AP Psychology : Classical Conditioning

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Classical Conditioning

After repeatedly seeing a human researcher wash her apples before eating them, a group of monkeys started to also wash their fruits before eating them. This type of learning behavior is commonly referred to as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Classical conditioning

Extinction

Operant conditioning

Modeling

Correct answer:

Modeling

Explanation:

"Modeling" is learning through example. Simply by observing a particular behavior, another organism can mimic that behavior. Another example of learning through modeling could be a parent displaying a particular behavior that he or she also desires a child to display. The other choices are incorrect. "Classical conditioning" is learning by paired association, "operant conditioning" is learning through reinforcement (e.g. rewards, punishment), and "extinction" is when a previously learned behavior no longer occurs.

Example Question #52 : Classical Conditioning

When Peter was a child, he was attacked by a dog. He had to go to the hospital for stitches and was very frightened. Now, as an adult, Peter becomes frightened when looking at pictures of dogs and feels as though he might be attacked, even when he is shown pictures of puppies. 

In this example, the pictures of dogs are considered to be which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Unconditioned response

Unconditioned stimulus

Conditioned stimulus

Conditioned response

Correct answer:

Conditioned stimulus

Explanation:

The "conditioned stimulus" is a previously neutral stimulus (e.g pictures of dogs) that has, through conditioning acquired the capacity to evoke a "conditioned response" (e.g fear). Before the attack, Peter did not react to pictures of dogs. Only after the learning occurred did he have a response to the pictures.

Example Question #53 : Classical Conditioning

A researcher decides to do a classical conditioning experiment on a child. In the experiment, she pairs an unpleasant stimulus (e.g. loud upsetting noise) with a puppy covered in white fur. Over time, the child sees the puppy and begins to cry because of the paired association with the unpleasant stimulus. According to classical conditioning research, which of the following would most likely induce crying in the child?

Possible Answers:

A toaster oven

The child's mother

A parakeet

A white stuffed animal

Correct answer:

A white stuffed animal

Explanation:

Stimulus generalization occurs when a conditioned response extends to other, similar stimuli. In this case, the most similar stimuli is "a white stuffed animal," which may appear to be like the white dog. The other answers do not share similarities to the puppy paired with the unpleasant stimulus.

Example Question #54 : Learning

Heather is afraid of heights. Heather's therapist exposes her a little bit at a time through a virtual computer software. Afterwards, she takes Heather in an elevator and over several sessions, slowly works her way up to the top. This is done over and over until Heather is no longer afraid of heights. This application of classical conditioning is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Flooding 

Systematic desensitization 

Extinction 

Counter conditioning

Gradual progression 

Correct answer:

Systematic desensitization 

Explanation:

This is an example of systematic desensitization. In systematic desensitization, the patient is exposed a little bit at a time to their fears. While remaining calm, patients are repetitively exposed to a fearful stimuli, each stimulus gradually increasing in severity, until they have overcome their fear.

In this question, Heather is afraid of heights. Gradually, she is exposed to higher heights until she is no longer afraid.

Example Question #55 : Learning

Patty notices that her baby sister Megan is happy and giggles whenever she sees  her favorite toy. When Megan sees Patty, she just sits there and frowns. Patty starts to play with Megan, but now she brings Megan's favorite toy. Megan giggles and is happy with both Patty and her toy. Eventually, Megan giggles and is happy when she sees Patty.

Based on this example of classical conditioning, what is the unconditioned response (UCR)?

Possible Answers:

Baby Megan's favorite toy

Baby Megan's giggling at her sister Patty

Megan's crying

Baby Megan's giggling at her favorite toy

Patty

Correct answer:

Baby Megan's giggling at her favorite toy

Explanation:

The correct answer is "baby Megan's giggling at her favorite toy." In this scenario the components of classical conditioning include the following:

  • UCS (unconditioned stimulus) – This is what causes the unconditioned response. Ex: Megan's favorite toy 
  • UCR (unconditioned response) – this is the automatic response with no conditioning. Ex: Megan's giggling at her favorite toy
  • CS (conditioned stimulus) –This is what is conditioned to illicit a response Ex: Patty
  • CR (conditioned response) –This is the same as the UCR, but now it is caused by the CS Ex: Megan giggles at Patty

Example Question #54 : Classical Conditioning

Who is considered to be the founder of classical conditioning?

Possible Answers:

Barbara Steinway

B.F. Skinner

Carl Jung

Ivan Pavlov

Henri Mendel

Correct answer:

Ivan Pavlov

Explanation:

"Ivan Pavlov" was a Russian physiologist who is primarily known for his research on classical conditioning with dogs. Pavlov was looking at salivation in dogs in response to being fed, when he noticed that his dogs would begin to salivate whenever he entered the room, even if he was not bringing food to them.As a result, he posited that his presence functioned as an unconditioned stimulus, which lead to the dogs' salivation as an unconditioned response.

Example Question #57 : Learning

Ted’s favorite food is his mother’s homemade chili. His mother often sets out a certain silver pot on the kitchen table while she cuts up the ingredients on a nearby counter. Now, whenever Ted comes home and sees this silver pot on the table, he immediately starts salivating.

If Ted starts salivating at the sight of any silver pot, not just the particular pot his mother uses to make chili, then he would be demonstrating which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Sensitization

Generalization

Habituation

Discrimination

Correct answer:

Generalization

Explanation:

"Generalization" occurs when an individual exhibits a conditioned response in reaction to a stimulus that is similar—but not identical—to the conditioned stimulus. Ted learned to associate his mother’s silver chili pot with the delicious chili itself, so now he salivates in response to the pot alone; however, if he extends this response to all silver pots, then he is exhibiting generalization.

Example Question #58 : Learning

Ted’s favorite food is his mother’s homemade chili. His mother often sets out a certain silver pot on the kitchen table while she cuts up the ingredients on a nearby counter. Now, whenever Ted comes home and sees this silver pot on the table, he immediately starts salivating.

What type of learning does this example illustrate?

Possible Answers:

Classical conditioning

Social learning

Operant conditioning

Taste aversion

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning

Explanation:

We can see that Ted is being "classically conditioned" to salivate at the sight of the silver pot. This is because a neutral stimulus (i.e. the silver pot) is being repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus (i.e. the delicious chili), which by itself naturally produces an unconditioned response (i.e. salivation). Now, the sight of the pot (now a conditioned stimulus) produces the same response (now a conditioned response).

Example Question #51 : Classical Conditioning

Ted’s favorite food is his mother’s homemade chili. His mother often sets out a certain silver pot on the kitchen table while she cuts up the ingredients on a nearby counter. Now, whenever Ted comes home and sees this silver pot on the table, he immediately starts salivating.

 

What is the conditioned stimulus in this example?

Possible Answers:

Ted

Silver pot

Chili

Salivation

Correct answer:

Silver pot

Explanation:

In this operant conditioning situation, the "silver pot" acts as this conditioned stimulus. This is because it originally did not produce a response—most people do not naturally salivate at the sight of this particular pot, like Ted does. This means that it was initially a neutral stimulus. Over time, its pairing with an unconditioned stimulus (i.e. the chili) causes it to produce the same unconditioned response (i.e. salivation).

Example Question #60 : Learning

A recruiter for a sports team meets with an athlete that s/he is trying to recruit. During the meeting, the recruiter gives the athlete free items such as a new bag, fancy pens, and a new mp3 player. Additionally, the recruiter has a very pleasant, jovial demeanor and takes the athlete out for dinner and drinks to talk about the potential contract. This scenario best illustrates ___________________.

Possible Answers:

Operant conditioning

Negative reinforcement

Classical conditioning

Modeling

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning

Explanation:
Even though the athlete is getting free things, which you might think would be a reward (positive reinforcement), there is no target behavior that the athlete is performing. Instead, this scenario best represents classical conditioning. In classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus (e.g., a particular sports team) is paired with something non-neutral (free stuff, dinner, drinks, pleasant demeanor). Now, when the athlete thinks about the recruiter's sports team, the athlete seems to feel happy, pleasant, and special. Now, the sports team has become a conditioned stimulus.
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors