Classic conditioning
Section #1: Sensation and Perception
The world holds a lot of information to perceive. Chapter 3 (pp. 93-94) describes the relationship between attention and perception. Selective attention is the act of focusing on a specific aspect of experience while ignoring others. A demonstration of selective attention is related to our ability to focus on one person’s voice at a crowded party or in a noisy restaurant.
What Are the Limits of Your Perception? In this video psychologist Daniel Simons discusses photographic memory, inattentional blindness, and how much of the world visual world we are actually aware of (11:00).
1. Does photographic memory exist? Why or why not (0:00-2:08).
2. Define change blindness and inattentional blindness AND describe what this suggests about our perception of the visual world (3:03-5:41)?
3. What does this information suggest about the accuracy of eyewitness testimony (5:43-7:08)?
4. According to Daniel Simons, the failure to notice unexpected things is side effect of something we do really well (i.e., selective attention). What are the advantages of selective attention (7:08-9:58)?
Section #2: Sleep
In Chapter 4 of our textbook (p. 133) sleep is defined as a natural state of rest for the body and the mind that involves the reversible loss of consciousness. Sleep must be important, because it makes up about 1/3 of our lifetime, more than anything else we do.
Why Do We Sleep? In this video circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, refutes some myths about how much sleep we need, and discusses how sleep could be used to predict mental health (21:46).
5. In general detail, describe each of the three theories of sleep that were presented in the video. Feel free to make reference to p. 135 of your text when describing each theory (0:00-7:55).
6. Which of these three theories does Russell Foster find the least convincing? Why?
7. Discuss two of the effects of not getting enough sleep or chronic sleep deprivation discussed in the video? Be specific and provide detail/information from the video (7:56-13:58).
8. Describe Russell Foster’s recommendations for improving the quality of our sleep (14:42-15:50)?
9. What is the relationship between mental health and sleep? Be specific and provide detail/information from the video (17:01-21:46).
Section #3: Classical Conditioning
Learning is defined as a systematic, relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs through experience (p. 167). Behaviorism is a theory of learning that focuses on observable behaviors. According to this perspective, the principles of learning are the same whether we are talking about animals or humans. Organisms learn through association.
Classical conditioning. This is a form of associative learning in which a neural stimulus becomes associated with an innately meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response. In this video psychologists Robert Epstein and Daniel Cervone describe classical conditioning, as well as, the research of Ivan Pavlov and John Watson (9:03).
Robert Epstein describes a very personal example of classical conditioning, he gets nervous whenever he sees a police car (0:00-1:50).
10. What was the unconditioned stimulus (US)?
11. What was the unconditioned response (UR)?
12. What was the conditioned stimulus (CS)?
13. What was the conditioned response (CR)?
John Watson and Rosalie Rayner demonstrated classical conditionings role in the development of fears with an infant named “Little Albert” (5:49-9:04)
14. What was the unconditioned stimulus (US)?
15. What was the unconditioned response (UR)?
16. What was the conditioned stimulus (CS)?
17. What was the conditioned response (CR)?
Generalization (p. 172) refers to the tendency of a new stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit a response that is similar to the conditioned response.
18. How was generalization demonstrated in Watson’s study of “Little Albert”?
19. What would someone attempting to treat Little Albert’s fear of rats do if he or she believed that classical conditioning provided the best explanation for the cause of the fear?
Behavioral theories of learning have had, and continue to have, a tremendous impact on experimental psychology. That being stated, early behaviorists like John Watson seemed to have underestimated the complexity of the human condition. One of the areas glossed over by early behaviorists is evolution.
20. Describe preparedness (p. 195-196) and how this challenges behavioral views of learning.
Section #4: Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning. In this video (6:05), Chuck Schallhorn describes operant conditioning, a form of associative learning in which the consequences of behavior change the probability of the behavior’s occurrence (p. 178).
The following scenarios describe some behaviors and their consequences. Your task is to apply the principles of operant conditioning to predict whether the targeted behavior (the underlined one) will reoccur. Read the short scenario, focusing on the underlined behavior, and identify whether the consequence for the person performing the behavior was an example of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, OR negative punishment. Then specify whether the targeted behavior is likely to increase or decrease in the future.
Scenario #1: A student volunteers to answer a tough question in class, and the teacher comments favorably on the quality of the student’s contribution.
21. Describe the operant principle illustrated & likelihood of behavior recurring.
Scenario #2: A child is sent to his room with no dinner after presenting a bad report card.
22. Describe the operant principle illustrated & likelihood of behavior recurring.
Scenario #3: A student has a terrible headache after an intense preparation period for a test. She takes two aspirin, hoping to make it go away.
23. Describe the operant principle illustrated & likelihood of behavior recurring.
Scenario #4: A child spills milk all over the kitchen table, and Mom (having had a very bad day) swoops the child up from the high chair and spanks him.
24. Describe the operant principle illustrated & likelihood of behavior recurring.
Scenario #5: As a spoiled child is being driven past a fast-food restaurant, she begins screaming that she must have french fries or she won’t survive. The parents surrender and drive in and order large fries.
25. Describe the operant principle illustrated & likelihood of behavior recurring.
Your responses to questions #1-#25 combined needs to be a minimum of 2 double-spaced pages in length, with one inch margins all around, and utilize size 12 Times New Roman font. In your responses do NOT retype the questions, just number each of your responses.

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