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Chapter 7 Notes.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 1000
Professor
Terry Biggs
Semester
Fall

Description
Psychology Chapter 7 Notes Learning: process by which experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviour or capabilities; the basic learning processes are outlined below: Habituation and sensitization: involves a change in behaviour that results from repeated exposure to a single stimulus Associative learning:  Classical conditioning: occurs when two stimuli become associated with each other; for example, seeing a dog and being bitten will be associated together the next time one sees a dog  Operant conditioning: we learn to associate our responses with specific consequences; for example smiling at others will initiate a friendly greeting Adapting to the Environment Personal adaptation: adapting our lives to an ever-changing environment and circumstances; occurs through the laws of learning and results from our interactions with immediate and past environments How Do We Learn? The Search for Mechanisms  Behaviourists focus on how organisms learn, examining the processes by which experience influences behaviour; they assume that there are laws of learning that apply to virtually all organisms; they explain learning solely in terms of directly observable events and avoided speculating about an organism’s unobservable ‘mental state’.  Although learning explores how we adapt to the environment, it is important to keep in mind that not all learned behaviour is adaptive  Cognitive and biological factors play important roles in learning; as well, cross-cultural research highlights the important impact that culture has on what we learn Habituation and Sensitization Habituation: a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus; may be the simplest form of learning and occurs across species; by learning not to respond to uneventful familiar stimuli, organisms conserve energy and can attend to other stimuli that are important  **habituation is different from sensory adaptation: the later refers to a decreased sensory response to a continuously present stimulus, whereas the former is a simple form of learning that occurs within the sensory neurons Sensitization: an increase in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus; like habituation, sensitization is found across a wide range of species, even among animals with very simple nervous systems Classical Conditioning: Associating One Stimulus with Another Classical conditioning: an organism learns to associate two stimuli, such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that originally was produced only by the other stimulus (feeling happy when a song comes on because it reminds you of a memory when you were happy while the song was playing); like habituation and sensitization, classical conditioning is a basic form of learning that occurs in mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, sea snails, and even insects Pavlov’s Pioneering Research  In the 1860’s, Ivan Pavlov’s study of dogs confirmed that dogs have a natural reflex to salivate from a response such as footsteps or a tone before they are receiving food: this was called classical/Pavlovian conditioning, which is a basic learning process that performs a key adaptive function; classical conditioning alerts organisms to stimuli that signal the impending arrival of an important event Basic Principles Acquisition: refers to the period during which a response is being learning; a neutral stimulus is when a stimulus does not trigger/elicit a response Unconditioned stimulus (UCS): no learning is required for a response- it is reflexive Unconditioned response (UCR): reflexive response to the above unconditioned stimulus; natural, unlearning reflex Learning trial- when, for example, the tone and the food are paired with each other to promote conditioning Conditioned stimulus (CS): the stimulus has become associated with a response- conditioned response (CR); learned, conditioned response  Forward short-delay pairing produces the fastest conditioning (tone appears first and is still present when the food appears); forward trace pairing is when the tone would come on and off, and afterward the food would be presented  Simultaneous pairing- presenting them at the same time- and backward pairing- when the tone is presented after the food- have very little response, and the latter has almost no response at all. Extinction: if the tone is presented repeatedly in the absence of the food, the conditioned response weakens and eventually disappears Spontaneous recovery: the reappearance of a previously extinguished conditioned response after a rest period and without new learning trials  The phenomenon of spontaneous recovery is why practical applications of extinction, such as treatment of phobias or other anxiety disorders, require multiple sessions Stimulus generalization: the greater the stimulus similarity, the greater the chance that a CR will occur; serves a critical adaptive function: if stimulus generalization did not occur, then if an animal that was attacked right after the sound of rustling bushes heard rusting bushes again but the second sound was not identical to the first, then he might not respond fast enough.  To prevent stimulus generalization from running amok, organisms must be able to discriminate differences between stimuli; Discrimination: demonstrated when a CR (alarm reaction) occurs to one stimulus (a sound) but not to others Higher-order conditioning: a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with an already established CS; typically, a higher-order CS produces a CR that is weaker and extinguishes more rapidly than the original CR Applications of Classical Conditioning  The Little Albert experiment is when John Watson and Rosalie Rayner provided stimulus a baby did not like with things that didn’t make a difference and soon he was scared of those things two (white rat and loud noises)  Another applications is laboratory experiments show that humans and other mammals become afraid of neutral stimuli that are paired with electric shock Exposure therapies: their basic goal is to expose the phobic patient to the feared stimulus (CS) without any UCS, allowing extinction to occur  Systematic desensitization is when the patient learns muscular relaxation techniques and then is gradually exposed to the fear-provoking stimulus  Flooding is when the person is immediately exposed to the phobic stimulus; Aversion therapy: attempts to condition an aversion (repulsion) to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS; for example an alcoholic is given a drug that induces severe nausea every time alcohol is consumed; this therapy has yielded mixed results, often producing short- term changes that extinguish over time  It is easier to condition fear to some stimuli than others; we seem to be biologically prepared to easily learn to fear stimuli such as heights, snakes, spiders, and bats Operant Conditioning: Learning Through Consequences  Unlike salivating to a tone, us learning how to drive/use computers/make friends are not elicited responses automatically triggered by some stimulus- rather, they are emitted (voluntary) responses Thorndike’s Law of Effect  Edward L. Thorndike (1898) built a special cage called a puzzle box that could be opened from the inside by pulling a string or stepping on a lever- with trial and error, animals trying to get out of the cage gradually eliminated responses that failed to open the door, and became more likely to perform actions that worked o This was called instrumental learning because an organism’s behaviour is instrumental in bringing about certain outcomes Law of effect: in a given situation, a response followed by a ‘satisfying’ consequence will become more likely to occur, and a response followed by an unsatisfying outcome will become less likely to occur Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning  B.B. Skinner coined the term operant behaviour, meaning that an organism operates on its environment in some way; it emits responses that produce certain consequences Operant conditioning: a type of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences; responses that produce favourable consequences tend to be repeated, whereas responses that produce unfavourable consequences become less likely to occur  Skinner viewed operant conditioning as a type of ‘natural selection’ that facilitates an organism’s personal adaptation to the environment  He designed a special camber called a Skinner box which worked as a type of puzzle box Reinforcement consequences: a response is strengthened by an outcome that follows it; it is an increase in the frequency of a response; the outcome (a stimulus or event) that increases the frequency of a response is called a reinforce Punishment consequences: occurs when a response is weakened by outcomes that follow it; a punisher is a consequence that weakens the behaviour  Reinforcers and punishers are defined in terms of their observable effects on behaviour  Skinners’ analysis of operant behaviour involves three kinds of events: o Antecedents: stimuli that are present before a behaviour occurs o Behaviours: that the organism emits o Consequences: that follow the behaviours  The relations between each are called contingencies. Differences between classical and operant conditioning:  In classical conditioning, the organism learns an association between two stimuli- the CS and UCS that occurs before the behaviour; in operant conditioning, the organism learns an association between behaviour and its consequences- behaviour changes because of events that occur after it  Classical conditioning focuses on elicited behaviours; the conditioned response is triggered involuntarily, almost like a reflex, by a stimulus that precedes it; operant conditioning focuses on emitted behaviours: in a given situation, the organism generates responses that are under its physical control Antecedent Conditions: Identifying When to Respond Discriminative stimulus: a signal that a particular response will now produce certain consequences; this stimuli ‘set the occasion’ for operant responses Consequences: Determining How to Respond Positive reinforcement: being presented with a stimulus we find pleasing represents a desirable outcome; a response is strengthened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus; the stimulus that follows and strengthens the response is called a positive reinforcer  The term reward is often used as a synonym to positive reinforcement; rewards do not function as positive reinforcers Negative reinforcement: a response is strengthened by the subsequent removal or avoidance of a stimulus; the stimulus that is removed or avoided is called a negative reinforcer.  The above are not to be confused with punishment- punishment weakens a response, whereas reinforcement (positive or negative) always means that a response is being strengthened PROCESS BEHAVIOUR CONSEQUENCE RESULT Reinforcement Positive reinforcement Response occurs  A stimulus is Response increases (cat presses a lever) presented (lever-pressing (food pellets appear) increases) Negative reinforcement Response occurs  An aversive stimulus is Response increases (person takes aspirin) removed  (increased tendency to (headache goes away) take aspirin for headache relief) Operant Extinction Response occurs A stimulus that was Response decreases (cat presses lever) reinforcing the (lever-pressing behaviour no longer decreases) appears  (no food pellets) Punishment Positive punishment Response occurs  An aversive stimulus is Response decreases (two siblings fight over presented  (fighting decreases) a toy) (parents scold or spank them) Negative punishment Response occurs  A stimulus is removed Response decreases (two siblings fight over  (fighting decreases) (no TV for one week) a toy) Operant extinction: the weakening and eventual disappearance of a response because it is no longer reinforced; the degree to which non-reinforced responses persist is called resistance to extinction; non- reinforced responses may stop quickly (low resistance) or they may keep occurring hundreds or thousands of times Positive punishment: applying aversive stimuli, such as painful slaps, electric shock, and verbal reprimands; also called aversive punishment; a response is weakened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus; often produces rapid results  Limitations: punishment suppresses behaviour but does not cause the organism to forget how to make the response; the suppression may not generalize to other relevant situations, as when scolded children refrain fro using ‘bad language’ only when their parents are present  As well, punishment arouses negative emotions, such as fear and anger, which can produce dislike and avoidance of the person delivering the punishment; positive punishment can also set a bad example by saying control by aggression is appropr
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