AP Psychology Chapter 8

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operant conditioning

a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.

respondent behavior

behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner's term for behavior learned through classical conditioning.

operant behavior

behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences.

law of effect

Thorndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely.

operant chamber

a chamber also known as a Skinner box, containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer, with attached devices to record the animal's rate of bar pressing or key pecking. Used in operant conditioning research.

shaping

an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior.

reinforcer

in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows.

positive reinforcement

increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response.

negative reinforcement

increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as shock. A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response. (Note, this is not the same thing as punishment.)

primary reinforcer

an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need.

conditioned reinforcer

a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer; also known as secondary reinforcer.

continuous reinforcement

reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs.

partial reinforcement

reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement.

punishment

an event that decreases the behavior that it follows.

cognitive map

a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it.

latent learning

learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it.

intrinsic motivation

a desire to perform a behavior for its own sake.

extrinsic motivation

a desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment.

observational learning

learning by observing others.

modeling

the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior.

mirror neurons

frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation, language learning, and empathy.

prosocial behavior

positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of antisocial behavior.

unconditioned stimulus

in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally—naturally and automatically—triggers a response.

conditioned stimulus

in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to trigger a conditioned response.

conditioned response

in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS).

unconditioned response

in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth.

learning

a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience.

associative learning

learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (as in operant conditioning).

classical conditioning

a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (US) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. Also called Pavlovian or respondent conditioning.

behaviorism

the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2).

acquisition

the initial stage in classical conditioning; the phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response. In operant conditioning, the strengthening of a reinforced response.

extinction

the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); occurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced.

spontaneous recovery

the reappearance, after a pause, of an extinguished conditioned response.

generalization

the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses.

discrimination

in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus.

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