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Lecture 7

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Fixed Action Pattern, Aversion Therapy, Neural Adaptation


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Professor
John Campbell
Lecture
7

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Cha pter 7 P s ychology
Le arning is a proce s s by which e xpe rie nce produce s a rela tively e nduring change in a n
organism’s behaviour or capabilities.
Ad a p ting to the En viro n me n t
Mech a n is ms o f Le a rnin g
- The s tudy of le a rning was guided along two paths: be ha viourism a nd e thology.
- Be ha viourism focuse d on how orga nis ms le a rn, a nd be ha viourists a s sume tha t
the re a re la ws of le arning that a pply to virtua lly a ll orga nis ms . Beha viourists
e xplain lea rning s ole ly in terms of directly obs ervable e ve nts and a voided
s pe culating about an organism’s unobservable “mental state”.
Fun c tio ns of Le a rn ing
- Ethology focus e s on animal be ha viour within the na tura l e nvironme nt. Ethologis ts
a rgued tha t be ca us e of evolution, e ve ry s pe cie s come s into the world biologically
pre pa red to a ct in ce rta in wa ys.
- Ad a p tive s ign ific a nc e : answers the que s tion, how doe s a be ha viour influence a n
organism’s chances for survival and reproduction in its natural environment?
- A fixe d a c tio n p atte rn is a n unlea rne d re s ponse automa tica lly trigge red by a
particular stimulus .
- Ethologica l re s ea rch discove red that:
- some fixe d a ction pa tte rns could be modified by e xpe rience
- ma ny ca ses tha t a ppea re d to be instinctive be ha viour involve d le a rning
- the re were s triking diffe re nce s in wha t s pe cies le a rne d in orde r to survive
Cros s roa d s o f Lea rn ing : Biolo g y, Co g nition, a n d Cu lture
- The two the orie s of le a rning ha ve dive rged into two diffe re nt type s of proposed
a dapta tion:
- pe rsona l a da pta tion: occurs through the la ws of le a rning a nd it re s ults from our
inte ra ctions with imme dia te a nd pa st environme nts
- specie s a dapta tion: the e nvironme nt pla ys a role , learning is not passe d on
through ge ne s , but indire ctly ge ne s which e nha nce the a bility to a da pt to the
environment are passed down and eventually become part of a species’
“nature”.
- Although le a rned be haviours a re not pas sed down ge ne tica lly, the a bility to le a rn is .
Habitu a tion
- Hab itu a tion is a decre ase in the s tre ngth of a re sponse to a repeate d s timulus . It ma y
be the s imple s t form of le a rning a nd occurs a cros s spe cie s ranging from huma ns to
dra gonflie s to s ea s na ils .
- This is diffe re nt tha n se ns ory a da pta tion be ca us e se ns ory a da ptations re fe rs to a
de cre ase d s ensory re s pons e to a continuously pre s e nt s timulus . Ha bitua tion is a
simple form of le arning that occurs within the ce ntral ne rvous s yste m, not within the
se nsory ne urons .
Cla s s ica l Co nd itio ning : As s oc ia tin g On e Stim u lus with An o th er
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Cla s s ica l c o nd itio nin g is whe n a n orga nis m le a rns to a s socia te two s timuli, such tha t
one s timulus come s to produce a re s ponse tha t origina lly wa s produce d only by the
othe r s timulus.
Pavlov’s Pioneering Research
- Pa vlov wa s a phys iologis t a nd conducte d dige s tion re se a rch in dogs
- He noticed tha t with re pe a ted te s ting, the dogs be ga n to sa liva te be fore the food wa s
pre se nte d, s uch as whe y the y he a rd the foots te ps of the a pproa ching e xpe rime nte r
- Pa vlov note d that if s a livation ca n be conditione d, s o might othe r bodily proce s s e s,
including those affe cting s us ce ptibility to dise a s e and menta l dis orders
Bas ic P rin c iple s
- Ac q u is ition: the pe riod during which a re s ponse is being le a rne d. The sa livation to
food is re fle xive and be ca use it require s no le a rning, the food is ca lle d a n
un c o nd itio n ed s tim u lus (UCS ). The s a liva tion is a n un c on d itio ne d re s pon s e
(UCR). If a tone is pa ire d with the food, a fte r s e vera l le a rning tria ls the dog sa livate s
e ven if there is no food. Through the food, the tone ha s be come a c on d ition e d
s timu lu s (CS ) a nd s a liva tion has be come a c o nd itio ne d re s p o ns e (CR).
- Forward s hort de la y pa iring: The CS a ppe ars firs t a nd is s till pre s e nt whe n the
UCS appe a rs .
- Forward trace pa iring: The tone would come on and off, a nd the n the food
would be prese nte d.
- Cla s s ica l conditioning us ua lly is stronge s t whe n the re a re re pea te d CS -UCS
pa irings, the UCS is more inte ns e , the se quence involves forwa rd pa iring, a nd
the time inte rval betwe e n the CS a nd UCS is s hort.
- Extin ctio n a n d S p onta n eou s Re cove ry: Extin c tion is when the CS is pre s ented
repe ate dly in the abs ence of the UCS, a nd the CR we a ke ns an e ventually dis a ppe a rs.
Ea ch pre senta tion of the CS without the UCS is ca lle d a n e xtinction tria l.
- A s p on ta ne o u s re co very occurs whe n the re is a re a ppea ra nce of a pe rvious ly
e xtinguis he d CR a fte r a re st pe riod, a nd without ne w le a rning tria ls .
- Ge ne ra liza tio n an d Dis c rim ina tio n : S timu lus ge n e raliza tio n is wh e n s timuli simila r
to the initial CS e licit a CR. This se rve s critica l ada ptive functions be ca use it helps
de velop a n a la rm re s pons e to a range of rustling s ounds . Dis c rimina tio n is
de mons trate d whe n a CR occurs to one s timulus not to others .
- High e r-Ord e r Co nd itio ning : whe n a ne utra l stimulus be come s a CS a fte r be ing
pa ired with a n a lre ady e s ta blis hed CS. Typically a highe r-orde r CS produces a CR that
is wea ke r a nd e xtinguis he s more ra pidly tha n the origina l CR.
Ap p lic a tio ns of Cla s s ical Con d itio ning
- Ac q u irin g an d Overc o min g Fe a r: Exp os ure th erapie s have a basic goal to e xpos e
the phobic patie nt to the fe a red s timulus (CS ) without a ny UCS, a llowing e xtinction to
occur. Me nta l ima ge ry, re a l-life situa tions , or both can be us e d to pre s ent the phobic
stimulus .
- Con d ition e d Attra c tion a n d Avers io n : much of wha t a ttra cts and ple a s urably
a rous es is influe nce d by cla s sica l conditioning. For e xa mple , wea ring s ome thing, may
a ttract some one . Ave rs io n th erap y a tte mpts to condition a n a ve rsion to a stimulus
tha t triggers unwa nte d be ha viour by pa iring it with a noxious UCS . Exa mple : trying to
reduce an alcoholic’s reaction to alcohol by giving them a drug that makes them
na use ous if the y drink. Conditione d a ttra ction a nd a ve rsion als o pla y a role in a ttitude
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forma tion. Conditioning ca n a ls o crea te an unfa vourable a ttitude toward a CS. This is
a ccomplished by pairing the CS with a ne ga tive or unple a sant UCS .
Meas u rin g Res p o n s e
- Ac q u is ition cu rve s a re a mea sure of response stre ngth. The wa ys to me a sure a re :
- La tency: how long does it take you to produce the CR whe n produce d with the
CS. A la te ncy curve shows no re spons e a t the be ginning, a nd over time the
a mount of time it take s to produce the CR de crea s e s . This curve is ne ga tively
a cce lera te d, mea ning it ha s a s te e p slope at the be ginning and it decrea s es.
- Output me a sure : how much re s pons e occurs. At the be ginning, no re sponse ,
a mount incre a se s ove r time . Als o nega tively acce le ra ted.
- Temporal Contiguity: re lationship be twe e n the CS a nd the UCS . Diffe re nt
rela tionships : forward pairing, backwa rd pa iring, and s imulta neous pairing. Bes t
mode l is forwa rd pa iring with CS - UCS inte rva l = 1/2 s e cond. S imulta ne ous
ofte n ca us es confus ion, a nd ba ckwa rd te lls you tha t the good stimulus is ove r,
so it doesn’t work.
Opera n t Co n dition in g: Le a rning th ro ug h Co ns eq u e nc e s
Thorndike’s Law of Effect
- Ins trumental le a rning is whe n a nima ls use tria l a nd e rror to s olve a proble m.
- The law o f e ffe c t states that in a given situation, a response followed by a “satisfying”
cons e quence will become more like ly to occur, a nd a re sponse followe d by a n
“unsatisfying” outcome will be less likely to occur
Mod e l fo r Op e ra n t Con d ition in g
1. S timulus s ituation- domina nt res ponse
2. Choose s ome S ^R targe t re s pons e
3. S timulus s ituation- target res pons e
The re s ponse is continge nt on the re wa rd
Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning
- Ope rant behaviour come s from the ide a tha t a n orga nism ope ra te s on its e nvironme nt
in s ome wa y
- Ope ra n t c o n ditio n ing is a type of le a rning in which be ha viour is influence d by its
consequences. Through natural selection, organism’s generally learn to increase
be haviours that be ne fit the m a nd re duce be haviours that ha rm the m.
- A s kin ne r b o x ha s a leve r on one wa ll pos itioned a bove a s ma ll cup, and a food pe lle t
a utomatically drops into the cup whe ne ve r a rate pres sed the le ve r.
- Two importa nt type s of conse quences a re:
- re info rc e m ent: a re s ponse is s tre ngthened by a n outcome
- pu n is hm e n t: a re s ponse is we a ke ned by outcomes tha t follow it
- Skinner’s analysis of operant behaviour involves three e ve nts
1. a nte ce de nts: which are s timuli that a re pre sent be fore be ha viour occurs
2. beha viours: that the orga nism emits
3. conse quence s: follow be ha viours
The re la tionship be twee n A a nd B a nd B a nd C a re ca lle d continge ncie s.
- In cla s s ical conditioning the organism le a rns a n as sociation be twee n two stimuli, in
ope rant conditioning the orga nis m le arns a n a s socia tion be twe e n the beha viour a nd
it’s consequences
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