Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Post 3-Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery

Post 3-Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery

According to Powell, “Extinction is the nonreinforcement of a previously reinforced response, the result of which is a decrease in the strength of that response.” (Powel et. al.) It is both a procedure and a process. “The procedure of extinction is the nonreinforcement of a previously reinforced response; the process of extinction is the resultant decrease in response strength.” (pg. 296) In classical conditioning, extinction happens when a conditioned stimulus is no longer paired with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, if the smell of food (the unconditioned stimulus) had been paired with the sound of a whistle (the conditioned stimulus), it would eventually come to evoke the conditioned response of hunger. However, if the unconditioned stimulus (the smell of food) were no longer paired with the conditioned stimulus (the whistle), eventually the conditioned response (hunger) would disappear.

Spontaneous Recovery is the, “reappearance of a conditioned response following a rest period after extinction.” (pg. 131) Every time a response is recovered it is weaker and extinguished more quickly then before. Spontaneous recovery is often seen in dogs. For example, after long years of training a dog, especially away from bad behavior. Every once in a while the dog will show spontaneous recovery. They might start doing things they were trained not to do. If training continues then the effect of spontaneous recovery should decrease.


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