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a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 313)

associative learning

learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (as in operant conditioning). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 314)

classical conditioning

a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (US) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. Also called Pavlovian or respondent conditioning. The response is always involuntary(Myers Psychology 8e p. 315)


the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 316)

conditioned response (CR)

in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)

conditioned stimulus (CS)

in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to trigger a conditioned response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)

unconditioned response (UR)

in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)

unconditioned stimulus (US)

in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally—naturally and automatically—triggers a response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)


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. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 318)


the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); occurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 319)

spontaneous recovery

the reappearance, after a pause, of an extinguished conditioned response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 319)

discrimination (Classical Conditioning)

in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 320)


the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 320)

operant behavior

behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)

operant conditioning

a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher. the response is always voluntary(Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)

respondent behavior

behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner's term for behavior learned through classical conditioning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)

law of effect

Thorndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 327)

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. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 327)


an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 328)

negative reinforcement

increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as shock. A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response. (Note: Negative reinforcement is not punishment.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)

positive reinforcement

increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)


in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)

conditioned reinforcer

a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer; also known as secondary reinforcer. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)

continuous reinforcement

reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)

primary reinforcer

an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)

fixed-ratio schedule

in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 331)

partial (intermittent) reinforcement

reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 331)

fixed-interval schedule

in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)


an event that decreases the behavior that it follows. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)

variable-interval schedule

in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)

variable-ratio schedule

in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)

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. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 334)

latent learning

learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it. Latent learning is associated with research by EC Tolman (Myers Psychology 8e p. 334)

extrinsic motivation

a desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 335)

intrinsic motivation

a desire to perform a behavior for its own sake. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 335)

mirror neurons

frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation, language learning, and empathy. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)


the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)

observational learning

learning by observing others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)

prosocial behavior

positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of antisocial behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 343)

Ivan Pavlov

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

spontaneous recovery

the reappearance after a pause of a conditioned stimulus


relearning after extended extinction period

higher order conditioning

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

John Watson

the researcher of classical conditioning famous for conditioning an 11month old baby to fear white rats

Mary Cover Jones

the researcher that paired a pleasant stimulus (a favorite food) with the feared object (rabbit) to use classical conditioning to rid "little peter" of his fear of rabits


behavioral therapy used to rid someone of fears through classical conditioning - forced extinction. A person afraid of snakes may be exposed to a fear provoking but harmless situation until they get over their fear.

systematic desensitization

behavioral therapy used to cure phobias by gradually reducing bond between S (ex spider) and response (fear) by slowing introducing the stimulus and getting the phobic to relax. a heirarchy of fear is also used.

counter conditioning

behavioral therapy that works by replacing the S - R bond with a new bond.

aversion therapy

behavioral therapy that works by replacing one bond with another but this time adding something nasty. Ex. To stop smoking add something to cigarettes that induces vomiting.

taste aversion

a learned avoidance of a particular food

Garcia and Koelling

researchers who did major studies on classical conditoning and taste aversions

Edward Thorndike

Pioneer in operant conditioning who discovered concepts in intstrumental learning such as the law of effect. Known for his work with cats in puzzle boxes.

law of exercise

Thorndike's law that repetition strengthens learning or... "Practice makes perfect".

law of effect

Thorndike's law that states If a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying results, the association between the S and R is strengthened.

token economy

method where mental health workers give tokens to patients if they did positive behaviors such as voluntarily attending meals, grooming self, helping with housekeeping etc. also used in other institutional settings such as schools or hospitals

BF 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.

positive punishment

following an undesired response by adding an unpleasant stimulus to decrease the likelihood of the behavior reoccuring

negative punishment

following an undesired response by removing a pleasant stimulus this is also called a time out and reduces the likelihood of the behavior reoccuring

secondary reinforcer

a reinforcement that represents a primary enforcer such as Money. Green paper has no actual value but it represents things you can buy.


A method of gradually refining a response by successively reinforcing closer approximations


Reinforcing different parts in a sequence


operant conditioning technique of using monitoring devices to furnish information regarding an autonomic bodily function, such as heart rate or blood pressure, in an attempt to gain some voluntary control over that function. used for treatment of stress and anxiety

behavior contract

An agreement between the therapist and client (school psychologist, student, parent and teacher) in which the client (student or patient) agrees to carry out certain behaviors, usually between sessions but sometimes during the session as well

escape conditioning

training an organism to remove or terminate an unpleasant stimulus. Their behavior causes an unpleasant event to stop and so they continue that behavior. They make the correct new response to stop delivery of the undesired stimulus.

avoidance conditioning

person's behavior has the effect of PREVENTING an unpleasant situation from happening.


term coined by Bandura on how we learn by imitating others. His research - children will spontaneously imitate the behavior of a model without any obvious reinforcement.

self efficacy

Refers to one's belief about one's ability to perform behaviors that should lead to expected outcomes. those with high levels for a particular task are more likely to succeed than those with low levels

cognitive map

a mental representation of the spatial lay out created by an organism. internal representations of the world and its spatial properties stored in memory (also called "mental maps")

Albert Bandura

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

E C Tolman

researcher famous for work with latent learning and cognitive maps with rats in mazes

Martin Seligman

researcher known for work on learned helplessness and learned optimism as well as positive psychology

learned helplessness

a psychological condition in which a human or animal has learned to believe that it is helpless.

Wolfgang Kohler

researcher who studied insight learning in chimps

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