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Flashcards in Week 2 - Behavioural Psychology Deck (38):

Can you learn behaviour?

Behaviour is learnt. Individual differences in behaviour is the result of different learning experiences.


What are the different types of learning?

Classical Conditioning

Instrumental Conditioning (Operant Conditioning)

Statistical learning / contingency learning


What are the key components to Classical Conditioning?

Unconditioned Stimulus
Unconditioned Response
Conditioned Stimulus
Conditioned Response


What is the Unconditioned Stimulus ?

- Meaning. This object has meaning to the individual
- Biologically significant event
- E.g Food


What is the Unconditioned Response?

- This is the natural response in the individual
- Response to the US
- E.g. salivation to food


What is the conditioned Stimulus?

- No meaning. This object initial means nothing to the individual.
- Previously neutral stimulus that acquires a response by being paired with the UCS
- E.g. Bell


What is the conditioned response?

- This is the response that will be created in the individual
- Response to the CS
- E.g. salivation to bell


What type of learning is classical conditioning?

stimulus - outcome learning


What is simultaneous conditioning?

When a conditioned stimulus happens at exactly the same time as the unconditioned stimulus. They are together. This has the most impact


What is delay conditioning?

Conditioned stimulus is followed immediately by the unconditioned stimulus


What is trace conditioning?

delay, unconditioned stimulus


What is generalisation?

This is when the conditioned response is generalised to similar stimuli


Describe Watson and Rayner's (1920) experiment

Little Albert – classically conditioned to fear white rats. White rats were presented with a loud noise that promoted a scared/shocked reaction. This prompted little albert to be scared of rats. This fear was generalised to other conditions, such as Santa’s white bear, as small fluffy white objects were similar to the initial rat he was made to be scared off.


Explain the components of Watson and Rayner's (1920) experiment

Conditioned Stimulus = rat

Unconditioned stimulus = loud noise

Unconditioned response = fear to loud noise

Conditioned response = fear to rat

Generalisation = fear to other white fury objects


Describe Cohen Kadosh (2015) experiment

- Teenagers were asked to complete a task on a computer screen
- A lady appeared on the screen randomly,
- She screamed sometimes very loudly that caused a shock
- Predictable scream condition: the lady appeared with a scream every time
- Unpredictable scream condition: the lady and the scream appeared but not together
- Through the fear of the scream, the participants learnt to become fearful of the lady

Note that in the experiment, the conditioned stimuli does not come before the unconditioned stimuli – this is not a good predictor


What is Morgan's cannon?

a behaviour should not be explained by complex, high-level mental processes if it can be explained with a simpler one
- For example, animals and humans alike learn a lot through trial and error. There actions are not the result of any higher mental process.


What evidence is there supporting Morgan's cannon?



What is Thorndike's Law of effect?

When an action / response is rewarded, the response is strengthened. If an action / response is followed by discomfort, the response is weakened.


What evidence is there supporting Thorndike's Law of effect?

- Puzzlebox. The time taken for the cat to get free of the box is decreased with each turn, after it has been rewarded.
- This connects to instrumental / operant conditioning


Summarise the radical behaviourism perspective on personality

Responding to physiological arousal. Stimulus - outcome

He did not claim that the unconscious processes did not exist, but that it was unscientific to rely on unobservable processes to explain behaviour.

He believed that these inner thoughts did not cause behaviour. Instead, we respond to a state of physiological arousal.

For example, perhaps you provide yourself with an explanation that you are too anxious to give a presentation. You claim that anxiety is the inner cause of your behaviour, that this trait led you to not be able to go. Skinner would argue that you experienced certain aversive behaviours when preparing to attend. You felt sick, had palpitations and sweated. This resulted in you altering your preparatory behaviour.

He suggested that a classical conditioning paradigm consisting of a stimulus followed by outcome is too simplistic for most learning situations.


What is instrumental (operant) conditioning?

Response - outcome model

Behaviour is reinforced

Positive reinforcer: something that you will work for i.e. food
Negative reinforcer: removal/avoidance of something you want to avoid i.e. opportunity to avoid a shock


Identify more reinforces as described by Dollard & Miller

Primary drives & Primary Reinforcers

Secondary drives & Secondary reinforcers


What are Primary drives & Primary Reinforcers?

Primary drives: motivates behaviour, innate physiological drive associated with enduring survival i.e eat, drink, sleep, sex


What are secondary drives & secondary reinforcers?

are there to help and cope with primary drives
i.e money
e.g if an infant is left extremely hungry (primary drive) it cries to get food (ssecondary drive)


What is the Premack Principle

Premack explained the idea of reinforcement further. An animal will do one behaviour to get the opportunity to engage in a preferred behaviour. Learning is reinforced when the instrumental act allows access to preferred behaviour.

- Dependent on state of animal


Describe in more detail Premack Principle

An animal will do one behaviour to get the opportunity to engage in a preferred behaviour. Learning is reinforced when the instrumental act allows access to a preferred behaviour
Water reinforces running and running reinforces water.

When a rat is water deprived, the rat will drink more than it runs
When a rat is not water deprived, the rat runs more than it drinks


What is an Approach-Approach drive

2 equally desirable goals, but they are incompatible. This could be when you are asked to choose between 2 equally desirable objects to have as a gift. You want, but can only have 1. Both are positive but incompatible.
E.g trip to Italy or trip to Australia


What is an Avoidance-Avoidance drive

You are faced with what you perceive as 2 equally undesirable alternatives. Both goals are undesirable and incompatible in terms of having neither the which nor the time to do both.
E.g. either clean the kitchen or clean your room


What is an Approach-Avoidance drive

1 goal, but while an element is attractive an aspect of it is equally unattractive.
E.g. Trip to Australia, but 24-hour flight on your own


What is Double approach-avoidance drive

Multiple goals, some desirable and some undesirable. Variety of factors, positive and negative to take into consideration before being able to make a decision.


What is shaping?

This is how reinforcers are used to shape behaviour

When pigeons first entered the skinner box, it took them time before they figured out they needed to press the lever. In order to help this, they were rewarded for facing the right direction, getting closer to it and so on.


What are the four reinforcement schedules?

Fixed Interval

Fixed Ratio

Variable Interval

Variable Ratio


What is the Fixed Interval schedule?

Rewarded after a fixed amount of time.
e.g. given food every hour, paid ever month
Easiest to extinguish


What is the fixed ratio schedule?

Rewarded after fixed number of responses
e.g. working on commission, after pressing the level 10 times


What is the Variable ratio schedule?

Rewarded at varying number of responses
e.g. rewarded after pressing the level 1 time, then 5 times, then 2 times, or gambling
Hardest to extinguish, most addictive, uncertain when reward will come


What is the variable interval schedule?

Rewarded after a varying amount of time
e.g. posting on social media. You get a like after x amount of time, might be 5 mins, then 2 mins, the 1 hour


What is goal based behaviour?

Classical conditioning: stimulus - outcome
Instrumental conditioning: Response - outcome


What is habitual behaviour?

Stimulus - Response. There is no outcome. No connection to the outcome, a goal or a reward.

Continuing to make a response that elicits an outcome that they don’t want. Habit.