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Review Exercise: Learning Self-Test

For each situation below (#1-8), indicate whether it is an example of:

a. classical conditioning

b. operant conditioning

c. insight

d. observational learning


If classical conditioning, list the US, UR, CS, and CR;

If operant conditioning, identify the behavior that is the focus of the conditioning and if positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment, or extinction is being demonstrated.

  1. Susie is a four-year old child. One day she watches her mother vacuum the living room. Her mother comments to Susie, "Doesn't the living room look nice now that I've cleaned it." The next day, her mother finds Susie "vacuuming" the living room with her toy vacuum.

  2. You are thinking of asking the teacher for an extension on your paper. Just as you are about to go up to the teacher, another student approaches the teacher with the same request. The teacher appears angry, and very loudly and rudely turns down the student's request for an extension. You decide not to ask for an extension.

  3. Until she was 8, Barbara liked cats. When she was 8 she was bitten through the hand by a cat as she tried to get it out from under a bed. This was an upsetting experience. Since that time, Barbara experiences anxiety whenever she is near a cat.

  4. Alison, four, needs to learn to speak up louder in class. Her parents and teacher agree that whenever Alison speaks up loudly in class she will get a star on her chart. Whenever she accumulates 25 stars, she will get to go to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. Alison starts speaking up in class more frequently.

  5. Jimmy, age 13, is late coming home—again. His parents take away his generous allowance for 2 weeks hoping to reduce his late behavior.

  6. Scott, age 6, has difficulty in reaching clothes hanging from the clothes bar in his closet because the clothes bar is too high. He figures out that if hangers simply had longer necks, he would be able to manage with the clothes bar at the current height. Working with his father he creates a set of long-necked hangers and enters them in the "Invent America" contest at his school.

  7. Tom is hammering nails into planks to build a fence. He experiments with holding the nail a different way and immediately hits his thumb with the hammer. OUCH! He continues his work, but he never holds the nail that way again.

  8. It is summer time. Sarah and Jeremy are in love. They enjoy being together and are thoroughly relaxed and content in each other's presence. The hit song that summer is "Buckets of Love" and they hear that song a lot when they are together. At the end of the summer they have to return to their separate colleges, which are quite far apart. That fall, every time Sarah hears the tune "Buckets of Love" she experiences the same feelings of relaxation and contentment that she felt when she was with Jeremy.


In the following examples (#9-14), identify which is being used to control behavior:

a.    positive reinforcement

b.    negative reinforcement

c.    (positive) punishment

d.    negative punishment

e.    extinction

  1. The smoke detector in Jesse's house is low on batteries. It emits an annoying chirp every few seconds. Jesse installs a new battery so it will stop making that noise.

  2. Dr. Smith, a Doe College instructor, is having difficulty getting students to turn in papers. Previously he had not assigned credit for homework; he had simply assumed that students would do it for the practice. Dr. Smith establishes a policy that all students who turn in papers will get full credit for their work. Students now turn in papers much more often.

  3. Robert puts $0.55 in the Coke machine to buy his daily Coke. Today, nothing comes out, and he does not get his money back. Robert does not put any more money in the machine.

  4. Jeff is playing with his food at the dinner table while his parents are trying to carry on an adult conversation. When his mother notices what Jeff is doing, she stops talking with her husband and directs her attention to Jeff. She yells at him to stop playing with his food, and says that playing with his food is a horrible and disgusting habit. Jeff plays his food again several times during that meal, and even more frequently the next night.

  5. Jeff is playing with his food at the dinner table. His mother tells him to stop playing with his food; when he does not stop, she takes his food away, leaving Jeff hungry all night. Jeff never plays with his food again.

  6. George is diligently working on an art project at school. His teacher notices how nicely he is working and praises him loudly for his efforts. George immediately seems less interested working on his project. The teacher praises the little bits he completes as time goes on, and George stops working on the art project entirely.


For each example given (#15-16), identify the unconditioned stimulus (US), unconditioned response (UR), conditioned stimulus (CS) and conditioned response (CR):

  1. Art goes to a meeting in New Orleans and tries some oysters at the oyster bar. He likes the taste and eats quite a few. Soon he comes very ill with an upset stomach. Now, even the thought of oysters makes him nauseous.

    US =                                                                  CS =

    UR =                                                                   CR =

  2. When Trudy was 4, Trudy did not have any particular reaction to, or interest in, yardsticks. From the time she was 5, until she was 8, Trudy's parents beat her with a yardstick. Trudy was very upset every time she was beaten. Now Trudy becomes very upset every time she sees a yardstick.

    US =                                                                   CS =

    UR =                                                                   CR =

  3. A dog is in a cage with an electrified floor. When the shock comes on in one half of the cage, the dog can jump a low wall to get to the shock-free half of the cage. Jumping the wall is being reinforced by

a.    positive reinforcement

b.    negative reinforcement

c.    Negative punishment

d.    (positive) punishment

  1. After a series of trials such as described in #17, a warning light is introduced to indicate that the shock is about to occur. The dog learns to jump the wall as soon as the light comes on. Introducing the warning light changes the situation from one of ____________ conditioning alone to one that includes ____________ conditioning.

    a.    operant; classical

    b.    classical; operant

    c.    avoidance; escape

    d.    escape; avoidance

  2. When Michelle’s father takes her shopping, she always puts up a fuss asking for candy. Most of the time, her father refuses to give her candy. Occasionally, however, he gives in and Michelle leaves the store with candy. Michelle’s fussing is likely to _____________ because of _________.

    a.    continue; intermittent reinforcement

    b.    continue; continuous reinforcement

    c.    decrease; continuous reinforcement

    d.    decrease; intermittent reinforcement


Learning from baby chicks:

Linda is taking a Learning psychology course. The course includes a laboratory component that requires her to work with baby chicks. Her first assignment is to train a chick to peck a red-colored disk for food. Answer the following:

20.    The first thing Linda must do to shape disk pecking in her chick is to:

a.    teach the chick where the food is located

b.    train the chick to eat from the food hopper

c.    deprive the chick of food

d.    reinforce approaching the food hopper

21.    Once Linda has her chick pecking the disk regularly, she doesn’t reinforce it every time. Linda is now reinforcing her chick’s disk pecking according to a _____ schedule.

a.    continuous reinforcement

b.    intermittent reinforcement

      Why would she do that?

22.    When the chick pecks a red disk, several pellets of grain are released and when the chick pecks a blue disk, small inedible marbles are released. Linda observes that the chick quickly learns to peck only at the red disk and ignores the blue disk. This demonstrates the principle of

a.    generalization

b.    discrimination

c.    spontaneous recovery

d.    operant conditioning

23.    Unknown to Linda, the hopper triggered by the red disk malfunctions, so the chick no longer receives the grain sold by BRAND X. Soon the chick is only pecking at the orange disk, receiving grain sold by BRAND Z. At first, Linda mistakes this change in the chick’s behavior as evidence of a preference for BRAND Z. However, she soon discovers the mechanical failure and realizes that the change in the chick’s behavior toward the red disk is due to:

a.    discrimination

b.    generalization

c,    punishment

d.    extinction

24.    When Linda fixes the hopper connected to the red key, she accidentally crosses some wires, causing a shock every time the chick pecks at the orange key. Soon, the chick no longer pecks the orange key. To this chick, the shock apparently serves as a

a.    conditioned stimulus

b.    punisher

c.    negative reinforcer

d.    unconditioned response

Learning Review Answers

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