Decent Essays
Rescorla advances original theory by acknowledging a previous flaw of Pavlovian Conditioning and attempts to express a more ‘modern’ view by illustrating the circumstances producing learning in animals, the context of learning and the manner it effects behaviour. Thus suggesting that Pavlovian Conditioning is a form of associative learning, rather than reflex tradition as previously suggested. Furthermore, Rescorla emphasised how Pavlovian Conditioning still plays a fundamental role in modern psychology. However, it must be considered that this research is era dependent; being modern at the time of writing of 1988. Resultantly, one must consider if these arguments are still valid in 21st Century psychology, and if so, how. To further demonstrate…show more content…
Arguably, an organism is better described as an information seeker, forming relations amongst events from information provided by a stimulus. For example, Rescorla suggests that contiguity is an insufficient example of Pavlovian Conditioning. As shown in simple CS/US parings, learning was determined by how the two stimuli differ, not in what they share, showing that contiguity is not a necessity, (Rescorla, 1988). Furthermore, systematic fear conditioning scenarios imply the base rate of US occurrence against a CS/US contiguity is also sensitive to conditioning. Evidence for this can be found in previous work that validates the current conclusion. Rescorla (1968, p. 1), argues that contingency over contiguity is an important determinant of fear conditioning, and refers to contingency as the “relative probability of occurrence of US in the presence of a CS as contrasted with its probability in the absence of CS.” Rescorla’s (1988) adaptation of these results measures asymptotic fear levels, (where each curve shows conditioning as an increasing function of the likelihood of receiving a shock during the tone), supporting the continued importance of perceived fear in associations. Furthermore, results from studies on Blocking, Conditioned Inhibition and Auto-shaping in pigeons suggest that the simplistic notion of previous theory…show more content…
Elsner and Hommel (2004), test the hypothesis that learning of relationships between actions and perceptual consequences is accomplished by using associative learning. Stage one of the studies on action-affect learning, required participants to respond to arrows with key presses that were followed by a distractor tone at a period of either 50, 1000, or 2000ms. In stage two, respondents were required to respond to the previously irrelevant tone. Condition one highlights consistencies between tone-key press relationships and the learning phase. Whereas the other condition portrays inconsistencies. In terms of contiguity, they concluded that temporal contiguity is an important mechanism in both animal and human associative learning, (Elsner &Hommel, 2004). However, they argue that relying solely on contiguity would not obtain valid results – supporting Rescorla’s argument that contiguity is not sufficient enough in explaining associative learning. Although, Rescorla concludes that contiguity is not an adequate explanation of associative learning, more modern research suggests it is a collaborative factor. Elsner and Hommel (2004) conclude that action-effect acquisition is dependent on temporal proximity of action and effect on the contingency or frequency of their co-occurrence.
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