Need help understanding the role that awareness plays in classical conditioning.
Here is the book's description, but I am having problems understanding this, nothing fancy maybe words, no references needed. Help!
The Role of Awareness in Conditioning
If classical conditioning is considered to be a simple, possibly even primitive form of
learning, then conscious cognitive factors are not necessary for conditioning to occur. If
conditioning is considered to involve cognitive processes, then awareness may be a factor.
What is the role of awareness in conditioning? Evidence from several different sources can
It is certainly the case that college student participants can often verbally report the
CSâ?"US contingency that they have experienced. This has been shown in eyeblink and GSR
conditioning, and in some cases of evaluative conditioning (e.g., Shimp, Stuart, & Engle,
1991). But is awareness of the CSâ?"US contingency necessary for conditioning? The data
from unaware participants are contradictory. In some cases, experimental participants who
cannot report the CSâ?"US arrangement did not make conditioned responses (see review by
Dawson & Schell, 1987), but in another study, unaware and aware participants responded
Learning & Memory: Basic Principles, Processes, and Procedures, Fourth Edition, by W. Scott Terry. Published by Allyn & Bacon.
Copyright © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc.
74 C H A P T E R 3
comparably (Papka, Ivy, & Woodruff-Pak, 1997). Interestingly, participants who can
report that the tone was followed by the airpuff are not always aware that they were making
eyeblinks during the tone (Papka, Ivy, & Woodruff-Pak, 1997).
Conscious awareness of the conditioning procedure can be minimized or excluded
by using distracting secondary tasks or response systems beyond awareness. As examples,
eyeblink conditioning occurs even when a second task is being performed simultaneously,
such as reacting to words presented visually or watching a video (Papka, Ivy, & Woodruff-
Pak, 1997). Many of the participants were still aware of the toneâ?"airpuff pairings, but this
awareness did not correlate with the amount of conditioning. Finally, we can cite the case
of a man with spinal cord injury who showed conditioned control over his bladder, even
though neither the stimuli nor the responses involved could be detected by the patient
(Ince, Brucker, & Alba, 1978). Together, these sorts of observations suggest that Pavlovian
conditioning does not require conscious awareness.
In some instances, awareness of the CSâ?"US relationship will affect responding to the
conditioned stimulus. In a conditioning preparation such as the eyeblink or GSR, simply
telling our human participants that extinction is about to begin, and reinforcing this belief
by disconnecting some of the wires, leads to an immediate cessation of the CR. There is no
reaction to the very next CS presentation. However, awareness that an aversive US will no
longer occur does not always override all conditioned responses. Taste aversions, such as
those incidentally learned during chemotherapy, and fear of phobic-type stimuli, such as
pictures of spiders or snakes that were paired with a shock US, are persistent in spite of
awareness (Dawson, Schell, & Banis, 1986; Ohman et al., 1976).
I hope this response gives you an idea for your paper. You have the same book I had so it was nice to reread the material again. Good luck.
What the role of awareness in classical conditioning varies and is confusing. Evidence has shown that people do conditioned responses to conditioned stimuli without being aware of doing so. Stomping your foot ...
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