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Self-Quiz on Conditioning

Revised 4/4/2004. Welcome to the self-quiz on Conditioning. Both classical and operant conditioning are included. Read the question and click on an answer. You will jump to a correction or (if the answer is correct) a confirmation. No total score is provided for this quiz because it is meant to be browsed; you can scan the responses to wrong answers as well as right answers. If you run into problems or have a question, read the introductory paragraphs on the self-quiz index page.

  1. What is Pavlovian conditioning, in a nutshell?
  2. A tone which predicts a puff of air elicits an eyeblink. What is the puff of air?
  3. You had a car crash; now all cars scare you. ------------ is occurring.
  4. What is a CER, by definition?
  5. What is a formal definition of "operant"?
  6. To what does the term "positive" refer, in the term "positive reinforcement"?
  7. Negative reinforcement...
  8. How can escape learning be converted into avoidance learning?
  9. What is true of differential reinforcement, but not true of shaping (the method of successive approximations)?
  10. How can something intended as a punisher actually function as a reinforcer?

End of multiple choice questions for Conditioning

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ANSWERS AND DISCUSSION SECTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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modification of behavior by reinforcement

No, that description applies to portions of operant conditioning better than Pavlovian or classical conditioning.

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an anticipatory biological response

Yes...in every case, classical conditioning involves an biological response which is triggered earlier than it would have been without conditioning. Pavlov's dog, for example, started salivating before meat powder was puffed into its mouth. In effect, it "anticipated" the meat powder when given a signal.

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any influence upon learned behavior by reflexes

No, classical conditioning is an influence upon reflexes by learning, not the other way around.

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learning from the effects of behavior

No, this sounds more like a description of operant conditioning, which emphasizes the effect of consequences upon behavior.

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establishing a connection between behavior and its consequences

No, this is what happens in Skinnerian or operant conditioning, not Pavlovian or classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, a cue or signal is put before a biologically significant behavior.

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the S+

No, an S+ is a stimulus which indicates reinforcement is available. That is a concept from operant conditioning and does not fit this example.

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the UCR

No, the "R" is UCR stands for "response," but a puff of air is a stimulus.

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the CS

No, the CS is the "signal" which comes before a reflex or biological event. The puff of air is not a signal; it direclty provokes a response.

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the CR

No, CR stands for "conditional response," which is the classically conditioned response. A puff of air is a stimulus, not a response.

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the UCS

Yes. The UCS or unconditional stimulus is the stimulus which naturally or automatically stimulates a biological response. The puff of air automatically elicits a blink, so it is a UCS.

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extinction

Well, hopefully extinction is occurring, but this is not the best answer. Extinction means the response is going away, whereas in this case, the response is being made to new stimuli.

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discrimination

No, discrimination means that different stimuli are leading to different responses. In this example, it seems that the same response is being made to different stimuli.

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secondary reinforcement

No, secondary reinforcement is a concept from operant conditioning, not classical conditioning (although there is something called second-order conditioning in classical conditioning...)

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generalization

Yes. To generalize is to respond the same way to different stimuli. If different cars all scare you, generalization is occurring.

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punishment

No, punishment occurs when an aversive (avoidance-causing) stimulus is applied after a behavior. This is a concept from operant conditioning. After a crash, cars may stimulate unpleasant or aversive feelings, but the cars are not "punishing" anybody.

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any neurotic or persistent, maladaptive response

No. Some psychologists (such as Eysenck) believe that CERs are at the root of many psychological difficulties. But CERs are not equivalent to such behaviors. For example, there can be pleasant or helpful CERs.

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any conditional response preceded by a shock or emotional trauma

No, some CERs are pleasant.

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a response of the autonomic nervous system to immune system activation

No, CERs do not necessarily involve immune system activation.

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an emotional response like anxiety or happiness, set off by a CS

Yes. A CER is a conditional (or "conditioned") emotional response. Like any example of classical conditioning, the response will be set off by a CS (conditional stimulus). In the case of the CER, the response which is "set off" is related to emotions.

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an S- used in punishment

No, an S- is a stimulus which indicates reinforcement is not available. Creatures may develop a CER to an S-, since the S- signals something unpleasant, but that is not what the question asked.

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a contingent or noncontingent stimulus-induced response

No, classically conditioned responses (rather than operants) are better described as "stimulus-induced."

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a behavior

No, some behaviors (such as reflex responses) are not good examples of operants.

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a discriminative stimulus

No, an operant is a response, not a stimulus.

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a behavior under the control of a stimulus

No, operants are not necessarily under the control of a stimulus, although they can be made that way through appropriate conditioning techniques.

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a class of behaviors with an equivalent effect on the environment

Yes. An operant is defined by its effect on the environment. For example, a bar-press is considered the "same operant" whether a rat presses the bar with its front foot, its nose, or its hind foot.

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pleasant emotions

No, positive reinforcers are often pleasant, but not always, and this is not part of the definition.

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logical positivism

No, early behaviorists were influenced by a scientific philosophy called logical positivism...but this is not where positive reinforcement gets its name.

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the scientist's assumption that the procedure will increase frequency of behavior

No, positive reinforcement is defined by its behavioral effect, not by assumptions (and it does not mean a scientist is "positive" about something).

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the application or addition of a stimulus to a situation

Yes. A positive reinforcement is a stimulus which, when applied after a behavior, makes the behavior more frequent or probable in the future.

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an excitatory influence on neurons

No, positive reinforcement refers to behavior itself, not biological explanations of behavior.

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increases the rate of behavior

Yes. Negative reinforcement is a form of reinforcement. It increases the frequency or probabilty of a behavior which it follows. It does this by taking away an aversive stimulus (hence the word "negative" which refers to removal of a stimulus).

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involves following a behavior with a noxious or aversive stimulus

No, that is punishment. Unlike negative reinforcement, punishment has the effect of making a behavior less frequent.

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is a form of punishment

No, although the two are frequently confused, negative reinforcement is not punishing in its effect. It is reinforcing in its effect. That is why it is called reinforcement.

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is also called DRL

No, DRL stands for differential reinforcement of a low rate of behavior. This is done with positive reinforcement, administered only when behavior is emitted slowly.

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requires an extinction period

No, negative reinformcement does not require extinction. Extinction is the elimination of reinforcement to elminate a behavior; negative reinforcement makes behavior more frequent.

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by giving the animal a warning signal

Yes. If the animal receives a warning before an aversive stimulus, the animal has a chance to avoid the stimulus by performing some behavior, such as running away. This is avoidance conditioning or avoidance learning.

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by preventing extinction

No, preventing extinction means continuing reinforcers, which is not the same thing as establishing an avoidance behavior.

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by allowing the animal to respond to the punishment with several different behaviors

No, the key to avoidance learning is giving the animal "advance warning" of the aversive stimulus

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by increasing variability of behavior

No, variability of behavior increases during extinction (as the animal tries to get reinforcement to resume) but is not typically associated with avoidance.

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by using generalization gradients

No...generalization gradients (a tendency to generalize less and less as a stimulus varies more from the training stimulus) are not directly related to avoidance conditioning...unless you really stretch.

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reinforcement is used

No, reinforcement is used in both techniques.

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a combination of positive and negative reinforcement may be used

No, both techniques typically involve only positive reinforcement, or a combination of positive reinforcement and extinction.

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not every response is reinforced

No, this is not part of the definition of either procedure.

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the desired response already occurs

Yes...in differential reinforcment, a response is singled out from others and reinforced. This implies that the desired response is already occurring, although possibly at a low frequency. (If it is not occurring at all, shaping is the appropriate procedure.)

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an S- is used

No, this is not part of the definition of either shaping or differential reinforcement.

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if frequency of the "punished" behavior goes up

Yes. By definition, a stimulus which makes the behavior it follows more frequent is a reinforcer, even if it is intended as a punisher. For example, the "punishment trap" involves parents inadvertantly reinforcing bad behavior by attempting to punish it. If children are sufficiently starved for attention, any attention is reinforcing, even if it is intended as punishment.

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if it comes too late after the behavior

No, it is true that punishing and reinforcing stimuli are supposed to be applied quickly after a behavior, especially when animals are involved, but this does not convert a punisher into a reinforcer.

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if shaping is used

No, shaping is typically used with positive reinforcement, so it would not be intended as a punisher.

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if punishment is actually desired by the child

This sounds plausible, and it may be true that if a child "desires" punishment, then a stimulus intended as a punishment could be reinforcing. But behaviorists do not indulge in speculation about desires; they define reinforcers and punishers by observed effects on behavior. If the effect of a stimulus is to raise the frequency or probability of a behavior which it follows, then the stimulus is a reinforcer, by definition.

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if the child is on a DRO schedule

No, differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) has little to do with this issue.

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