Unit VI - Learning
This activity provides a review of Pavlov’s famous experiment on the salivary response in dogs, as well as the basic processes of classical conditioning: acquisition, generalization, discrimination training, and extinction.

Salivary Response
• In Pavlov’s famous experiment, what did he call the…
o unconditioned stimulus (UCS)? meat powder
o unconditioned response (UCR)? _saliva flow
o conditioned stimulus (CS)? _bell_
o conditioned response (CR)? saliva produced after bell rung

A New Salivary Response
• Pavlov demonstrated that the dog had formed a conditioned association between two events. What were those events? What did the dog actually learn?
The dog learned that the ringing of the bell predicted the arrival of food, so it begins to salivate.

• In the example of a child who fears doctors, what label would you give to the painful injection?
x_ UCS _ UCR _ CS _ CR

• In the example of a child who fears doctors, what label would you give to the presence of the
_ UCS _ UCR _x CS _ CR

Demonstrating Acquisition
• How could we demonstrate that acquisition had occurred—that is,
We could demonstrate the acquisition had occured by presenting the CS (the doctor) without the UCS (the injection). If the child shows a fear response (CR) to the doctor's presence alone, we could say that a conditioned response occurred.

• What is extinction? The process of unlearning or removing a conditioned association
• What is spontaneous recovery? the next day, or after a rest period, the fear response will return

• What is generalization? the fear response (CR) is generalized to other stimuli that are similar to the original CS

• What is discrimination? In classical conditioning, the ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and similar stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. In operant conditioning, responding differently to stimuli that signal that behavior will be reinforced or nonreinforced.

Conditioning an Eye Blink
• What is the CR in this example? eye blink_

• What is the CS in this example? _tone_

• What is the UCS in this example? _puff of air

• What is the UCR in this example? blink in response to puff of air__

Experiment Simulation
• Why are we interested only in the blinks that occur before the puff of air?
Any blinks that occur after the puff of air are considered UCR (automatic responses caused by the puff). But blinks that occur before the puff are considered CR's ( learned responses to the tone).

Discrimination Trials
• How would you interpret these graphs? Did your subject show evidence of stimulus generalization, or stimulus discrimination, or both?
In the first block of trials, the subject clearly showed generalization. She responded to almost all the tones. But by the end of the block she began to show discrimination--she could discriminate the CS from the other tones, and responded strongly to 500 Hz tones, and other very similar tones.

Extinction Trials
• How would you interpret these results? Has the conditioned response been extinguished in your subject? What would happen if we continued immediately with more trials? What would happen if we brought her back to the laboratory tomorrow for more trials?
The subject is no longer responding as readily to the tone. If we went on with more trials, her response rate would fall near zero. But if we brought her back to the laboratory after a rest period, her eye blink response would probably return-- spontaneous recovery.

This activity describes a form of learning called operant conditioning—learning from the consequences that follow our actions.

Classical Versus Operant Conditioning
• What is the distinction between classical and operant conditioning?
  • Classical Conditioning generally concerns an involuntary, automatic response, such as blinking, salivating, or becoming anxious. Operant conditioning, however, generally concerns more voluntary behaviors, such as pressing a button, turning a key, or raising your hand.

Reinforcement and Punishment
• What effect does reinforcement have on behavior?
  • It tends to reinforce or strengthen the behavior that it follows, raising the probability that the behavior will occur again.
• Give an example of positive reinforcement.
  • Repeatedly praise a young bot for making his bed, and he begins to make his bed more often.
• Give an example of negative reinforcement.
  • Nagging the boy constantly about making the bed, and then stopped nagging as soon as he made it
• What effect does punishment have on behavior?
  • Unfavorable consequences, because they tend to weaken the behavior they follow or decrease its frequency.
• Give an example of punishment.
  • Being spanked

Continuous Versus Partial Reinforcement
• If a subject comes to expect a reward after every response, what will happen if the reinforcement stops?
  • If a behavior has been continuously reinforced, when the reinforcement stops we should expect extinction to occur. The subject will quickly “unlearn” the conditioned association and will stop making the desired response.

Schedules of Reinforcement
• Define the following schedules of reinforcement and give an everyday example of each:
o Fixed ratio: reinforcement is given after a set number of responses
      • A child gets a gold starr for every 50 math problems completed
o Fixed interval: reinforcement is given for the first resposne the occurs after a set period of time has elapsed.
      • If you put food in your pet’s dish twice a day, your pet won’t get rewarded for walking over to the dish during the rest of the day. But the first response after the dish is filled will bring reinforcement.
o Variable ratio: reinforcement is given after a varying number of responses
      • A mediocre golfer may have to endure a dozen of bad shots before she finally hits a beautiful drive.
o Variable interval: a reinforcer is given for the first response after a varying period of time has elapsed
      • When pop quizzes are given at unpredictable intervals, students are not rewarded for every night of studying, but the payoff does come eventually to those who study.

Simulated Experiment: Schedules of Reinforcement
• Which schedule of reinforcement is MOST resistant to extinction? Why do you think this is so?
  • Fixed-interval schdules because they produce a clustering of responses around reward time. The schedule is used when we want the behavior to occur at specified times but not constantly. They seem to be more prone to extinction because the behavior may be forgotten, if we don’t have it occur for a long period of time.

Classical Conditioning: making associations between a natural stimulus and a neutral stimulus to cause a behavior response.
Stimulus: anything that elicits a response
Response: reaction to a stimulus
Unconditioned Stimulus: automatically elicits a response (food causing salivation)
Unconditioned Response: reaction to a natural stimulus (salivation when smell food)
Conditioned Stimulus: neutral stimulus that is associated with an unconditioned stimulus
Conditioned Response: reaction created by learning (cat salivates when it hears the can opener)
Operant Conditioning: behavior changes that result from the consequences of one's actions.
Reinforcement: follow a response and strengthens the tendency to repeat the behavior or response
Primary Reinforcement: necessary for psychological/physical survival that is used as a reward (food)
Secondary Reinforcement: represents the primary reinforcement (money)
Positive Reinforcement: rewarding behavior with something pleasant to encourage repeat of the behavior
Negative Reinforcement: removing something unpleasant after a behavior to encourage repeat of the behavior (nagging ends)

What procedure (choose either classical or operant conditioning) is being described or has probably resulted in the following behavior patterns? Be able to explain why you chose the model you did.

  1. In order to be able to punish his cat even when he's not near enough to reach the cat, Clyde has paired the sound of a clicker with getting squirted with water. Now the sound of the clicker causes Clyde's cat to startle.
    1. This is an example of classical conditioning. The unconditioned stimulus would be the cat’s fear of water. The unconditioned response would be the fact that the cat is startled. The conditioned stimulus, however, is the sound of the clicker, and the conditioned response, as a result, is the cat being startled at the sound of the clicker. The clicker is paired up with the squirting of the water, eliciting the startling of the cat.
  2. Joyce's cat never gets on the furniture when she's am around.
    1. This is an example of operant conditioning. Joyce’s cat never sits on the furniture when she around because it is a sign of reinforcement. Maybe she hits Joyce’s cat and pushes the cat off the furniture, so it is conditioned to stay off the furniture, lest it be hit or reprimanded.
  3. When Ms. Watson first starts teaching about a concept, she'll praise any answer that is close to the right answer.
    1. This is an example of operant conditioning because Ms. Watson praises the student, or whoever she is teaching for answering with “any answer that is close to the right answer. This is an example of positive reinforcement because she is praising the student for answering the right question.
  4. The smell of fresh bread baking makes Serena's mouth water.
    1. This is an example of classical conditioning because Serena is salivating at the scent of fresh bread baking. The bread baking is the unconditioned response, and she will salivate in the presence of its aroma.
  5. In a weight management class, participants earn points for every healthy meal they eat and every period of exercise they complete. Later these points result in refunds of their class fees.
    1. This is an example of operant conditioning, namely positive reinforcement. The participants earn points for the exercises and meals completed, and their points result in refunds of their class fees. They are essentially being rewarded for completing the exercises, through refunding of their class fees, which would encourage completion of their classes.
  6. When Horace's son, Mel has gone for a week without arguing with his sister, Mel gets to choose which favorite activity he wants to engage in on Friday night.
    1. This is an example of operant conditioning, namely negative reinforcement. If Mel does not argue with his sister, he gets to choose the activity that they engage in on Friday night. If not, the negative reinforcement aspect would probably be that his privilege to select the favorite activity is taken away.
  7. After the bad car accident Charlotte had last year, she cringes and breaks into a sweat at the sound of squealing brakes.
    1. This is an example of classical conditioning. The unconditioned stimulus is Charlotte cringing and breaking into a sweat when she has a car accident. The unconditioned response is her cringing and sweating. The conditioned stimulus is the squealing of brakes as a result of the car accident, and the conditioned response is Charlotte cringing at the sound of squealing brakes.
  8. To treat alcoholics, clinicians sometimes put a chemical in their drinks that makes them sick. Eventually the taste of alcohol becomes aversive.
    1. This is an example of classical conditioning. The chemical that makes the alcoholic sick is being paired with the taste of alcohol so that the alcohol itself becomes the conditioned stimulus for being sick.