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Classical Conditioning

Pavlov- an organism learns to associate two different stimuli
ex. dog and bell simulation

Unconditioned Stimulus

Elicits an unconditioned response
ex. food
ex. electric shock to dog

Unconditioned Response

Response which is automatically produced
ex. salivate
ex. jump from shock

Conditioned Stimulus

Originally neutral stimulus that produces a response after being paired with an unconditioned stimulus
ex. bell
ex. metronome

Conditioned Response

Response elicited by the conditioned stimulus
ex. salivate to bell
ex. jump with metronome


Repeat the conditioned stimulus without the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned response disappears over time

Spontaneous Recovery

After a response has been extinguished it may reappear after some time after being exposed to the conditioned stimulus

High Order Conditioning

Pairing a neutral stimulus with a conditioned stimulus will create another weaker conditioned response
**more likely to show extinction
-ex. food with bell, bell with light

Stimulus Generalization

After a stimulus becomes a conditioned response, other similar stimuli may elicit a similar response

Stimulus Discrimination

One learns to recognize the difference between similar stimuli
-ex. fire alarm v. smoke alarm

Anticipatory Nausea and Vomiting (ANV)

Classically conditioned response
-Chemotherapy (US)
-Nausea (UR)
-Treatment room/needles (CS)
-Nausea in response to room (CR)

These patients do not respond to anti nausea medication, but do respond to behavioral treatments
-ex. Taste aversions seem to be particularly sensitive to learning. May be evolutionarily determined.

Operant Conditioning

Behavior is dependent on the consequences


Studied cats
Law of Effect- a satisfying result strengthens/increases a behavior


People and animals tend to repeat behaviors which have a positive consequence and decrease behaviors which have a negative consequence

Neutral Consequence

Not more or less likely to see behavior patterns change


Anything that makes a response more likely


Anything that decreases the likeliness of a response

Primary Reinforcers

Reinforce by satisfying biological needs: food, sex, water

Secondary Reinforcers

Satisfy through association with primary reinforcers: money, praise, grades

Positive Punishment

Adding a stimulus to decrease a response (spanking, washing mouth with soap)

Positive Reinforcement

Adding a stimulus to increase a response (giving treats)

Negative Punishment

Decreasing a stimulus to decrease a response (no tv, no dessert)

Negative Reinforcement

Decreasing a stimulus to increase a response (mom stop nagging)

Effect of Reinforcement/Punishment

Most effective when presented directly after the behavior

Escape Learning

Escape learning occurs to terminate an unpleasant stimulus such as annoyance or pain, thereby negatively reinforcing the behavior. For example, to persuade a rat to jump from a platform into a pool of water, you might electrify the platform to mildly shock the rat. The rat jumps due to escape learning, since it jumps into the water to escape the electric shock.

Avoidance learning

You can transform escape learning into avoidance learning if you give a signal, such as a tone, before the unwanted stimulus. If the rat receives a cue before the shock, after a few trials, it will jump before it gets shocked. The rat will continue to jump when it gets the signal, even if the platform is no longer electrified.

Learning Schedules: Continuous

Reward/punishment occurs each time the behavior occurs

Learning Schedules: Intermittent/Partial

Reward/Punishment occurs when a response occurs only some of the time

Learning Schedules: Ratio schedules

Deliver reinforcement after a certain fixed number of responses

Fixed Ratio Schedule

reinforcement after a fixed number of responses

Variable Ratio Schedule

reinforcement after some average number of responses

Learning Schedules: Interval schedules

reinforcement after a certain amount of time has passed and the desired behavior has occurred

Fixed Interval

reinforcement after a fixed amount of time has passed since the last reinforcement (5 min)

Variable Interval

Reinforcement occurs if a variable amount of time has passed since the previous reinforcement (on average 5 minutes, but could be 3 or 7)

Effectiveness of reinforcing a response

response should be reinforced intermittently, making the response more difficult to extinguish

Intermittent reinforcements: Shaping

-reinforcing behavior tendencies in a desired direction
-uses successive approximation: reinforce responses that are increasingly similar to the desired behavior
-ex. pigeon turn in a circle with reinforcement

Observational Learning

believe there is a higher level of cognitive process to how we learn, impacts attitudes, beliefs and expectations
-children learn and then imitate behaviors
-ex. TV violence

Bandura's 4 components to Observational Learning

Attention- being aware of others' behavior
Retention-having the capacity to store what you have observed
Reproduction- behaviorally imitate what has been stored in memory
Motivation- Determined by a belief that the behavior will bring about a desired response

Bandura's Doll

Children who watched aggressive behavior will be more likely to be more aggressive with the doll

Lassie Study

Observational Learning can have pro-social benefits

Flashbulb Memories

Dramatic positive or negative memory
-memories of traumatic events are more vivid but details can be distorted


ability to retrieve information which has been learned earlier


ability to identify previously encountered information


effort is saved in having learned something before

Model of Memory: Computer

Memory and mind are like a computer, encoding is how to put information in, retain, store and retrieve

Shallow processing/structural encoding

emphasizes the physical structure of the stimulus
-focus on what is looks like

Intermediate Processing/Phonemic Encoding

emphasizes what a word sounds like

Deep processing/semantic encoding

emphasizes the meaning of verbal input

Sensory Memory

-Retains for 1-2 seconds
-Acts as a holding bin
-0.5 seconds in visual subsystem
-decides if it is worth processing

Short Term Memory

-Holds limited amounts of information for up to 20/30 seconds
-Houses our working memory
-Pattern recognition: compares to information already in our Long term memory

Magic Number

number of items we are able to hold in our short term memory
-historically 7 +/-2
-recently maybe closer to 4

Long Term Memory

-Longer storage for minutes to decades
-organized by semantic categories

Procedural memory

knowing "how"
-riding a bike, conditioned reflexes, implicit memories

Declarative Memory

knowing "that"
-semantic and episodic

Semantic Memory

facts, rules, concepts

Episodic Memory

experienced events, personal recollections (ex. first kiss, getting into michigan)

Prospective memory

remembering to perform actions in the future

Retrospective memory

remember events from the past or previously learned information
-ex. where did I park my car?

Primacy Effect

memory of beginning pieces of list

Recency Effect

memory of end pieces of the list


numbers mention increases memory


increases likelihood


increases memory

Effective encoding

how to best learn information

Maintenance rehearsal

retain in short term memory
-ex. repeat phone number

Elaborative rehearsal

know it, review, practice, give meanings

Visual Imagery

create visual images to represent words/concepts to remember

Method of loci

match up existing visual images with concepts


systematic strategies for remembering information, memory tricks, useful tools to aid memory

Dual-Coding Theory

memory is enhanced by using both semantic and visual codes since either can lead to recall

Chase and Simon Research

Expert, intermediate, novice
-expert knowledge helps memory of relevant but not irrelevant information

Eyewitness Testimony

-People tend to fill in missing information
-How one words things can impact memories
-errors are greater when the ethnicity of the subjects is different from the witness
-children and adults can report accurately as well as be influenced in their recall

Ineffective Encoding

we don't remember it in the first place

Decay Theory

memory fades with time
-most recent version of the memory is saved

Retroactive Interference

old information interferes with new

Motivated Forgetting

painful memories blocked from consciousness (Freud)

Cue Dependent Forgetting

forget because you haven't figured out what you need to help remember (retrieval cues)

Retrieval Cues

context, back to the scene of the crime


refers to memory deficits

Retrograde amnesia

deficit in recalling events that happened before the onset of amnesia

Anterograde Amnesia

Deficit in learning after the onset of the disorder

Post-traumatic Amnesia

Range of cognitive impairments:
-memory loss following an accident

Childhood Amnesia

inability to remember things from the first years of life


clinical condition where the individual loses cognitive abilities and functioning to the degree in which it impedes normal activity and social relationships

Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms

Loss of memory for recent events and familiar tastes
-changes in cognitive functioning ultimately leading to a change in personality
-loss of ability to perform most simple functions


loss of ability to use language


loss of ability to carry out coordinated body movement


loss of ability to recognize familiar objects and faces

Alzheimer's Disease Causes

Formation of plagues or tangles in areas of the brain controlling memory or vital cognitive functioning
-diagnosis of alzheimer's usually done by exclusion because no one specific indicator
-historically done through autopsy for characteristic tangles/plagues central to the disease

Benjamin Whorf

linguistic relativity, one's language determines one's thoughts
-the language you use determines how you think about the world
-look at the eskimos and sees how they have so many different words for "snow", and therefore thought about snow in different ways


smallest units of sounds which can be distinguished, change in sound can alter meaning
-initial phonemes: "c"at or "b"at
-middle phonemes: b"i"t or b"a"t


smallest units of meaning in a language; phrases made up of morphemes


study of meaning of words/combinations/sentences


the structure of a language, underlying rules of order/function

Gleason Study

language rules are generative


Grammatical rules incorrectly generalized to "exception" cases

Language Acquisition Device

Humans possess an inborn language mechanism
-hard wired to sort input from 20-80 phonemes
-lose by 12 months

Surface Structure

particular words used

Deep Structure

notion of nouns, verbs, commands

Expressive Language

the ability to produce language

Receptive Language

the ability to comprehend, process and integrate the meaning of language
-children usually have a greater capacity for receptive speech

Stages in Language Development

-first words
-holophrases: simple words (ex. go, open)
-telegraphic speech: content word sentences (ex. mommy go)
-by age 6 learn average of 15 words per day, vocal of 8000-14000 words

Nonverbal Communication

-vocal intonation: stress, pitch, volume
-body language
-physical distance
-facial expressions


-some question language acquisition, but often sees similar cumulative vocabulary
-most research does not show cognitive limitations
-second language is learned best when younger at a "sensitive period" for language development

Behaviorist Theory

-based on modeling, imitation, exposure and reinforcement

Interactionist theory

both biology and experience make important contributions to language development

Nativist Theory

humans are neurologically prewired to learn language
-children who learn sign language learned it at the same rate as the children who learned spoken language
-critical period


an extension of perception and memory
-mental representations are formed, recalled and manipulated

Concepts and categories

objects are classified on the basis of their properties


a mental representation of a category


recognizing an object as a member of a group


we rate things based on their similarity to models or prototypes which represent the main characteristic of a group


Concepts are defined by a prototype or the most typical member of a "class"
-is a sparrow a bird?
-is a penguin a bird?
-is a bat a bird?


the process by which we generate and evaluate arguments


a methodical, step by step procedure for trying all possible alternatives to solve a problem

Inductive Reasoning

we reason from specific observations to general propositions

Deductive Reasoning

draw conclusions from a set of assumptions, the conclusion is true if the premise is true


form of deductive reasoning, consists of 2 premises and a conclusion

Problem Solving

transform one situation into another to meet a goal
-active efforts to achieve the goal

Problems inducing structure

relationships between numbers, words, symbols

Problems of arrangement

arrange the parts of a problem to satisfy a criterion

problems of transformation

need to carry out a sequence in order to achieve a specific goal


how decisions or problem solving is posed may change the decision making task

Hypothesis testing

50% success and fail rate
-make and test an educated guess about a problem/solution

Mental Stimulation

mental rehearsal of the steps needed to solve a problem

Mental Set

Tendency to stick to solutions which have worked in the past

Functional fixedness

our tendency to rely on a function for an object and ignore other possible uses

Confirmation bias

we seek to confirm what we already believe

Distraction by irrelevant information

people often get sidetracked and it detracts from effective problem solving

Unnecessary constraints

we put restrictions on our problem solving which don't exist


the sudden discovery of a correct solution following incorrect attempts based primarily on trial and error
-aha moment

Decision Making

evaluating alternatives and making choices among them

Compensatory decision models

allows attractive attributes to compensate for unattractive attributes
ex. cheapest nonstop flight

Noncompensatory decision models

do not allow some attributes to compensate for others
ex. booking cheapest ticket no matter what


shortcuts that guide us in decision making about probabilities

Availability Heuristic

decision making based on the fact that things which are easily recalled seem to be typical/common
ex. people hear of plane crash, less likely to buy plane ticket

Representative Heuristic

matching an object to a concept or category without processing how likely the fit may be
ex. person is a carpenter, wrestler, and painter and we are more likely to think this person is a male


defined by how we measure it
-combines verbal ability, problem solving skills and the ability to adapt and learn from life's everyday experiences

Alfred Binet

developed intelligence tests to identify slow learners

Mental Age

based on ability not chronological age
-flawed: a child with a mental age of 6 and chronological age of 5 would have the same IQ as a child with a mental age of 12 and chronological age of 10

Wechsler Intelligence Tests: WPPSI


Wechsler Intelligence Tests: WISC


Wechsler Intelligence Tests: WAIS


Wechsler Intelligence Tests

-results in a verbal IQ, performance IQ, and full scale IQ score
-based on norms for the population:
100 is the mean
85-115 is the normal range

The Flynn Effect

Steady gains in IQ scores cross culturally


More time in school, better educated parents, better nutrition, broader exposure through media

Wechsler's view of intelligence

The global capacity of a person to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with his/her environment

Wechsler WAIS revisions

Verbal comprehension scale
perceptual reasoning scale
working memory scale
processing speed scale

Verbal Subtests

-concepts, ideas, experiences
-fund of information, culturally sensitive
-awareness of socially appropriate behavior, rules and roles
-verbal concept formation, level of abstraction
-concentration/attention, mathematic ability
-attention and rote memory

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