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Psy 390 - Classical Conditioning Paper

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Classical Conditioning Paper


Christopher J. Bell

The most basic level of classical conditioning is the pairing of a stimulus with another stimulus in order to bring about the response of the first stimulus with the presentation of the second stimulus (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005). Within the process of associate learning, the importance is needed to be able to tell the difference between those pre-conditioned and post-conditioned titles. For example, a pre-conditioned state has an unconditioned stimulus (US) which emits an unconditioned response (UR). In a pre-conditioned state the conditioned stimulus (CS) is basically a neutral stimulus (NS) along with the conditioned response (CR). During conditioning the NS gets paired after multiple trials with a US which creates the UR. The UR then becomes a CR resulting with a conditioned response when the stimulus occurs.

The exact opposite happens during the process known as extinction. When extinction takes place, the CS is presented without any CR. Through this process any conditioning is eliminated. The response rate to the CR, which has now been transformed to a UR, will reach a pre-conditioned frequency. This is what is known as extinction. If the CS is once again paired with a CR after the extinction has occurred, a spontaneous recovery will happen.

Generalization happens when a CR gets paired with a class of CS's similar to a set of tones. This will cause the CR to become associated with the tones that are associated with the original associated tone (CS). It is the end goal of associative theory to explain all human learning, cognition, and behavior through the breakdown of complex psychological processes into their subordinate and simplistic associative mechanisms (Miller & Wasserman, 1997).

I am not a big fan of tomatoes. The taste of the tomato is not what bothers me the most. It is the way they feel and look. The mushy feeling that I get in my mouth when ingesting a tomato is disturbing to me. I will avoid any food in which I can see the tomato. The problem is that my mouth is salivating at the thought of eating a taco from a local food store near my home. Using this scenario, the taco would be the US. The salivation process would be the UR, and the tomatoes would play the role of the neutral stimulus. An argument could be made that a conditioned state already exists for the tomatoes due to the fact that when I have to expose myself to one, my stomach starts to turn. I would be creating a new conditioned response towards the tomato in addition to bringing the existing response to extinction. This approach will also take advantage



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