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Learning Notes added


relatively permanent change in behavior or mental process due to experience


process of learning associations between environmental stimuli and behavioral responses

Classical conditioning

learning that occurs when a previously neutral stimulus (NS) is paired (associated) with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) to elicit a conditioned response (CR)

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)

stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response (UCR) without previous conditioning

Unconditioned response (UCR)

Unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) that occurs without previous conditioning

Neutral Stimulus (NS)

stimulus that, before conditioning, does not naturally bring about the response of interest

Conditioned stimulus (CS)

Previously neutral stimulus that, through repeated pairings with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), now causes a conditioned response (CR)

Conditioned Response (CR)

learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus (CS) that occurs because of previous repeated pairing with an conditioned stimulus

Conditioned emotional response (CER)

classically conditioned emotional response to a previously neutral stimulus (NS)
One time pairing for phobias


Basic classical conditioning when a neutral stimulus (NS) is consistently paired with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) so that the NS comes to elicit a conditioned response (CR)

Stimulus Generalization

stimuli similar to the original CS elicit a CR
Respond to similar stimuli

Stimulus Discrimination

only the CS elicits the CR
the occurrence of a learned response to a specific stimulus but not to other, similar stimulus


repeatedly presenting the CS without the UCS, which gradually weakens the CR

Spontaneous recovery

sudden reappearance of a previously extinguished conditioned response (CR)

Higher order conditioning

Neutral stimulus (NS) becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) through repeated pairings with a previously conditioned stimulus (CS)
A step above classical conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Learning through the consequences of voluntary behavior
Involves learning voluntary responses to stimuli through consequences of previous experiences-strengthened if followed by reinforcement and diminished if followed by punishment
(examples are...Prejudice, biofeedback, superstitious behavior)


strengthens a response and makes it more likely to recur
A response that follows a behavior that results in an increase in a response


weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur
A response that follows a behavior that results in a decrease in a response

Law of effect

Thorndike's rule that the probability of an action being repeated is strengthened when it is followed by a pleasant or satisfying consequence

Primary reinforcers

Stimuli that satisfies a biological need.
stimuli that increase the probability of a response because they satisfy an unlearned, biological need

Secondary reinforcers

Stimuli that have acquired learned value.
stimuli that increase the probability of a response because of their learned value

Positive reinforcement

Adding (or presenting) a stimulus, which strengthens a response and makes it ore likely to recur

Negative reinforcement

taking a away (or removing) a stimulus, which strengthens a response and makes it more likely to recur

Premack principle

using a naturally occurring high-frequency response to reinforce and increase low-frequency responses

Continuous reinforcement

every correct response is reinforced

Partial (intermittent) reinforcement

some, but not all, correct responses are reinforced

Fixed ratio (FR) schedule

reinforcement occurs after a predetermined set of responses; the ratio (number or amount) is fixed

Variable ratio (VR) schedule

reinforcement occurs unpredictably; the ratio (number or amount) varies

Fixed interval (FI) schedule

reinforcement occurs after a predetermined time has elapsed; the interval (time) is fixed

Variable interval (VI) schedule

reinforcement occurs unpredictably; the interval (time) varies


Teaching a desired response by reinforcing a series of successive steps leading to the final response.
reinforcement delivered for successive approximations of the desired response

Positive punishment

adding (or presenting) a stimulus that weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur

Negative punishment

taking away (or removing) a stimulus that weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur

Discriminative stimulus

cue signaling when a specific response will lead to the expected reinforcement

Cognitive-social theory

emphasizes the roles of thinking and social learning in behavior
Learner is seen as an information processing system, literally a biocomputer

Cognitive map

mental image of a three dimensional space that an organism has navigated

Latent learning

hidden learning that exists without behavioral signs

Taste aversion

classically conditioned negative reaction to a particular taste that has been associated with nausea or other illness

Biological preparedness

built-in (innate) readiness to form associations between certain stimuli and responses

Instinctive drift

conditioned responses shift (or drift) back toward innate response patterns


involuntary bodily process (such as blood pressure or heart rate) is recorded, and the information is fed back to an organism to increase voluntary control over that bodily function

Reflexes are


Human instinct

does not exist. You need 99.999% of the species to demonstrate an action before it's classified as instinctive

Pavlovs experiment

NS: Bell/Tone
UCS: Food
UCR: Salivation
CS: Bell/Tone


To draw or bring forth, associated with classical conditioning (involuntary)


To send forth; associated with operant conditioning

Examples of Classical conditioning

Medical treatments

Four things that may occur with a response

Reinforcement or reward
Need to avoid


Neutral stimulus


Unconditioned stimulus


Unconditioned response


Conditioned stimulus


Conditioned response


defined as a sudden flash of understanding that occurs when you are trying to solve a problem

Tolmans Latent learning

Learning that occurs in the absence of a reward and remains hidden until there is some incentive to demonstrate it.
(shows itself later)

Observational learning

behaviors learned from watching others


changes in the Biochemistry of the brain
Your brain actively changes-the chemicals alter after you learn something

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