Write 5–6 pages in which you examine how conditioning changes some of your own behaviors.

While modern research in psychology is not explicitly behaviorist in its approach, behaviorism is still relevant in certain areas today. For example, it is often taken for granted today that objective, quantitative measures will be used, as opposed to the introspective reports that were used in many types of research in the early 1900s.

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By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

•    Competency 1: Use information technology and tools to identify information in the domain of learning and cognition. ▪   Summarize a scholarly research article regarding the treatment of phobias. 

•    Competency 2: Assess the important theories, paradigms, research findings, and conclusions in human learning and cognition. 
 ▪   Describe aspects of a scholarly research article that reflects behaviorist principles. ▪   Analyze how behaviorism is relevant today. 

•    Competency 5: Apply knowledge of theory and research in learning and cognition to inform personal behavior, professional goals, and values in order to understand social policy. 
 ▪   Apply behaviorist theory and research to personal learning experiences. 

•    Competency 6: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats. 
 ▪   Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate APA format with correct grammar, usage, and 
mechanics as expected of a psychology professional. 

•    Context

•      Stimulus Learning 
 Psychologists who study learning in humans and other animals examine an event’s relationship (or association) to a stimulus or stimuli. Some argue that this associative relationship underlies all instances of learning; others make distinctions between associative and non-associative, or stimulus, learning. This assessment focuses on the latter—single-event, non-associative learning and the waxing and waning of habituation. 
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 The Assessment 2 Context document contains additional key information about stimulus learning, covering the following topics: 
• Classical Conditioning. 
• Instrumental Conditioning

 Questions To Consider

 To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community. 
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•    How do non-associative learning and associative learning differ? That is, how is each defined, studied, and 

How has associative learning (that is, stimulus learning), including habituation and sensitization, been studied? • What is the difference between habitual learning and perceptual learning?
• Is habituation a form of learning?
• What is the connection between exposure therapies and habituation?

• How is classical conditioning defined, and how is it different from other forms of conditioning? • What are the basic phenomena involved in classical conditioning?
• What is learned through classical conditioning?
• What are some real-world applications of classical conditioning?

• How can classical conditioning theory be used to alleviate fears and phobias?
• What is instrumental conditioning, and how does it differ from classical conditioning? • What are reinforcers and punishers?
• What is the connection between instrumental conditioning and learning?
• How is instrumental conditioning applied to real-world settings?
• Has cognitive psychology overthrown behaviorism?
• What applications are there today for behaviorism?

Resources Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Capella Resources

Click the links provided to view the following resources:

• Assessment 2 Context . • APA Paper Template .

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 Capella Multimedia

Click the links provided below to view the following multimedia pieces:

• Timeline – Stimulus Learning | Transcript .
• Timeline – Classical Conditioning | Transcript .
• Classical Conditioning | Transcript .
• Timeline – Instrumental Conditioning | Transcript . • Instrumental Conditioning Case Study | Transcript .

FMG Video

Click the link provided below to view the following video:

• Constant Craving: The Science of Addiction .
 ▪   This is a video from Films on Demand. Any distribution of video content or associated links is prohibited. ▪   To view an accessible version of this presentation, click Transcript .

Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

•    Jaycox, L. H., Foa, E. B., & Morral, A. R. (1998). Influence of emotional engagement and habituation on exposure therapy for PTSD . Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , 66 (1), 185–192. 

•    Epstein, L. H., Temple, J. L., Rhombic, J. N., & Button, M. E. (2009). Habituation as a determinant of human food intake . Psychological Review , 116 (2), 384–407. 

•    Mitchell, C., Kodiak, R., Nash, S., Lavas, Y., & Hall, G. (2008). Analysis of the role of associative inhibition in perceptual learning by means of the same-different task . Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes , 34 (4), 475–485. 

•    Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding Little Albert: A journey to John B. Watson’s infant laboratory . American Psychologist , 64 (7), 605–614. 

•    Galef, B. G. (1998). Edward Thorndike: Revolutionary psychologist, ambiguous biologist . American 

• Pavlov, I. P. Excerpts from The work of the digestive glands . American Psychologist , 52 (9), 936–940. • Woods, P. J. (1974). A taxonomy of instrumental conditioning . American Psychologist , 29 (8), 584–597. • Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the behaviorist views it . Psychological Review , 20 , 158–177.
• Skinner, B. F. (1989). The origins of cognitive thought . American Psychologist , 44 (1), 13–18.

Course Library Guide

A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the PSYC-FP3500 – Learning and Cognition Library Guide to help direct your research.

Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have either been granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

• National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform . Retrieved from

Bookstore Resources

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore . When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific – FP (FlexPath) course designation.

• Terry, W. S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

▪   You may find Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 particularly relevant to the topics in this assessment.

Assessment Instructions

Think about examples of how your own behavior can change due to conditioning effects—how rewards and punishments have shaped your own behavior over the years. What role have rewards and punishments played in your life? For example, how did your parents encourage you to learn multiplication tables or drive a car? Even job incentives can be framed in terms of rewards and punishments to improve employee performance.

In preparation for this assignment, research behaviorism and some of the classic studies conducted by John Watson and B. F. Skinner. It is important to understand the basic principles of behaviorism and how behaviorism fits into psychology research today.


For this assessment, complete the following:

•    Describe how conditioning explains changes in your own behavior that you have observed, either at work or at home. Provide two or three examples. Be sure to relate theory and research to your examples. Cite textbooks or articles to support your conclusions. 

•    Find a peer-reviewed research study that addresses the theory or treatment of phobias that was published after 1990. Summarize the methods used and the conclusions made, and describe the key aspects of the research that reflect behaviorist principles. 

•    Explain how behaviorism can still be relevant today. What are the limits of behaviorism? Are there processes that it does not explain well? For example, behaviorists believed that babies and children learned language through rewards and punishments, but today we know that language learning is a much more complex process. The behaviorist approach was not sufficient to explain the totality of language learning. 

Strive to be as concise as possible and limit the length of your completed assessment to no more than 5–6 pages, excluding the title page and reference page. Support your statements and analyses with references and citations from at least three resources.

Additional Requirements

• Include a title page and a reference page. • Use at least three resources.


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