from early childhood experiences. For example, I know of a person who is uncontrollably afraid of birds (known as Ornithophobia - not bad, eh?). After speaking about her fear, I found that her mother used to put bird feathers on furniture, in rooms and other areas where she was not allowed. To this day, she refuses to go into pet stores where there are birds or sleep on a down pillow. Her mother unknowingly conditioned her to believing that birds are dangerous!
Positive Reinforcement
A stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using pleasant rewards. A doggy treat can pleasantly coerce your new puppy to sit (positive reinforcement) just as a pull to the choke collar can achieve the same affect (negative reinforcement). The difference is that the positive reinforcer is pleasant, but make sure you understand that both increase the frequency of the behavior!
Primary Reinforcer
This is a term used in conditioning, and it refers to anything that provides reinforcement without the need for learning to an organism. This means that the reinforcer is naturally reinforcing to the organism. For example, water is naturally reinforcing because organisms don't need to learn to be reinforced by it, they naturally get reinforced especially in times of being thirsty.
Any stimulus that represses a behavior. It is important to note that punishment is not the same as negative reinforcement. Is failing a test negative reinforcement or punishment? If it motivates you to study more it is negative reinforcement (i.e., it increases the behavior of studying). However, if you feel that studying is actually hurting your performance (due to, for example, test anxiety) you will perceive that failing the test was due to studying too hard. Next time, you will not study (i.e., decrease your behavior) so that you will not be punished for it. Now you just need to convince your professor that bad grades are actually causing you to study less.
Reinforcement is a process that increases the frequency of a targeted behavior by either using a negative stimulus or a positive stimulus. An electrical shock (negative stimulus) can make a human jump (targeted behavior) just as well as a suprising someone with a million dollars (positive stimulus). In this example, electrical shock and money are both reinforces even though one is considered unpleasant by most. As reinforcers, both increase the probablity that the behavior (in this case, jumping) will occur again.
Reinforcer is a term used in operant condition to describe any event (stimulus, object…anything) that strengthens the frequency of the behavior that precedes it. For example, if I paid you one dollar every time you said hello to me (and we're assuming you like getting the dollar) we may expect the frequency of you saying hello to me to increase. This is because you were being reinforced for saying hello (by getting the dollar). In this case the the dollar works as a reinforcer.
Schedule of Reinforcement
As you know, reinforcement is a process that increases the frequency of a targeted behavior by either using a negative stimulus or a positive stimulus. In addition, reinforcement is effective when it occurs on some schedule. Psychologist have identified several different schedules by which reinforcement works well, including variable ratio, variable interval, fixed ratio, and fixed interval. Each schedule provides reinforcement in different ways according to different criteria, and work better in different situations. But the goal is always the same--deliver reinforcement in a way that increases the chances of a target behavior occuring more frequently.
Secondary Reinforcer
Unlike primary reinforcers which are naturally reinforcing, secondary reinforcers are reinforcing only after the organism has been conditioned to find it reinforcing. Some stimulus that does not naturally provide reinforcement is paired with a primary reinforcer so that the organism begins to associate the secondary reinforcer with the primary reinforcer. For example. If you recall the Pavlov's dog case, the dog naturally salivated to the presence of meat powder. The meat powder serves as a primary reinforcer. But then pairing a sound with the meat powder over and over again, the sounds became reinforcing to the dog because it had been associated with the primary reinforcer (meat powder).
Skinner Box
The Skinner Box was created by Behaviorist B.F. Skinner who used it to study animals such as rats and pigeons. The chamber (in the shape of a box) contains either a lever or key that can be pressed in order to receive reinforcements such as food and water. There was also a mechanism that recorded all the behaviors of the animals, the schedules of reinforcement the animals were on, etc. It was a very controlled environment that Skinner used to meticulously study behavior. The Skinner Box created what is known as Free Operant Procedure - responses can be made and recorded continuously without the need to stop the experiment for the experimenter to record the responses made by the animal.