The Rescorla-Wagner Model

In this video I explain the basic idea behind the Rescorla-Wagner model or contingency model of classical conditioning proposed by Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner. This model suggests that the reason Pavlov’s dogs associated the bell (rather than some other stimulus) with food was that it was salient and served as a reliable predictor of food. Don’t forget to subscribe …

Scared Infants and Sick Rats: Aversive Conditioning

In this video I explain two examples of aversive conditioning; John Watson’s “Little Albert” study pairing presentation of a rat with a loud noise, and John Garcia and Robert Koelling’s work on learned taste aversions in rats. Taste aversions demonstrate our biological preparedness for some learning, which allows us to learn certain types of associations more easily than others. Don’t …

Signal Detection Theory

In this video I explain how signal detection theory relates to psychophysics and the study of absolute and difference thresholds. I also explain how response criteria play a role in signal detection theory and the possibility of type I and type II errors. Finally, I consider applications of signal detection theory in daily life, from detecting dangers to dating. Don’t …

What is Psychophysics?

My apologies to those of you hoping to read about physics gone mad; the truth is that psychophysics is actually the study of our sensitivity to stimuli of different strengths. This is generally done by attempting to measure different types of thresholds.  Absolute threshold refers to the minimum amount of stimulation necessary for a stimulus to be detected. For example, the absolute threshold for …