Reproductive behavior systems afford many of the same opportunities for the study of learning as do more conventional fear and appetitive conditioning preparations. Sexual learning is distinctive in that it involves social situations in which one animal learns something as a result of being exposed to sexual stimuli provided by another animal, usually a conspecific of the opposite sex. The sexual reinforcer can be ex posure to visual, olfactory, or other cues of a potential sexual partner in the absence of tac tile contact with the subject. Alternatively, the sexual reinforcer may involve a copulatory op portunity or other forms of tactile interaction with the subject. (For a more complete review of sexual reinforcement, see Crawford, Hol loway 6c Domjan, 1993.)
All of the various learning paradigms that have been extensively investigated in conventional learning preparations can also be investigated in reproductive behavior systems. Conventional fear conditioning or appetitive conditioning typically does not involve learning how to be afraid or how to ingest food. Rather, fear and appetitive conditioning involves learning about dangerous situations and situations in which food is sometimes available. Fear and appetitive conditioning also involves learning how to avoid dangerous situations and how to obtain access to food.