By Stephen Walker
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Extra info for Animal Learning: An Introduction
1955, p. 1 Pavlov’s method. Pavlov’s experiments were very carefully controlled. The dog was isolated from the experimenter, who delivered stimuli by means of automated devices, and recorded quantitative measures of response. After Asratyan (1953). In order to study psychological effects on digestive secretions more thoroughly, it was enough to measure the effects of selected artificial stimuli on volume of salivation, and this could be accomplished by means of a minor operation to lead salivation out through a tube in the dog’s cheek.
The acquisition of conditioned reflexes A wide variety of experimental stimuli were used in Pavlov’s experiments bells, buzzers, pure tones, and the sounds of musical instruments, presentation of illuminated visual patterns, or the sight of gradually rotating objects. None of these artificial stimuli would normally induce a hungry dog to salivate, but if any of them were to be presented consistently for a few seconds before the dog was given food, then the ‘conditioned stimulus’ would by itself elicit copious salivation.
72). It is clear therefore that synapses between individual sensory and motor neurons can habituate, and it is likely that this mechanism controls a substantial fraction of the habituation seen in the total behavioural repertoire of seaslugs. It does not therefore follow 39 that this mechanism is the only one available to explain all reductions in response to repeated stimulation in all other animal species. (iv) Sensitized states affecting the S-R connection It is a matter of empirical fact that repeated stimulation sometimes has an effect which is the opposite of habituation — there is some kind of warm-up or sensitizing process so that later stimuli produce a bigger response than earlier ones.