Chapter 6

A systematic, relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs through experience.
A theory of learning that focuses solely on observable behaviors, discounting the importance of such mental activity as thinking, wishing, and hoping.
associative learning
Learning that occurs when we make a connection, or an association, between two events.
The process of learning the associations maintained in associative learning.
classical conditioning
Organisms learn the association between two stimuli. As a result of this association, organisms learn to anticipate events.
operant conditioning
Organisms learn the association between a behavior and a consequence, such as a reward. As a result of this association, organisms learn to increase behaviors that are followed by rewards and to decrease behaviors that are followed by punishment.
observational learning
Learning that occurs when a person observes and imitates another’s behavior.
classical conditioning
Learning process in which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response.
Automatic stimulus-response connections.
unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
A stimulus that produces a response without prior learning.
unconditioned response (UCR)
An unlearned reaction that is automatically elicited by the unconditioned stimulus.
conditioned stimulus (CS)
A previously neutral stimulus that eventually elicits a conditioned response after being paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
conditioned response (CR)
The learned response to the conditioned stimulus that occurs after conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus pairing.
The initial learning of the connection between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus when these two stimuli are paired.
The CS and UCS are presented very close together in time – even a mere fraction of a second.
The CS must not only precede the UCS closely in time, but it must also serve as a reliable indicator that the UCS is on its way.
generalization (in classical conditioning)
The tendency of a new stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit a response that is similar to the conditioned response.
discrimination (in classical conditioning)
The process of learning to respond to certain stimuli and not others.
extinction (in classical conditioning)
The weakening of the conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is absent.
spontaneous recovery
The process in classical conditioning by which a conditioned response can recur after a time delay, without further conditioning.
The recovery of the conditioned response when an organism is placed in a novel context.
A classical conditioning procedure for changing the relationship between a conditioned stimulus and its conditioned response.
aversive conditioning
A form of treatment that consists of repeated pairings of a stimulus with a very unpleasant stimulus.
placebo effect
The effect of a substance or procedure that is used as a control to identify the actual effects of a treatment.
A decrease in the production of antibodies that can come from classical conditioning.
taste aversion
A special kind of classical conditioning involving the learned association between a particular taste and nausea.
Decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations.
respondent behavior
Behavior that occurs in automatic response to a stimulus such as a nausea-producing drug, and later to a conditioned stimulus such as sweet water that was paired with the drug.
operant conditioning
Also called instrumental conditioning, a form of associative learning in which the consequences of a behavior change the probability of the behavior’s occurrence.
law of effect
Thorndike’s law stating that behaviors followed by positive outcomes are strengthened and that behaviors followed by negative outcomes are weakened.
Rewarding approximations of a desired behavior.
The process by which a rewarding stimulus or event following a particular behavior increases the probability that the behavior will happen again.
positive reinforcement
An increase in the frequency of a behavior in response to the subsequent presentation of something that is good.
negative reinforcement
An increase in the frequency of a behavior in response to the subsequent removal of something that is unpleasant.
avoidance learning
An organism’s learning that it can altogether avoid a negative stimulus by making a particle response.
learned helplessness
An organism’s learning through experience with unavoidable negative stimuli that it has no control over negative outcomes.
primary reinforcer
A reinforcer that is innately satisfying; one that does not take any learning on the organism’s part to make it pleasurable.
secondary reinforcer
A reinforcer that acquires its positive value through an organism’s experience.
generalization (in operant conditioning)
Performing a reinforced behavior in a different situation.
discrimination (in operant conditioning)
Responding appropriately to stimuli that signal that a behavior will or will not be reinforced.
extinction (in operant conditioning)
Decreases in the frequency of a behavior when the behavior is no longer reinforced.
continuous reinforcement
A behavior is reinforced every time it occurs.
partial reinforcement
A reinforcer follows a behavior only a portion of the time.
schedules of reinforcement
Specific patterns that determine when a behavior will be reinforced.
ratio schedules
Involve the number of behaviors that must be performed prior to reward.
interval schedules
Refer to the amount of time that must pass before a behavior is rewarded.
fixed-ratio schedule
Reinforces behavior after a set number of behaviors.
variable-ratio schedule
A timetable in which behaviors are rewarded an average number of times but on an unpredictable basis.
fixed-interval schedule
Reinforces the first behavior after a fixed amount of time has passed.
variable-interval schedule
A timetable in which a behavior is reinforced after a variable amount of time has elapsed.
A consequence that decreases the likelihood that a behavior will occur.
positive punishment
The presentation of an unpleasant stimulus following a given behavior in order to decrease the frequency of that behavior.
negative punishment
The removal of a positive stimulus following a given behavior in order to decrease the frequency of that behavior.
applied behavior analysis
Also called behavior modification, the use of operant conditioning principles to change human behavior.
latent learning
Also called implicit learning, unreinforced learning that is not immediately reflected in behavior.
insight learning
A form of problem solving in which the organism develops a sudden insight into or understanding of a problem’s solution.
instinctive drift
The tendency of animals to revert to instinctive behavior that interferes with learning.
The species-specific biological predisposition to learn in certain ways but not others.
Describes the way our beliefs about ability dictate what goals we set for ourselves, what we think we can learn, and ultimately what we do learn.
fixed mindset
An individual believes that his or her qualities are carved in stone and cannot change.
growth mindset
An individual believes that his or her qualities can change and improve through his or her effort.
One cognitive factor of learning, the idea that much of behavior is goal-directed.

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