Unconditioned Stimulus

Table of Content

Unconditioned Stimulus? unconditioned stimulus (US) is one that unconditionally, naturally, and automatically triggers a response. For example, when you smell one of your favorite foods, you may immediately feel very hungry. In this example, the smell of the food is the unconditioned stimulus. Some more examples of the unconditioned stimulus include: * A feather tickling your nose causes you to sneeze. The feather tickling your nose is the unconditioned stimulus. * Pollen from grass and flowers causes you to sneeze.

The pollen from the grass and flowers is the unconditioned stimulus. Unconditioned Response? In classical conditioning, the unconditioned response is the unlearned response that occurs naturally in response to the unconditioned stimulus. For example, if the smell of food is the unconditioned stimulus, the feeling of hunger in response to the smell of food is the unconditioned response. * Gasping in pain after being stung by a bee. * Jerking your hand back after touching a hot plate on the oven. * Jumping at the sound of a loud noise. What Is a Conditioned Stimulus?

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

In classical conditioning, the conditioned stimulus is previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with theunconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response. For example, suppose that the smell of food is an unconditioned stimulus and a feeling of hunger is the unconditioned response. Now, imagine that when you smelled your favorite food, you also heard the sound of a whistle. While the whistle is unrelated to the smell of the food, if the sound of the whistle was paired multiple times with the smell, the sound would eventually trigger the conditioned response.

In this case, the sound of the whistle is the conditioned stimulus. The example above is very similar to the original experiment performed by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. The dogs in his experiment would salivate in response to food, but after repeatedly pairing the presentation of food with the sound of a bell, the dogs would begin to salivate to the sound alone. In this example, the sound of the bell was the conditioned stimulus. What Is a Conditioned Response? In classical conditioning, the conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus.

For example, let’s suppose that the smell of food is an unconditioned stimulus, a feeling of hunger in response the the smell is a unconditioned response, and a the sound of a whistle is the conditioned stimulus. The conditioned response would be feeling hungry when you heard the sound of the whistle. While studying classical conditioning, you might find it helpful to remember that the conditioned response is the learned reflexive response. Some examples of conditioned responses include: * Many phobias begin after a person has had a negative experience with the fear object.

For example, after witnessing a terrible car accident, a person might develop a fear of driving. This is a conditioned response. * The sound of a can opener or bag being opened can trigger excitement in pet. If your pet is accustomed to being fed after hearing the sound of a can or bag being opened, he or she might become very excited whenever they hear that sound. This behavior is a conditioned response. * Many children receive regular immunizations, and a child may cry as a result of these injections. In some instances, a child might come to associate a doctor’s white jacket with this painful experience.

Eventually, the child might begin to cry whenever they see anyone where a white jacket. This crying behavior is a conditioned response. What Is Reinforcement? Reinforcement is a term used in operant conditioning to refer to anything that increases the likelihood that a response will occur. Note that reinforcement is defined by the effect that it has on behavior – it increases or strengthens the behavior. For example, reinforcement might involve presenting praise (the reinforcer) immediately after a child puts away her toys (the response).

By reinforcing the desired behavior with praise, the girl will be more likely to perform the same actions again. Types of Reinforcement Reinforcement can include anything that strengthens or increases a behavior, including stimuli, events and situations. In a classroom setting, for example, types of reinforcement might include praise, getting out of unwanted work, token rewards, candy, extra playtime and fun activities. There are two major categories of reinforcement: * Primary reinforcement, sometimes referred to as unconditional reinforcement, occurs naturally and does not require learning in order to work.

Primary reinforcers often have an evolutionary basis in that they aid in the survival of the species. Examples of primary reinforcers include food, air, sleep, water and sex. Genetics and experience may also play a role in how reinforcing such things are. For example, while one person might find a certain type of food very rewarding, another person may not like that food at all. * Secondary reinforcement, also known as conditioned reinforcement, involves stimuli that have become rewarding by being paired with another reinforcing stimulus.

For example, when training a dog, praise and treats might be used as primary reinforcers. The sound of a clicker can be associated with the praise and treats until the sound of the clicker itself begins to work as a secondary reinforcer. In operant conditioning, there are two different types of reinforcement: * Positive reinforcement involves the addition of something to increase a response, such as giving a bit of candy to a child after she cleans up her room. * Negative reinforcement involves removing something in order to increase a response, such as canceling a quiz if students turn in all of their homework for the week.

By removing the aversive stimulus (the quiz), the teacher hopes to increase the occurrence of the desired behavior (completing all homework). The Strength of the Response How and when reinforcement is delivered can affect the overall strength of a response. This strength is measured by the persistence, frequency, duration and accuracy of the response after reinforcement is halted. In situations when the presentation of reinforcement is controlled, such as during training, the timing of when a reinforcer is presented can be manipulated.

During the early stages of learning, continuous reinforcement is often used. This schedule involves reinforcing a response each and every time it occurs. Once a behavior has been acquired, it is often a good idea to switch to a partial reinforcement schedule. The four main types of partial reinforcement are: * Fixed-ratio schedules: Reinforcing a behavior after a specific number of responses have occurred. * Fixed-interval schedules: Reinforcing a behavior after a specific period of time has elapsed. Variable-ratio schedules: Reinforcing the behavior after an unpredictable number of responses. * Variable-interval schedules: Reinforcing the behavior after an unpredictable period of time has elapsed. What Is Negative Reinforcement Negative reinforcement is a term described by B. F. Skinner in his theory of operant conditioning. In negative reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus. Aversive stimuli tend to involve some type of discomfort, either physical or psychological.

Behaviors are negatively reinforced when they allow you to escape from aversive stimuli that are already present or allow you to completely avoid the aversive stimuli before they happen. One of the best ways to remember negative reinforcement is to think of it as something beingsubtracted from the situation. When you look at it in this way, it may be easier to identify examples of negative reinforcement in the real-world. Examples of Negative Reinforcement Learn more by looking at the following examples: * Before heading out for a day at the beach, you slather on sunscreen in order to avoid getting sunburned. You decide to clean up your mess in the kitchen in order to avoid getting in a fight with your roommate. * On Monday morning, you leave the house early in order to avoid getting stuck in traffic and being late for class. Can you identify the negative reinforcer in each of these examples? Sunburn, a fight with your roommate and being late for work are all negative outcomes that were avoided by performing a specific behavior. By eliminating these undesirable outcomes, the preventative behaviors become more likely to occur again in the future.

Negative Reinforcement versus Punishment One mistake that people often make is confusing negative reinforcement with punishment. Remember, however, that negative reinforcement involves the removal of a negative condition in order to strengthen a behavior. Punishment, on the other hand, involves either presenting or taking away a stimulus in order to weaken a behavior. Consider the following example and determine whether you think it is an example of negative reinforcement or punishment: Timmy is supposed to clean his room every Saturday morning.

Last weekend, he went out to play with his friend without cleaning his room. As a result, his father made him spend the rest of the weekend doing other chores like cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn and weeding the garden, in addition to cleaning his room. If you said that this was an example of punishment, then you are correct. Because Timmy didn’t clean his room, his father assigned a punishment of having to do extra chores. When Is Negative Reinforcement Most Effective? Negative reinforcement can be an effective way to strengthen a desired behavior.

However, it is most effective when reinforcers are presented immediately following a behavior. When a long period of time elapses between the behavior and the reinforcer, the response is likely to be weaker. In some cases, behaviors that occur in the intervening time between the initial action and the reinforcer are may also be inadvertently strengthened as well. According to Wolfgang (2001), negative reinforcement should be used sparingly in classroom settings, while positive reinforcement should be emphasized.

While negative reinforcement can produce immediate results, he suggests that it is best suited for short-term use. The type of reinforcement used is important, but the frequency and schedule used also plays a major role in the strength of the response. Learn more about this topic in this article onschedules of reinforcement. What Is Positive Reinforcement? In operant conditioning, positive reinforcement involves the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future.

When a favorable outcome, event, or reward occurs after an action, that particular response or behavior will be strengthened. One of the easiest ways to remember positive reinforcement is to think of it as something beingadded. By thinking of it in these terms, you may find it easier to identify real-world examples of positive reinforcement. Examples of Positive Reinforcement Consider the following examples: * After you execute a turn during a skiing lesson, your instructor shouts out, “Great job! ” * At work, you exceed this month’s sales quota so your boss gives you a bonus. For your psychology class, you watch a video about the human brain and write a paper about what you learned. Your instructor gives you 20 extra credit points for your work. Can you identify the positive reinforcement in each of these examples? The ski instructor offering praise, the employer giving a bonus, and the teacher providing bonus points are all examples of positive reinforcers. In each of these situations, the reinforcement is an additional stimulus occurring after the behavior that increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur again in the future.

An important thing to note is that positive reinforcement is not always a good thing. For example, when a child misbehaves in a store, some parents might give them extra attention or even buy the child a toy. Children quickly learn that by acting out, they can gain attention from the parent or even acquire objects that they want. Essentially, parents are actually reinforcing the misbehavior. In this case, the better solution would be to use positive reinforcement when the child is actually displaying good behavior. Different Types of Positive Reinforcers

There are many different types of reinforcers that can be used to increase behaviors, but it is important to note that the type of reinforcer used depends upon the individual and the situation. While gold stars and tokens might be very effective reinforcement for a second-grader, they are not going to have the same effect with a high school or college student. * Natural reinforcers are those that occur directly as a result of the behavior. For example, a girl studies hard, pays attention in class, and does her homework. As a result, she gets excellent grades. Token reinforcers are points or tokens that are awarded for performing certain actions. These tokens can then be exchanged for something of value. * Social reinforcers involve expressing approval of a behavior, such as a teacher, parent, or employer saying or writing “Good job” or “Excellent work. ” * Tangible reinforcers involve the presentation of an actual, physical reward such as candy, treats, toys, money, and other desired objects. While these types of rewards can be powerfully motivating, they should be used sparingly and with caution. When Is Positive Reinforcement Most Effective?

When used correctly, positive reinforcement can be very effective. According to a behavioral guidelines checklist published by Utah State University, positive reinforcement is most effective when it occurs immediately after the behavior. The guidelines also recommend the reinforcement should be presented enthusiastically and should occur frequently. The shorter the amount of time between a behavior and the presentation of positive reinforcement, the stronger the connection will be. If a long period of time elapses between the behavior and the reinforcement, the weaker the connection will be.

It also becomes more likely that an intervening behavior might accidentally be reinforced. In addition to the type of reinforcement used, the presentation schedule can also play a role in the strength of the response. Learn more in this article on schedules of reinforcement. What Is Punishment? Answer: Punishment is a term used in operant conditioning to refer to any change that occurs after a behavior that reduces the likelihood that that behavior will occur again in the future. While positive and negative reinforcement are used to increase behaviors, punishment is focused on reducing or eliminating unwanted behaviors.

Punishment is often mistakenly confused withnegative reinforcement. Remember, reinforcement always increases the chances that a behavior will occur and punishment always decreases the chances that a behavior will occur. Types of Punishment Behaviorist B. F. Skinner, the psychologist who first described operant conditioning, identified two different kinds of aversive stimuli that can be used as punishment. * Positive Punishment: This type of punishment is also known as “punishment by application. ” Positive punishment involves presenting an aversive stimulus after a behavior as occurred.

For example, when a student talks out of turn in the middle of class, the teacher might scold the child for interrupting her. * Negative Punishment: This type of punishment is also known as “punishment by removal. ” Negative punishment involves taking away a desirable stimulus after a behavior as occurred. For example, when the student from the previous example talks out of turn again, the teacher promptly tells the child that he will have to miss recess because of his behavior. Is Punishment Effective? While punishment can be effective in some cases, you can probably think of a few examples of when punishment does not reduce a behavior.

Prison is one example. After being sent to jail for a crime, people often continue committing crimes once they are released from prison. Why is it that punishment seems to work in some instances, but not in others? Researchers have found a number of factors that contribute to how effective punishment is in different situations. First, punishment is more likely to lead to a reduction in behavior if it immediately follows the behavior. Prison sentences often occur long after the crime has been committed, which may help explain why sending people to jail does not always lead to a reduction in criminal behavior.

Second, punishment achieves greater results when it is consistently applied. It can be difficult to administer a punishment every single time a behavior occurs. For example, people often continue to drive over the speed limit even after receiving a speeding ticket. Why? Because the behavior is inconsistently punished. Punishment also has some notable drawbacks. First, any behavior changes that result from punishment are often temporary. “Punished behavior is likely to reappear after the punitive consequences are withdrawn,” Skinner explained in his book About Behaviorism. Perhaps the greatest drawback is the fact that punishment does ot actually offer any information about more appropriate or desired behaviors. While subjects might be learning to not perform certain actions, they are not really learning anything about what they should be doing. Another thing to consider about punishment is that it can have unintended and undesirable consequences. For example, while approximately 75 percent of parents in the United States report spanking their children on occasion, researchers have found that this type of physical punishment can lead to antisocial behavior, aggressiveness and delinquency among children.

For this reason, Skinner and other psychologists suggest that any potential short-term gains from using punishment as a behavior modification tool need to be weighed again the potential long-term consequences. Types of punishment There are two types of punishment in operant conditioning: * positive punishment or type I punishment, an experimenter punishes a response by presenting an aversive stimulus into the animal’s surroundings (a brief electric shock, for example). * negative punishment or type II punishment, a valued, appetitive stimulus is removed (as in the removal of a feeding dish).

As with reinforcement, it is not usually necessary to speak of positive and negative in regard to punishment. Punishment is not a mirror effect of reinforcement. In experiments with laboratory animals and studies with children, punishment decreases the likelihood of a previously reinforced response only temporarily, and it can produce other “emotional” behavior (wing-flapping in pigeons, for example) and physiological changes (increased heart rate, for example) that have no clear equivalents in reinforcement.

Punishment is considered by some behavioral psychologists to be a “primary process” – a completely independent phenomenon of learning, distinct from reinforcement. Others see it as a category of negative reinforcement, creating a situation in which any punishment-avoiding behavior (even standing still) is reinforced.

Cite this page

Unconditioned Stimulus. (2016, Nov 16). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront