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Lecture 18

PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Operant Conditioning Chamber, Reinforcement, Signify

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Steve Joordens

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Lecture 18 & 19: Learning: Operant Conditioning
-the consequences of our action and its impact on our future behaviour
-classical condition is forming associations, mapping current things you do to new stimuli (e.g.
dog’s droolig to ell
-operant conditions explains the creation of new behaviour (e.g. dolphins jumping through
burning hoops)
-1930s/40s/50s: everyone was excited about genetics, and the shadow of eugenics is evident
-related to Dari’s theory, people hae ee usig artifiial seletion to breed animals, so
a’t e use this o huas? seletie reedig
-this idea climaxed to Hitler, where he wanted to use eugenics to create blond-hair, blue eyed
people, and when people united against Hitler, they were also against eugenics
-now there is many people who are against eugenics, and their stance is environment and
nature matter
-Edward Thorndike uses puzzle boxes to put cats in, and if different levers are pressed the cat
can go to different compartments, times how long a cat takes to get our/solve the puzzle box
-what happens if you put a cat in the same puzzle box over and over?
-result is the cat gets out faster and faster, with repeated experience the cat learns
-Thorndike highlights the law of effect: if the cat did something that got him a positive effect
(he can move to a new location) then he will continue doing it.
-this is also applied to humans, if something good results from a behaviour, we would continue
doing it
-it is kind of like evolution of behaviour in humans through the use of operant conditioning
-B.F. Skinner is very well-known psychologist that focused on behaviorism, who also wrote
novels are utopian themed books (what makes an ideal society)
-he created many behavioral devices (Skinner boxes), which is used conduct behaviorism
-idea behind Skinner boxes: you can take the complex elements of the world and boil it down to
simple elements and place it into a simple universe (the box)
-we have a cage where we place a rat, the cage has lights and speakers (the introduced stimuli)
-the rat would need to do something, most likely a bar press, if they press it, it clicks down
-we want to train the rat to bar press in specific conditions and have punishments and rewards
(e.g. food) according to when the rat presses the lever
-the rat has to be motivated to press the lever at the right time, which is by not giving a lot of
food to the rat before the experiment
-there is metal on the floor of the cage, which is to deliver a electrical shock as punishment
-all organisms hate getting electric shock, humans included
-how to parent children is one of the applications of behaviorism
-there is a rumour that Skinner create a Skinner box for babies
-to train the rat to press the bar, you first have to watch him and walk they can do
-then when the rat is around the bar, you drop a food pallet (reward)
-you do this a few times, and the rat begins to stick close to the bar
-then you only reward the rat when he is very close to the bar
-after, you only reward if his paw is on the bar
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