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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 (Learning and Reward)

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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PSY100 Lecture 6 NotesFebruary 14, 2011
The learning theories come from behaviourism
It used to be that monkeys/chimpanzees were smartest after humans, but now it may
be dogs
Def: learning refers to an enduring change in the way an organism s based on its
experience (exempt: drug effects this is how we respond to this stimulant, fatigue,
or illness)
Behaviourists said that we are Tabula Rasa (blank slate) when we are born
The nature vs. nurture debate is over! It is both!
We are all born with predispositions (i.e. to be creative, develop cancer, personality,
Dependant on genetics and environment
Science is based on empirical data, so it must be verifiable and quantitative
Psychology is the science of behaviour
3 assumptions:
a)Responses are learned rather than innate
Just about everybody knows how to throw their arms back when
falling as a toddler
Everyone has a suck reflex, those that dont will not survive
b)Learning is adaptive
Learning helps us solve problems, create, explore
c)Our experiments can uncover the laws of learning
This is true, discovered through experiments with animals (no
different than us)
What is the difference between animals and humans?
Experiment when a dogs toys were put behind the couch and
asked to bring them back. A new Darwin toy was put with the toys
and when he was asked to bring it back, it took the dog a little bit
longer, but he figured it out (conceptual reasoning)
Chimpanzee in the zoo hiding stones around his pen so that he can
throw them at people who make fun of him (whatever it means to
him) = planning ahead
Classical Conditioning:
Ivan Pavlov discovered this by accident (one of the most fundamental discoveries in
the last 100 years at least)
He wanted to study the enzymes that break down the food that we
He rings the bell and gives them meat powder, they salivate.
Eventually, he takes away in the meat powder and as soon as the
dogs hear the bell, they salivate
Pavlov will keep ringing the bell, but they will not salivate forever
Reflex: response that is reliably elicited by a stimulus (e.g. food
(stimulus) elicits salivation (response))
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