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

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account


a relatively permanent change in behavior acquired through experience; must be enduring, adaptive, helps organisms to meet the demands of the environment; adaptive

3 theories of learning

1. classical conditioning
2. operant conditioning
3. observational learning (cognitive)

associative learning

learning that events occur together; the events may be 2 stimuli (classical conditioning) or a response and its consequence (operant)

law of association

Aristotle; we naturally connect events that occur in sequence


process of learning associations

operant conditioning

associate a response (our behavior) and its consequence

observational learning

learn through others experiences


Russian psychologist; classical conditioning; discovered it while studying the digestive process in dogs

classical conditioning

process in which an originally neutral stimulus, by repeated pairing with a stimulus that normally elicits a response, comes to elicit a similar or even identical response; Pavlov; conditioning; one stimuli goes with another; learning to associate a response with a consequence; operant conditioning

Pavlov's experiment

during conditioning, the NS (tone) and the US (food) are paired, resulting in salvation (UR); after conditioning, the NS which is now the CS, elicits salvation (which is now the CR)

unconditioned response

an unlearned response to a stiumulus

neutral stimulus

a stimulus before conditioning does not produce a particular response

conditioned stimulus

a previously neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned response after it has been "paired" with an unconditioned stimulus

conditioned response

an acquired or learned response to a conditioned stimulus; the strength of it increases with the pairings of it and the US


when the US doesn't follow the tone, CR begins to decrease and eventually stops; the diminishing of a conditioned response

spontaneous recovery

the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response; it can extinguish again

unconditioned stimulus

a stimulant that elicits an unlearned response

unconditioned response

an unlearned response to a stimulus


the process of relearning a conditioned response following extinction; the relearning may occur much more quickly than originally, occuring within one or two trials

stimulus generalization

the tendency for stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit a conditioned response

stimulus discrimination

tendency to differentiate among stimuli so that stimuli that are related to the original conditioned stimulus, but not identical to it, fail to elicit a conditioned response


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

higher order conditioning

a procedure in which the conditioned stimulus in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus; also called second order conditioning


the more often the CS is paired with the US, the stronger and more reliable the CR will be


the strongest CR occurs when the CS is presented first and remains present throughout the administration of the US

Intensity of the US

a stronger US will lead to faster conditioning

reflex learning

below the level of consciousness? spinal reflexes? nothing there to think there's cognition involved


an involuntary response and nearly instantaneous movement in response to stimulus

innate behavior

behavior determined by the "hand-writing" of the nervous system; it is usually inflexible, a given stimulus triggering a given response (flex of foot in response to the touch of the heel)

learned behavior

behavior that is more or less permanently altered at a result of the experience of the individual organism (ex. learning to play baseball well)

Little Albert

11 month old boy involved in an experiment run by John Watson (behaviorism); learned to fear a small furry white rat after pairing with a loud bang behind his head; his fear response generalized to other furry stimuli, such as dogs and cats

conditioned emotional response

an emotional response that has been linked to a previously nonemotional stimulus by classical conditioning


excessive fears of particular objects or situations

drug cravings as conditioned responses

drug cravings may be conditioned responses elicited by exposure to cues associated with drug-using behavior; former crack cocaine users should avoid cues associated with previous drug use; through classical conditioning, a drug that affects the immune response may cause the taste of the drug to invoke the immune response

respondent behavior

occurs as an automatic response to a certain stiumulus

operant behavior

behavior that operates on the environment, producing rewards of punishing stiumuli

operant conditioning

type of learning in which the frequency of a behavior depends on the consequence that follows that behavior

classical conditioning

associations between stimuli; law of effect

law of effect

Thorndike's principle that responses that have satisfying effects are more likely to occur, while those that have unpleasant effects are less likely to occur... the tendency for a response to occur depends on the effects it has on the environment

BF Skinner

harvard; built on thorndike; empirical measurement of behavior on a new level; developed operant conditioning and radical behaviorism

radical behaviorism

philosophical position that free will is an illusion or myth and that human and animal behavior is completely determined by environmental and genetic influences

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


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

primary reinforcers

reinforcers, such as food or sexual stimulation, that are naturally rewarding because they satisfy basic biological needs or drives

secondary reinforcers

learned reinforcers, such as money, that develop their reinforcing properties because of their association with primary reinforcers

immediate reinforcer

A reinforcer that occurs instantly after a behavior. A rat gets a food pellet for pressing a bar.

delayed reinforcer

A reinforcer that is delayed in time for a certain behavior. A paycheck that comes at the end of a week.

positive reinforcement

Reinforcement that occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the presentation of a rewarding stimulus.

negative reinforcement

increasing the strength of a given response by removing or preventing a painful stimulus when the response occurs

schedules of reinforcement

plans for timing of the delivery of the reinforcements

continuous reinforcement

every response is reinforced

partial reinforcement

only a portion of the responses are reinforced

fixed-ratio schedule

reinforcement is giver after a specified number or correct responses

variable-ratio schedule

the number of correct responses needed before reinforcement varies around some average number

fixed-interval schedule

reinforcement given only for a correct response made after a fixed amount of time has elapsed since the last reinforcement

variable-interval schedule

the amount of time that must elapse before a reinforcement can be given is variable rather than fixed

escape learning

the acquisition of behaviors that allow and organism to escape an aversive stimulus; ex. pressing a bar to turn off electric shock

avoidance learning

learning to perform a response to avoid unpleasant stimulus


the introduction of an aversive stimulus or the removal of a reinforcing stimulus or the removal after a response occurs, acts to decrease the behavior that it follows; don't confuse with negative reinforcement

types of punishment

presentation of an unpleasant stiumulus;
removal of reinforcing stiumulus


used a "puzzle box" and animal models to study learning; operant conditioning; law of effect

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