•This short essay exam is essentially an open-book research assignment requiring short answer, paragraph, and essay responses to questions on classical and operant conditioning.
•You will complete a three page (minimum) typed, logical, focused response to the questions. Be clear and precise.
•Your answer must be completely developed, and have factual support represented by specific examples from the texts, and be in the STANDARD ESSAY FORM
Essay Exam 2: Conditioning
Joe Joins the Circus (or Elephant Love):
A Case Study in Learning Theory
Elephant Love
Joe had wanted to join the circus ever since his mother took him to a Ringling Brothers show when he was four years old. This past year, he realized his dream. He quit college and joined the circus. He started in the circus where the need was greatest—cleaning up after the elephants. In his new job, he got to know Daisy, the young female elephant, and Simon, the male elephant.
Joe and the elephants had a rough time at first. Joe liked to whistle, and Simon couldn’t stand whistling. Joe made it up to Simon when he learned that Simon loved plums. Both Simon and Joe were happy the day Joe found out that there was a spot on Simon’s trunk that Simon loved to have scratched. Joe also discovered that Daisy and Simon enjoyed their bath time and that they hated to leave the ring in the big top where they performed.
Joe settled into elephant clean-up duty, hoping for a better job in the circus. Then came his big break. One January, the elephant trainer went on vacation and Joe was left in charge of Daisy and Simon. George, the owner of the circus, had an idea. For the month of February, he decided that the circus would do a special program on love, in honor of Valentine’s Day. George told Joe he wanted the elephants to do something new. George proclaimed that before their usual elephant show Daisy would flirtatiously bat her eyes at Simon and Simon would bring her a big heart-shaped box as a Valentine’s Day gift.
Now Joe had a problem. The elephant trainer hadn’t known about this Valentine’s Day special and had left Joe no instructions for training.
Joe went back to his trailer that night and tried to figure out what to do. If he wanted to get promoted from his job cleaning up after his four-ton friends, he would have to figure out how to train the elephants. At about 1 a.m., he suddenly remembered a lecture he had heard in a course his second year in college, the semester before he quit, and he knew what he would do to train the elephants.
The next morning he borrowed a long pipe and an air compressor. He positioned Daisy and the pipe and the air compressor. He blew a puff of air through the pipe near Daisy’s eye. When the air hit her eye, Daisy blinked several times.
“Bingo!” thought Joe. The blinking was just what the circus owner wanted. It looked like the elephant version of a flirtatious batting of the eyes.
Joe couldn’t bring a pipe and an air compressor into the center ring during a performance, so he enlisted help from one of the clowns in the clown band. The clown played the last few notes of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley and then Joe sent a puff of air up the pipe to Daisy’s eye. Daisy blinked.
Joe and the clown did this many times.
Joe asked the clown to play the last few notes of the song again, but this time he didn’t send the puff of air up the pipe. Daisy blinked anyway! Joe and the clown cheered. Joe now had a flirtatious elephant.
The clown asked Joe how he came up with the idea. Joe described a psychology class he took in college. In that class, they had discussed learning theories.
Joe and his clown friend were excited to have trained Daisy, but Joe also needed to train Simon, the male elephant, to pick up a big heart-shaped box and bring it over to Daisy as a Valentine’s Day gift.
He brought Simon into the ring and let him wander around. When Simon approached the big heart-shaped box, Joe gave him a plum. Joe did this three times before he quit giving Simon a plum simply for approaching the box. Simon started to investigate the box and Joe gave him another plum. Joe then gave Simon a plum anytime he picked up the box. Eventually Joe provided plums to Simon only when he picked up the box and brought it over to Daisy.
Simon, Daisy, and Joe ran through the rest of the elephant’s program, but now Joe had a problem. Joe wanted Simon to wait until the song played, prompting Daisy to bat her eyes. Simon was then supposed to pick up the box and bring it over to Daisy, but Simon ignored what Daisy was doing and would pick up the box and bring it over to her as soon as he saw it. Joe didn’t want him to forget this new learning, so he would give Simon a plum every time he brought the box to Daisy.
Joe was frustrated, so he quit for the day and asked his clown friend for help. The clown suggested they run through the entire program. The next day, Joe, the elephants, and the clown band gathered in the big top.
The clown played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and at the end Daisy began batting her eyes, blinking rapidly as she had been trained to do. Simon walked over to the heart-shaped box, picked it up, and brought it over to Daisy. They then continued through the rest of the routine.
They kept practicing. Whenever Simon broke out of the routine to get the heart box and Daisy was not batting her eyes, Joe did not reinforce him for that behavior. They ran through the introduction several times, with Daisy batting her eyes, and only then did Joe reward Simon with a plum.
The next day Simon brought the elephants into the ring. The circus had not received its shipment of fruit yet, so Simon was running out of plums. He spaced out the plum reward every third time the elephants went through the sequence. The elephants did their routine and George, the owner of the circus, came to watch. He complimented Joe on a job well done and proclaimed that the elephants would do their new routine in the next show.
On Valentine’s Day, the elephants performed before a packed crowd. Daisy batted her eyes flirtatiously, Simon brought her a big pink heart-shaped box, and the crowd sighed in appreciation of elephant love. Joe was promoted.
Case Study Analysis
Joe’s training experiences with Daisy and Simon demonstrates the acquisition of both operant and classical conditioning.
From the Case Study identify the behavior learned through classical conditioning and label the UCS, UCR, CS, CR.
• You must describe the situation
• Then label the UCS, UCR, CS, CR.

From the Case Study identify the behavior learned through operant conditioning and answering the following questions
• What behavior was modified/changed?
• Was the behavior strengthened or weakened?
• What was the consequence?
• Was the consequence added or subtracted?

Real-life Analysis
From personal experience, provide an example of classical conditioning from your everyday life?
• Describe the situation
• Identify the US, US, CS, and CR in your response.
• Do not use an example from class or from the practice handouts.
From personal experience, identify a behavior you learned through operant conditioning and answering the following questions?
• Describe the situation
• What behavior was modified/changed?
• Was the behavior strengthened or weakened?
• What was the consequence?
• Was the consequence added or subtracted?

Discuss the following and explain your reasoning using the information your provided about Joe’s training experiences and your real-life analysis :
• In what ways are classical and operant conditioning similar? Different?
• Under which circumstances (i.e., to condition which type of behaviors) do you think that classical conditioning might be more effective than operant conditioning?
• When would operant conditioning be more effective?

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