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Chapter 6.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Ashley Waggoner Denton

Chapter 6- Learning Learning: relatively enduring change in behaviour, one that results from experience. • Essence of learning= understanding how events are related • Associations develop through conditioning- process in which environmental stimuli and behavioural responses become connected 2 types of conditioning: 1. classical conditioning- occurs when we learn 2 types of events go together ex: watch scary movie heart races 2. operant conditioning- occurs when we learn that a behaviour leads to a particular outcome ex: studying  better grades • Skinner- influenced by Watson- to be scientists, psychologists had to study observable actions • Baby in a box (daughter) • Watson founded behaviourism based on belief that we start off w/blank state (Locke) and can learn anything • Behaviourism states that environment and its associated effects on animals were the sole determinants of learning Pavlov • Interested in salivary reflex- Realized that unlike inborn reflexes, salivation is not automatic and therefore must have been acquired through experience Classical conditioning: a type of learned response that occurs when a neutral objet comes to elicit a reflexive response when it is associated with a stimulus that already produces that response • Unconditioned stimulus: a stimulus that elicits response without prior learning (food) • Unconditioned response: response that does not have to be learned (salivation) • Conditioned stimulus: stimulus that elicits a response after learning (metronome) • Conditioned response: a response that has been learned, usually less strong than the unconditional response (salivation) Acquisition: gradual formation of an association b/t conditioned and unconditioned stimuli • Critical element in acquisition of learned association= stimuli occur together in time, (contiguity) generally with a very brief delay b/t CS & US Extinction: process in which conditioned response is weakened when the conditioned stimulus is repeated w/o unconditioned stimulus Spontaneous recovery: process in which previously extinguished response re-emerges following presentation of the conditioned stimulus * extinction inhibits associative bond but does not eliminate it Stimulus generalization: occurs when stimuli similar but not identical to CS produces CR • Adaptive in nature, CS never experienced in same exact way Stimulus discrimination: differentiation b/t 2 similar stimuli when only one of them is consistency associated with the unconditioned stimulus Second-order conditioning: when conditioned stimulus becomes directly associated not with unconditioned stimulus but rather with other stimuli associated with US Ex: tone (CS) + food salivation, tone + black square, black square alone salivation • Basis of advertisement, getting celebrities to endorse products • Can add layers of conditioning on top of each other Phobias : acquired fear out of proportion of the real threat Fear conditioning: animals can be classically conditioned to fear neutral objects, due to the amygdala • Watson conditioning of Little Albert- showed kid neutral objects (white rat, costume masks) no reaction. Conditioned objects with loud sound rat alone scared kit Counter conditioning: exposing people to small doses of their feared stimulus, while having them engage in a pleasurable task • Systematic desensitization: break connection b/t CSCR (fear), by developing CS CR (relaxation) connection, get person to relax, expose them stimulus Drug addiction • Classical conditioning plays critical role, smell of coffee CS coffee drinkers activated • Addicts exposed to CS (cocaine cues- needles)  withdrawal • Activation in brain regions associated w/reward • Tolerance effects (addicts need to produce same effect) are greater when drug is taken in same location Evolutionary significance • Certain pairings of stimuli are more likely to become associated than others • Conditioned food aversion: association b/t eating novel food and getting sick  evolutionary survival mechanism • Biological preparedness (Seligman): Animals are genetically programed to fear specific objects (animals more scared of snakes vs. flowers, outgroup members) Gender difference in learning • When females learn route, tend to rely to landmarks vs. men who will use compass directions (N, S, E, W) Guilt by association: Person A friend of politician (B) does something bad Person B now associated w/ Person A leads to inference that Person B shares same bad characteristic as A (common in politics) Guilt by virtue Prince William should be King b/c Princess Diana was so great Cognitive perspective on Learning • Study mental processes such as prediction and expectancy • Robert Rescorla: for learning to take place, CS needs to occur before US, CS needs to predict US Rescorla-Wagner Model • A cognitive model of classical conditioning that states that the strength of the CS- US association is determined by the extent to which US is unexpected • Electric can opener  food for dog, change can opener dog still gets food (unexpected appearance of food- US)- strengthens US-CS, pay more attention to new can opener • Novel stimuli are more easily associated with unconditioned stimulus than familiar stimulus • Blocking effect: Once learned, conditioned stimulus can prevent acquisition of new conditioned stimulus (ex: dog will no longer look around for other predictors of food) • Occasion setter/ trigger: can opener w/ reach in to bottom drawer= food Operant Conditioning/Instrumental Conditioning (Skinner) • A learning process in which consequences of action determine the likelihood that it will be performed in the future • Thorndike- Law of effect: any behaviour leading to a “satisfying state of affairs” will more likely occur again, while any behaviour leading to an “annoying state of affairs” will less likely occur again (used puzzle boxes to access learning in chickens, cats) • Skinner believed satisfaction can’t be measured empirically • Reinforcer: stimulus that occurs after a response and increases the likelihood that the r
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