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Acquisition and extinction involve the strengthening and weakening, respectively, of a learned association. Two other learning processes—stimulus discrimination and stimulus generalization—are involved in distinguishing which stimuli will trigger the learned association. Animals (including humans) need to distinguish between stimuli—for example, between sounds that predict a threatening event and sounds that do not—so that they can respond appropriately (such as running away if the sound is threatening). When an organism learns to respond differently to various stimuli that are similar, it is called stimulus discrimination    . In classical conditioning terms, the organism demonstrates the conditioned response only to the conditioned stimulus. Pavlov’s dogs discriminated between the basic tone that sounded before they were fed and other tones (e.g., the doorbell), because the other sounds did not predict the arrival of food. Similarly, Tiger, the cat, discriminated between the sound of the can opener and the sound of the electric mixer. When the electric mixer is going, Tiger is not about to be fed, so she does not come running to the kitchen looking for food.

On the other hand, when an organism demonstrates the conditioned response to stimuli that are similar to the condition stimulus, it is called stimulus generalization    , the opposite of stimulus discrimination. The more similar a stimulus is to the condition stimulus, the more likely the organism is to give the conditioned response. For instance, if the electric mixer sounds very similar to the electric can opener, Tiger may come running after hearing its sound. But if you do not feed her following the electric mixer sound, and you continue to feed her consistently after the electric can opener sound, she will quickly learn to discriminate between the two sounds (provided they are sufficiently dissimilar that she can tell them apart).

Behaviorism

John B. Watson , is considered the founder of behaviorism. Behaviorism is a school of thought that arose during the first part of the 20th century, which incorporates elements of Pavlov’s classical conditioning (Hunt, 2007). In stark contrast with Freud, who considered the reasons for behavior to be hidden in the unconscious, Watson championed the idea that all behavior can be studied as a simple stimulus-response reaction, without regard for internal processes. Watson argued that in order for psychology to become a legitimate science, it must shift its concern away from internal mental processes because mental processes cannot be seen or measured. Instead, he asserted that psychology must focus on outward observable behavior that can be measured.

Watson’s ideas were influenced by Pavlov’s work. According to Watson, human behavior, just like animal behavior, is primarily the result of conditioned responses. Whereas Pavlov’s work with dogs involved the conditioning of reflexes, Watson believed the same principles could be extended to the conditioning of human emotions (Watson, 1919). Thus began Watson’s work with his graduate student Rosalie Rayner and a baby called Little Albert. Through their experiments with Little Albert, Watson and Rayner (1920) demonstrated how fears can be conditioned.

In 1920, Watson was the chair of the psychology department at Johns Hopkins University. Through his position at the university he came to meet Little Albert’s mother, Arvilla Merritte, who worked at a campus hospital (DeAngelis, 2010). Watson offered her a dollar to allow her son to be the subject of his experiments in classical conditioning. Through these experiments, Little Albert was exposed to and conditioned to fear certain things. Initially he was presented with various neutral stimuli, including a rabbit, a dog, a monkey, masks, cotton wool, and a white rat. He was not afraid of any of these things. Then Watson, with the help of Rayner, conditioned Little Albert to associate these stimuli with an emotion—fear. For example, Watson handed Little Albert the white rat, and Little Albert enjoyed playing with it. Then Watson made a loud sound, by striking a hammer against a metal bar hanging behind Little Albert’s head, each time Little Albert touched the rat. Little Albert was frightened by the sound—demonstrating a reflexive fear of sudden loud noises—and began to cry. Watson repeatedly paired the loud sound with the white rat. Soon Little Albert became frightened by the white rat alone. In this case, what are the UCS, CS, UCR, and CR? Days later, Little Albert demonstrated stimulus generalization—he became afraid of other furry things: a rabbit, a furry coat, and even a Santa Claus mask ( [link] ). Watson had succeeded in conditioning a fear response in Little Albert, thus demonstrating that emotions could become conditioned responses. It had been Watson’s intention to produce a phobia—a persistent, excessive fear of a specific object or situation— through conditioning alone, thus countering Freud’s view that phobias are caused by deep, hidden conflicts in the mind. However, there is no evidence that Little Albert experienced phobias in later years. Little Albert’s mother moved away, ending the experiment, and Little Albert himself died a few years later of unrelated causes. While Watson’s research provided new insight into conditioning, it would be considered unethical by today’s standards.

Advertising and associative learning

Advertising executives are pros at applying the principles of associative learning. Think about the car commercials you have seen on television. Many of them feature an attractive model. By associating the model with the car being advertised, you come to see the car as being desirable (Cialdini, 2008). You may be asking yourself, does this advertising technique actually work? According to Cialdini (2008), men who viewed a car commercial that included an attractive model later rated the car as being faster, more appealing, and better designed than did men who viewed an advertisement for the same car minus the model.

Have you ever noticed how quickly advertisers cancel contracts with a famous athlete following a scandal? As far as the advertiser is concerned, that athlete is no longer associated with positive feelings; therefore, the athlete cannot be used as an unconditioned stimulus to condition the public to associate positive feelings (the unconditioned response) with their product (the conditioned stimulus).

Now that you are aware of how associative learning works, see if you can find examples of these types of advertisements on television, in magazines, or on the Internet.

Summary

Pavlov’s pioneering work with dogs contributed greatly to what we know about learning. His experiments explored the type of associative learning we now call classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, organisms learn to associate events that repeatedly happen together, and researchers study how a reflexive response to a stimulus can be mapped to a different stimulus—by training an association between the two stimuli. Pavlov’s experiments show how stimulus-response bonds are formed. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, was greatly influenced by Pavlov’s work. He tested humans by conditioning fear in an infant known as Little Albert. His findings suggest that classical conditioning can explain how some fears develop.

Questions & Answers

is there any scale for measuring post COVID Anxiety?
Richard Reply
I'd like to know if there's any?
Zino
I've heard about Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS). It works as a mental health screener but I'm not sure anyone can do the test except psychologist
divani
Thanks !
Zino
explain the function how intelligence and learning function together
Truvanie Reply
Learning comes before intelligence Learning could be the process of acquiring knowledge. Or the ability to gain knowledge Whereas intelligence is the display of acquired knowledge.
Felix
schools of psychology
Onogwu Reply
hi
giri
hi
Swapnil
hi
Munir
hello
Imsekar
hai
Tu
Hi
piya
hello
kajal
Hello
Mohamed
hii
grace
hi
george
hi
Anuja
hi
kajal
gud night
grace
Good night everyone
Anuja
good night 😴🌃
Swapnil
hello
Ananya
What's the point of this chat section?
Mohamed
to say hello and to feel solidarity.
Tu
the early childhood can reference the emotions?
Sammi Reply
Our early childhood experiences are important in the development of our personalities. It kind of shapes our behaviour and mannerism.
Debarpita
Especially in choosing career
Felix
😅Well that's complicated. It differs from person to person.
Debarpita
The early childhood or let's say your upbringing plays a vital role in driving your emotions. If one did not have a pleasant childhood it's highly likely they are more vulnerable to depression or some other psychological condition.
Indefatigable
how to change the emotion?
Sammi Reply
change the thought at hand .
Shawnte
Then I'm assuming the mind will begin to let go of the prior emotion.
Shawnte
Yes right. Think about something else, then emotion will follow.
Annie
then join life
Munir
I don't understand about this
Munir
how has the new legalization of marijuana effected the anti drug programs
Summer Reply
how to change the emotional ?
Sammi
I am wrilly interisting about big problems psihycil nature between famillys/like parents bully some childe physically , even hall life and show some kinde of heath and $inaid
Zorica Reply
same
Gaea
Never give minor issues space. Time creates space, more time more space therefore if u give a small issue more time it gets more space in your mind hence breeding stress
Andrew Reply
yes yes yes so true
Gaea
hi..my brother gets angry Everytime I say no to him for anything he ask for he don't talk to me after that.. Everytime I only have to say sorry so this time I decided not to say sorry he haven't talked to me for two weeks I am so stressed what should I do
Nush
give him so time. I think you should let him figure out his own feelings. plus, you did the right thing. he needs to know that not everyone will give him what he wants.
Gaea
Don't be stressed out . You did right thing. but remember one thing don't show angry gestures to him or don't try to make him realize by teasing or scolding. If you try to be humble and patient, he may understand his mistake on his own.
PARUL
yeah
Gaea
Hi everyone! So i'm gonna be a college freshman soon and i'm gonna major in Psychology😬 but lately i've been worrying about what job i'm gonna have after getting my Bachelor's degree. Any tips or advice?
Angelique Reply
I think minimum of a masters degree is needed in order to get a job once you do mphil and phd u gonna get licence to work as a clinical psychologist and a lot more options 😊best wishes
kitty
hi...my brother gets angry with me anytime I say no to him for anything he ask for and stop talking to me every time I only have to say sorry..so I decided this time not to say sorry he haven't talked to me at all what should I do please help me
Nush
I think it's just a matter of ego and pride.they may have a kind of feeling like if they apologize it hurts their integrity and pride. Some people never admit they are wrong and it creates stress in the other person. .some people are not empathetic and they always want to feel cared n lovedbyother
kitty
so what can we do..if you are a person who always says sorry it's a good indicator that you have such a broad mind where you are ready to solve problems n you love them even though they are bad at you..basically everyone in this whole world is selfish..humans are selfish but there are some people
kitty
like you whom God created just to solve problems and lead other people in a better way..what you should do is create a beautiful bonding bw your bro ask him softly about his problems..love him more..and eventually he may become softer and lovable
kitty
if your bro is an introvert there could be chances where he has got several problems he haven't discussed with anybody which brings out their egoistic behr and blunt nature...ask him to say about his problems..make him understand the importance of apologies and empathetic behr..and try not to end up
kitty
in a fight discussing these things...u should softly deal with it..even if other people let you down or didn't say sorry to you doesn't mean that you r wrong..u are saying sorry everytime because u have a good heart..
kitty
hope this helps🐒have a good day..good life!!😊
kitty
hi..I have a problem.i will emotional fast, every time when I will give any seminar or etc I will get so emotional and I will cry on the stage....what can I do? give me a solution please
Secular Reply
try to think why your on stage and the audience arnt, try to stay positive and maybe meditate before your performance
Raneem
well i personally suggest trying to practice a lot to other people or to yourself be4 stuff like seminars (like rehearsing), but i think you should ask other people too. also like quora is a good place to ask questions and u might get more/better feedback
Aon
i know this is a psychology app, but quora is specifically designed for asking and answering questions (also ask friends/family/etc)
Aon
Coz u scared of society so that ur confidence is very low ...
Arishfa
Take deep breaths it might sound silly but it actually works.. calms your body and mind.don not focus on things like it may go wrong...or what people will think...just prepare and present..💖
kitty
Being emotionl is nt a fault,its gud dat u atleast knw abt it.Accept ur feelings/emotions.Dis time know wht's mking u cry.Is it d topic or ur intrnl feeling abt ur performance?if it's abt prfrmnce jus know dat none s perfect & b confident in ur subjct by practicing it.Remember None can play ur role.
sailaja
i had a problem that;even though i have people around me, I'm feeling lonely
sharath
is there any online facilities to acquire Internship?
Tanvi Reply
psychology is the study of human behaviour,mental processes and experiences.It id because behaviour cant be stable over a period of time hence,it considered subjective.morover, human experiences cant be objective
Rija Reply
Is this a Statement OR a Question ? all things considered, psch has come a long way in its relatively short life. i was getting an "art" degree, when I enrolled, the Pseudo science changed and I landed a science degree instead (worth more when employers look at it)
Lyric
human behavior is fascinating if you ask me, my 1st degree was criminology/investigations, the ultimate goal of the field is control <~~ sounds terrible but in reality it's more about learning to predict the behaviors we need prevented & find a way to stop them before the next school shooting or btk
Lyric
It's needs to be tackle at young age before it heads to the teens stage then sometimes they don't wanna hear it or un cool
Derek
the suffix ology is study of
Mouze Reply
the prefix psyche is the soul
Mouze
iwillbecomeasuideideaseveryday whatareiwilldo
Vijaya Reply
?
BLYTHE
@Vjaya are you OK?
Ashantelle
u should have hope in life...its not that hard as you think...dont give up even though I don't know what you are talking about just pray..breathe...relax..eveything will be fine 💖
kitty
would you like to talk? I'm an advocate for suicide prevention .
Sonya
that's quite gud
sharath
listen buddy if you keep having those thoughts you will manifest bad energy, i recommend listening to positive subliminals for your subconscious mind, and try being positive, it doesn't have to be real just fake it until you make it
stan
ohhh a Loona here?
here a Orbit too
Vijaya I wish I could Help you-
if you're having suicidal thoughts or anything like that, please contact a suicide hotline b/c i think they could help u more more than we could 1-800-273-8255 there are probs other ones just search it
Aon
how are you feeling tho? im kinda confused by the question and i didnt even know this app had a discussion thing
Aon
please call suicide hotline though if you are having suucidal thoughts because they can really help you (definitely more than some of us could) 1-800-273-8255
Aon
please call suicide hotline though if you are having suucidal thoughts because they can really help you (definitely more than some of us could)
Aon
is anyone there
Robin
@vijaya if ur still reading comments, idrk what u meant but please do stay safe and get help if you're feeling badly
Aon
Hii🙋🏽‍♀️
Angelique
please what is the difference between illusion and hallucination
Okugo Reply
d
April
a Hallucination is not real it is a false perception however in illusion is real but it's made to be out to be something different than what it is
April
hope that helps
April
hallucination is an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. illusion is a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.
MH
like u see a rope and if you perceive it as a snake it's illusion
kitty
And if you feel like something crawling into your body(in reality such a thing is not happening)that is hallucination
kitty
I hope examples will make it more clear for you
kitty
and even hearing voices when no one has spoken is also hallucination
kitty
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Source:  OpenStax, Chapter 7: learning sw. OpenStax CNX. Jun 08, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11817/1.1
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