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Ch. 9 Learning: Principles and Applications. How do we learn?. Most learning is associative learning Learning that certain events occur together. Classical Conditioning. Ivan Pavlov Studied Digestion of Dogs.

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ch 9 learning principles and applications

Ch. 9 Learning: Principles and Applications

how do we learn
How do we learn?

Most learning is associative learning

Learning that certain events occur together.

classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning
  • Ivan Pavlov
  • Studied Digestion of Dogs.
  • Dogs would salivate before they were given food (triggered by sounds, lights etc…)
  • Dogs must have LEARNED to salivate.

Click above to see about Pavlov


Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS):a stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response.

Unconditional Response (UCR):the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the UCS.


Conditioned Stimulus (CS): an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with the UCS, comes to trigger a response.

Conditioned Response (CR): the learned response to a previously neutral stimulus.

classical conditioning1
Classical Conditioning
  • This is passive learning (automatic…learner does NOT have to think).
  • Unconditional Stimulus (UCS)- something that elicits a natural, reflexive response.
  • Unconditional Response (UCR)- response to the UCS.
classical conditioning2
Classical Conditioning
  • Next you find a neutral stimulus (something that by itself elicits no response).
  • You present the stimulus with the UCS a whole bunch of times.
classical conditioning3
Classical Conditioning
  • Acquisition
  • After a while, the body begins to link together the neutral stimulus with the UCS.
classical conditioning4
Classical Conditioning
  • We know learning takes places when the previously neutral stimulus elicits a response.
  • At this point the neutral stimulus is called the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditional response becomes the conditioned response (CR).

Pavlov spent the rest of his life outlining his ideas. He came up with 5 critical terms that together make up classical conditioning. Write down these terms!!



Spontaneous Recovery




Let’s play a game….

I will need a special volunteer….

One who does not get angry easily…

One who does not mind getting wet…

Who will it be???

classical conditioning5
Classical Conditioning
  • TRICKY FACT: We know learning exists because the CS is linked to the UCS.
  • This is called ACQUISITION.
  • Acquisition does not last forever.
  • The moment the CS is no longer associated with the UCS, we have EXTINCTION.


popular classical conditioning examples
Popular Classical Conditioning Examples

See if you can identify the UCS, UCR, CS and CR.

Classical Conditioning as portrayed in The Office.

spontaneous recovery
Spontaneous Recovery
  • Sometimes, after extinction, the CR still randomly appears after the CS is presented.


generalization and discrimination
Generalization and Discrimination



  • Something is so similar to the CS that you get a CR.
  • Something so different to the CS so you do not get a CR.
classical conditioning and humans
Classical Conditioning and Humans
  • John Watson brought Classical Conditioning to psychology with his Baby Albert experiment.

Click to see Baby Albert to some nice jazz.

This type of Classical Conditioning is also known as Aversive Conditioning.

learned taste aversions
Learned Taste Aversions
  • When it comes to food being paired with sickness, the conditioning is incredible strong.
  • Even when food and sickness are hours apart.
  • Food must be salient (noticeable.)
operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning

A type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment.

classical v operant
Classical v. Operant

They both use acquisition, discrimination, SR, generalization and extinction.

  • Classical Conditioning is automatic (respondent behavior). Dogs automatically salivate over meat, then bell- no thinking involved.
  • Operant Conditioning involves behavior where one can influence their environment with behaviors which have consequences (operant behavior).
the law of effect
The Law of Effect
  • Edward Thorndike
  • Locked cats in a cage
  • Behavior changes because of its consequences.
  • Rewards strengthen behavior.
  • If consequences are unpleasant, the Stimulus-Reward connection will weaken.
  • Called the whole process instrumental learning.

Law of Effect: rewarded behavior is likely to recur.

Click picture to see a better explanation of the Law of Effect.

b f skinner
B.F. Skinner
  • The Mac Daddy of Operant Conditioning.
  • Nurture guy through and through.
  • Used a Skinner Box (Operant Conditioning Chamber) to prove his concepts.
  • A reinforcer is anything the INCREASES a behavior.

Positive Reinforcement:

  • The addition of something pleasant.

Negative Reinforcement:

  • The removal of something unpleasant.
  • Two types of NR
  • Escape Learning
  • Avoidance Learning

(Getting kicked out of class versus cutting class)

negative reinforcement
Negative REinforcement


Negative Reinforcement examples:In Negative Reinforcement a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping or avoiding of a negative condition.

  • 2.      Driving in heavy traffic is a negative condition for most of us. You leave home earlier than usual one morning, and don\'t run into heavy traffic. You leave home earlier again the next morning and again you avoid heavy traffic. Your behavior of leaving home earlier is strengthened by the consequence of the avoidance of heavy traffic.
  • The concept of Negative Reinforcement is difficult to teach and learn because of the word negative. Negative Reinforcement is often confused with Punishment. They are very different, however. Negative Reinforcement strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior.
  • Punishment, on the other hand, weakens a behavior because a negative condition is introduced or experienced as a consequence of the behavior.
positive reinforcement
Positive Reinforcement
  • In Positive Reinforcementa particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of experiencing a positive condition. For example: A hungry rat presses a bar in its cage and receives food. The food is a positive condition for the hungry rat. The rat presses the bar again, and again receives food. The rat\'s behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of receiving food.

Meant to decrease a behavior.

Positive Punishment

  • Addition of something unpleasant.

Negative Punishment (Omission Training)

  • Removal of something pleasant.

Punishment works best when it is immediately done after behavior and if it is harsh!

how do we actually use operant conditioning
How do we actually use Operant Conditioning?

To train a dog to get your slippers, you would have to reinforce him in small steps. First, to find the slippers. Then to put them in his mouth. Then to bring them to you and so on…this is shaping behavior.

Do we wait for the subject to deliver the desired behavior?

Sometimes, we use a process called shaping.

Shaping is reinforcing small steps on the way to the desired behavior.

chaining behaviors
Chaining Behaviors
  • Subjects are taught a number of responses successively in order to get a reward.

Click to see a cool example of chaining behaviors.

same terminology as classical conditioning
Same Terminology as Classical Conditioning
  • Acquisition
  • Extinction
  • Spontaneous Recovery
  • Generalization
  • Discrimination

If I wanted to reinforce my son’s dancing by giving him lollipops when he dances. Identify the following….

primary v secondary reinforcers
Primary v. Secondary Reinforcers

Primary Reinforcer

Secondary Reinforcer

  • Things that are in themselves rewarding.
  • Things we have learned to value.
  • Money is a special secondary reinforcer called a generalized reinforcer (because it can be traded for just about anything)
continuous v partial reinforcement
Continuous v. Partial Reinforcement



  • Reinforce the behavior EVERYTIME the behavior is exhibited.
  • Usually done when the subject is first learning to make the association.
  • Acquisition comes really fast.
  • But so does extinction.
  • Reinforce the behavior only SOME of the times it is exhibited.
  • Acquisition comes more slowly.
  • But is more resistant to extinction.
  • FOUR types of Partial Reinforcement schedules.
ratio schedules
Ratio Schedules

Fixed Ratio

Variable Ratio

  • Provides a reinforcement after a SET number of responses.
  • Provides a reinforcement after a RANDOM number of responses.
  • Very hard to get acquisition but also very resistant to extinction.

Fixed Ration- She gets a manicure for every 5 pounds she loses.

fixed ratio schedules
Fixed-ratio Schedules

A schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses.

Example: I give cookie monster a cookie every FIVE times he sings “C is for cookie”.

interval schedules
Interval Schedules

Fixed Interval

Variable Interval

  • Requires a SET amount of time to elapse before giving the reinforcement.
  • Requires a RANDOM amount of time to elapse before giving the reinforcement.
  • Very hard to get acquisition but also very resistant to extinction.

Fixed Interval: She gets a manicure for every 7 days she stays on her diet.

observational learning
Observational Learning
  • Albert Bandura and his BoBo Doll
  • We learn through modeling behavior from others.
  • Observational learning + Operant Conditioning = Social Learning Theory

Click pic to see some observational learning.


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