AP Psychology : Classical Conditioning

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Learning

What is the name of the famous psychology experiment, conducted by John B. Watson, that showed how emotional reactions could be classically conditioned in people?

Possible Answers:

Jamie Kennedy experiment

Little Albert experiment

Anfinsen experiment

Rosenhan experiment

Kakinada experiment

Correct answer:

Little Albert experiment

Explanation:

"Little Albert" or "Albert B" was the name of a 9-month old child used in this experiment. Watson and a graduate student named Rosalie Raynor exposed Little Albert to a series of stimuli and documented his reactions. 

Example Question #2 : Learning

What method did Pavlov employ in his experiment with laboratory dogs?

Possible Answers:

Shaping

Classical conditioning

Discrimination

Generalization

Operant conditioning

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning

Explanation:

Classical conditioning is described as a reflexive type of learning in which a stimulus is able to elicit a response that was originally elicited by another stimulus. In Pavlov's experiment, he initially presented laboratory dogs with meat powder (stimulus 1), which caused the dogs to salivate (response). Then, he began to present the meat powder while ringing a bell (stimulus 2), again causing the dogs to salivate. After presenting the meat powder and bell together several times, he then presented the bell alone. Though no meat powder was available, the dogs still salivated. They had learned to respond the same way to both individual stimuli.

Example Question #3 : Learning

Ivan Pavolov demonstrated what type of learning when he trained a dog to salivate on cue by ringing a bell?

Possible Answers:

Psychosocial 

Classical conditioning 

Psychoanalytical

Operant conditioning 

Social learning 

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning 

Explanation:

When Ivan Pavlov trained a dog to salivate and expect food whenever it heard a bell, he demonstrated the existence of classical conditioning. This process uses an initially neutral stimulus (a bell ringing) paired with an innate or biological stimulus (food) to elicit an innate response (salivation). Eventually, the biological stimulus can be removed and the neutral conditioned stimulus will result in the same response, despite the absence of the biological stimulus.

Example Question #4 : Learning

During which stage of classical conditioning is the conditioned stimulus presented alone, without the unconditioned stimulus?

Possible Answers:

Simultaneous conditioning

Reacquisition

Extinction

Acquisition

Neutral stimulus

Correct answer:

Extinction

Explanation:

Extinction happens when you present the conditioned stimulus without the unconditioned stimulus, thus unpairing the two stimuli. The conditioned response will happen less frequently following the extinction phase.

Example Question #5 : Learning

Who is famous for conducting classical conditioning experiments with dogs?

Possible Answers:

Karen Horney

Erik Erikson

Mary Ainsworth

Ivan Pavlov

William James

Correct answer:

Ivan Pavlov

Explanation:

Ivan Pavlov conducted experiments on dogs, in which he used classical conditioning principles to spur the dogs to salivate whenever a bell was rung. Specifically, the dogs learned to associate the ringing of the bell (the conditioned stimulus) with the presentation of food (the unconditioned stimulus). 

Example Question #5 : Learning

What is the difference between classical and operant conditioning?

Possible Answers:

Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a non-neutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs when a creature's actions become less influenced by the consequences of their actions.

Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a non-neutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs the gradual elimination of a learned response.

Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a non-neutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs when a creature's actions are influenced by the consequences of their actions.

Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a neutral reaction to the non-neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs when a creature's actions are influenced by the consequences of their actions.

Operant conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a non-neutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas classical conditioning occurs when a creature's actions are influenced by the consequences of their actions.

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a non-neutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs when a creature's actions are influenced by the consequences of their actions.

Explanation:

"Classical conditioning involves pairing a neutral stimulus with a non-neutral one until there is a nonneutral reaction to the neutral stimulus, whereas operant conditioning occurs when a creature's actions are influenced by the consequences of their actions" is the only answer choice that correctly lists the definitions of the two types of conditioning.

Example Question #6 : Learning

Which of the following is an example of extinction in classical conditioning?

Possible Answers:

A dog stops salivating to the sound of a bell after the bell and food have not been presented together for a significant period of time

A dog salivates to the presentation of a red napkin because the red napkin was often presented with a bell, which was originally often presented with food

A dog starts salivating to the sound of a bell because the bell and food are presented together 

A dog begins salivating to the sound of a bell after the bell and food have not been presented together for a significant period of time

A dog salivates to the sound of a whistle because the bell and food were presented together many times, and a whistle is similar to a bell

Correct answer:

A dog stops salivating to the sound of a bell after the bell and food have not been presented together for a significant period of time

Explanation:

Extinction is the eventual cessation of a learned response (salivating) after the conditioned response (the bell) and unconditioned (the food) are no longer presented together to the subject (the dog).

"A dog begins salivating to the sound of a bell after the bell and food have not been presented together for a significant period of time" is the opposite of the classical conditioning concept of extinction, and goes against the rules of classical conditioning. 

"A dog starts salivating to the sound of a bell because the bell and food are presented together" refers to acquisition, the learning of the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus pairing. 

"A dog salivates to the presentation of a red napkin because the red napkin was often presented with a bell, which was originally often presented with food" describes second-order conditioning, in which a conditioned stimulus from a previous round of conditioning becomes the unconditioned stimulus in a new round. 

"A dog salivates to the sound of a whistle because the bell and food were presented together many times, and a whistle is similar to a bell" refers to the concept of generalization, when the conditioned response is observed even when the conditioned stimulus is slightly different from the original one. 

Example Question #7 : Learning

In Ivan Pavlov's dog salivation response, which of the following events is the conditioned response?

Possible Answers:

The dog's drool response after it has finished its meal

The food that was delivered after the sound of the bell

The dog drools due to the presence of the food

The dog drools due to the sound of the bell

The dog's expectation of the food

Correct answer:

The dog drools due to the sound of the bell

Explanation:

In Pavlov's dog experiment, there were 5 elements:

Unconditioned Stimulus- The food that triggered the dog's drooling.

Unconditioned Response- The drooling due to the presence of food.

Neutral stimulus- a stimulus that initially does not produce the drooling

Conditioned Stimulus- The ringing of the bellby the dog's owner.

Conditioned Response- The drooling due to the sound of the bell.

The most correct answer is: The dog drools due to the sound of the bell. 

Example Question #9 : Learning

Food in a dog's mouth will automatically stimulate salivation. In terms of Pavlov's experiments, this salivation stimulation is a(n) ___________.

Possible Answers:

Unconditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Conditioned Response

Neutral Stimulus

Correct answer:

Unconditioned Response

Explanation:

Given that this question focuses on the effects on the dog, salivation may be considered a response. Because salivation is said to occur whenever food is present, this would be an unconditioned response because no learning was required in the process. Conversely, the food in this instance would be an unconditioned stimulus. 

Example Question #10 : Learning

Food in a dog's mouth will automatically stimulate salivation. In terms of Pavlov's experiments, the food in this scenario represents __________.

Possible Answers:

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Response

Unconditioned Response

Conditioned Stimulus

Correct answer:

Unconditioned Stimulus

Explanation:

Because the problem specifies that the dog salivates every time it sees the food, this would mean that no learning was part of the response, making salivation an unconditioned response. Because the food is causing the response, it is a stimulus. Furthermore, because the response is unconditioned, the stimulus is unconditional as well. 

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