Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Aversive Learning

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_500


Aversive conditioning


In aversive learning an aversion is created toward a targeted behavior by pairing it with an unpleasant stimulus, such as a painful electric shock.


Traditional analyses of learning posited two general classes of conditioning (i) classical or Pavlovian conditioning and (ii) operant or instrumental conditioning. In these analyses, the former involved stimulus–stimulus associations, whereas the latter reflected associations between responses and reinforcers. These paradigms were applied to both appetitive and aversive conditioning situations, and involved reinforcement or punishment, respectively.

In traditional models of aversive classical conditioning, the paradigm further emphasized that the unconditioned stimulus (US; usually some type of rapid onset pain such as footshock) elicits an unconditioned response, the UR. As associative conditioning develops, a conditioned response (CR) emerges in response to the conditioned stimulus...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of Genetics and Molecular BiologyJohn A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Pacific Biomedical Research CenterUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA