What Is Stimulus Discrimination In Psychology?
- Sabrina Sarro
Stimulus discrimination is a term used in both classical and operant conditioning, It involves the ability to distinguish between one stimulus and similar stimuli. In both cases, it means responding only to certain stimuli, and not responding to those that are similar.
- 1 What causes stimulus discrimination?
- 2 What is simple vs stimulus discrimination?
- 3 What are examples of discriminative stimulus?
- 4 What is an example of stimulus control in psychology?
- 4.1 Which is the opposite of stimulus discrimination?
- 4.2 What is an example of stimulus discrimination using reinforcement?
- 5 What is an example of discrimination in psychology?
- 6 What is an example of stimulus discrimination Pavlov?
- 7 What is an example of stimulus generalization?
What is the stimulus discrimination?
resource Psychology Tools Due to the way that trauma memories are processed it is common for survivors of trauma to experience involuntary recollection of their trauma memories. These are often experienced with a ‘happening in the present’ quality and can be extremely distressing.
Ehlers & Clark (2000) hypothesized that stimuli which were temporally associated with the traumatic event can act as triggers for involuntary recall of the trauma memory, and that over time these triggers may generalise from specific prompts closely associated to the trauma to broader categories of stimulus (stimulus generalization).
This generalization results in a wider range of stimuli which can trigger feelings of distress, and can lead trauma survivors to act to avoid progressively wider ranges of situations. Stimulus discrimination is an effective treatment for this difficulty.
- Clients are guided to deliberately attend to differences between then (danger at the time of the trauma) and now (safety in the present).
- Stimulus discrimination can be framed to clients as a ‘brain training’ exercise with the rationale that their mind is attending to stimuli associated with their trauma and incorrectly interpreting them as signs of danger in the here-and- now.
Clients should be guided to:
- Record where they were when their memories of the trauma were triggered. What was happening?
- Attend to any similarities between stimuli in the here-and-now and stimuli that were present at the time of the trauma. Many clients will find this relatively straightforward.
- Clients should then be directed to deliberately and effortfully attend to differences between the time of the trauma and the present moment. The ‘differences’ box guides clients to attend to sights, sounds, touches, smells, tastes, and knowledge. Clients can be encouraged to systematically attend to each of these and ask themselves “what is different between now and then?”
- Once differences have been noted which lead to the conclusion that the individual is safe in the here-and-now, clients should be encouraged to deliberately offer themselves reassurance that they are safe and that the trauma is in the past.
Ehlers, A., Clark, D.M. (2000). A cognitive model of posttraumatic stress disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 319-345.
What causes stimulus discrimination?
Stimulus discrimination is learned through operant conditioning when target behavior is reinforced differently depending on the presence or absence of the discriminative stimulus.
What is simple vs stimulus discrimination?
Abstract – Conditional discrimination is inherent in the intraverbal relation when one verbal stimulus alters the evocative effect of another verbal stimulus and they collectively evoke an intraverbal response. Rarely in research on conditional discriminations have both conditional and discriminative stimuli been vocal verbal and rarely have the responses been topography-based.
- Making conditional discriminations in intraverbal behavior is a repertoire that is often delayed in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
- Reviewed in this paper is research on teaching intraverbal behavior, auditory conditional discriminations, and restricted stimulus control.
- The purpose of these reviews is to identify the extent to which previous researchers examined conditional discriminations in the intraverbal relation and to recommend directions for research in this area.
Keywords: intraverbal, conditional discrimination, verbal behavior, autism, developmental disabilities Intraverbal behavior is defined as a form of verbal behavior controlled by a verbal stimulus in which there is no point-to-point correspondence between the response and the stimulus ( Skinner, 1957 ).
A range of complexity exists in intraverbal behavior. Simple intraverbal behavior includes emitting chains of verbal stimuli (e.g., saying the alphabet, saying one’s phone number) and filling in words to songs and simple phrases (e.g., saying “go” in the presence of “Ready, set”). More complex intraverbals are answering questions (e.g., “What’s your name?” “When’s your birthday?”) and stating members of categories (e.g., responding “spaghetti, fish, and chicken” to “What are some things you eat for dinner?”).
Learning intraverbal behavior facilitates the acquisition of other behavior ( Sundberg & Michael, 2001 ), such as academic and social skills ( Partington & Bailey, 1993 ). Examined in this paper is perhaps another complex class of intraverbal behavior: making conditional discriminations in intraverbal behavior.
A conditional discrimination occurs when behavior comes under the operant control of one stimulus when it is in the presence or context of another stimulus ( Catania, 1998 ). This arrangement is distinguished from a simple discrimination in which only one stimulus condition exerts control over a response.
For example, if reinforcement is delivered when an individual pushes a green key and not a red key, there is a simple discrimination. But if reinforcement is contingent on pushing the green key only after hearing the auditory stimulus “green,” this constitutes a conditional discrimination.
In this example, the auditory stimulus is the conditional stimulus, or the sample, and the green key is the discriminative stimulus, or the comparison. In another example, if reinforcement is delivered when an individual pushes a button in the presence of a light and not in its absence, there is a simple discrimination.
But if reinforcement is contingent on pushing the button when a bell is sounding while the light is on, this constitutes a conditional discrimination. In this case, the bell is the conditional stimulus and the light is the discriminative stimulus. Hundreds of experiments have manipulated variables related to conditional discriminations in both nonhuman and human subjects (see Green, 2001 ; Schrier & Thompson, 1980 ; and Sidman, 1994 for reviews).
- Many investigators studied conditional discriminations using matching-to-sample tasks and many of these studies were conducted in the context of stimulus equivalence ( Sidman, 1994 ).
- Researchers of conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence have examined stimuli and responses of varying sensory and functional modalities.
Researchers have examined visual-visual conditional discriminations in which both the conditional and discriminative stimuli were nonverbal (e.g., pictures, colors, shapes; e.g., Meltzer, 1984; Saunders & Spradlin, 1993 ; Yarczower, 1971 ). Other studies employed auditory-visual relations in which one stimulus was vocal verbal and one stimulus was nonverbal or nonvocal verbal (e.g., spoken words and written stimuli; Kelly, Green, & Sidman, 1998 ; Lane & Critchfield, 1998 ; McIlvane, Withstandley, & Stoddard, 1984 ; Saunders, Wachter, & Spradlin, 1988 ; Sidman & Cresson, 1973 ).
- In only one study identified were both the conditional and discriminative stimuli vocal verbal ( Dube, Green, & Serna, 1993 ).
- In terms of responses in research on conditional discriminations and stimulus equivalence, selection-based responding is the dominant form ( Polson & Parsons, 2000 ).
- Michael (1985) distinguished between selection-based and topography-based responding.
Hall and Chase (1991) argued that selection-based responding was more prevalent in stimulus equivalence research and topography-based responding was more often employed in verbal behavior research.1 By and large, the literatures of conditional discrimination and Skinner’s (1957 ) analysis of verbal behavior have not influenced one another to a considerable extent.
Conditional discriminations are relevant to all the verbal operants described by Skinner as probabilities of verbal responses vary with the presence of conditional and discriminative stimuli (as well as motivating operations in the case of the mand). For example, tacting the color of an apple may be controlled by the presence of the apple (discriminative stimulus) and a person’s question, “What color is that apple?” (conditional stimulus; Catania, 1998 ).
Conditional discriminations in the intraverbal repertoire are particularly important because verbal stimuli interact to occasion certain verbal responses. In a simple discrimination in the intraverbal relation, a person can respond to only one verbal stimulus, such as responding, “Hello,” in the presence of “Hi.” But in a conditional discrimination in the intraverbal relation, a person must come under the control of two or more verbal stimuli.
For example, if a person asks, “What time is lunch?” a correct (reinforced) response might be, “noon.” The speaker, however, has not made a conditional discrimination if he comes under the control of only one stimulus, such as if he said, “sandwiches” (if responding only to lunch ) or “nine o’clock” (if responding only to time ).
A correct response is dependent on making a conditional discrimination in which, for example, time is the conditional stimulus and lunch is the discriminative stimulus (or vice versa). In conditional discriminations in the intraverbal relation, one verbal stimulus alters the evocative effect of the second verbal stimulus and they collectively evoke an intraverbal response ( Sundberg, 2006a ) 2,
What is the difference between response and stimulus discrimination?
Stimulus generalization vs stimulus discrimination – The main difference between stimulus generalization and discrimination is that stimulus generalization refers to multiple stimuli generating the same response while stimulus discrimination refers to different stimuli generating distinct responses.
What are examples of discriminative stimulus?
Examples of Discriminative Stimulus in ABA Therapy – Here are a few examples of how discriminative stimulus is used in ABA therapy:
Teaching a child to request a snack: The discriminative stimulus might be the presence of the snack in the room. When the snack is present, the child is more likely to ask for it. If the snack is not present, the child is less likely to ask for it. Teaching a child to follow directions: The discriminative stimulus might be the therapist saying “touch your nose.” When the therapist says this, the child is more likely to touch their nose. If the therapist does not say anything, the child is less likely to touch their nose. Teaching a child to use the toilet: The discriminative stimulus might be the presence of the toilet in the bathroom. When the child is in the bathroom, they are more likely to use the toilet. If they are not in the bathroom, they are less likely to use the toilet.
What is an example of stimulus control in psychology?
What is Stimulus Control? The following excellent definition comes from intropsych.com ” Stimulus control is a term used to describe situations in which a behavior is triggered by the presence or absence of some stimulus. For example, if you always eat when you watch TV, your eating behavior is controlled by the stimulus of watching TV.
(This can be an important insight to some people.) If you are talkative with your friends but you never speak out in a classroom, your speech behavior is controlled by your social environment. What is stimulus control? What is the difference between consequences and antecedents? Antecedents are things that come before,
In operant conditioning, antecedent stimuli are those occurring before a behavior. Teachers of operant conditioning sometimes say behavior is controlled by its consequences. That sums up much of operant conditioning, but the statement is incomplete. Antecedents can also control behavior.
When they do, it is called stimulus control. Here is an example. When we have a powerful thunderstorm in our lightning-prone area of the country, my wife and I unplug our computers. Our behavior is “controlled” by the occurrence of the thunderstorms, which are potentially antecedent to a damaging electrical surge.
Even the best surge protectors cannot protect against a nearby lightning strike. By reacting to the antecedent stimuli of thunderclaps, we attempt to avoid the punishing stimulus of ruined computers.” http://www.intropsych.com/ch05_conditioning/stimulus_control.html : What is Stimulus Control?
Which is the opposite of stimulus discrimination?
Learning Objectives – By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Explain how classical conditioning occurs
- Summarize the processes of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination
Does the name Ivan Pavlov ring a bell? Even if you are new to the study of psychology, chances are that you have heard of Pavlov and his famous dogs. Pavlov (1849–1936), a Russian scientist, performed extensive research on dogs and is best known for his experiments in classical conditioning ( ). Pavlov came to his conclusions about how learning occurs completely by accident. Pavlov was a physiologist, not a psychologist. Physiologists study the life processes of organisms, from the molecular level to the level of cells, organ systems, and entire organisms.
- Pavlov’s area of interest was the digestive system (Hunt, 2007).
- In his studies with dogs, Pavlov surgically implanted tubes inside dogs’ cheeks to collect saliva.
- He then measured the amount of saliva produced in response to various foods.
- Over time, Pavlov (1927) observed that the dogs began to salivate not only at the taste of food, but also at the sight of food, at the sight of an empty food bowl, and even at the sound of the laboratory assistants’ footsteps.
Salivating to food in the mouth is reflexive, so no learning is involved. However, dogs don’t naturally salivate at the sight of an empty bowl or the sound of footsteps. These unusual responses intrigued Pavlov, and he wondered what accounted for what he called the dogs’ “psychic secretions” (Pavlov, 1927).
- To explore this phenomenon in an objective manner, Pavlov designed a series of carefully controlled experiments to see which stimuli would cause the dogs to salivate.
- He was able to train the dogs to salivate in response to stimuli that clearly had nothing to do with food, such as the sound of a bell, a light, and a touch on the leg.
Through his experiments, Pavlov realized that an organism has two types of responses to its environment: (1) unconditioned (unlearned) responses, or reflexes, and (2) conditioned (learned) responses. In Pavlov’s experiments, the dogs salivated each time meat powder was presented to them.
The meat powder in this situation was an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) : a stimulus that elicits a reflexive response in an organism. The dogs’ salivation was an unconditioned response (UCR) : a natural (unlearned) reaction to a given stimulus. Before conditioning, think of the dogs’ stimulus and response like this: \(\text \to \text \) In classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus is presented immediately before an unconditioned stimulus.
Pavlov would sound a tone (like ringing a bell) and then give the dogs the meat powder ( ). The tone was the neutral stimulus (NS), which is a stimulus that does not naturally elicit a response. Prior to conditioning, the dogs did not salivate when they just heard the tone because the tone had no association for the dogs.
- Quite simply this pairing means: \(\text \to \text \) When Pavlov paired the tone with the meat powder over and over again, the previously neutral stimulus (the tone) also began to elicit salivation from the dogs.
- Thus, the neutral stimulus became the conditioned stimulus (CS), which is a stimulus that elicits a response after repeatedly being paired with an unconditioned stimulus.
Eventually, the dogs began to salivate to the tone alone, just as they previously had salivated at the sound of the assistants’ footsteps. The behavior caused by the conditioned stimulus is called the conditioned response (CR), In the case of Pavlov’s dogs, they had learned to associate the tone (CS) with being fed, and they began to salivate (CR) in anticipation of food.
Text \to \text \) Before conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus (food) produces an unconditioned response (salivation), and a neutral stimulus (bell) does not produce a response. During conditioning, the unconditioned stimulus (food) is presented repeatedly just after the presentation of the neutral stimulus (bell).
After conditioning, the neutral stimulus alone produces a conditioned response (salivation), thus becoming a conditioned stimulus. Now that you have learned about the process of classical conditioning, do you think you can condition Pavlov’s dog? Visit this website to play the game. View this video to learn more about Pavlov and his dogs. How does classical conditioning work in the real world? Let’s say you have a cat named Tiger, who is quite spoiled. You keep her food in a separate cabinet, and you also have a special electric can opener that you use only to open cans of cat food.
For every meal, Tiger hears the distinctive sound of the electric can opener (“zzhzhz”) and then gets her food. Tiger quickly learns that when she hears “zzhzhz” she is about to get fed. What do you think Tiger does when she hears the electric can opener? She will likely get excited and run to where you are preparing her food.
This is an example of classical conditioning. In this case, what are the UCS, CS, UCR, and CR? What if the cabinet holding Tiger’s food becomes squeaky? In that case, Tiger hears “squeak” (the cabinet), “zzhzhz” (the electric can opener), and then she gets her food.
- Tiger will learn to get excited when she hears the “squeak” of the cabinet.
- Pairing a new neutral stimulus (“squeak”) with the conditioned stimulus (“zzhzhz”) is called higher-order conditioning, or second-order conditioning,
- This means you are using the conditioned stimulus of the can opener to condition another stimulus: the squeaky cabinet ( ).
It is hard to achieve anything above second-order conditioning. For example, if you ring a bell, open the cabinet (“squeak”), use the can opener (“zzhzhz”), and then feed Tiger, Tiger will likely never get excited when hearing the bell alone. In higher-order conditioning, an established conditioned stimulus is paired with a new neutral stimulus (the second-order stimulus), so that eventually the new stimulus also elicits the conditioned response, without the initial conditioned stimulus being presented. Classical Conditioning at Stingray City Kate and her husband Scott recently vacationed in the Cayman Islands, and booked a boat tour to Stingray City, where they could feed and swim with the southern stingrays. The boat captain explained how the normally solitary stingrays have become accustomed to interacting with humans.
- About 40 years ago, fishermen began to clean fish and conch (unconditioned stimulus) at a particular sandbar near a barrier reef, and large numbers of stingrays would swim in to eat (unconditioned response) what the fishermen threw into the water; this continued for years.
- By the late 1980s, word of the large group of stingrays spread among scuba divers, who then started feeding them by hand.
Over time, the southern stingrays in the area were classically conditioned much like Pavlov’s dogs. When they hear the sound of a boat engine (neutral stimulus that becomes a conditioned stimulus), they know that they will get to eat (conditioned response).
- As soon as Kate and Scott reached Stingray City, over two dozen stingrays surrounded their tour boat.
- The couple slipped into the water with bags of squid, the stingrays’ favorite treat.
- The swarm of stingrays bumped and rubbed up against their legs like hungry cats ( ).
- Ate and Scott were able to feed, pet, and even kiss (for luck) these amazing creatures.
Then all the squid was gone, and so were the stingrays. Kate holds a southern stingray at Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. These stingrays have been classically conditioned to associate the sound of a boat motor with food provided by tourists. (credit: Kathryn Dumper) Classical conditioning also applies to humans, even babies. For example, Sara buys formula in blue canisters for her six-month-old daughter, Angelina. Whenever Sara takes out a formula container, Angelina gets excited, tries to reach toward the food, and most likely salivates.
- Why does Angelina get excited when she sees the formula canister? What are the UCS, CS, UCR, and CR here? So far, all of the examples have involved food, but classical conditioning extends beyond the basic need to be fed.
- Consider our earlier example of a dog whose owners install an invisible electric dog fence.
A small electrical shock (unconditioned stimulus) elicits discomfort (unconditioned response). When the unconditioned stimulus (shock) is paired with a neutral stimulus (the edge of a yard), the dog associates the discomfort (unconditioned response) with the edge of the yard (conditioned stimulus) and stays within the set boundaries. For a humorous look at conditioning, watch this video clip from the television show The Office, where Jim conditions Dwight to expect a breath mint every time Jim’s computer makes a specific sound. Now that you know how classical conditioning works and have seen several examples, let’s take a look at some of the general processes involved.
In classical conditioning, the initial period of learning is known as acquisition, when an organism learns to connect a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus. During acquisition, the neutral stimulus begins to elicit the conditioned response, and eventually the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus capable of eliciting the conditioned response by itself.
Timing is important for conditioning to occur. Typically, there should only be a brief interval between presentation of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus. Depending on what is being conditioned, sometimes this interval is as little as five seconds (Chance, 2009).
However, with other types of conditioning, the interval can be up to several hours. Taste aversion is a type of conditioning in which an interval of several hours may pass between the conditioned stimulus (something ingested) and the unconditioned stimulus (nausea or illness). Here’s how it works. Between classes, you and a friend grab a quick lunch from a food cart on campus.
You share a dish of chicken curry and head off to your next class. A few hours later, you feel nauseous and become ill. Although your friend is fine and you determine that you have intestinal flu (the food is not the culprit), you’ve developed a taste aversion; the next time you are at a restaurant and someone orders curry, you immediately feel ill.
While the chicken dish is not what made you sick, you are experiencing taste aversion: you’ve been conditioned to be averse to a food after a single, negative experience. How does this occur—conditioning based on a single instance and involving an extended time lapse between the event and the negative stimulus? Research into taste aversion suggests that this response may be an evolutionary adaptation designed to help organisms quickly learn to avoid harmful foods (Garcia & Rusiniak, 1980; Garcia & Koelling, 1966).
Not only may this contribute to species survival via natural selection, but it may also help us develop strategies for challenges such as helping cancer patients through the nausea induced by certain treatments (Holmes, 1993; Jacobsen et al., 1993; Hutton, Baracos, & Wismer, 2007; Skolin et al., 2006).
Once we have established the connection between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus, how do we break that connection and get the dog, cat, or child to stop responding? In Tiger’s case, imagine what would happen if you stopped using the electric can opener for her food and began to use it only for human food.
Now, Tiger would hear the can opener, but she would not get food. In classical conditioning terms, you would be giving the conditioned stimulus, but not the unconditioned stimulus. Pavlov explored this scenario in his experiments with dogs: sounding the tone without giving the dogs the meat powder.
Soon the dogs stopped responding to the tone. Extinction is the decrease in the conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is no longer presented with the conditioned stimulus. When presented with the conditioned stimulus alone, the dog, cat, or other organism would show a weaker and weaker response, and finally no response.
In classical conditioning terms, there is a gradual weakening and disappearance of the conditioned response. What happens when learning is not used for a while—when what was learned lies dormant? As we just discussed, Pavlov found that when he repeatedly presented the bell (conditioned stimulus) without the meat powder (unconditioned stimulus), extinction occurred; the dogs stopped salivating to the bell.
However, after a couple of hours of resting from this extinction training, the dogs again began to salivate when Pavlov rang the bell. What do you think would happen with Tiger’s behavior if your electric can opener broke, and you did not use it for several months? When you finally got it fixed and started using it to open Tiger’s food again, Tiger would remember the association between the can opener and her food—she would get excited and run to the kitchen when she heard the sound.
The behavior of Pavlov’s dogs and Tiger illustrates a concept Pavlov called spontaneous recovery : the return of a previously extinguished conditioned response following a rest period ( ). This is the curve of acquisition, extinction, and spontaneous recovery.
- The rising curve shows the conditioned response quickly getting stronger through the repeated pairing of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus (acquisition).
- Then the curve decreases, which shows how the conditioned response weakens when only the conditioned stimulus is presented (extinction).
After a break or pause from conditioning, the conditioned response reappears (spontaneous recovery). Of course, these processes also apply in humans. For example, let’s say that every day when you walk to campus, an ice cream truck passes your route. Day after day, you hear the truck’s music (neutral stimulus), so you finally stop and purchase a chocolate ice cream bar.
You take a bite (unconditioned stimulus) and then your mouth waters (unconditioned response). This initial period of learning is known as acquisition, when you begin to connect the neutral stimulus (the sound of the truck) and the unconditioned stimulus (the taste of the chocolate ice cream in your mouth).
During acquisition, the conditioned response gets stronger and stronger through repeated pairings of the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus. Several days (and ice cream bars) later, you notice that your mouth begins to water (conditioned response) as soon as you hear the truck’s musical jingle—even before you bite into the ice cream bar.
- Then one day you head down the street.
- You hear the truck’s music (conditioned stimulus), and your mouth waters (conditioned response).
- However, when you get to the truck, you discover that they are all out of ice cream.
- You leave disappointed.
- The next few days you pass by the truck and hear the music, but don’t stop to get an ice cream bar because you’re running late for class.
You begin to salivate less and less when you hear the music, until by the end of the week, your mouth no longer waters when you hear the tune. This illustrates extinction. The conditioned response weakens when only the conditioned stimulus (the sound of the truck) is presented, without being followed by the unconditioned stimulus (chocolate ice cream in the mouth).
Then the weekend comes. You don’t have to go to class, so you don’t pass the truck. Monday morning arrives and you take your usual route to campus. You round the corner and hear the truck again. What do you think happens? Your mouth begins to water again. Why? After a break from conditioning, the conditioned response reappears, which indicates spontaneous recovery.
Acquisition and extinction involve the strengthening and weakening, respectively, of a learned association. Two other learning processes—stimulus discrimination and stimulus generalization—are involved in distinguishing which stimuli will trigger the learned association.
Animals (including humans) need to distinguish between stimuli—for example, between sounds that predict a threatening event and sounds that do not—so that they can respond appropriately (such as running away if the sound is threatening). When an organism learns to respond differently to various stimuli that are similar, it is called stimulus discrimination,
In classical conditioning terms, the organism demonstrates the conditioned response only to the conditioned stimulus. Pavlov’s dogs discriminated between the basic tone that sounded before they were fed and other tones (e.g., the doorbell), because the other sounds did not predict the arrival of food.
- Similarly, Tiger, the cat, discriminated between the sound of the can opener and the sound of the electric mixer.
- When the electric mixer is going, Tiger is not about to be fed, so she does not come running to the kitchen looking for food.
- On the other hand, when an organism demonstrates the conditioned response to stimuli that are similar to the condition stimulus, it is called stimulus generalization, the opposite of stimulus discrimination.
The more similar a stimulus is to the condition stimulus, the more likely the organism is to give the conditioned response. For instance, if the electric mixer sounds very similar to the electric can opener, Tiger may come running after hearing its sound.
- But if you do not feed her following the electric mixer sound, and you continue to feed her consistently after the electric can opener sound, she will quickly learn to discriminate between the two sounds (provided they are sufficiently dissimilar that she can tell them apart).
- Sometimes, classical conditioning can lead to habituation.
Habituation occurs when we learn not to respond to a stimulus that is presented repeatedly without change. As the stimulus occurs over and over, we learn not to focus our attention on it. For example, imagine that your neighbor or roommate constantly has the television blaring.
- This background noise is distracting and makes it difficult for you to focus when you’re studying.
- However, over time, you become accustomed to the stimulus of the television noise, and eventually you hardly notice it any longer. John B.
- Watson, shown in, is considered the founder of behaviorism.
- Behaviorism is a school of thought that arose during the first part of the 20th century, which incorporates elements of Pavlov’s classical conditioning (Hunt, 2007).
In stark contrast with Freud, who considered the reasons for behavior to be hidden in the unconscious, Watson championed the idea that all behavior can be studied as a simple stimulus-response reaction, without regard for internal processes. Watson argued that in order for psychology to become a legitimate science, it must shift its concern away from internal mental processes because mental processes cannot be seen or measured. Watson’s ideas were influenced by Pavlov’s work. According to Watson, human behavior, just like animal behavior, is primarily the result of conditioned responses. Whereas Pavlov’s work with dogs involved the conditioning of reflexes, Watson believed the same principles could be extended to the conditioning of human emotions (Watson, 1919).
Thus began Watson’s work with his graduate student Rosalie Rayner and a baby called Little Albert. Through their experiments with Little Albert, Watson and Rayner (1920) demonstrated how fears can be conditioned. In 1920, Watson was the chair of the psychology department at Johns Hopkins University. Through his position at the university he came to meet Little Albert’s mother, Arvilla Merritte, who worked at a campus hospital (DeAngelis, 2010).
Watson offered her a dollar to allow her son to be the subject of his experiments in classical conditioning. Through these experiments, Little Albert was exposed to and conditioned to fear certain things. Initially he was presented with various neutral stimuli, including a rabbit, a dog, a monkey, masks, cotton wool, and a white rat.
He was not afraid of any of these things. Then Watson, with the help of Rayner, conditioned Little Albert to associate these stimuli with an emotion—fear. For example, Watson handed Little Albert the white rat, and Little Albert enjoyed playing with it. Then Watson made a loud sound, by striking a hammer against a metal bar hanging behind Little Albert’s head, each time Little Albert touched the rat.
Little Albert was frightened by the sound—demonstrating a reflexive fear of sudden loud noises—and began to cry. Watson repeatedly paired the loud sound with the white rat. Soon Little Albert became frightened by the white rat alone. In this case, what are the UCS, CS, UCR, and CR? Days later, Little Albert demonstrated stimulus generalization—he became afraid of other furry things: a rabbit, a furry coat, and even a Santa Claus mask ( ).
- Watson had succeeded in conditioning a fear response in Little Albert, thus demonstrating that emotions could become conditioned responses.
- It had been Watson’s intention to produce a phobia—a persistent, excessive fear of a specific object or situation— through conditioning alone, thus countering Freud’s view that phobias are caused by deep, hidden conflicts in the mind.
However, there is no evidence that Little Albert experienced phobias in later years. Little Albert’s mother moved away, ending the experiment, and Little Albert himself died a few years later of unrelated causes. While Watson’s research provided new insight into conditioning, it would be considered unethical by today’s standards. View scenes from John Watson’s experiment in which Little Albert was conditioned to respond in fear to furry objects. As you watch the video, look closely at Little Albert’s reactions and the manner in which Watson and Rayner present the stimuli before and after conditioning.
Based on what you see, would you come to the same conclusions as the researchers? Advertising and Associative Learning Advertising executives are pros at applying the principles of associative learning. Think about the car commercials you have seen on television. Many of them feature an attractive model.
By associating the model with the car being advertised, you come to see the car as being desirable (Cialdini, 2008). You may be asking yourself, does this advertising technique actually work? According to Cialdini (2008), men who viewed a car commercial that included an attractive model later rated the car as being faster, more appealing, and better designed than did men who viewed an advertisement for the same car minus the model.
Have you ever noticed how quickly advertisers cancel contracts with a famous athlete following a scandal? As far as the advertiser is concerned, that athlete is no longer associated with positive feelings; therefore, the athlete cannot be used as an unconditioned stimulus to condition the public to associate positive feelings (the unconditioned response) with their product (the conditioned stimulus).
Now that you are aware of how associative learning works, see if you can find examples of these types of advertisements on television, in magazines, or on the Internet. Pavlov’s pioneering work with dogs contributed greatly to what we know about learning.
His experiments explored the type of associative learning we now call classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, organisms learn to associate events that repeatedly happen together, and researchers study how a reflexive response to a stimulus can be mapped to a different stimulus—by training an association between the two stimuli.
Pavlov’s experiments show how stimulus-response bonds are formed. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, was greatly influenced by Pavlov’s work. He tested humans by conditioning fear in an infant known as Little Albert. His findings suggest that classical conditioning can explain how some fears develop.
- unconditioned stimulus
- neutral stimulus
- conditioned stimulus
- unconditioned response
B In Watson and Rayner’s experiments, Little Albert was conditioned to fear a white rat, and then he began to be afraid of other furry white objects. This demonstrates _.
- higher order conditioning
- stimulus discrimination
- stimulus generalization
D Extinction occurs when _.
- the conditioned stimulus is presented repeatedly without being paired with an unconditioned stimulus
- the unconditioned stimulus is presented repeatedly without being paired with a conditioned stimulus
- the neutral stimulus is presented repeatedly without being paired with an unconditioned stimulus
- the neutral stimulus is presented repeatedly without being paired with a conditioned stimulus
A In Pavlov’s work with dogs, the psychic secretions were _.
- unconditioned responses
- conditioned responses
- unconditioned stimuli
- conditioned stimuli
B If the sound of your toaster popping up toast causes your mouth to water, what are the UCS, CS, and CR? The food being toasted is the UCS; the sound of the toaster popping up is the CS; salivating to the sound of the toaster is the CR. Explain how the processes of stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination are considered opposites.
- In stimulus generalization, an organism responds to new stimuli that are similar to the original conditioned stimulus.
- For example, a dog barks when the doorbell rings.
- He then barks when the oven timer dings because it sounds very similar to the doorbell.
- On the other hand, stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism learns a response to a specific stimulus, but does not respond the same way to new stimuli that are similar.
In this case, the dog would bark when he hears the doorbell, but he would not bark when he hears the oven timer ding because they sound different; the dog is able to distinguish between the two sounds. How does a neutral stimulus become a conditioned stimulus? This occurs through the process of acquisition.
- A human or an animal learns to connect a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus.
- During the acquisition phase, the neutral stimulus begins to elicit the conditioned response.
- The neutral stimulus is becoming the conditioned stimulus.
- At the end of the acquisition phase, learning has occurred and the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus capable of eliciting the conditioned response by itself.
Can you think of an example in your life of how classical conditioning has produced a positive emotional response, such as happiness or excitement? How about a negative emotional response, such as fear, anxiety, or anger?
What is an example of stimulus discrimination using reinforcement?
An example of discriminative stimulus during ABA therapy – The idea of discriminative stimulus is used in ABA therapy for children that are neurodivergent. It’s here that the stimulus needed to accurately reinforce a certain behavior is identified as the right stimulus.
It’s no different in a school classroom when the right answer is known by a student, though the wrong one is thought of among the rest of their peers. The discriminative stimulus in this setting is part of the stimuli or the wrong answers. While in ABA the discriminative stimulus reinforces a particular behavior.
If a therapist asks that a child shows them an object on the floor, such as a yellow toy, they may provide a reward for the child giving the right response. Praise is the most common. Generous praise helps in the reinforcement of behavior that gives them the best response.
- Parents can also use discriminative stimuli while at home to help reinforce good behaviors with their children.
- For instance, if a child exhibits good table manners when asking for their favorite dessert, such as ice cream, their actions can be rewarded by the parents immediately providing them with the candy.
Children can also be taught to stay in one spot and remain calm when working on a school assignment this way. If they succeed in doing so, additional time with their toys or video games can follow up when they’re done. They’ll quickly learn that they get more time to p and do fun activities when they focus on their school assignments.
- When a stimulus doesn’t result in reinforcement of a certain response, it’s called a stimulus delta.
- When this happens, the child chooses to do their homework, but in a way that keeps them off focus and unattentive.
- In this instance, the child won’t receive any praise or a reward.
- The same applies to when a kid asked for desserts but in a poor tone with bad manners.
The parents can quickly change their attention away from the dessert while failing to give them what they asked for. There’s a chance that the child may resort to a tantrum when this happens since they didn’t get the dessert. But soon enough, they would gain their composure, do their homework or ask politely to receive a better response from the parent and a granting of their request.
What is an example of a discriminative stimulus for punishment?
Everyday, I help break down a confusing ABA term and put it in plain English! Whether you are studying for your BCBA exam, explaining ABA to parents or are a student, there is no reason to be so confused over ABA terms. While “behavioral language” is very confusing, these concepts don’t have to be.
Today we will discuss a discriminative stimulus for punishment (SDp) According to Cooper, Heron and Heward, a discriminative stimulus for punishment (SDp) is, “A stimulus in the presence of which a given behavior has been punished and in the absence of which that behavior has not been punished; as a result of this history, the behavior occurs less often in the presence of the SDp than in its absence.” Simply put an SDp signals that punishment is available.
A classic example is that if you see a police car or a sign that says that traffic laws are photo enforced, it signals to you that if you speed at that moment you will get a ticket. When there is no police car or speed camera, you will not get a ticket for speeding.
If a grandmother always punishes Kimberly for stealing cookies and grandma is in the kitchen it is a signal to Kimberly that if she tries to steal a cookie, she will be punished. If grandma is not in the kitchen, Kimberly will not get punished for taking a cookie. (Yes technically grandma could find out later and punish Kimberly.
But you get the point!) References Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education. Tags: ABA, ABA Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, bcba, bcba exam, bcba exam prep, bcba exam study materials, bcba exam study questions, bcba exam study tips, bcba study guide, bcbaba, Hope Education Services, Jessica Leichtweisz, pass the bcba exam on the first try, rbt, rbt competency exam, rbt exam, rbt exam prep, rbt exam study guide, SDp, studying for bcba exam
What is an example of stimulus vs response?
Example of a stimulus and a response: If you accidentally touch a hot object, you automatically withdraw your hand. The heat of the hot object is the stimulus and you, withdrawing your hand is the response to the stimulus.
What is an example of stimulus behavior?
Stimuli can be external or internal. An example of external stimuli is your body responding to a medicine. An example of internal stimuli is your vital signs changing due to a change in the body.
What is a synonym for discriminative stimulus?
/dəˌskrɪməˈneɪdɪv ˌstɪmjələs/ – Definitions of discriminative stimulus
noun a stimulus that provides information about what to do
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘discriminative stimulus’, Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Vocabulary.com or its editors. Send us feedback EDITOR’S CHOICE
What is an example of discrimination in psychology?
discrimination, in psychology, the ability to perceive and respond to differences among stimuli. It is considered a more advanced form of learning than generalization ( q.v.), the ability to perceive similarities, although animals can be trained to discriminate as well as to generalize.
Application of discrimination procedures permits description of the sensory acuities of laboratory animals. For example, if a dog’s salivation response was to be conditioned to a red light by pairing it with food, while a green light was intermittently presented always without food, the dog would salivate to red light but not to green.
It then might be inferred that the dog discriminated between colours. If, however, the brightness of the green light was varied, a brightness would be discovered to which the dog salivated. No amount of additional discrimination training with red and green lights would lead to differential response. More From Britannica animal learning: Discrimination of relational and abstract stimuli
What is an example of a stimulus?
Stimuli can be external or internal. An example of external stimuli is your body responding to a medicine. An example of internal stimuli is your vital signs changing due to a change in the body.
What is an example of stimulus discrimination Pavlov?
Definition of Stimulus Discrimination – Stimulus discrimination is a concept from the theory of behaviorism, It occurs when you respond to one specific stimulus with a specific action. The person (or animal!) will respond only to that stimulus and not to others.
For example, Pavlov’s dog started to salivate when it heard the sound of a bell, but it did not salivate in response any other sounds. The key to learning stimulus discrimination is repetition. In a very early study, researchers conditioned a dog to salivate when it saw a circle. The dog also salivated when it saw an ellipse or oval (this is known as stimulus generalization leading to a uniform conditioned response ).
So, the researchers began showing those shapes but not giving the dog food. Eventually, the dog would only salivate when it saw a circle, but not an ellipse or oval.
What is an example of stimulus generalization and discrimination?
Why Stimulus Generation Is Important – It is important to understand how stimulus generalization can influence responses to the conditioned stimulus. Once a person or animal has been trained to respond to a stimulus, very similar stimuli may produce the same response as well.
- Sometimes this can be problematic, particularly in cases where the individual needs to be able to distinguish between stimuli and respond only to a very specific stimulus.
- For example, if you are using conditioning to train your dog to sit, you might utilize a treat to build an association between hearing the word “Sit” and receiving a treat.
Stimulus generalization might cause your dog to respond by sitting when she hears similar commands, which may make the training process more difficult. In this case, you would want to use stimulus discrimination to train your dog to distinguish between different voice commands.
Stimulus generalization can also explain why the fear of a certain object often affects many similar objects. A person who is afraid of spiders generally won’t be afraid of just one type of spider. Instead, this fear will apply to all types and sizes of spiders. The individual might even be afraid of toy spiders and pictures of spiders as well.
This fear may even generalize to other creatures that are similar to spiders such as other bugs and insects.
What is an example of stimulus generalization?
Stimulus generalization occurs when a response that has been associated with one stimulus occurs for another stimulus that is similar is some way. For example, someone can have a negative or traumatic experience with a dog and then generalize that fear to other dogs.