PSY 105 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Fear Conditioning, Sleep Deprivation, Neuroplasticity
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Chapter 5: Learning
Learning: experience that results in relatively long-lasting change in the state of the learner. Can occur with awareness
(explicit learning) or without awareness (implicit learning).
- Learning is divided into 2 major categories:
-Associative learning: change that occurs as a result of experiences that lead us to link 2/more stimuli together.
-Non-associative learning: change based on experience, but happens when we change magnitude of our response to a
Non-associative learning: learning involves changes in magnitude of response to a (single) stimulus
- 2 major types of non-associative learning:
-Habituation: leaning where repeated or prolonged exposure to a stimulus leads to a gradual reduction in responding.
Has clear adaptive value because it allows organism to ignore stimuli that do not convey information of biological
significance. Is in part the result of depleted neurotransmitter and decrease in response with learning.
-Sensitization: learning involves altered response after presentation of a single stimulus. Increase in response with
Learning alters the brain
Neural plasticity- nervous system’s ability to change:
a. Growth of dendrites and axons
d. During learning: long-term potentiation (LTP)
Types of associative learning:
-Watching others: observational learning
-Rewards: operant conditioning
-Making connections: classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning: when a neutral stimulus leads to a response after being paired with a stimulus that naturally leads to a
response. Ex. loud noises whenever a light is turned on.
Basics of classical conditioning:
-Unconditioned Stimulus (US): stimulus that on its own elicits a response in the absence of learning
-Unconditioned response (UR): physical response elicited by a unconditional stimulus; it does not need to be learned
-Conditioned Stimulus (CS): neural stimulus that eventually elicits the same response as unconditioned stimulus with
which it has been paired.
-Conditioned Response (CR): physical response (reaction) elicited by a conditioned stimulus; it is usually the same
as unconditioned response. Produced by conditioned stimulus.
Stimulus discrimination: when organism learns to emit a specific behaviour in the presence of a stimulus, but not in the
presence of stimuli similar to the original stimulus. Ex. lab rat gets shock (US) when it hears tone (CS). It can be taught to
discriminate different tones, high tone (shock) and low tone (no shock).
Acquisition: acquiring of a learned response as a result of the pairing of a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.
Extinction: weakening & eventual disappearance of a learned response because the conditioned stimulus is no longer paired
with the unconditioned stimulus
Spontaneous recovery: reappearance of a learned response after its apparent extinction.
Generalization: once a response has been conditioned, the tendency to respond in a similar way to stimuli similar to the CS
-Ex. Infants can tell difference between their mother’s voice and the voice of other women
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