AP Psychology : Classical Conditioning

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #591 : Ap Psychology

At the beginning of his experiment, Pavlov cued various tones prior to introducing food to the dogs. The first time they were played, the dogs did not salivate. What were these tones?

Possible Answers:

Unconditioned Response

Neutral Stimulus

Conditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Response

Unconditioned Stimulus

Correct answer:

Neutral Stimulus

Explanation:

Because the question does not ask about the effects on the dog, we can deduce that the tones were stimuli. Given that these stimuli elicited no response from the dogs, they can be initially labeled as neutral stimuli because there is no learned association with food at this time. 

Example Question #592 : Ap Psychology

Pavlov's dogs salivated at the sound of a tone. What was this tone?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned Response

Unconditioned Response

Conditioned Stimulus

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Correct answer:

Conditioned Stimulus

Explanation:

In Pavlov's experiment, he coupled what was once a neutral stimulus with an association (food) for the dogs. This neutral stimulus became associated with food through a learned process, thus becoming a conditioned stimulus for what was once an unconditioned response. 

Example Question #11 : Learning

Pavlov's dogs salivated at the sound of a tone. What would the salivation be considered?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Response

Correct answer:

Conditioned Response

Explanation:

Given that the problem is referring to the effect on the dog, salivation can be labeled as a response. Because it is a tone that's creating the salivation and not the food itself, it observes an association that was learned. Therefore, the dog was conditioned to expect food upon hearing the bell. Salivation, in this situation, is a conditioned response. 

Example Question #11 : Classical Conditioning

During the summer, Max would feel hungry if he sensed the odor of food. Going back to school, the bell for lunch would ring promptly at 11:55am, after which he would sense the smell of lunch from the cafeteria. By the end of the semester, Max would feel hungry as soon as he heard the bell before he could smell what was coming out of the cafeteria. In accordance to Pavlov's experiment, what is the term for the odor of food during summer?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned Stimulus

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Response

Unconditioned Response

Correct answer:

Unconditioned Stimulus

Explanation:

Because the smell of food is eliciting Max's hunger, it is a stimulus. Given that the stimulus is being experienced prior to his conditioning at school, the smell of the food during summer acts as the unconditioned stimulus. 

Example Question #13 : Learning

During the summer, Max would feel hungry in response to the odor of food. Going back to school, the bell for lunch would ring promptly at 11:55am, after which he would sense smell of lunch from the cafeteria. By the end of the semester, Max would feel hungry as soon as he heard the bell, and before he could smell what was coming out of the cafeteria. In accordance to Pavlov's experiment, if the bell were to be replaced by an announcement from the principle, what would this announcement initially act as?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned Response

Conditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Neutral Stimulus

Correct answer:

Neutral Stimulus

Explanation:

The announcement would ideally initially act as a neutral stimulus because Max has learned to associate the smell of food with the ringing of the lunch bell. Given that the announcement does not sound anything like the lunch bell, Max will not experience that association and therefore not feel that immediate hunger. 

Example Question #14 : Learning

During the summer, Max would feel hungry at the odor of food. Going back to school, the bell for lunch would ring promptly at 11:55am, after which Max would sense the smell of lunch from the cafeteria. By the end of the semester, Max would feel hungry as soon as he heard the bell before he could smell what was coming out of the cafeteria. In accordance to Pavlov's experiment, what is the lunch bell?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned Response

Unconditioned Response

Neutral Stimulus

Conditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Stimulus

Correct answer:

Conditioned Stimulus

Explanation:

It was the odor of the food that made Max hungry. Much like Pavlov's dogs, where the sight of food was enough to always make them salivate. This parallels Pavlov's work in that the smell of food is the unconditioned stimulus, and therefore the hunger the unconditioned response. In this case, the school bell acts synonymously to Pavlov's tones in that it was learned to be associated with food. Max learns to associate the lunch bell with the smell of food, which in turn makes him hungry. Therefore it is the conditioned stimulus. 

Example Question #17 : Classical Conditioning

A dog is trained to salivate at the sound of a bell by pairing the sound of a bell with the presentation of steak. Eventually the experimenters ring the bell ten times without presenting steak so the dog stops salivating at the bell. Which principle of conditioning does this scenario exemplify?

Possible Answers:

Extinction

Generalization

Acquisition

Discrimination

Spontaneous recovery

Correct answer:

Extinction

Explanation:

Extinction is when the conditioned response (salivating at the sound of a bell) stops because the conditioned stimulus (bell) is no longer presented together with the unconditioned stimulus (steak). 

As for the other answers, acquisition is the learning of a conditioned response and is the period when the US and CS are presented together. Generalization is when the conditioned response occurs with a similar but slightly different conditioned stimulus. Spontaneous recovery is the reappearance of the conditioned response after extinction when the US and CS are paired together again. Discrimination is the opposite of generalization (distinguishing between a CS different from the original CS).

Example Question #18 : Classical Conditioning

Which of the following types of conditioning is most effective?

Possible Answers:

Trace conditioning

Simultaneous conditioning

Break conditioning

Delay (or delayed) conditioning

Concurrent conditioning

Correct answer:

Delay (or delayed) conditioning

Explanation:

Three types of conditioning that are good to know are delayed conditioning, trace conditioning, and simultaneous conditioning. Delayed conditioning is presenting the US while the CS is still active, trace conditioning is presenting the CS then a short break and then presenting the US, and simultaneous conditioning is presenting the CS and the US at the same time. Delayed conditioning is considered to be the most effective (acquisition occurs the fastest) because of its timing; trace conditioning allows for too much time between the US and the CS for the pairing to be strong, while simultaneous conditioning is too much stimulation at the same time for the pairing to be ingrained. 

Concurrent conditioning and break conditioning do not actually exist-- they were distracting answers. 

Example Question #19 : Classical Conditioning

Which of the following is not a finding of the famous classical conditioning study about Little Albert?

Possible Answers:

Complex reactions could be conditioned

Fear can be conditioned

Humans can be classically conditioned

Classical conditioning is much more effective on less complex animals (like rats) than it is on humans

Aversive conditioning is possible

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning is much more effective on less complex animals (like rats) than it is on humans

Explanation:

During the famous Little Albert study, the boy was conditioned to fear a white rat because its presentation was paired with an unpleasant noise.

This study revealed that humans can be classically conditioned in addition to animals, aversive conditioning (conditioning of negative reactions) is possible, fear can be conditioned, and complex reactions can be conditioned. Since the main takeaway from Little Albert is that humans can be effectively classically conditioned, the answer choice "classical conditioning is much more effective on less complex animals (like rats) than it is on humans" misses the mark.

Example Question #11 : Learning

When does acquisition occur during classical conditioning?

Possible Answers:

When the US is linked to the UR

When the NS is linked to the CR 

When the US is linked to the CR

When the NS is linked to the US

When the UR is linked to the CR

Correct answer:

When the NS is linked to the US

Explanation:

Acquisition is a process in classical conditioning. By definition, it is considered the first stage of classical conditioning where an individual links a neutral stimulus to an unconditioned stimulus. For instance, during Pavlov's experiment, this was when the dogs made a connection between the tone and the sight of food. In turn, the neutral stimulus will begin to initiate the conditioned response (in Pavlov's experiment, that meant salivation). 

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