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the cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge

avoidance learning

learning to avoid events or conditions associated with dreaded or aversive outcomes

classical conditioning

a type of learning in which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events

cognitive map

a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it.

concurrent schedules of reinforcement

Two or more reinforcement schedules that operate simultaneously and independently, each for a different response.

conditioned stimulus

in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a conditioned response

conditioned response

the learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus

continuous reinforcement

reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs


a conditioning process in which the reinforcer is removed and a conditioned response becomes independent of the conditioned stimulus

fixed interval schedule

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

higher order conditioning

a procedure in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus through association with an already established conditioned stimulus.

instinctive drift

tendency for animals to return to innate behaviors following repeated reinforcement

intermittent reinforcement

A reinforcement schedule in which a designated response is reinforced only some of the time.

latent learning

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


the cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge


the act of representing something (usually on a smaller scale)

observational learning

learning by observing others

operant conditioning

conditioning in which an operant response is brought under stimulus control by virtue of presenting reinforcement contingent upon the occurrence of the operant response

primary reinforcers

reinforcers that meet an organism's basic needs, such as food and water


Positive & Negative, an event that decreases the behavior that it follows


an act performed to strengthen approved behavior


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

secondary reinforcers

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

skinner box

Named for its developer, B.F. Skinner, a box that contains a responding mechanism and a device capable of delivering a consequence to an animal in the box whenever it makes the desired response

spontaneous recovery

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

stimulus discrimination

Process by which an organism learns to respond only to a specific stimulus and not to other stimuli

taste aversion

a type of classical conditioning in which a previously desirable or neutral food comes to be perceived as repugnant because it is associated with negative stimulation

overjustification effect

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.

token economy

an operant conditioning procedure in which people earn a token of some sort for exhibiting a desired behavior and can later exchange the tokens for various privileges or treats.

unconditioned stimulus

in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally—naturally and automatically—triggers a response.

unconditioned response

in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth.

variable interval schedule

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

variable ratio schedule

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

albert bandura

researcher famous for work in observational or social learning including the famous Bobo doll experiment

John Garcia

Researched taste aversion. Showed that when rats ate a novel substance before being nauseated by a drug or radiation, they developed a conditioned taste aversion for the substance.

Ivan Pavlov

a Russian researcher in the early 1900s who was the first research into learned behavior (conditioning) who discovered classical conditioning

Martin Seligman

learning; Positive Psychology; learned helplessness theory of depression; Studies: Dogs demonstrating learned helplessness

B. F. Skinner

pioneer of operant conditioning who believed that everything we do is determined by our past history of rewards and punishments. he is famous for use of his operant conditioning aparatus which he used to study schedules of reinforcement on pidgeons and rats.

E. L. Thorndike

Suggested the Law of Effect, which was the precursor of operant conditioning. Individuals do what rewards them and stop doing what doesn't bring some reward.

John B. Watson

behaviorism; emphasis on external behaviors of people and their reactions on a given situation; famous for Little Albert study in which baby was taught to fear a white rat

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