Activity 5
Learning and Conditioning

Dr. R. G. Tonks      

 Choose one of these two options and complete the experiment and subsequent write-up. Post your answers in the drop box for this activity  inside coursespaces.

Option I: Classical Conditioning.

Introduction: Review the section of the text on classical conditioning.
Next you  will need to set up a situation in which you pair an unconditioned stimulus with a gustatory response.  As such it might be helpful to have someone assist you by presenting the the unconditioned stimulus (a sound, pick something distinctive, i.e.,  Piano)

    Participant & Materials :  You will be the participant/subject and will take a bite of a cracker or chip (UCS) each time you hear the Conditioned Stimulus (CS). For the CS select a distinctive sound like a chime or bell, someone speaking a word or a machine turning on.

Procedure:  During the acquisition phase you will have your assistant elicit the sounds and you will take your bite immediately following. Do this for 10 to  20 trials waiting a minute or two in between.  During this phase, as the subject, try to pay attention to any salivation or other gustatory response that you are having.

Next, during the test phase, you will have the sound elicited without taking a bite of the food. As in the first phase do this a number of times, waiting a minute of two in between, and pay attention to any bodily response that you have.  Count the number of trials during this phase until you no longer have a response. 

Results:  Record in a word document your observations of the acquisition and test/extinction phases and indicate the number of trials before getting a response as well the number of responses before eliminating it. 

Discussion: Discuss what you found and whether or not it fits with the model of classical conditioning that you have learned about. Was there any operant conditioning going on at the same time as your classical conditioning? Explain.

Option II: Operant Conditioning

Introduction: Review the section in the text on operant conditioning.

Next you will need to decide upon some kind of behaviour in yourself, to alter through reinforcement.

Participant: Again you will be the participant / subject.

Once you have decided upon a behaviour, record what the target behaviour is and how you might go about shaping it or altering it in some way or form.   Indicate what your reinforcer is and what the reinforcement schedule you have decided upon as well as the shaping schedule if are looking for a gradual transformation.   Describe the procedure you are using for the behavioural modification plan.  Conduct your reinforcement over a 5 day period. As you do record the behavioural responses made in a table or graph format.

Results & Discussion:

 Describe the outcomes of your  behavioural modification program indicating the results after your test period of time.

Be sure to make use of the language of operant conditioning in your report, however describe any classical conditioning that may also have been happening during this experiment.