Psychology project Unit 5

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired.

For my experiment, I will be attempting to train my fish to associate the sound of me shaking the food with the stimuli of him eating.

His baseline behavior was staying at the bottom of his tank when I shook the can, and the target behavior would be for him to swim to the top when I shake the can.

I will attempt to pair these two stimuli by feeding him normally and shaking the can, like the following video:

Unfortunately, before the very end of the experiment, my fish died. The last video I have was the closest he got to reaching target behavior, as shown:

As you can see, he began to learn to swim to the top when he heard the food after only six days of feeding him once a day, at nighttime.

Unconditioned Response (UCR)

The UCR is the natural, automatic response that is shown to any given stimuli. In this instance, the UCR would be that my fish sees the food at the top of his tank and swims up to eat.

Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)

The UCS is a stimulus that is not learned or trained, and occurs before any experiment. This is the food that is given to my fish.

Conditioned Stimulus (CS)

The CS is the stimulus that we want to create an association with. In this experiment, it was the sound of the food being shaken, and I wanted to pair this stimulus with the food itself.

Conditioned Response (CR)

The CR is the behavior that is now associated with the previously-neutral stimulus. This would be my fish swimming to the top of the tank when he hears the food being shaken.


Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning is a type of learning where behavior is controlled by consequences, such as positive/negative reinforcement or punishment.

For this experiment, I will trying to condition my 3 year old sister, Claire, into only speaking French to me by using positive reinforcement.

Her speaking French was the target behavior, whereas her not speaking French was the base behavior that was untrained.

Each time she spoke in French to me, I rewarded her with chocolate.

I did this over the course of two hours while she was playing in her room.

In the first trial, I greeted her in French, and when she returned my greeting, I gave her a piece of chocolate in order to establish the connection between French and chocolate:

After this, she went back to playing, and I did it a few more times, to the point where if I interacted with her at all, she would perform the target behavior:

Her excitement before the chocolate was even visible shows that she learned to associate the chocolate with her French.

The positive reinforcement was the chocolate after each time she performed the target behavior. This helped her to learn that her French is what I wanted.

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