Discussion on Classical Conditioning as an Explanation of Learning

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Discussion on Classical Conditioning as an Explanation of Learning

We use the term "classical conditioning" to describe one type of associative learning in which there is no contingency between response and reinforcer. This situation resembles most closely the experiment from Pavlov in the 1920s, where he trained his dogs to associate a bell ring with a food-reward. In such experiments, the subject initially shows weak or no response to a conditioned stimulus (CS, e.g. the bell), but a measurable unconditioned response (UCR, e.g. saliva production) to an unconditioned stimulus (UCS, e.g. food). In the course of the training, the CS is repeatedly presented together with the UCS; eventually the subject forms an association between
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If a CS is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus, the CR will disappear. In Pavlov's case, if a dog learns to associate the sound of a bell with food and then the bell is rung repeatedly but no food appears, the dog will soon stop salivating to the bell.
Another principle to classical conditioning is the spontaneous recovery. Supposing that a response is classically conditioned then extinguished. If a few hours or days later, the CS is presented again, the CR will probably reappear. As spontaneous recovery is a term used for this temporary return of an extinguished response after a delay. Thus, the elimination of a conditioned response usually requires more than one extinction lesson.
Pavlov's dog who was conditioned to salivate to the sound of a bell of one tone may well salivate to a similar sounding bell or a buzzer. Stimulus generalisation is the extension of the conditioned response from the original stimulus to a similar stimuli. The conditioned response to a similar stimulus is not as strong as the response to the original stimulus; the less similar the weaker the response.
An animal or person can be taught to 'choose' between stimuli, that is to discriminate stimuli. For example, is a dog is shown a red circle everytime he is fed, then he will salivate at the sight of the red circle alone. However, the dog will usually generalise this response to that they may respond to circles of other colours. If we only feed the
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