The role of classical conditioning in non human animal learning

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Psychology unit 3 intelligence revision
The role of classical conditioning in animal learning
Unconscious associations between 2 stimuli are learnt and this involves involuntary
reflexes or emotions but no voluntary behaviour. Repeatedly associate 2 stimuli
together. For example the neutral stimulus (bell) and the unconditioned stimulus
(food). Eventually a conditioned response occurs (salivate to the bell) and once
this occurs, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus. Animals
generalise which means they respond in a similar way if a similar stimulus is used.
For example, a dog may hear a bell and will generalise its response to t other
types of bells as they sound similar. Discrimination can also occur and this is when
2 similar sounding stimuli are presented, but only one predicts the arrival of the
unconditioned stimuli then the arrival of the unconditioned stimulus then the animal
will only respond to one of two of these stimuli. For example the dog will first
salivate with two bells but after learning that only one bell has food, they will
only respond to the bell that gives them food, if the conditioned stimulus is no
longer influenced by the unconditioned stimulus then the animal will no longer show
an unconditional response, so the association has gone extinct. Extinction doesn't
destroy the learned association, if the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli are
associated again, then only a few tribes are needed before the conditioned
response appears which is known as spontaneous recovery.
Deterministic- no free will over how animals learn as it states an animal
will associate a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus. However,
this may not be an issue when concerning animal learning.
Reductionist- only focuses on 1 condition for learning and ignores other
factors such as operant conditioning and social learning theory. Therefore
we only get a limited understanding of how animals learn.
Ecological validity- studies take place in artificial settings with tame
animals. Natural world animals may learn in different ways to those shown
in lab experiments
/ Lack of neutral stimuli in the real world- whilst associations develop
between 2 stimuli. The neutral stimulus always was some physical connection
to the unconditioned stimulus as otherwise it wouldn't be noticed. So the
neutral stimulus already has some meaning to the animal so it isn't neutral.
However, classical conditioning can apply to real life as lab experiments do
show they can associate neutral and unconditional stimuli, so it could occur
in real life.
Taste aversion- after the first trial, rats learn that a certain tasting
food is linked to a later illness and never eats that food again. This shows

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Psychology unit 3 intelligence revision
that classical conditioning does occur naturally, however it also shows that
the assumptions of repeated associations and neutral stimulus and
unconditioned stimulus appearing together aren't valid for every situation.
Also shows that extinction doesn't always occur as there is a lack of
unconditioned stimulus.…read more


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