LECTURE 24: Perception & Learning and Behaviour (chapter 8)
•Perception of Motion: we quickly and easily detect motion.
•In Learning and Behaviour, we focus on manner in which we learn to behave in certain
ways given certain environmental conditions. An emphasis will be on stimulus-response
mappings, and how they are formed
•We come equipped with many stimulus response mappings that simply reflect our
machinery in action. For example: When we put food in our mouths, digestive processes
are initiated. If a projectile is coming at our face we close our eyes, duck our heads, raise
our hands, and sometimes hold our breath.
•These associations are the produce of evolution (or creation) and the components of them
are labeled as unconditioned stimuli (UCS) and unconditioned responses (UCR).
•Thus, food (UCS)>Digestive Process (UCR) ONLY in this context (like eating food and
•Habituation: weakening the SR. The occurrence of some novel stimulus in the
environment (UCS) tends to lead to a startle response (UCR). But, if the stimulus occurs
repeatedly without any positive of negative consequence, the startle response stops
occurring. This process is called habituation. Basically, if the UCR proves itself
unnecessary in the presence of some UCS … the UCR may occur less and less
•Classical Conditioning: In 1904, a Russian scientist named Ivan Pavlov stumbled across
an interesting phenomenon while studying how the canine digestive system worked.
Classical conditioning, and it explains how new stimuli can come to be associated with
certain behavioural responses.
-He used dogs as his subjects, as he was interested as how saliva was built up in
dogs…he was interested in how different sort of food got dogs’ digestive system to
react. He realized that dogs begin to salivate a lot when the assistant was preparing
food. So, the dogs knew food was coming and they began to salivate.
-In order for classical conditioning to be effective, the UCS must reliably follow the CS.
If this association is not strong throughout the conditioning phase, the learning
will be weak.
If the association between the CS and UCS is terminated after conditioning … the
CR will eventually not occur in response to the CS - a process called extinction.