General Psychology, Chapter 6

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a systematic, relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs through experience


a theory of learning that focuses solely on observable behaviors, discounting the imporance of mental activity such as thinking, wishing, and hoping


learning that occurs when an organism makes a connection, or an association, between two events

associative learning

the process of learning associations


What are the two types of conditioning?

classical and operant

when organisms learn the association between two stimuli; as a result they learn to anticipate events

classical conditioning

organisms learn the association between a behavior and a consequence, such as a reward; learn to increase behaviors that are followed by rewards and decrease those that are punished

operant conditioning

learning that occurs through observing and imitating another’s behavior

observational learning

learning process in which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with an innately meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response

classical conditioning

a stimulus that produces a response without prior learning

unconditioned stimulus (US)

an unlearned reaction that is automatically elicited by the unconditioned stimulus

unconditioned response (UR)

a previously neutral stimulus that eventually elicits a conditioned response after being paired with the unconditioned stimulus

conditioned stimulus (CS)

the learned response to the conditioned stimulus that occurs after conditioned stimulus- unconditioned stimulus pairing

conditioned response (CR)

the initial learning of the connection between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus when these two stimuli are paired


the CS and US are presented very close together in time


the CS must not only precede the US closely in time, it must also serve as a reliable indicator that the US is on its way


the tendency of a new stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit a response that is similar to the conditioned response

generalization (in classical conditioning)

the process of learning to respond to certain stimuli and not others

discrimination (in classical conditioning)

the weakening of the conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is absent

extinction (in classical conditioning)

the process in classical conditioning by which a conditioned response can recur after a time delay, without further conditioning

spontaneous recovery

the recovery of the conditioned response when the organism is placed in a novel context


Who coined the term ‘behaviorism’?

John B Watson

What does classical conditioning provide an explanation of?


What was involved in the experiment with Albert?

conditioning a baby to fear a white rat and then a rabbit

a classical conditioning procedure for changing the relationship between a conditioned stimulus and its conditioned response


a form of treatment that consists of repeated pairing of a stimulus with a very unpleasant stimulus (eg electric shocks and nausea-inducing substances)

aversive conditioning

a decrease in the production of antibodies, which can lower a person’s ability to fight disease


a special kind of classical conditioning involving the learned association between a particular taste and nausea

taste aversion

decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations


What are classical conditioning and operant condition forms of?

associative learning

What does classical conditioning explain?

how neutral stimuli become associated with unlearned, involuntary responses

in classical conditioning, organisms learn the association between what?

two stimuli

Classical conditioning is a form of what?

respondent behavior

behavior that occurs in automatic response to a stimulus such as a nausea-producing drug, and later to a conditioned stimulus such as sweet water that was paired with the drug

respondent behavior

Classical conditioning is not effective in explaining what sort of behaviors?


What sort of conditioning is best for explaining voluntary behaviors?


Operant conditioning focuses on the association between what?

behaviors and the stimuli that follows them

a form of associative learning in which the consequences of a behavior change the probability of the behavior’s occurrence

operant conditioning or instrumental conditioning

___ also plays a key role in operant conditioning, as it does in classical


Who emerged as the primary figure in operant conditioning?

B F Skinner

Thorndlike’s law stating that behaviors followed by positive outcomes are strengthened and that behaviors followed by negative outcomes are weakened

law of effect

rewarding successive approximations of a desired behavior (eg, train a rat to press a bar to get food)


the process by which a stimulus or event (a reinforcer) following a particular behavior increases the probability that the behavior will happen again


What are the two types of reinforcement?

positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement

What do positive and negative reinforcement have in common?

are experienced as pleasant increase the frequency of the behavior

the presentation of a stimulus following a given behavior in order to increase the frequency of that behavior

positive reinforcement

the removal of a stimulus following a given behavior in order to increase the frequency of that behavior

negative reinforcement

an organism’s learning that it can altogether avoid a negative stimulus by making a particular response

avoidance learning

Both positive and negative reinforcement involve rewarding behavior. What involves following a behavior with the addition of something? And the removal?

positive reinforcement negative reinforcement

an organism’s learning through experience with negative stimuli that has no control over negative outcomes

learned helplessness

a reinforcer that is innately satisfying; one that does not take any learning on the organism’s part to make it pleasurable (eg. food, water, and sexual satisfaction)

primary reinforcer

a reinforcer that acquires its positive value through an organism’s experience; a secondary reinforcer is a learned or conditioned reinforcer (eg, getting an A on a test, or a paycheck)

secondary reinforcer

where behaviors are rewarded with tokens that can be exchanged later for desired rewards

token economy

performing a reinforced behavior in a different situation

generalization (in operant conditioning)

responding appropriately to stimuli that signal that a behavior will or will not be reinforced

discrimination (in operant conditioning)

decreases in the frequency of a behavior when the behavior is no longer reinforced

extinction (in operant conditioning)

when a behavior is reinforced every time it occurs

continuous reinforcement

when a reinforcer follows behavior only a portion of the time

partial reinforcement

specific patterns that determine when a behavior will be reinforced

schedules of reinforcement

a consequence that decreases the likelihood that a behavior will occur


the presentation of a stimulus following a given behavior in order to decrease the frequency of that behavior

positive punishment

the removal of a stimulus following a given behavior in order to decrease the frequency of that behavior

negative punishment

the use of operant conditioning principles to change human behavior

applied behavior analysis or behavior modification

What does Bandura’s Model of Observational Learning consist of?

Attention Retention Motor Reproduction Reinforcement

unreinforced learning that is not immediately reflected in behavior

implicit learning or latent learning

a form of problem solving in which the organism develops a sudden insight into or understanding of a problem’s solution

insight learning

he tendency of animals to revert to instinctive behavior that interferes with learning

instinctive drift

the species-specific biological predisposition to learn in certain ways but not others


when an individual believes that their qualities are carved in stone and cannot change

fixed mindset

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