PSYC 325 Lecture 8: Week 8 - Lecture Notes ch.6

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27 Nov 2020
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PSYC 325 Lecture Notes Chapter 6
Generalization and Discrimination Learning
Behavioral processes
Brain substrates
Clinical perspectives
Using the Past to Cope with the Present
We often need to respond to stimuli that are completely novel.
Will I like snowboarding? I’ve never tried it before!
Rather than respond randomly, we can consider prior experience with stimuli we have
encountered.
Snowboarding reminds me of skiing. I have tried that, and loved it.
Using the Past to Cope with the Present
There are two basic ways of using these past experiences:
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Generalization versus Discrimination
Three potential approaches to study:
Similar stimuli that predict similar outcomes
And consequently, dissimilar stimuli predict different outcomes
Similar stimuli that predict different outcomes
Dissimilar stimuli that predict similar outcomes
Similar Stimuli Can Predict Similar Consequences
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First, pigeons learned to peck a yellow light for food.
Next, they were presented with novel lights of different colors.
Rate of responding was recorded for the trained (yellow) and test colors.
(Guttman and Kalish study)
Similar Stimuli Can Predict Similar Consequences
Generalization gradientgraph showing how behavioral response changes
with respect to physical changes in stimuli
Responding is highest for physically similar stimuli gradually
declines for less similar stimuli
Similar Stimuli Can Predict Similar Consequences
There is a balance between generalization and discrimination
Very similar stimuli treated similarly to training light: generalization
Very dissimilar stimuli (e.g., 520 nm) treated as completely different: discrimination
The Challenge of Incorporating Similarity into Learning Models
Animals clearly respond to stimuli based on similarity with past experience.
How can “similarity” be captured in a formal model of learning?
The Challenge of Similarity in Learning Models
Discrete-component representationeach individual stimulus is represented by its own node or
“component.”
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