Planning your “Evaluate classical conditioning” essay

  • Reflexive (involuntary) behaviours
  • Unconditioned stimulus leads to unconditioned response
  • Before conditioning: Neutral stimuli – does not lead to the unconditioned response on its own
Evidence for: Pavlov Experiment with dogs(GRAVE points), also Gormezano’s rabbits, Little Albert study in a human (GRAVE)
  • Associative learning occurs through pairing neutral and unconditioned stimulus
  • NS plus UCS leads to UCR
Evidence against: Why is it so much easier to learn some CRs than others, e.g. one trial learning whereas it takes many more pairings to get a CR to a NS in some situations;
  • After conditioning trials
  • CC has occurred when CS leads to CR
Applications: explaining and treating phobias.
Pavlov’s principles of learning

  • Extinction
  • Spontaneous recovery
  • Stimulus generalisation
  • higher order conditioning
  • one trial learning
Alternatives: preparedness account; evolution prepares us to learn in life threatening situations, can’t; ignore the role of biological factors such as hormones which seem to speed certain types of learning. Also CC does not explain learning of new behaviours only learning of new triggers to existing reflexive behaviours; this is where operant conditioning and shaping come in and also SLT. But again cannot ignore the role of maturation which makes certain behaviours possible at certain point sin development but not at earlier points.
Don’t forget your conclusion!