Saturday, March 8, 2014

Respondent conditioning: learning new associations with prior behaviors

As originally conceived, respondent conditioning (sometimes also called classical conditioning) begins with the involuntary responses to particular sights, sounds, or other sensations (Lavond, 2003). When I receive an injection from a nurse or doctor, for example, I cringe, tighten my muscles, and even perspire a bit. Whenever a contented, happy baby looks at me, on the other hand, I invariably smile in response. I cannot help myself in either case; both of the responses are automatic. In humans as well as other animals, there is a repertoire or variety of such specific, involuntary behaviors. At the sound of a sudden loud noise, for example, most of us show a “startle” response—we drop what we are doing (sometimes literally!), our heart rate shoots up temporarily, and we look for the source of the sound. Cats, dogs and many other animals (even fish in an aquarium) show similar or equivalent

Involuntary stimuli and responses were first studied systematically early in the twentieth-century by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov (1927). Pavlov’s most well-known work did not involve humans, but dogs, and specifically their involuntary tendency to salivate when eating. He attached a small tube to the side of dogs’ mouths that allowed him to measure how much the dogs salivated when fed (Exhibit 1 shows a photograph of one of Pavlov's dogs). But he soon noticed a “problem” with the procedure: as the dogs gained experience with the experiment, they often salivated before they began eating. In fact the most experienced dogs sometimes began salivating before they even saw any food, simply when Pavlov himself entered the room! The sight of the experimenter, which had originally been a neutral experience for the dogs, became associated with the dogs’ original salivation response. Eventually, in fact, the dogs would salivate at the sight of Pavlov even if he did not feed them.

This change in the dogs’ involuntary response, and especially its growing independence from the food as stimulus, eventually became the focus of Pavlov’s research. Psychologists named the process respondent conditioning because it describes changes in responses to stimuli (though some have also called it “classical conditioning” because it was historically the first form of behavioral learning to be studied systematically). Respondent conditioning has several elements, each with a special name. To understand these, look at and imagine a dog (perhaps even mine, named Ginger) prior to any conditioning. At the beginning Ginger salivates (an unconditioned response (UR)) only when she actually tastes her dinner (an unconditioned stimulus (US)). As time goes by, however, a neutral stimulus—such as the sound of opening a bag containing fresh dog food is continually paired with the eating/tasting experience. Eventually the neutral stimulus becomes able to elicit salivation even before any dog food is offered to Ginger, or even if the bag of food is empty! At this point the neutral stimulus is called a conditioned stimulus (UCS) and the original response is renamed as a conditioned response (CR). Now, after conditioning, Ginger salivates merely at the sound of opening any large bag, regardless of its contents. (I might add that Ginger also engages in other conditioned responses, such as looking hopeful and following me around the house at dinner time.)

Before Conditioning:
(UCS) Food→ Salivation (UR)
(UCS) Bell→ No response (UR)
During Conditioning:
Bell + Food→ Salivation
After Conditioning:
(CS) Bell only→ Salivation (CR)

See the others major theories and models of learning in our next topics...


Kelvin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton 2009: Educational Psychology Second Edition, Zurich, Switzerland

Major theories and models of learning

Several ideas and priorities, then, affect how we teachers think about learning, including the curriculum, the difference between teaching and learning, sequencing, readiness, and transfer. The ideas form a “screen” through which to understand and evaluate whatever psychology has to offer education. As it turns out, many theories, concepts, and ideas from educational psychology do make it through the “screen” of education, meaning that they are consistent with the professional priorities of teachers and helpful in solving important problems of classroom teaching. In the case of issues about classroom learning, for example, educational psychologists have developed a number of theories and concepts that are relevant to classrooms, in that they describe at least some of what usually happens there and offer guidance for assisting learning. It is helpful to group the theories according to whether they focus on changes in behavior or in thinking. The distinction is rough and inexact, but a good place to begin. For starters, therefore, consider two perspectives about learning, called behaviorism (learning as changes in overt behavior) and constructivism, (learning as changes in thinking). The second category can be further divided into psychological constructivism (changes in thinking resulting from individual experiences), and social constructivism, (changes in thinking due to assistance from others). The rest of this chapter describes key ideas from each of these viewpoints. As I hope you will see, each describes some aspects of learning not just in general, but as it happens in classrooms in particular. So each perspective suggests things that you might do in your classroom to make students’ learning more productive.

Behaviorism: changes in what students do
Behaviorism is a perspective on learning that focuses on changes in individuals’ observable behaviors— changes in what people say or do. At some point we all use this perspective, whether we call it “behaviorism” or something else. The first time that I drove a car, for example, I was concerned primarily with whether I could actually do the driving, not with whether I could describe or explain how to drive. For another example: when I reached the point in life where I began cooking meals for myself, I was more focused on whether I could actually produce edible food in a kitchen than with whether I could explain my recipes and cooking procedures to others.

And still another example—one often relevant to new teachers: when I began my first year of teaching, I was more focused on doing the job of teaching—on day-to-day survival—than on pausing to reflect on what I was doing. Note that in all of these examples, focusing attention on behavior instead of on “thoughts” may have been desirable at that moment, but not necessarily desirable indefinitely or all of the time. Even as a beginner, there are times when it is more important to be able to describe how to drive or to cook than to actually do these things. And there definitely are many times when reflecting on and thinking about teaching can improve teaching itself. (As a teacher-friend once said to me: “Don’t just do something; stand there!”) But neither is focusing on behavior which is not necessarily less desirable than focusing on students’ “inner” changes, such as gains in their knowledge or their personal attitudes. If you are teaching, you will need to attend to all forms of learning in students, whether
inner or outward.

See the others major theories and models of learning in our next topics...


Kelvin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton 2009: Educational Psychology Second Edition, Zurich, Switzerland

The learning process: Teachers’ perspectives on learning

Learning is generally defined as relatively permanent changes in behavior, skills, knowledge, or attitudes resulting from identifiable psychological or social experiences. A key feature is permanence: changes do not count as learning if they are temporary. You do not “learn” a phone number if you forget it the minute after you dial the number; you do not “learn” to eat vegetables if you only do it when forced. The change has to last. Notice, though, that learning can be physical, social, or emotional as well as cognitive. You do not “learn” to sneeze simply by catching cold, but you do learn many skills and behaviors that are physically based, such as riding a bicycle or throwing a ball. You can also learn to like (or dislike) a person, even though this change may not happen deliberately.

For teachers, learning usually refers to things that happen in schools or classrooms, even though every teacher can of course describe examples of learning that happen outside of these places. Even Michael, at age 6, had begun realizing that what counted as “learning” in his dad’s educator-type mind was something that happened in a classroom, under the supervision of a teacher (me). For me, as for many educators, the term has a more specific meaning than for many people less involved in schools. In particular, teachers’ perspectives on learning often emphasize three ideas, and sometimes even take them for granted: (1) curriculum content and academic achievement, (2) sequencing and readiness, and (3) the importance of transferring learning to new or future situations.

How educational psychology can help

All things considered, then, times have changed for teachers. But teaching remains an attractive, satisfying, and worthwhile profession. The recent trends mean simply that you need to prepare for teaching differently than you might have in the past, and perhaps differently than your own school teachers did a generation ago. Fortunately, there are ways to do this. Many current programs in teacher education provide a balance of experiences in tune with current and emerging needs of teachers. They offer more time for practice teaching in schools, for example, and teacher education instructors often make deliberate efforts to connect the concepts and ideas of education and psychology to current best practices of education. These and other features of contemporary teacher education will make it easier for you to become the kind of teacher that you not only want to be, but also will need to be.


Cochran-Smith, M. & Fries, K. (2005). Research teacher education in changing times: Politics and
paradigms. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the
AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education, 69-110.
Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Educational Testing Service. (2004). Study guide for Principles of Learning and Teaching, 2nd edition.
Princeton, NJ: Author.
Fuhrman, S. & Elmore, R. (2004). Redesigning accountability systems for education. New York: Teachers
College Press.

What is I/O Psychology

Industrial psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that was created for corporation and organization that needed more structure. Industrial psychology is able to provide this structure by evaluating employee behavior employee behavior for the good of the company. It is often referred to as organizational psychology because of its emphasis on analyzing individual who work for various organization.

Essentially, Industrial psychology studies the behavior of employees in a work setting.

Social Psychology applied in Psychology

The IAAp is the oldest worldwide association of scholars and practitioners, They Identifed some psychological field.
Topics of Study:

Social psychologists seek to unravel the mysteries of individual and social life in areas as wide-ranging as prejudice, romantic attraction, persuasion, friendship, helping, aggression, conformity, and group interaction. Although social psychology has traditionally focused on aspects of the individual, and social psychology on aspects of the situation, the two perspectives are tightly interwoven in psychological explanations of human behavior.

A Scientific Approach:
Social psychologists, observing our social worlds and trying to understand why people behave, think, and feel as they do. and social psychologists, Systematically observing and describing people's actions, measuring or manipulating aspects of social situations and they use the methods of science.

Basic and Applied Research:
Scientists in all fields distinguish between basic and applied research in psychology. Basic research in social psychology tends to focus on fundamental questions about people and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Applied research in social psychology focuses on more narrow arenas of human life, such as health, business, and law.

Career Options:
Social psychologists combine an understanding of human behavior with training in sophisticated research methods; they have many opportunities for employment. Many psychologists teach and do research in universities and colleges, housed mostly in departments of psychology but also in departments of business, education, political science, justice studies, law, health sciences, and medicine. The research of such individuals may be based in the laboratory, in the field, in the clinic, or in historical archives. Many personality and social psychologists are employed in the private sector as consultants, researchers, marketing directors, managers, political strategists, technology designers, and so on. Social psychologists also work in government and nonprofit organizations, designing and evaluating policy and programs in education, conflict resolution, environmental protection, and the like.

Becoming a Social Psychologist:
Although some social psychologists go to graduate school to earn a terminal masters degree (M.S. or M.A.), most seek a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). For some careers, a master’s degree may be sufficient. Generally, however, the doctorate is preferred by employers and is usually necessary for employment as a professor at a university or college.


Lewin K. (1951). Field Theory in social science, New york: Harper and Row.

Dorken,H.(1986), Professional Psychology in Transition, San Francisco:Joss-Bass.

Difference between Social psychology and Sociology

Social psychology attempts to understand the relationship between minds, groups, and behaviors in three general ways.
First, it tries to see how the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. This includes social perception, social interaction, and the many kinds of social influence (like trust, power, and persuasion). Gaining insight into the social psychology of persons involves looking at the influences that individuals have on the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of other individuals, as well as the influence that groups have on individuals. This aspect of social psychology asks questions like:

* How do small group dynamics impact cognition and emotional states?
* How do social groups control or contribute to behavior, emotion, or attitudes of the individual members?
* How does the group impact the individual?
* How does the individual operate within the social group?

Second, it tries to understand the influence that individual perceptions and behaviors have upon the behavior of groups. This includes looking at things like group productivity in the workplace and group decision making. It looks at questions like:
* How does persuasion work to change group behavior, emotion or attitudes?
* What are the reasons behind conformity, diversity, and deviance?
Third, and finally, social psychology tries to understand groups themselves as behavioral entities, and the relationships and influences that one group has upon another group. It asks questions like:

*What makes some groups hostile to one another, and others neutral or civil?
* Do groups behave in a different way than an individual outside the group?

*The study of human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.
*Analysis of a social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole.
*Sociology tends to examine groups of persons, communities, and nations.


Lewin K. (1951). Field Theory in social science, New york: Harper and Row.

Dorken,H.(1986), Professional Psychology in Transition, San Francisco:Joss-Bass.