Theories of Learning
Chapter 3 (Cont.)
Applications of Conditioning
Nature of the CR
substitution theory, SOP and AESOP
Predictiveness of the CS
Wagner associative model, comparator
theory, attentional theory,
retrospective processing approach.
What is the nature of the CR
just the UCR or is it different?
The CS stimulates the same areas of
the brain as the UCS, producing the
Activation of CS with UCS establishes
neural connection between brain areas.
Conditioned Opponent Response
The CR and UCR are often different:
CR of fear is different than UCR of pain.
best evidence of difference:
Morphine (UCS) produced
reduced pain (UCR)
Light or tone (CS) produced
, increased pain (CR).
Rats remove paws from heat quickly
with CS, slowly with UCS.
Insulin (glycemia) works the same way
Drug Tolerance Overdoses
Elimination of a CS results in a
stronger response to the UCS, drug.
Extinction of responding to environ
mental cues strengthens drug response
Changing the context in which a
drug is administered increases
response to the drug.
Novel environment does not elicit an
explains why CR
UCS elicits primary A1 (fast) and
secondary A2 (longer) responses.
A1 & A2 can be same or different.
Conditioning only occurs to A2
CR is always an A2 response.
When A1 & A2 differ, UCR & CR differ.
SOP Explains Timing Effects
None of the previous models explain
why the timing of CS
SOP model requires that both CS
and UCS be in the A1 stage for
learning to occur.
With delay more elements of CS decay
from A1, becoming A2.
Activation of a memory node in SOP theory
Conditions during delay conditioning
Learning occurs only for
the elements whose A1
Conditions during trace conditioning
Without overlap, no
Conditions during backward conditioning
after the US
because the CS
A1 overlaps US
Initial agitated hyperactivity
CER (fear) elicited by CS is A2
sedation, analgesia & hypoactivity
hyperactivity two hours later &
hyperalgesia (greater pain sensitivity)
CR elicited by CS is A2 (hyper)
Affective Extension of SOP Theory
Why do different A2 responses have
different optimal CS
Two distinct UCR sequences activate
distinct A1 & A2 sequences:
These distinct sequences can have
different strengths, time scales
(latencies), or eliciting CS’s.
There is a maximum associative
strength between CS and UCS.
UCS determines the limit
Strength gained on each training
trial depends on prior training.
More learning early, less later on
Rate of conditioning varies.
Conditioning of a CS depends on
prior conditioning to other stimuli.
UCS Preexposure Effect
If the UCS is encountered without
the CS prior to pairing of the two,
less learning occurs.
UCS becomes associated with other
environmental stimuli (without CS).
Since there is a limit to association
strength, some is drained off by
such prior associations.
UCS association is weakened.
Problems with Rescorla
salient cues have
more associative strength.
Sometimes a salient cue potentiates
another cue instead of overshadowing.
Garcia says cues are indexed.
W says cues are seen as unitary
Unclear which explanation is
CS preexposure effect
of CS without UCS prior to learning
Shouldn’t have any effect according to
Wagner theory, but it does.
extinction of a
more salient cue enhances learning
for the less salient cue.
Should be no change according to R
If two CS’s are associated,
extinction of one should reduce
responding to the other.
Sometimes true, other times not.
UCS associations exist for many
stimuli but are exhibited only for
Comparator theory says the CS’s are
judged in relation to each other.
Organisms might learn about elemental or
configural CS nodes
Wagner & Brandon
occurs during preexposure of CS.
Animals exposed to a novel stimulus
exhibit an orienting response.
No orienting with preexposure.
Habituation results in failure of
no attention is paid to a
Pairing of CS/UCS in novel context
results in learning.
Most theories assume the level of
responding will be constant after
Baker & Mercier suggest association
can change after learning.
contingency reevaluated after learning.
support for theory
Suggests animals have mental
representations, memory for events.
Applications of Conditioning
Treatment of phobias
Treatment of addictions
Elimination of conditioned withdrawal
Enhancement of drugs used to treat
immune system disorders
How a Phobia Works
is an unrealistic fear.
A learning experience causes fear to
become associated with a neutral
Avoidance prevents extinction.
The stimulus is generalized.
Eventually, too many experiences
must be avoided and a person’s
functioning is impaired.
applied ideas from classical
conditioning to treatment of phobia.
an organism can
only feel one emotion at a time.
Mary Cover Jones
counterconditioning to extinguish fear.
Cats could be counterconditioned using
Construct an anxiety hierarchy.
Teach a relaxation response.
relaxation with imagined feared
stimuli, starting with least scary.
Assessment of whether the
the feared stimulus.
Effectiveness of Desensitization
Wolpe reported 90% success rate,
compared to 60% for
Relapse after 1
3 yrs easily treated.
Works with a wide range of fears.
Can also be used with anxiety
Limitations on Desensitization
The client must be able to vividly
imagine the feared stimulus.
10% cannot do this.
Confrontation of a real rather than
an imagined object is more
Difficult for the client to endure the
anxiety associated with this.
Virtual Reality Desensitization
presented via virtual reality were
effective in treating acrophobia.
Subjects were able to endure real
stimuli after virtual treatment.
Successful in treating spider phobia.
Treatment of Withdrawal
Conditioned withdrawal reaction
environmental cues become
associated with withdrawal stage.
Exposure to cues triggers symptoms.
Withdrawal motivates substance use.
Extinction by exposure to
environmental cues is needed.
Virtual reality also used to treat
Treatment of Immune Disorders
Lupus, AIDS are immune system
Treated using drugs that either boost
or suppress immune system response.
Classical conditioning can be used
to produce the results of such drugs
without the side effects or cost.
Immune System Conditioning
Cyclophosphamide used to induce
nausea during flavor
learning also immunosuppressant.
flavored water used as a
CS caused several rats to die.
The drug reaction occurred without
the CS evoked immune
Also works with other drugs.
Treatment of Lupus & AIDS
Rats given saccharin paired with
cyclophosphamide had slower lupus
progression and lower mortality.
A girl treated for lupus was able to
use half as much drug when paired
with a distinctive taste and smell.
Sherbet paired with adrenaline
enhances immune functioning for