Classical Conditioning

Pavlovs Dogs Get Conditioned

This video, part of the Introductory Psychology Video Tool Kit (BBC Motion Gallery), is a recreation of Pavlovs laboratory experiments on the salivation reflex. It shows the discovery of the conditioned reflex in dogs and summarizes Pavlov’s paradigm to study dogs’ salivation reflex. Pavlov uses a variety of stimuli in his study of animal learning. Why did Pavlov vary the stimuli used to elicit the conditioned reflex in dogs?

Classical Conditioning on a College Roommate

This clip shows a college student conditioning his roommate to flinch at the sound of the phrase “that was easy.” Every time he presses a button that emits the phrase, he shoots his roommate with an airsoft gun. Eventually, his roommate flinches just at the sound of the words that was easy. This video has inspired many similar experiments that have been filmed and posted on YouTube, What ethical violations may have occurred during the making of this video?

Pavlovs Fish

The video clip shows the results of studies on conditioning of fish. The investigator is shown collaborating with commercial fisheries to train wild sea bass to return in response to a tone in order to receive food. Investigators discuss challenges of the research. What types of applications might conditioning have in business settings?

How Your Horse Learns: Why it Goes Bad Before it Gets Good Again

This video presents a horse-trainer explaining how to work with horses while keeping their past negative experiences and different temperaments in mind. The trainer demonstrates how to attract the horse’s attention and interpret their head and body posture. How might having more than one horse in the same corral affect training?

Extinction Burst

This video presents an individual experiencing “extinction burst.” The subject repeatedly pushes a button to close elevator doors, knocks on a locked door, pushes the button on a drink machine, clicks the receiver button on a public telephone, and pushes the button on a copy machine – all without success. Each of the examples shown in this clip shows extinction bursts using touch; what examples of extinction bursts can you think of that use senses other than touch?

Habituation of a Startle Response

This short clip shows habituation of a rat’s innate startle reflex to a loud noise. The rat shows a decrease in the magnitude of the response as a function of repeated exposure to the noise. Audio is included, but an X is presented during presentations of the noise. How do we know the rat is habituated to the noise?

Dishabituation of a Rats Startle Response

Here we see a rat that has undergone habituation to a loud noise (indicated by a yellow X). After two trials, a different loud noise is presented (a door slamming, indicated by a red circle). The habituated response briefly returns upon presentation of the original loud noise. Would the dishabituation occur if the extraneous stimulus was visual rather than auditory?

Spontaneous Recovery

In this video, a habituated rat shows little response to two trials of a loud noise. After three days back in its home cage, the loud noise is presented again, and the startle reflex returns. The rat quickly habituates once again. What is spontaneous recovery? How might it be useful in a classroom setting?

Operant Conditioning

John Watson Little Albert

Psychologist John Watson theorized that we are entirely a product of nurture, rather than nature, that we are shaped solely by our environment. His most famous and infamous experiment involved teaching the infant Little Albert to be afraid of rats. What does the phrase tabula rasa mean, and how is it relevant to the Little Albert experiment? What is behaviorism?

Operant Conditioning

This clip opens by showing a pigeon in a study using food as a reinforcement for pecking behavior. B.F. Skinner discusses schedules of reinforcement and how learning research can be applied to understand human behavior. Skinner challenges the validity of human free will. How is the process of learning, as understood by Skinner, inconsistent with the idea of free will? While this is a classic and important experiment in operant conditioning, do you have any ethical issues with the way the experiment was performed?

Skinner Box

A mouse is shown in the experimental apparatus pressing a bar in order to turn on a light. When the light turns on, the mouse receives a food pellet as a reinforcement. What schedule of reinforcement is being used? If you could design an experiment using this apparatus, what would you want to test?

Thorndike Puzzle Box

This clip shows a recreation of Thorndike’s research on learning by using cats in puzzle boxes. When cats are put in the box initially they exhibit trial-and-error learning. Thorndike’s law of effect, the assertion that behavior changes because of its consequences, is summarized. According to Thorndike, how should the presence of food affect the cats’ behavior in the future?

A Pigeon Solves the Classic Box-and-Banana Problem

This original footage shows a pigeon solving a reasoning problem involving how to reach a small banana placed just out of its reach. The pigeon considers the situation and then pushes a small box in place under the banana, hops on top of the box, and gets the banana. Reasoning skills, as well as language, were once thought of as uniquely human traits; what characteristics make humans unique among animals?

Psychology Project: Punishment vs. Reinforcement

The video begins with a banana putting away a shirt and then receiving coins as a reinforcement. In the next scene, the banana does not put away the t-shirt and is thrown as a punishment. The banana is shown receiving other reinforcements and punishments. Which is more effective in modifying a behavior — reinforcements or punishments?

Learned Helplessness

The video starts with a faculty member teaching a psychology class and having students participate in a class activity on anagrams. Results of the activity demonstrate learned helplessness for students who received the impossible anagrams. Students and faculty member apply the concept of learned helplessness to social relationships. How does learned helplessness relate to victimization?

Social Learning

Banduras Social Cognitive Theory

Bandura introduces key concepts of social-cognitive theory, such as the triadic theory, fortuity, modeling and observational learning, efficacy, moral disengagement. He describes the application of social-cognitive theory to dealing with anxiety, improving human performance, and changing behaviors. Bandura reviews early research on modeling aggression and discusses ways that social-cognitive theory can be used for human good. Who are influential models in teaching children about aggression?

Bandura BoBo Doll

This film begins with a slide describing the design of Bandura’s classic study on modeling aggression using the Bobo doll. The video shows a recreation of each of the conditions in which Bobo is physically attacked and the reinforcement and punishment endings. Slides describe the collection of the dependent measures in Bandura’s study and the findings. How would changing the age or gender of the aggressive model affect the results of Bandura’s study?

Children See, Children Do

This public service announcement shows young children following adults and directly imitating their behaviors. Situations include talking on cell phones, smoking, demonstrating road rage, yelling, verbal abusing a baby, and physically abusing a woman. The final scene shows a child imitating helping behaviors. In addition to parental models, who else might serve as a model for children?

In this classic public service announcement from the 1980s, a father confronts his son about a box of drugs in the closet. The son breaks down and tells him, You, alright! I learned it by watching you! This commercial draws a direct line between parent and child drug abuse. Assuming that this is true, can modeling account for this? Might there be another reason children of drug users would also use drugs?

Applications of Conditioning

How Do We Decide

In this interview from The Early Show, Jonah Lehrer discusses his book How We Decide. He discusses the relationship between decision-making and delayed-gratification, as well as decision-making through fear. Do you think its possible to teach yourself to be calm under pressure?

Pickle Phobic Girl

This video clip from the Maury Povich show presents a woman who has an intense fear of pickles. Her phobia is discussed, and then they confront her with pickles in the studio. What type of early experiences with an object or substance would lead to someone developing a phobia?

Does Aversive Conditioning Work?

This video summarizes three years of working in Whistler investigating the utility of aversive conditioning and conditioned taste aversion to reduce the need for lethal bear management. The idea is that if they can condition the bears to be more afraid of humans, they will wander into dangerous areas less frequently, and thus limit the need to put them down. What types of aversion did this experiment try? Which was the most successful? What other applications could these findings be applied to?