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Prep for AP exam


relatively permanent or stable change in behavior as a result of experience

Classical Conditioning

discovered by Pavlov
pairing an unconditioned stimulus with a conditioned stimulus to eventually bring conditioned response

Unconditioned stimulus

This is a stimulus that automatically triggers a response—you don't need to be trained to react. With Pavlov and his dog, the food was the unconditioned stimulus.

Unconditioned Response

This is a response that is automatically triggered, and needs no training. With Pavlov, the dog salivating was the unconditioned response.

Neutral Stimulus

This is a stimulus that originally has nothing to do with a response. With Pavlov, the tuning fork is the neutral stimulus.

Conditioned Stimulus

This is a stimulus that used to be neutral, and have nothing to do with a response. But, because it is paired with the UCS, now it gets a response. With Pavlov, this is the tuning fork. Note that the NS becomes the CS.

Conditioned response

This is the learned response to a previously neutral stimulus. In Pavlov's experiments, this is the salivation when the dog hears the tuning fork. Usually, the UCR and the CR are very similar.

Forward Conditioning

when CS is presented before the US (most effective)

Delay conditioning

when CS is present until the US begins Trace conditioning

Trace conditioning

when CS is removed some time before the US is presented

Simultaneous conditioning

when CS and US are presented at the same time

Backward conditioning

when US is presented before the CS (usually ineffective)


Things similar to the Conditioned Stimuli start producing conditioned responses from the animal


distinguishing between similar but distinct stimuli


when pairing of natural and neutral stimuli have occurred enough that neutral stimulus alone will elicit the conditioned response


- Repeatedly presenting the CS in the absence of the UCS
- In classical conditioning, a previously-reinforced behavior is no longer reinforced, so the behavior gradually disappears.

Spontaneous recovery

where original response disappears, but then is elicited again by the previous CS at a later time

Second-order conditioning

Pairing a CS with a secondary CS, response might not be as strong, higher order conditioning are rarely effective

Conditioned taste aversion CTA

AKA Garcia effect, when animals eat a food resulting in nausea, they will never eat it again (even if it wasn't the food's fault)

Stimulus generalization

demonstrated by CTA, don't want to eat similar food to one who made you vomit before

Contiguity approach

C Conditioning works because the US and CS were paired in time (thought by Watson and Pavlov)

Contingency approach

Robert Rescoral believes CS and US get paired because CS comes to predict the US

Operant Conditioning

The process of learning the association between a voluntary behavior and its consequences (BF Skinner) (first discovered by Edward Thorndike)

Operant vs. Reinforcer

Operant is the action
reinforcer is the reward


Procedure in which reinforcers gradually guide an animal's action toward a desired behavior.
AKA Differential reinforcement of successive approximations

natural reinforcement

doesn't need o be learned to be reinforced, food, water

Primary reinforcement

food, water, sex

Secondary reinforcement

provided by learned reinforcers (money)

Positive reinforcement

reward or event that increases the likelihood that a response will be repeated

Negative Reinforcement

removal of an aversive event (taking a pill to get rid of headaches)

Omission training

seeks to decrease the frequency of behavior by withholding the reward until the desired behavior is demonstrated (ground)

schedule of reinforcement

how often organism receives reward for response

Continuous reinforcement

every time they perform, they get a reward
Fastest results, but fastest extinction


reinforce only some of the time
slow to learn, slow extinction

Fixed ratio schedule

Animal rewarded after a fixed number of correct responses

variable ratio schedule

The number of responses required for reinforcement changes (slot machine in Vegas) (least likely to get extinct)

Fixed interval schedule

Behavior is rewarded after a specific amount of time has elapsed

Variable interval schedule

The time between reinforcers changes.

token economy

artificial economy based on tokens
tokens are secondary reinforcers

learned helplessness

when consistent effort fails to bring rewards, subject will stop trying (depression is effect)

Daniel Hebb

proposed human learning takes place by neurons forming new connections with one another or by strengthening of connections that already exist

Eric Kandel

classically conditioned Aplysia to withdraw their gills


strengthen the synapses between the sensory neurons

long-term potential

Receiving neurons of long-term memories require fewer neurotransmitter molecules to make them fire

social learning

emphasizes mental process in learning (like cognitive learning) but also emphasizes environmental factors and behavioral factors

Edward Tolman

trained rats to run mazes to obtain food reward at the end of a maze

latent learning

learning that is not outwardly expressed until the situation calls for it

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