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main focus is human behavior.
- behaviorists are define by their fascination of learning
- behaviorists began that organisms are not born knowing what behaviors to engage in, this isn't entirely true since there are many animal species that engage in elaborate behavior that is genetically hardwired into them at birth such as mating


stimulus response

stimuli is often used as the word to describe features of the environment and the word response is the word to describe the result of the stimuli.


Ivan Pavlov

Russian physiologist.
- won a noble prize for some work he did on digestive processes
-accidentally made some observations that created a huge splash in academics of science and beyond.
- Pavlov did an experiment on dogs salivating, which isn't a behavior but an unconscious mechanism


unconditioned stimulus

any stimulus that naturally generates some response in a person or animal


unconditioned response

a response on getting poked in the back with a pencil of going up behind someone and scaring them and their response is the unconditioned response.


acquisition phase

the combination of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus


extinction phase

the gradual lose of the conditioned response after the repeated conditioned stimulus like Pavlov's bell or the sound of someone whistling before poking you in the back with a penicl


stimulus generalization

responding to a stimulus similar to be distinct from the conditioned stimulus


stimulus discrimination

the ability to distinguish between one stimulus and a similar stimulus, responding to a certain stimuli but not a similar one.


John B. Watson

father of behaviorism
did an experiment with an 11-monthold baby named albert, he filmed his efforts in making albert afraid of white rats. after finding out the albert wasn't afraid of the rat, he showed albert the white rat multiple times striking a steel bar with a hammer, which albert didn't like. eventually albert showed fear with just the presence of the white rat without the steel bar.



explanation of many phobias.


conditioned taste eversion

eating a food and then getting sick after eating and then associating that food with sickness and not wanting to eat it ever again if the sickness wasn't caused by the food.


classical conditioning

when two stimuli are repeatedly paired. a response that was at first elicited by the first stimuli, after repeating is then elicited by the first stimuli alone


operant conditioning

the learning occurs through the consequences of the learners voluntary actions.



when a reward is the consequence of behavior will increase in frequency


Edward Thorndike

he placed hungry cats inside a puzzle box and their food on the outside of the box. the cats would try and get out of the box and then would realize that their was some sort of trick to get out of the box


the law of effect

Edward Thorndike
the association between a stimulus and a response will be strengthened when the effect of the response is positive.


B.F Skinner

-ranks with people like Sigmund Freud and William Wundt one of the worlds most important psychologists
- studied operant conditioning with rats and pigeons


The Skinner Box

B.F skinner placed the animal in an operant chamber called the skinner box that contained a lever that the animal could press as well as a food tray provided the reinforcing of the lever.



when some cost to the learner is the consequence of behavior, the behavior will decrease in frequency


positive reinforcement

rewarding consequence through the addition of a stimulation
- gives pleasure, having fun


negative reinforcement

the rewarding consequence through the removal of stimulation such as a electric shock.
the reward would be giving the animal a break from the electric shock.
if someone were to put their sunglasses on BEFORE going out in the sun


avoidance learning

the behavior removes the possibility that a negative consequence will occur


escape learning

the behavior removes the negative consequence after it has occurred
putting sunglasses on after being blinded by the sun .


positive punishment

a negative consequence through the addition of a stimulus
parents who yell at their children for bad behavior


negative punishment

a negative consequence through the removal of a stimulation
sending a child away on a time out


primary reinforcers

those that relate to basic survival needs such as food water and warmth


secondary reinforcers

money, high grades or receiving compliments and positive feedback from others


stimulus discrimination

learning that a behavior will only be rewarded in one stimulation context and not the other.
ex: reinforcing a lever pressing only when a red light is on and not when a yellow light is on


delayed reinforcement

as more time separates a behavior and presentation of a reinforcer operant conditioning will be weak


reward devaluation

a reinforcer will be effective at increasing frequency of a behavior in some cases, but less so in others
- if you have already eaten the offer for a free hot dog as a reward will not be a strong reinforcers



training a complicated skill through step-by-step reinforcement of successive approximation
- dogs will not naturally run an obstacle course.



trainers reinforce an animal to link two or more shaped behaviors together into a larger sequence


schedules or reinforcement

refers to the frequency or rate at which the learner receives a reward after performing some behavior


continuous reinforcement

a reward follows every time the learner performs the behavior


partial reinforcement

a reward doesn't follow every time the learner performs the behavior


ratio schedule

the learner must perform the behavior some number of times before they receive an ward


interval schedule

before receiving reward the learner must perform the behavior after some amount of time passed


fixed-interval schedule

reinforcement occurs after the learner performs the behavior after some specific amount of time passes


variable-interval schedule

reinforcement occurs after the learned performs the behavior after some unpredictable amount of time passes


partial reinforcement effect

behaviors that are reinforced on partial schedule last longer in the absence of reinforcement than in behaviors that are reinforced every time



people tend to respond more strongly to punishment than reinforcements
negative outcomes are weighted more heavily for us than positive outcomes


punishments and parenting

1. punishments should match the severity of the behavior
2. punishments should only be as unpleasant as necessary to discourage the behavior
3. punishment should be combined with plenty of explanation and discussion as to why the behavior is unacceptable,
4. punishments must be delivered as a consistent consequence for the behavior


Edward Tolman

psychologist that provided evidence that operant conditioning scenarios might be a reasonable place to study the role of thinking.


latent learning

beginning of the end of behaviorism.
a form of learning that is not immediately expressed in an obvious response


Albert Bandura

believed that observational learning is an important type of learning



seeking to duplicate another sons behavior
singing along to music you may be putting your original stamp on it but it is also difficult to avoid imitating the style of the artist.


Banduras bobo doll study

one group of children watched an adult acting violently toward a bobo doll, another group of children watched an adult refrain from acting violent towards the doll. after the film the children who observed an adult attack the bobo doll were far more likely to act violently toward the doll than children from the other group.