Acquisition Of The Cr

As noted previously, the specifics regarding any aspect of classical conditioning must be reserved for the particular type of classical conditioning paradigm, the response that is measured, and the species that is used. However, some general features can be noted regarding the acquisition of the CR. The most fundamental element of classical conditioning is the association of the CS and the US that results in the acquisition of the CR. During the initial presentation of the CS and the US, no response to the CS is observed. With continued pairing of the CS and the US (i.e., presentation of additional training trials), CRs begin to develop in response to the CS. This development of the CR is referred to as the acquisition of the CR. It is often referred to as an increasing probability of CRs. In other words, with continued training, the probability of a CR on a given trial increases. In some conditioning paradigms (such as classical conditioning of the NM response in rabbits) this probability can approach 0.99 (i.e., CRs on almost every trial). During the early phases of CR acquisition, CRs are generally small-amplitude responses that gradually (over the course of training) grow larger until they become as large as the UR. The latency of the CR also tends to change during CR acquisition. Initially, the latency of the CR onset begins just before the onset of the US. With continued training the latency decreases so that the onset of the CR begins well before the onset of the US. Finally, the CR is acquired to the extent that the maximum amplitude of the CR (the CR peak) occurs at the time of the US onset. This is sometimes referred to as a "well-timed" CR.

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