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What Is the Unconditioned Response in Psychology?

In classical conditioning, the unconditioned response is the natural, automatic reaction that is triggered by the unconditioned stimulus. It occurs unconditionally, which means it happens without having to go through any prior learning. For example, if you hear a loud, sudden noise, you might automatically startle. That natural reaction is the unconditioned response. You don’t …

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What Is the Unconditioned Stimulus?

In classical conditioning, the unconditioned stimulus automatically leads to a response. It triggers a response unconditionally without any prior learning.  An unexpected loud noise is one example. You react naturally and automatically when this unconditional stimulus occurs by flinching in surprise. That unlearned response is known as the unconditioned response. The Unconditioned Stimulus in Classical …

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What Is the Premack Principle?

The Premack Principle is a psychological concept suggesting that high-probability behavior can help reinforce low-probability behavior. In simpler terms, it involves using an enjoyable activity that someone prefers to encourage them to engage in a less enjoyable activity.  For example, a teacher might tell students that they have to finish their assignment first, and then …

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Thorndike’s Law of Effect: Definition and Examples

The law of effect is an important psychological principle based on a pretty simple premise—behaviors that are followed by positive consequences are more likely to be repeated. At the same time, behaviors followed by negative consequences are less likely to be repeated.  It was first proposed by psychologist Edward Thorndike and had a significant impact …

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What Is Punishment in Psychology?

In psychology, punishment refers to presenting an aversive stimulus or removing a positive stimulus in response to a behavior to reduce the likelihood of that behavior occurring again. Punishment is a concept within operant conditioning, a behaviorist theory developed by B.F. Skinner. The effectiveness of punishment in modifying behavior can vary, and its use is …

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What Is Extinction in Psychology?

Extinction in psychology refers to weakening or eliminating a learned behavior by removing the reinforcement or consequence that previously followed that behavior. Simply put, extinction involves the reduction or cessation of a behavior when it is no longer reinforced. Extinction happens when a response that has been previously conditioned is no longer reinforced. In the …

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Reinforcement in Psychology: Definition and Examples

In psychology, reinforcement refers to a process where behavior is strengthened or increased by the presentation or removal of a stimulus. Reinforcement is a key concept in behaviorism, a school of psychology that emphasizes the role of the environment in shaping behavior. According to behaviorists, behavior is learned through the consequences that follow it, and …

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Classical Conditioning: How It Works and Why It’s Used

Classical conditioning is a learning process in which a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that nautically produces a response. After repeated pairing, the previously neutral stimulus begins to evoke the response all on its own. Classical conditioning is a type of associative learning that takes place unconsciously. It works by associating one stimulus …

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What Is Behaviorism?

Behaviorism is a theory of human psychology that suggests that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. According to this approach to psychology, it is our interactions with our environments that shape what we learn, who we are, and how we act. Behaviorists believe that people are shaped by their interactions with their environment. They emphasize …

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Differences Between Classical vs Operant Conditioning

Classical conditioning vs operant conditioning? What exactly are the differences between these two types of learning? Both classical conditioning and operant are central to behaviorism, but students often get confused about the differences between the two. Use this study guide to familiarize yourself with some of the major topics related to classical and operant conditioning …

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What Is Stimulus Generalization?

Stimulus generalization occurs when an organism responds to a stimulus in the same way that it responds to a similar stimulus. This occurs during the classical conditioning process. For example, imagine a dog being conditioned to run to its owner when it hears a whistle. The dog responds similarly when it hears a small child …

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Acquisition In Psychology: Definition With Examples

Acquisition refers to an early stage of the learning process when a response is first established. At this point in learning, the subject will begin displaying the behavior when a stimulus is presented, so we can then say that the behavior has been acquired. In classical conditioning, acquisition refers to when the previously neutral stimulus …

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What Is Shaping In Psychology?

Shaping is a conditioning technique that involves working toward a target behavior by breaking it down into gradual, successive steps and rewarding each step on the path toward the desired outcome. Psychologist B. F. Skinner introduced the concept as part of his operant conditioning theory. Shaping is a term used in behavioral psychology to establish …

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