STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High
Learning—a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of experience (nurture).
Classical conditioning—learning which takes place when two or more stimuli are presented together; an unconditioned stimulus is paired repeatedly with a neutral stimulus until it acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response. The subject learns to give a response it already knows to a new stimulus. Terms and concepts associated with classical conditioning include the following:
• Stimulus—a change in the environment that elicits (brings about) a response.
• Neutral stimulus (NS)—a stimulus that initially does not elicit a response.
• Unconditioned stimulus (UCS or US)—reflexively, or automatically, brings about the unconditioned response.
• Unconditioned response (UCR or UR)—an automatic, involuntary reaction to an unconditioned stimulus.
• Conditioned stimulus (CS)—a neutral stimulus (NS) at first, but when paired with the UCS, it elicits the conditioned response (CR).
• Acquisition—in classical conditioning, learning to give a known response to a new stimulus, the neutral stimulus
• Extinction—repeatedly presenting a CS without a UCS leads to return of the NS.
• Spontaneous recovery—after extinction and without training, the previous CS suddenly elicits the CR again temporarily.
• Generalization—stimuli similar to the CS also elicit the CR without training.
• Discrimination—the ability to tell the difference between stimuli so that only the CS elicits the CR.
• Higher-order conditioning—classical conditioning in which a well-learned CS is paired with an NS to produce a CR to the NS.
Aversive conditioning—learning involving an unpleasant or harmful stimulus or reinforcer.
Avoidance behavior takes away the unpleasant stimulus before it begins.
Escape behavior takes away the unpleasant stimulus after it has already started.
Instrumental learning—associative learning in which a behavior becomes more or less probable depending on its consequences.
Law of Effect—behaviors followed by positive consequences are strengthened while behaviors followed by annoying or negative consequences are weakened.
Operant conditioning—learning that occurs when an active learner performs certain voluntary behavior, and the consequences of the behavior (pleasant or unpleasant) determine the likelihood of its recurrence. Terms and concepts associated with operant conditioning include the following:
• Positive reinforcement—a rewarding consequence that follows a voluntary behavior thereby increasing the probability the behavior will be repeated.
• Primary reinforcer—something that is biologically important and, thus, rewarding.
• Secondary reinforcer—something rewarding because it is associated with a primary reinforcer.
• Generalized reinforcer—secondary reinforcer associated with a number of different primary reinforcers.
• Premack principle—a more probable behavior can be used as a reinforcer for a less probable one.
• Negative reinforcement—removal of an aversive consequence that follows a voluntary behavior, thereby increasing the probability the behavior will be repeated; two types are escape and avoidance.
• Punishment—an aversive consequence that follows a voluntary behavior, thereby decreasing the probability the behavior will be repeated.
• Omission training—removal of a rewarding consequence that follows a voluntary behavior, thereby decreasing the probability the behavior will be repeated.
• Shaping—positively reinforcing closer and closer approximations of a desired behavior to teach a new behavior.
• Chaining establishes a specific sequence of behaviors by initially positively reinforcing each behavior in a desired sequence and then later rewarding only the completed sequence.
A reinforcement schedule states how and when reinforcers will be given to the learner.
• Continuous reinforcement—schedule that provides reinforcement following the particular behavior every time it is exhibited; best for acquisition of a new behavior.
• Partial reinforcement or intermittent schedule—occasional reinforcement of a particular behavior; produces response that is more resistant to extinction.
• Fixed ratio—reinforcement of a particular behavior after a specific number of responses.
• Fixed interval—reinforcement of the first particular response made after a specific length of time.
• Variable ratio—reinforcement of a particular behavior after a number of responses that changes at random around an average number.
• Variable interval—reinforcement of the first particular response made after a length of time that changes at random around an average period.
Superstitious behaviors can result from unintended reinforcement of unimportant behavior.
Behavior modification—a field that applies the behavioral approach scientifically to solve problems (applied behavior analysis).
Token economy—operant training system that uses secondary reinforcers to increase appropriate behavior; learners can exchange secondary reinforcers for desired rewards.
(Biological) Preparedness—predisposition to easily learn behaviors related to survival of the species.
Instinctive drift—a conditioned response that moves toward the natural behavior of the organism.
Cognitivists interpret classical and operant conditioning differently than behaviorists do.
Cognitivists reject Pavlov’s contiguity theory that classical conditioning is based on the association in time of the CS prior to the UCS.
Cognitivist Richard Rescorla’s contingency theory says that the key to classical conditioning is how well the CS predicts the appearance of the UCS.
Latent learning—learning in the absence of rewards.
Insight—the sudden appearance of an answer or solution to a problem.
Observational learning—learning that occurs by watching the behavior of a model.