A-Level Coursework: Psychology of Learning Summarize a Classic Experiment

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Psychology of Learning

Summarize a classic experiment in the Psychology of Learning.

One of the most interesting and profound experiments in all of psychology must be the Ivan Pavlov's work with the conditioning of dog's. Nearly every source surveyed makes some humorous reference to Pavlov and his dog experiments. For example, the official site of the Nobel Prize, an award that Pavlov himself won was awarded, titles an introductory section "Pavlov's drooling dogs" (Prize, 2001). His eeliest work was not dedicated on understanding behavior. Rather he worked to understand how the digestive system worked in mammals and used canines as subjects. Pavlov actually kind of stumbled on his behavioral work by noting that the dogs did not always salivate when expected. He later realized that it was the lab coat that was triggering the dog's response to salivate.

After noticing the response the dogs had to the lab coats somewhat by chance, Pavlov set out to further understand the signals that triggered the salivation of the responses of the dogs. Pavlov used a bell as a trigger which was timed in conjunction with the dogs regular feeding. The normal feedings would naturally trigger saliva to ooze from the dogs respective glands. However, after enough time had passed, the dogs would salivate with the sound of the bell alone with no food in sight. Pavlov's experiment is considered one of the "classic' experiments in psychology because it opened the door for a new way to study behavior.

2. Define CS, U.S., UR, and CR. Explain how advertisers can use classical conditioning to give consumers a positive feeling about their product and how they could use classical conditioning to give consumers a negative feeling about other products.

Unconditioned Stimulus -- this means that without any learning, a stimulus can elicit a reflex (Experiment Resouirces, N.d.). For example, in Pavlov's experiment it was the dog's food that served as the unconditional stimulus.

Unconditioned Response -- is the response to a stimulus that requires no learning. Again, in Pavlov's experiment, the unconditioned response was the drooling of the dogs which required no learning on their part since this is a natural phenomenon.

Conditioned Stimulus -- this is the artificial stimulus that is paired with the U.S. that has the potential to eventually lead to a conditioned response; this requires learning. In Pavlov's experiment, the conditioned stimulus was the bell.

Conditioned Response -- this is the response that is generated through learning to the conditioned stimulus. In this case the U.S. can no longer be present and the subject has learned the conditioned response to the conditioned stimulus. In the experiment it was the dog's reacting solely to the bell being rung.

An advertisement for a Vodka brand was found to illustrate what effects conditioning can have on consumers. In the ad an attractive female is positioned behind a clear vodka bottle. Behind the bottle there is an image of a snake that does not appear anywhere else… [END OF PREVIEW]

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