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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).


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


in classical conditioing the learned response to a preveiously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (cs)

Conditioned Response (CR)

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)

Associative Learning

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


in classical condidtioning, a stimulus that unconditionally naturally and automatically triggers a response

Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)

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.

Classical Conditioning

in classical conditioning an originaly irrevlevant stimulus that after association with an underconditioned stimulus (US) comes to trigger a conditioned response

Conditioned Stimulus (CS)

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.


an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning

Unconditioned Response (UCR)

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

Spontaneous Recovery

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


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.


a procedure in which the conditioned stimulus in ne conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus.

Higher-order Conditioning

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

Primary Reinforcer

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

Conditioned Reinforcer

reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs

Continuous 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

Partial Reinforcement

in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses.

Fixed-ratio Schedule

in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses.

Variable-ratio Schedule

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

Law of Effect

a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer.

Skinner Box (Operant Chamber)

in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed.

Fixed-interval Schedule

in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals.

Variable-interval Schedule

An event that decreases the behavior that it follows.


behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences

Operant Behavior

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

Operant Conditioning

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

Respondent Behavior

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


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


a mental representation of the layout of one's environment.

Cognitive Map

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

Latent Learning

the effect of promising a reward for doing what one already likes to do. The person may now see the reward, rather than intrinsic interest, as the motivation for performing the task.

Overjustification Effect

the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior


learning by observing others

Observational Learning

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

Prosocial Behavior

A desire to perform a behavior for its own sake

Intrinsic Motivation

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

Extrinsic Motivation

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.

Mirror Neurons

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

Prosocial Behavior


Operant conditioning involves behavior that is primarily reflexive.


The optimal interval between CS and US is about 15 seconds.


All animals, including rats and birds, are biologically predisposed to associate taste cues with sickness.


Spontaneous recovery refers to the tendency of extinguished behaviors to reappear suddenly.


The learning of a new behavior proceeds most rapidly with continuous reinforcement.


As a rule, variable schedules of reinforcement produce more consistent rates of responding than fixed schedules.


Cognitive processes are of relatively little importance in learning.


Whether the CS or US is presented first seems not to matter in therms of the ease of classical conditioning.


Although punishment may be effective in suppressing behavior, it can have several undesirable side effects.


Negative reinforcement decreases the likelihood that a response will recur.

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