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PSYCH 218 (82)
Glenn Ward (23)


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Glenn Ward

Chapter 5: Learning and Behaviour Learning an adpative process in which the tendency to perform particular behaviour is changed by experience as conditions change we learn new behaviours and eliminate old ones learning can only be observed through behaviour, but some behaviour is not a result of learning, and some learning doesnt produce a change is behaviour experience alters chemistry of brain these alterations affect how NS responds to subsequent events Performance behavioural change produced by internal changes brought about by learning (evidence that learning has occured) factors such as fatigue and motivation can affect behaviour so psychologists also look for specific aspects of performance such as durability and specifity three types of learning: habituation, classical conditioning, operant conditioning all involve cause and effect relationships with environment and behaviour learn which stimuli are trivial and which are important; learn to make adaptive responses and to avoid maladaptive ones; learn to recognize conditions that reponse would be useful or if more appropriate reponse exists these types of learning are building blocks for complex behaviours Habituation: we react automatically to events: orienting response organism directs appropriate sensory organ toward source of novel stimulus habituation simplest form of learning: learning not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly George Humphrey experiment with snails, got used to tapping so wouldnt retreat into shell from evolutionary perspective waste of time and energy Wicks and Rankin used worm Nemoda and subjected them to taps or heat found that this withdrawing effect occurs through neurons that respond to mechanical stimulus, regardless of stimulus could produce habituation to tap-elicited stimulus but not to heat shows they learned something about tap and could distinguish it from reaction to source of heat only had 302 neurons in NS short term habituation simplest form long term habituation animals with more complex nervous system pattern of experience plays a role in distinguishing long-term and short-term: when sitmuli are massed into quick repetitions, habituation is rapid but ST when sitmuli are presented in small groups that are spaced over time, habituation is slower but LT evidence that 2 different neural mechanisms are responsible for this Classical Conditioning: invovled learning about conditions that predict that a significant event will occur Pavlov noticed dogs salivated when they saw research assistant come into room so he set up experiment with bell and food and dogs learned to salivate when they heard bell ring Classical Conditioning process by which a response normally elicitied by one stimulus (UCS) comes to be controlled by another stimulus (CS) as well sequence and timing is important unconditional stimulus stimulus that naturally elicits a reflexive response unconditional response - behaviour itself that is naturally elicited by UCS conditional stimulus stimulus that, because of repeated association with UCS, eventually elicits conditional response conditional response response elicited by CR Biological Significance of Classical Conditioning: two funcitons: ability to learn to recognize stimuli that predicts occurence of an important event allows learner to make appropriate response faster and more effectively siamese fighting fish more likely to win fight if they were given stimulus (CS) that intruding male (UCS) would enter territory blue gouramis more likely to mate sooner and produce more offspring when they received stimulus (CS) signalling approaching female (UCS) learning that occurs with biologically significant UCS is more resistant to subsequent modifications stimuli that were previously unimportant acquire some properties of important stimuli with which they have been associated and thus become able to modify behaviour neutral stimulus becomes desirable when it is associated with desirable stimulus or becomes undesirable when it is associated with undesirable stimulus specific properties of UCS become associated with CS - UCS takes on symbolic value Ward-Robinson demonstrated this with pigeons where they pecked at light when sound went on (paired sound CS with food UCS) adaptive significance is so general that even nematode exhibits it Wen placed worms in solution of Na+ or Cl- with bacteria; when placed with patches on ions and no bacteria, worm migrated to ions thinking there was food Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning: discovered 7 interesting phenomena: acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, stimulus generalization, and discrimination Acquisition: acquisition time during wich CR appears and increases in frequency strength of CR is influenced by: intesity of UCS and timing of CS and UCS more intense UCS produces rapid learning more intense UCS stronger the CR is classical conditioning occurs fastest when CS occurs shorlty before UCS and both end at same time 0.5 seconds is optimal delay between onset of CS and UCS little conditioning if CS follows UCS, or if too long or short delay will be slower and weaker Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery: extinction elimination of a response that occurs when CS is repeatedly presented without being followed by UCS participant learns that CS is no longer followed by UCS if neither are presented then extinction doesn't occur doesn't necessarily disappear permanently spontaneous recovery after an interval of time, reappearance of response that had previously extinguished Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination: generalization CR elicited by stimuli that resembles CS used in training once response has been conditioned to CS similar stimuli will also elicit that response more stimuli resembles CS more likely it will elicit CR discrimination appearance of CR when one stimulus is presented (CR+) but not another one (CR-) accomplished by using 2 CS during training one is followed by the UCS and another isn't involes learning difference between 2 or more stimuli Conditioned Emotional Responses: many stimuli are able to arouse emotional response (disgust, contempt, fear, anger, sadness, tenderness, longing, or sexual desire) many had no special signifance but were paired with stimuli that elicited strong emotional reaction so they acquired emotional or evaluative signifance Todrank, Byrnes, Wrzesniewski, and Rozin people associated pleasant or unpleasant odour with attractive or unactriveness of person in photograph phobias unreasonable fear of specific onjects or situations learned through classical learning at some time early in life person was exposed to now-fearsome object in conjunction with stimulus that elicited pain or fear classical conditioning can occur without direct experience with CS or UCS can be learned through observation (vicariously) imaginary episodes that we picture as we hear or read story (UCS) can provide imaginary stimuli (CS) that lead to real conditional emotional responses (CR) therapists use knowledge of principles of learning to eliminate them suggestions that biologically relevant stimuli are especially prone to classically conditioned emotional responses What is learned in Classical Conditioning: research shows that for classical conditioning to occur, CS must be reliable predictor of UCS neutral stimulus becomes a CS only when following conditions are satisfied: CS regularly occurs prior to presentation of UCS CS does not regularly occur when UCS is absent principle has been clearly established by conditioning phenomenon known as
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