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Classical Conditioning

Tags:
stimulus
senses
response
reaction
stimuli

Psychology & Sociology

Classical conditioning, is the process in which organisms learn to associate specific stimuli with each other, leading to learned involuntary responses. There are various types of stimuli and responses to understand. A stimulus is anything in the environment that can be perceived, while a response is any behavior or reaction provoked by a stimulus.

There are three categories of stimuli: an unconditioned stimulus, which prompts an automatic or unconditioned response; a neutral stimulus, which doesn't prompt any response; and a conditioned stimulus, which is a previously neutral stimulus that now prompts a learned response. Classical conditioning occurs when a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus, leading to the neutral stimulus becoming a conditioned stimulus.

The process of learning this association is referred to as acquisition. Discrimination allows individuals to respond to specific conditioned stimuli but not other similar stimuli, while generalization occurs when an individual responds to stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus. Extinction takes place when a conditioned response becomes weaker or disappears in response to a conditioned stimulus, and spontaneous recovery is when a stimulus randomly prompts a conditioned response after extinction.

Lesson Outline

<ul> <li>Classical conditioning (Pavlovian conditioning) <ul> <li>Organisms learn to associate specific stimuli with each other</li> <li>Triggers involuntary responses</li> </ul> </li> <li>Types of stimuli and responses <ul> <li>Stimulus: anything in the environment an individual can perceive</li> <li>Response: any behavior or reaction provoked by a stimulus</li> </ul> </li> <li>Categories of stimuli <ul> <li>Unconditioned stimulus: prompts an automatic or involuntary response</li> <li>Neutral stimulus: doesn't prompt any response</li> <li>Conditioned stimulus: once neutral, now prompts a learned response</li> </ul> </li> <li>Process of classical conditioning <ul> <li>Neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus</li> <li>Neutral stimulus alone then prompts the automatic response</li> </ul> </li> <li>Acquisition: learning period to connect neutral stimulus with unconditioned stimulus</li> <li>Discrimination: ability to respond to specific conditioned stimuli but not other similar stimuli</li> <li>Generalization: stimuli similar to a conditioned stimulus also prompt a response</li> <li>Extinction: conditioned response weakens or disappears in response to a conditioned stimulus</li> <li>Spontaneous recovery: a stimulus randomly prompts a conditioned response after extinction</li> </ul>

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FAQs

What is classical conditioning and how does it relate to Pavlovian conditioning?

Classical conditioning, also known as Pavlovian conditioning, is a learning process in which a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus to prompt an involuntary response to the neutral stimulus. This phenomenon was first observed and studied by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist, who discovered it while conducting experiments with dogs and their salivary responses. For instance, the pairing of an unconditioned stimulus (e.g., food) with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g., a bell) elicits an unconditioned response (e.g., salivation). After repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus, causing the organism to elicit a conditioned response (e.g., salivation upon hearing the bell).

What is the difference between an unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response?

An unconditioned stimulus (US) is a stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers an unconditioned response (UR). In Pavlov's experiments, an example of an unconditioned stimulus is the food that naturally causes salivation in dogs. The salivation is an unconditioned response (UR), the innate response produced by the presentation of the unconditioned stimulus, such as the dog's salivation in response to the food.

A conditioned stimulus (CS) is a previously neutral stimulus that, after being paired with an unconditioned stimulus, triggers a conditioned response (CR). In Pavlov's research, the neutral stimulus was a bell, which later became the conditioned stimulus after being paired with food. A conditioned response (CR) is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus, which occurs after the neutral stimulus becomes associated with the unconditioned stimulus. In the case of Pavlov's dogs, the conditioned response was the salivation triggered by the sound of the bell.

How is acquisition achieved in the process of classical conditioning?

Acquisition is the initial stage of learning in classical conditioning during which an organism learns to associate a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus. This is achieved through the repeated pairing of the neutral stimulus with the unconditioned stimulus, gradually transforming the neutral stimulus into a conditioned stimulus. As this association becomes stronger, the presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone evokes the conditioned response. The acquisition process is considered complete when the conditioned stimulus consistently elicits the conditioned response.

What is the difference between discrimination and generalization in classical conditioning?

Discrimination is the ability of an organism to differentiate between the conditioned stimulus and other similar stimuli. This means that the organism learns to respond only to the conditioned stimulus and not to other similar stimuli, indicating that a specific association has been learned. On the other hand, generalization is the tendency of an organism to respond to stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus. This results in the conditioned response being elicited by stimuli that resemble the original conditioned stimulus to varying degrees.

What is extinction in the context of classical conditioning and how does it occur?

Extinction is the gradual decrease and ultimate disappearance of the conditioned response when the conditioned stimulus is consistently presented without being paired with the unconditioned stimulus. The process of extinction essentially "unlearns" the association between the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response. Over time, the conditioned response fades away, and the conditioned stimulus no longer elicits the conditioned response.