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Lecture 4

PSYCH 1X03 Lecture 4: Instrumental Conditioning

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Joe Kim

PSYCH 1X03 Instrumental Conditioning Definition: The learning of a contingency between behaviour and consequence. Thorndike • Studied the behaviours of cats in a puzzle box over several trials and recorded their escape time • His hypothesis was that on trials following his discovery of the correct solution, the cat would then escape immediately when placed in the same puzzle box; long escape times during initial trials would be followed by a dramatic step down in time to escape in later trials. He was wrong. • The frequency of the random behaviours gradually decreased over time o Suggests that animals follow a simple stimulus response type process with little credit for consciousness • Stamping In or Stamping Out of behaviour leads to refinement and eventually a contingency The Law of Effect: Behaviours with positive consequences are stamped in while those with negative consequences are stamped out. Reinforcers Four different types 1. Presenting a positive reinforcer a. Reward training à leads to increase of behaviour 2. Removing a positive reinforcer a. Omission training à leads to decrease of behaviour 3. Presenting a negative reinforcer a. Punishment training à leads to decrease of behaviour 4. Removing a negative reinforcer a. Escape training à leads to increase of behaviour All types of instrumental conditioning ben- efit from the immediate presentation of the consequence after the response. SuccessiveApproximation: a type of shaping where complex behaviour is organized into smaller steps which gradually build up to the full response that is meant to be conditioned. E.g. training pigeons to play ping pong by teaching them to 1. Peck Ping-Pong table, 2. Peck stationary ball 3. Peck moving ball and 4. Peck ball all across the table. ▯1 Instrumental Conditioning Module Notes PSYCH 1X03 The Discriminative Stimulus (SD or S+): when the contingency between a response and a reinforcer is on. Sδ: when the contingency between a response and a reinforcer is off. Generalization occurs for instrumental conditioning as well. CS vs SD • CS à automatically elicits the response. The response is involuntary and reflexive • SD à sets the occasion for a response. Signals when the response-reinforcer rela- tionship is valid. Response is voluntary and not reflexive Schedules of Reinforcement Continuous Re
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