Learning Theories: The affective extension of SOP model
The affective extension of the sometimes-opponent process (AESOP) is a model that focusses on affection and sensory stimuli that were advanced by Allan Wagner. The AESOP model has regulations on how the stimulus is to be represented hence showing how learning is supposed to occur either as a primary or secondary component. The theories associated with the learning process assume that experiences are documented in the hypothetical memory structure. This theory assumes that a stimulus whether conditioned or unconditioned has a response that could be conditioned or unconditioned. Pavlov’s carried out trials that exhibited that a dog will drool when it a bell is rung or when hungry. The sound of a bell or hunger is stimuli that trigger a response of salivating in the dog. Pavlov saw that both conditioned and unconditioned stimuli elicited the same answer. In the AESOP model, Wagner saw that the replies from the sensory and affection stimuli could be the same or different, that is there is a primary and secondary component (Bouton, 2007).
A trained stimulus is an impartial provocation that is associated with an unconditional stimulus that produces a habituated response. Assume the aroma of the meal you like the most is the new stimulus and hunger is the answer you give without any form of training. Suppose that every time you smell your best food you always hear the sound of a car honk. Honking and the smell of any meal that an individual loves the most have no direct relationship, but if honking is linked to the aroma of a person’s favorite food it will lead to a trained response. Therefore, the stimuli a person gets trained to is honking, that is, a person becomes hungry when there is honking even without necessarily having to smell food. The unconditioned stimulus occurs naturally without an individual having control of the response they elicit. The smell of your preferred food will make you famished; therefore, the smell is the unconditioned response (Bouton, 2007).
Pavlov came up with a suggestion that with conditioning, both the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus will trigger the same response after he observed similar digestive answers in a dog. From the studies he conducted, Pavlov saw that both the taught and unconditioned stimuli will lead to the production of the same responses to indicate that the accustomed and limitless responses are alike. According to Pavlov, both the trained and untrained stimuli will produce the same effect because they affect the same brain part that is responsible for producing the results (Didier & Bigand, 2010). Pavlov further suggested that there is a connection that is present between the unconditioned stimulus brain center and the intellect center responsible for the unconditional response. A conditioned stimulus produces the same answer as the unconditioned stimulus because of substitution; that is, the conditioned stimulus replaces the unconditioned stimulus and triggers the same response as the unconditioned stimulus. Therefore, a conditioned response is just an unconditioned response that is triggered by the conditioned stimulus rather than by the unconditioned stimulus.
The inter-stimuli interval is the range that is in between the offset of one stimulus and the onset of another stimulus. This range is, therefore, the range of time in between an untrained provocation and the motivation that happens to be trained.
In conditioning, the unconditioned and conditioned responses are alike in many scenarios but often they are different. Siegel carried out various experiments to show that conditioned and unconditioned responses are unlike. In the unconditioned stimulus, morphine was used to elicit analgesia that causes a decline in sensitivity to any form of pain. Analgesia is, therefore, an unconditioned response to the unconditional stimulus morphine. Siegel further showed that the conditioned response to stimuli applied together with morphine is hyperalgesia that is being highly sensitive to pain. Siegel observed that rats put under unconditioned stimuli, that is, rats that had morphine introduced in their systems took extended periods to take their paws off a hot plate than the rats that were not injected with morphine (Bouton, 2007). However, when a light is introduced, the rats that were injected with morphine removed their paws more quickly from the hot plate than the rats that were not injected with morphine. Conditioning, therefore, causes hypersensitivity, and it could explain hostility in individuals who are under the influence of alcohol. Conditioning can further lead to drug tolerance that has withdrawal symptoms that lead to drug addiction. Therefore with the use of morphine in unconditioned stimulus, the unconditional response is analgesia but in the conditioned stimulus coupled with morphine, the conditioned response is hyperalgesia. The conclusion is that the conditioned response and unconditioned response are not similar.
In the AESOP model, the conditioned response can be similar or different from the unconditioned response. According to Wagner, an unconditioned stimulus triggers two replies that are the primary and secondary components. The principal component appears quickly and also disappears rapidly after the stimulus has ended. The secondary element, on the other hand, appears gradually and also disappears gradually. In Wagner’s model, when the primary and secondary components are similar, the conditioned and unconditioned responses will be similar. This model, therefore, helps measure different conditioning outcomes that are the sensory and emotive responses. The weakness of this model is that it assumes that the secondary component becomes the conditioned response that is not the case always (Wagner & Mowrer, 1989).
The AESOP model is an efficient model because it considers both the sensory and emotive responses of conditioning. In the visual responses, it is easy to measure how individuals will react to different modes of conditioning such as light and sound. Emotive responses help in understanding how different people will express their emotions when under conditioning. People have different reactions to stimulus, and, therefore, you can easily associate an individual response to the conditioned or unconditioned stimulus. This model has further increased the knowledge of understanding other theories such as the Pavlovian conditioning process hence increasing awareness to psychologists on how to deal with responses to different stimulus.
Bouton, M. E. (2007). Learning and behavior: A contemporary synthesis. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Publishers.
Didier, J.-P, & Bigand, E. (2010). Rethinking physical and rehabilitation medicine: New technologies induce new learning strategies. Paris: Springer.
Wagner, A. R., Brandon, S. E., Klein, S. B., & Mowrer, R. R. (1989). Evolution of a structured connectionist model of Pavlovian conditioning (AESOP). Contemporary learning theories: Pavlovian conditioning and the status of traditional learning theory, 149-189.