Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account


Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience or practice

Ivan Pavlov

A Russian physiologist (a person who studied the workings of the body) (1849 - 1936) who pioneered the empirical study of the basic principles of a particular kind of learning. He studied the digestive system in his dogs, he built a device that would accurately measure the amount of saliva produced by the dogs when they were fed a measured amount of food

Classical conditioning

Learning to make an involuntary (reflex) response to a stimulus other than the original, natural stimulus that normally produces the reflex


An involuntary response, one that is not under personal control or choice

Unconditioned ("unlearned) stimulus (UCS)

A naturally occurring stimulus that leads to an involuntary (reflex) response

Unconditioned response (UCR)

An involuntary (reflex) response to a naturally occurring or unconditioned stimulus

Neutral stimulus (NS)

Stimulus that has no effect on the desired response

Conditioned stimulus (CS)

Stimulus that becomes able to produce a learned reflex response by being paired with the original unconditioned stimulus

Conditioned Stimulus

The CS must come before the UCS and they must come very close together in time. The CS is always followed by a conditioned response.


Conditioned means learned

Response (CR)

Learned reflex response to a conditioned stimulus


The repeated pairing of the NS and the UCS (unconditioned stimulus)

Stimulus generalization

The tendency to respond to a stimulus that is only similar to the original conditioned stimulus with the conditioned response

Stimulus discrimination

The tendency to stop making a generalized response to a stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus because the similar stimulus is never paired with the unconditioned stimulus


The disappearance or weakening of a learned response following the removal or absence of the unconditioned stimulus (in classical conditioning) or the removal of a reinforcer (in operant conditioning)

Spontaneous recovery

The reappearance of a learned response after extinction has occurred

Higher-order conditioning

Occurs when a strong conditioned stimulus is paired with a neutral stimulus, causing the neutral stimulus to become a second conditioned stimulus

Conditional emotional response

Emotional response that has become classically conditioned to occur to learned stimuli, such as a fear of dogs or the emotional reaction that occurs when seeing an attractive person

Conditioned taste aversion

Development of a nausea or aversion response to a particular taste because that taste was followed by a nausea reaction, ocurring after only one association

Biological preparedness

Referring to the tendency of animals to learn certain associations, such as taste and nausea, with only one or few pairings due to the survival value of the learning

Stimulus substitution

Original theory in which Pavlov stated that classical conditioning occurred because the conditioned stimulus became a substitute for the unconditioned stimulus by being paired closely together

Cognitive perspective

Modern theory in which the classical conditioning is seen to occur because the conditioned stimulus provides the information or an expectancy about the coming of the unconditioned stimulus

Operant conditioning

The learning of voluntary behavior through the effects of pleasant and unpleasant consequences to responses

Edward Thorndike

(1874-1919) was one of the first researcher to explore and attempt to outline the laws of learning voluntary responses, although the field was not yet called operant conditioning

Law of Effect

Law stating that if an action is followed by a pleasurable consequence, it will tend to be repeated, and it followed by an unpleasant consequence, it will tend not to be repeated

B.F. Skinner

(1904 - 1990) was the behaviorist who assumed leadership of the field after John Watson. He was even more determined than Watson that psychologists should study only measurable, observable behavior


Any behavior that is voluntary


Any event or stimulus, that when following a response, increases the probability that the response will occur again

Primary reinforcers

Any reinforcer that is naturally reinforcing by meeting a basic biological needs, such as hunger, thirst, or touch

Secondary reinforcers

Any reinforcer that becomes reinforcing after being paired with a primary reinforcer, such as praise, tokens, or gold stars

Positive Reinforcement

The reinforcement of a response by the addition or experiencing of a pleasurable stimulus

Negative reinforcement

The reinforcement of a response by the removal, escape from, or avoidance of an unpleasant stimulus

Continuous reinforcement

The reinforcement of each and every correct response

Partial reinforcement

Occurs when a reinforcer is given after some, but not all, of the correct responses

Partial reinforcement effect

The tendency for a response that is reinforced after some, but not all, correct responses to be very resistant to extinction

Schedule of reinforcement

Schedules of reinforcement are the precise rules that are used to present (or to remove) reinforcers (or punishers) following a specified operant behavior. These rules are defined in terms of the time and/or the number of responses required in order to present (or to remove) a reinforcer (or a punisher). Different schedules schedules of reinforcement produce distinctive effects on operant behavior.

Fixed ratio

Schedule of reinforcement in which the number of responses required for reinforcement is always the same

Variable ratio

Schedule of reinforcement in which the interval of time that must pass before reinforcement becomes possible is different for each trial or event

Fixed interval

Schedule of reinforcement in which the interval of time that must pass before reinforcement becomes possible is always the same

Variable interval

Schedule of reinforcement in which the interval of time that must pass before reinforcement becomes possible is different for each trail or event


Any event or object that, when following a response, makes that response less likely to happen again

Punishment by application

The punishment of a response by the addition or experiencing of an unpleasant stimulus

Punishment by removal

The punishment of a response by the removal of a pleasurable stimulus


The reinforcement of simple steps in behavior that lead to a desired, more complex behavior

Successive approximations

Small steps in behavior, one after the other, that lead to a particular goal behavior


The removal of a reinforcer to reduce the frequency of a behavior

Spontaneous recovery

(in classical conditioning, the recurrence of a conditioned response after extinction) will also happen with operant responses

Discriminative stimulus

Any stimulus, such as a stop sign or a doorknob, that provides the organism with a cue for making a certain response in order to obtain reinforcement

Instinctive drift

Tendency for an animal's behavior to revert to genetically controlled patterns

Behavior modification

The use of operant conditioning techniques to bring about desired changes in behavior

Token economy

Type of behavior modification in which desired behavior is rewarded with tokens


Time-out is a form of mild punishment by removal in which a misbehaving animal, child, or adult is placed in a special area away from the attention of others. Essentially, the organism is being "removed" from any possibility of positive reinforcement in the form of attention.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA)

Modern term for a form of functional analysis and behavior modification that uses a variety of behavioral techniques to mold a desired behavior or response


Using feedback about biological condiitons to bring involuntary responses, such as blood pressure and relaxation, under voluntary control


Form of biofeedback using brain-scanning devices to provide feedback about brain activity in an effort to modify behavior

Cognitive learning

Thoughts, feelings, and expectations that clearly existed in the mind and that seemed to influence observable behavior and eventually began to develop a cognitive learning theory to supplement the more traditional theories of learning

Edward Tolman

Gestalt psychologist, he did an experiment teaching three groups of rats the same maze, once at a time. This experiment was to test latent learning.

Latent learning

Learning that remains hidden until its application becomes useful

Martin Seligman

Famous for founding the field of positive psychology, a new way of looking at the entire concept of mental health and therapy. He and his colleagues discovered an unexpected phenomenon from doing classical conditioning experiments on dogs.

Learned helplessness

The tendency to fail to act to escape from a situation because of a history of repeated failures in the past

Wolfgang Kohler

A gestalt psychologist who studied animal learning. He set up a problem for one of the chimpanzees, the chimp was faced with the problem of how to get to a banana that was placed out of his reach and the chimp pushed one stick out of the cage as far as it would go toward the banana and then pushed the other stick behind the first one. This was a form of insight.

Insight learning

The sudden perception of relationship among various parts of a problem, allowing the solution to the problem to come quickly

Observational learning

Learning new behavior by watching a model perform that behavior

Learning/performance distinction

Referring to the observation that learning can take place without actual performance of the learned behavior

Albert Bandura

He did a classic study with the Booboo doll. the doll was used to demonstrate the impact of observing an adult model performing aggressive behavior on the later aggressive behavior of children. The children imitated the adult model's behavior when they believed they were alone and not being watched

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording