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Chpt. 7 Learning & Conditioning.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Kris Gerhardt

1 IntroPsych Ch07 Learning and Conditioning 2 Intro • We need to be able to learn from our environment – Basic physiological & emotional reactions – Biochemical reactions • Classical Conditioning – Important in our daily lives – Normal functions, addictions 3 Basics of Classical Conditioning • An adaptive mechanism that allows animals to learn to respond to signals in the environment – Reliability • One stimulus predicts another if there is a contingency between them – Signal is followed by thing being signaled • Pavlov’s method for arranging a contingency • Conditioning is a gradual process 4 5 CC terms and trials • 4 key elements Ex: ring bell before giving dog food, teach bell signals food coming, cause salivation – US (or UCS) – the thing being signaled (Ex: the food) – UR (or UCR) – the response to the US (Ex: salivation) Unconditioned = natural responses – CS – the signal (Ex: the bell) – originally neutral – CR – the response to the CS (Ex: salivation) • Typical Trial (results in Acquisition) – Present CS – Followed by US, which always evokes UR – Establish contingency between CS and US – Participants respond to the CS with CR 6 What affects conditioning? • Conditioning is faster when the CS is intense – Is more rapid the more important, dangerous the US (bell  shock learned faster than bell  food) • Conditioning is faster when US is harmful – Aversive conditioning (negative, don’t want) – Appetitive conditioning (positive, do want) • Taste aversion learning – Rats (sometimes after just one trial) – Wolf and Sheep – Humans 7 Generalization & Discrimination 1 • Generalization – Stimuli similar to initial CS elicit a CR – Aids in survival • Discrimination – CR occurs to one stimulus but not to another 8 Stimulus Generalization • Laboratory – identical CS presented repeatedly • Real world – CS may not be exactly the same • CC to a range of similar signals is labeled stimulus generalization – Baby Albert (played with many toys, when a certain toy was played with – someone made a loud noise, baby albert became afraid of that specific toy and somewhat afraid of similar looking toys) – Condition fear to a 500 Hz tone – What has subject learned • Generalization makes CR flexible enough to respond to variations in signals – But how do we restrict generalization? 9 Discrimination • the ability to learn CR to US – While inhibiting CR to similar signals • The opposite to stimulus generalization • Discrimination training – 2 tones - one signals shock, the other does not – CS+ (signal) vs. CS- (similar to signal, but doesn’t result in US ex: food) eventually know the difference – Fear to CS- should diminish with repeated trials • Discrimination Makes CC flexible and adaptive – We can finely tune our response to the environment – CS- actually comes to signal the absence of the stimuli 10 Extinction (Unlearning a signal) • The CR is weakened by presentation of CS without US (ring bell, don’t bring food) – Or when a signal no longer predicts events – Trying to eliminate the contingency between events • Spontaneous Recovery – The reemergence of a previously extinguished CR (ex: dog occasionally still responds to the bell even weeks after unlearning the contingency between the bell and the food) – Fast – Makes it difficult to eliminate undesirable CR 11 Factors affecting CC • Interstimulus Interval (ISI) – The time between the presentation of CS and US (time between bell and food) – Optimal interval is brief (a few seconds) – Optimal interval depends on stimulus factors – Taste aversions • Maximal conditioning when CS precedes US – Forward (bell  food); simultaneous (bell and food - same time); backwards conditioning (food  bell) • Preparedness to learn – Biologically wired to learn – Phobias 12 Operant Conditioning 2 • Used to be referred to as instrumental conditioning • First described by Thorndike – Puzzle box – Thorndike assumed that learning would occur suddenly – Trial and
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