9 October 2012
Learning & Memory
Learning as Contiguity
Locke - tabula rasa "blank slate"
o Experience determines what we feel and our decision making
Pavlov, Russian physiologist, an icon that even Stalin and Lenin would not mess with
o Performed cruel and sadistic experiments on dogs to see if different foods produced more
o He first believed that dogs would have "psychic secretions" when dogs salivated prior to food
He then studied these "psychic secretions"
o S = Stimulus, R = response, SR = Stimulus-Response
o N = neutral, U = Unconditioned, C = Conditioned
Acquisition - "Learning Process"
Extinction - "Unlearning Process"
Spontaneous Recovery - "Relearning Process"; much faster than acquisition
Generalization - any similar stimulae (e.g. any bell)
Discrimination - only a peculiar stimulae (e.g. only B# bell)
John "Swats" Watson:
o Hated the philosophical part of philosophy
o One of his grad students provide him with scientific work from Russia, and translated it
o Became the father of "Behaviourism"
o "Little Albert" studies:
White bunny = Neutral stimulus
A Gong = Stimulus, which scares him
They pair the two together and eventually Albert gets scared whenever he saw the
Then they would generalize it as any furry creature
Mother eventually takes him out of program and they are never seen again
He goes to New York and opens up an advertising company using his practice of
Learning as Contingency: From Watson to Skinner
Law of Effect – Edward Thorndike (1874-1949)
Learning can take place in a different way other than simply association by contiguity.
Put a cat in a cage, food dish is outside of cage, cat tries to reach the food between the bars.
In the cage, there is a pedal that opens the door to the cage; cat finally steps on the pedal accidentally
and door opens.
Puts cat back in cage and cat eventually figures out that stepping on the pedal = freedom.
Positive outcome -> behaviour increases, negative outcome -> behaviour decreases (law of effect).
Also called OPERANT (instrumental, Skinnerian) CONDITIONING.
B.F. Skinner: Experimented on pigeons; there would be a button they could peck to release a food
pellet. Pigeons would accidentally peck the button and food would be deliver