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Chapter 7 - Learning.docx

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PSYC 200
Michael Boyes

Chapter 7: Learning 11/13/13 • Behaviorists • Learning theory – where behaviour comes from o Simple, verifiable o Only pay attention to stimuli going in, behaviour going out and how they vary based on what you put in  Measurable, replicable • Operant conditioning o E.g. don’t call the dog to punish it – catch it in the act then punish Pavlov’s Dog • Measured salivation rates of dogs o Salivation rates would increased when person who feeds them came in  Salivation facilitates eating of large amounts of food – reflexive, evolutionary adaptation o Pavlov interested in connection between food and person who feeds them • Theory of classical conditioning – basic learning o Simple, basic, obvious • Counterconditioning – single most effective way to deal with phobias o Classical conditioning • Basic paradigm with 4 phases: o 1. Before conditioning – US and UR (already there) o 2. Before conditioning – NS (obvious, perceivable, discernible in the environment that doesn’t produce any response) and no conditioned response o 3. During conditioning/training – US and NS paired up over a number of trials (5-8); UR o 4. After training – NS becomes CS; CR 1 Learning: Classical Conditioning • Pavlov • Step One: Identifying the "Natural" UCS-UCR Pairing o What are they doing already • Step Two: Identifying the Neutral Stimulus • Step Three: Pairing the CS and UCS • Step Four: The CS Alone Causes the CR • Example: Clockwork Orange o Classical conditioning used in context of juvenile justice and treatment o Give drug (makes him violently ill) and make him watch criminal acts at the same time o Phases:  US: drug (automatically causes response)  UR: feeling violently ill (reflexive)  NS: violent videos  CS: videos  CR: feeling ill  Pair US and NS  CR produced o Classical music also paired as a neutral stimulus in videos Processes in Classical Conditioning • (1) Acquisition: the learning of the new response – how quickly does learning take place? o The conditioned response (CR) is acquired gradually o The time relationship between the CS and the UCS  Delay conditioning – tuning fork then food after short delay o E.g. cats hearing can-opener  Simultaneous conditioning – food and tuning fork presented at the same time  Trace conditioning – memory (trace/engram theory – memory is a circuit in the brain); sound tone, then minutes-hours later present US  Backward conditioning – food then sound tone  Which works best? o Delay (few seconds; 5-8 trials), trace (few minutes; 12 or more trials), simultaneous (dog eating dinner, stops thinking) and backward is generally unsuccessful • (2) Generalization: once conditioned, other stimuli similar to the CS will produce the same CR o How discriminatory are animals to the tone they respond to? o Generalization – animals aren’t very precise; anything close to that tone will produce a response  Bell curve • (3) Discrimination: the organism learns to differentiate between similar stimuli • (4) Extinction: o Refers to behaviour o What happens when you stop training – behaviour immediately starts to erode  Extinction curve – 5-6 trials down, not getting response  Need to get back to training to make behaviour stronger • (5) Spontaneous recovery: is an increased response to the CS after a rest from extinction trials o Break for a week, then bring back without retraining  CR produced 2 o E.g. people who quit smoking will have spontaneous recovery of desire to engage in smoking when in places where they used to smoke  No addictions, but recovery of urge to smoke Applications • Watson – learning theorist, interest in both classical and operant conditioning o Classical conditioning – convinced that basic fears were learned  Suggested that an incident in the past that resulted in quick learning to develop a fear o Tried to prove that fears were learned • Phobias o Little Albert and Watson  Little Albert did not have phobias initially  Taught him phobia – rabbit placed in front of him and without him knowing, banged metal bar; training exercise  worked  Generalized to other furry things  panic attack reaction o Ethical perspective: should do something to remove the fear  Nothing was actually done • Counter-conditioning – get rid of a behaviour through opposite behaviour o Relaxation – opposite of panic attack o Train person to relax o Systematic Desensitization – 80% of time get significant reduction  1. Figure out fear  2. Work out list of increasingly intense fearful situations  3. Train person to relax – imagine calm, relaxing place; deep breathing; tensing/releasing muscles systematically  4. Relax while thinking about phobia  5. Move up the ladder of intensity until relaxing while confronting phobia o *Aircraft companies donate planes for psychological use o Done over a series of sessions – 1 month total • Not clear how phobias arise in the first place o People can’t remember o Evolutionary advantage of having fears – e.g. snakes, heights/open spaces o Open question as to why in some people fears get overblown  Panic attack disorders – over-functioning of sympathetic nervous system 3 • Drug effects and Heroin OD’s o Shep Seegel (Canadian) – figured out that where they were injecting mattered  Addict change location – at risk for overdose  By shooting up same amount of heroin in same place  body classically conditioned to prepare itself for heroin (gearing up push-back reaction against drug)  New location – no cues; body surprised despite the fact that it got the same amount  overwhelmed by dose o Tolerance – need more and more to get same buzz • Limits on possible phobias – if Watson is right, can produce a phobia of anything o Not true o People develop phobias in very specific areas – e.g. spiders, heights, flying • Taste Aversion (one trial learning) o Powerful learning – one trial o Rats – made ill 6-8 hours after eating  will avoid food  Huge survival value o Stomach flu in humans after eating something Operant Conditioning • Classical conditioning – shaping reflexes o Behaviour is reflexive in nature – blinking eyes, dogs salivating  People learn to blink/twitch at seeing horror movies o Not conscious • Operant – free-range o Rest of behaviour, things that we do with no other purpose associated  Rats in a cage – explore, wander cage o Skinner – by changing environmental contingencies, we can shape that behaviour  Trained pigeon to turn in circles – took random behaviour of pigeons (turning circles) and linked it to food reward  Take general behaviour and shape it  Relationship between antecedents and consequences  effects on behaviour • Behaviorists argue that differences in experience are responsible for virtually all differences in behavior • Antecedents, Consequences, Behavior o Antecedents: environmental stimuli (e.g., light)  Situations that we find ourselves in o Discriminative stimuli: antecedents that signal a likely consequence of a behavior  Certain environmental stimuli can have environmental value  E.g. finding yourself in a completely novel situation  uncertainty due to not knowing what the important discriminative stimuli are  E.g. pigeon trained to pick at a key to get food reward • Discriminant stimulus is presence of the key • Change antecedents – key only works if it’s pecked when a light is on o Figures out that there’s no point in picking key unless light on o Identify new discriminant stimuli • Relationship between discriminant stimuli, antecedent conditions and consequences 4 o Anthropology paper: differences in how Americans vs. Amsterdamians manage public situations where you have to line up  McDonald’s only there for a year – staff training same globally  Dutch – communal event to decide whose turn it is next; group together decides – takes age into account • Doesn’t happen in McDonald’s – order that they’re lined up • Middle-aged Dutch people waited for their turn; younger people figured out that’s not how it works  Different set of discriminative stimuli – which is the active cash register? • Learn about discriminative stimuli through payoff o Behavior: something that the organism does (e.g., peck the lever) o Consequence: an event that follows the behavior (e.g., pigeon receives corn) • ABC of contingencies: IF light on AND pigeon pecks lever, THEN the pigeon will receive corn o Skinner  Advantage: more real world applicable o Slightly more complicated than classical conditioning Increasing and Decreasing the Frequency of Responses – Reinforcement and Punishment • Reinforcement o There are two kinds of reinforcement: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement o Both kinds of reinforcement increase the responses they are paired with Reinforcement • Reinforcement always strengthens a response o Positive – refers to something
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