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First Times are Always Fun

Instead of doing what I was thinking of last week, I took a fairly different route home from St. Clair. Of the two entrances to the parking lot, I took the one leading out to McNaughton, and walked all the way along there down to St. Clair, where I turned right, walked for a bit more, and stopped in for a bit at work to finish writing my notes. The distance between those two places, and the college and home must be the same, because it only took about half an hour tonight as well, but I still enjoyed it. One big help is that the dining room was devoid of customers when I walked in, sure, but even given that, I might make a habit of stopping by there when I wasn't able to finish everything at St. Clair. It's a neutral place (the college is associated with learning, and home is associated with relaxing), and if I can get there with an hour to spare, that should be plenty of time, even if I have to write down the entire night's worth of slides in my notebook. I did take my camera along, yes, and have pictures of nearly everything we went through, but I still need to write it down sometime. Laura and Tom didn't seem to mind either - all Tom was really going on about was the customers being like flies on excrement (not his word, but I'm sure you can guess what he actually said), and Laura only commented that it must be nice to walk as fast as I do, because she apparently lives right out near the college, and it takes her at least 45 minutes to walk from work to there, or the other way around. As for the class, we were told about classical and operant conditioning, and observational learning, as well as sensation and perception. More interesting than last week, in my opinion, but I am once again worried that I did poorly on our in-class assignment. We were given a series of seven scenarios (technically six, as the teacher told us to skip the last one), and asked to answer whether those situations described classical or operant conditioning, and to give a couple reasons for why. I don't have my exact answers with me, as we had to turn those in at the end of the class, but for interest's sake, and to see if I still feel the same way about what I said, the questions and my current answers to them are as follows:

Scenario 1] Every time someone flushes the toilet in an apartment building, the water in the shower becomes very hot, and causes the person to jump back. Over time, the person begins to jump back automatically upon hearing a toilet flush

Amusingly, I didn't realize until now that it says "hot", whereas the water actually gets very cold if somebody flushes the toilet while you're in the shower, to my experience. Maybe it's different in apartment buildings, but as for the answer, I say it's classical conditioning, the key being the use of "automatically". The stimulus is obviously the toilet flushing, thus causing the water in the shower to run hot, and the response is the subject jumping back in the shower. After a time, jumping back will become involuntary, because I don't think many people would like to be burned by anything, let alone water from the shower, therefore it would likely happen even when the subject isn't in the shower. While I'm still on this one though, I'd like to further point out how flawed this example is. If anything, most people would be able to condition themselves to not freak out and jump back when they hear a toilet flushing, and how shoddily built is the apartment that people can hear toilets other than theirs being flushed?

Scenario 2] Your father gives you a credit card at the end of your first year of college because of how well you did. As a result, you continue to try to get good grades

Right away, this one is so very much operant, which I wouldn't have known before going back through pictures of the slides just now, and seeing that one of the ways operant conditioning differs from classical is that the response is voluntary, as opposed to reflexive. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I said it was classical in the answers I actually wrote down, but I see my mistake now, which is better than assuming what I said before was right. Back to the question though, it has to be operant, because for it to be classical would dictate that the person who received the credit card expects to get one at every school year end, so long as their grades were on par with the first year's.

Scenario 3] You eat a new food, and then get sick the next day with the flu. As a result, you develop a dislike for the food, and feel nauseated whenever you see or smell it

Classical, if only because the response (feeling nauseated) is involuntary. Interestingly, I think this one is the most personally relevant to me. Eggs, snack mix, Subway, canned pasta... I have at one point or another felt ill at the thought of all of those, because of overexposure in the case of canned pasta, and toward the other three, because I got sick either the same night, or the day after I had eaten them. A new one might be developing right now, assuming excessive consumption of Pepsi is to blame for my bubbles problem, but thankfully, I haven't become sick from that yet.

Scenario 4] If you try to start your car without bucking your seatbelt, a red light flashes, and quickly becomes annoying. After seeing it a few times, you become less likely to start driving without bucking your seatbelt

Now is about the time to say I am taking certain liberties with copying these from the pictures. The way they were originally constructed makes sense, sort of, but there's alot of cruft, and things that could be organized more efficiently. Maybe I should just forget about this course and become a proofreader or editor at someplace in need of somebody to do that... Regarding the question though, I'm going with operant conditioning, but would have said classical, only for the technicality that it isn't specifically stated whether or not the car will function as normal while the red light is flashing. Being more likely to buckle your seatbelt before starting the car is a voluntary response, whereas for it to be classical would require that you develop such an aversion to the light that you always buckle up first in order to avoid seeing it, or something.

Scenario 5 A lion in a circus learns to stand up on a chair and jump through a hoop to receive a reward

Instead of "reward", the slide says "food treat". As I noted aloud there, I refuse to repeat those words in my answer, because they sound weird. Food treat. It's almost like they're not related except for in a certain context, and that context isn't present in the scenario given. At any rate, I'm pretty sure this is operant as well, because the response is learned over time, and only to get a reward. Classical conditioning, on the other hand, would be if the lion associates standing on the chair and jumping through a hoop with getting a reward, to the point where it performs those acts every time it senses the reward, or the reward-givers, or anything else related to it.

Scenario 6 Every time you study, you receive a bad grade, so the next time you have a test, you decide not to study

Most likely operant yet again. Classical would be if you didn't study, because you directly associated studying with getting a bad grade, therefore the only reasonable option would seem to be not studying leading to getting good grades. Also, deciding not to study is clearly voluntary.

Scenario 7 An individual receives frequent injections of a drug. The drug itself causes increased heart rate, but after several trips to the clinic, simply seeing a needle causes their heart to beat faster

This is the one we were told not to answer, and I can sort of see why, with how the original scenario is worded. Have a look at this: "An individual receives frequent injections of a drug. The drug itself causes increased heart rate, but after several trips to the clinic, simply seeing a needle causes your heart rate to beat faster." I presume it was skipped mostly to save time, but it reads kind of awkwardly, which doesn't lend itself any better to finding an answer. However, I have mine, being that this is an example of classical conditioning. Seeing a needle (the stimulus) causes the person's heart to beat faster (the response), which is involuntary on its own, and that carries through to it happening if they see a needle even when they aren't at the clinic. Or they have a phobia about needles. Both are possible.

It seems I'm stuck in this rut of assuming "if the response is voluntary, then it's operant conditioning, and if it's involuntary, it's classical" now, which might not always be true, but it works for now. I find it interesting to see how those have an effect in my life though. Mostly in the form of classical conditioning, in such that with alot of the stuff I've gotten worked up over before or had issues with in the past, my mind stops me from thinking about or contemplating it too much, so I don't have a recurrence of whatever happened before. Operant, on the other hand, would be me being nicer than normal to customers at work in hopes of getting tips. Not to imply that I do that, because I really only interact with them based on how the rest of the night is going, but it does happen from time to time. Am I going to be constantly looking at things over the next week and figuring out which heading they fit under? Definitely yes, but it means I'm learning / have learned something, which is always a good thing.

Regarding other normal matters though, I think it would be best if I left them until tomorrow or the day after, if I can remember any of them then. It's a couple minutes after 6:30 right now, and waking up earlier than normal today has given me a start to hopefully putting an end to sleeping in. That is, if I don't go and sleep in tomorrow, which I might very well, because I don't have anything else to do (look - operant conditioning. stimulus: sleeping in is relaxing and feels good. response: probably sleep in tomorrow), but as per normal, we'll see. I hope Dan is around, because I'd like to talk to him about some thoughts I have regarding cookies, but there's no rush for that yet. Probably not until the middle of next week or so, which gives me a good ten days. Now if only it could last as long as it sounds...

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