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PS102 Ch. 7 Notes.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

Claudia Vanderholst Chapter 7: Learning and Conditioning Basics of Learning  Learning: a relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behavioural potential) due to experience  Behaviourism: approach that emphasizes the study of observable behaviour and the role of the environment as a determinant of behaviour  Conditioning: basic kind of learning that involve associations between environmental stimuli and the organism’s responses Classical Conditioning  Pavlov’s works with salivation in dogs led to discovery of learning principles  Process by which a previously neutral stimulus acquires the capacity to elicit a response through association with a stimulus that already elicits a similar or related response  Example: a dog starts to salivate before actually getting the food  Unconditioned stimulus (US): a stimulus that elicits a reflexive response in the absence of learning (ex. Food, being startled)  Unconditioned response (UR): reflexive response elicited by a stimulus in the absence of learning (ex. Salivation)  Neutral stimulus: stimulus that does not yet produce a response regularly pared with an unconditioned stimulus and the neutral stimulus becomes “conditioned” to elicit a response (ex. Bowl, going near the food)  Conditioned stimulus (CS): an initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned response after being associated with an unconditioned stimulus (ex. Food bowl)  Conditioned response (CR): a response that is elicited by a conditioned stimulus; occurs after the CS is associated with the US (ex. Salivation) Principles of Classical Conditioning Extinction  A conditioned response doesn’t last forever  Extinction is the term for the weakening and eventual disappearance of a learning response  Occurs when the CS (bowl) is no longer pairing with the US (food)  May experience spontaneous recovery of response after extinction  Glutamate enhances extinction Higher order conditioning  A procedure in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus through association with an already established conditioned stimulus  Higher order conditioning may be a reason why some words evoke strong emotions  Words are neutral stimuli Page 1 of 6 Claudia Vanderholst  Birthday can evoke a positive response from a child because it’s often paired with presents  May also explain prejudices  Pair words with a negative meaning (dumb, dirty) with a name for a group of people and eventually a negative response to the group of people may be evoked Stimulus generalization  Tendency to respond to a stimulus that resembles one involved in original conditioning  Occurs when a stimulus that resembles the CS elicits the CR Stimulus discrimination  Tendency to respond differently to two or more similar stimuli  Occurs when a stimulus to the CS fails to evoke the CR  Look for how much you have to change the stimulus in order to not evoke the CR What is learned?  Classical conditioning is most effective when the stimulus to be conditioned precedes the unconditioned stimulus  Conditioned stimulus becomes a signal for the unconditioned stimulus Classical Conditioning in Real Life Learning to like  Classical conditioning involved in our positive emotional responses to objects, people, symbols, events and places Learning to fear  May learn to fear any stimulus that is paired with something that elicits pain, surprise or embarrassment  Humans come biologically “prepared” to learn certain fears faster than other (evolutionary basis  snakes, spiders, heights)  Easier to condition fears to there things then non threatening stimuli  Phobias: an exaggerated unrealistic fear of a specific situation, activity of object Counter conditioning: process of pairing a conditioned stimulus with a stimulus that elicits a response that is incompatible with an unwanted conditioned response  Case studies  Albert and Peter Accounting for taste  Classical conditioning can explain how we learn to like and dislike many foods and odours Page 2 of 6 Claudia Vanderholst  Researcher have taught animals to dislike foods and odours by pairing them with drugs that cause nausea of other unpleasant symptoms  Examples  Seligman and dislike of Béarnaise sauce  The “Garcia effect” and biological preparedness Operant Conditioning  Operant (instrumental) conditioning: the process by which a response becomes mores likely to occur or less so, depending in its consequences  Organism’s response operates or produces effects on the environment which influence whether the response will occur again  Principles of Thorndike and B.F. Skinner  Like everything else, research in psychology is the result of social and cultural context  In the early 20 century the new “Psychologists” wanted to gain legitimacy in the scientific community  Lots of social unrest; wars, urbanization, poor workers in bad conditions  Thorndike  Put cats in puzzle boxes and watch them escape through trial and error  Suggested that the knowledge was ‘stamped in’ to the cat when the cat got the food reward  Learning was the result of the consequences of an action  Increase behaviour when consequences were positive  Skinner  Took Thorndike’s ideas one step further; Thorndike talked about whether the organism like/disliked the outcome  Skinner thought that this wasn’t necessary – he determined like/disliked from what the organism had done  If the behaviour was repeated you could then infer the organism liked the outcome  All reinforcers increase behaviour  the process by which a stimulus or event strengthens or increases the probability of the response that it follows  Positive reinforcement: when a response is followed by the presentation or increase in intensity of a reinforcing stimulus; response becomes more likely to occur  Negative reinforcement: when a response is followed by the removal, delay, or decrease in intensity of an unpleasant stimulus; response becomes more likely to occur (not a bad thing)  All punishments decrease behaviour  the process by which a stimulus or event weakens or reduces the probability of the response  Positive punishment: when a response is followed by the presentation or increase in intensity of an unpleasant stimulus; response be
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