Classical Conditioning Bell Experiment Discussion

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For this activity, you need a bell (or some kind of buzzer/whistle or even banging on a pot with a spoon would work!), a hand-held mirror, and a room that becomes dark when the light is turned off.

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  • Hold the bell while standing in the room near the light switch.
  • Ring the bell and then immediately turn off the light.
  • After waiting in total darkness for about 15 seconds, turn the light back on.
  • Wait another 15 seconds with the light on, and then ring the bell and immediately turn the light back off (again, waiting 15 seconds in the dark).
  • Repeat this procedure 20-30 times, making sure in each case the bell is rung immediately before the light is turned off.
  • After numerous pairings, with the light on, watch your eyes closely in the mirror and then ring the bell. Your pupils should dilate even without a change in light.

After performing this experiment, post your answers to the following questions in the discussion forum:

  • Did the experiment work? How many times did you repeat the procedure?
  • What are the unconditioned stimulus (US), the conditioned stimulus (CS), the unconditioned response (UR), and the conditioned response (CR) in the above experiment?
  • Think of another example of classical conditioning in your everyday life and describe how this is an example of classical conditioning. Be sure to describe this example in classical conditioning terms (i.e., what are the US, CS, UR, and CR?) (Use the touchdown/football example from the PowerPoints as a guide for how to format your response)

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