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Zero Contingency

In a positive contingency, the conditioned stimulus occurs with the unconditioned stimulus – in Pavlov’s example, the bell occurs just before the food.

In a zero contingency, the unconditioned stimulus also occurs randomly at other times. When this happens, it means that the conditioned stimulus does not predict the unconditioned stimulus.

With no prediction present, the dog does not make the desired association. So, Pavlov’s dog would not learn that that bell is associated with the food, and therefore wouldn’t salivate when he hears the bell.