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PSYC 1010
Agnieszka Kopinska

PSYCH 110 Learning Adaptation to the Environment • Learning – a process that produces a relatively enduring change in behavior or knowledge due to past experience Learning: Definition • Consider this example: A rabbit gets caught in a snare and loses a foot (experience). As a result, it runs differently (change in behavior). Fits definition…but is this learning? • Cause of behavioral change must be an internal change, i.e. : Some form of “memory” – can be implicit or explicit Associative pathways or links are formed in CNS Learning: Basic Concepts • Reflex/Fixed action pattern • Habituation • Association Learning: classical vs. operant conditioning Phases of conditioning (acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery) Schedules of reinforcement • Observational learning Basic Concepts: Habituation • Habituation: The relative persistent waning of a response that results from repeated presentations of a stimulus that are not followed by any form of reinforcement A type of association learning – learn to associate stimulus with absence of reinforcement E.g., sounds in a new home first wake you. Then you habituate and no longer react to them (e.g., loud fridge) Association Learning • Animals learn an association between two stimuli, or between a stimulus and a response • Classical conditioning: Pavlov’s dogs John B. Watson (1913) • Operant conditioning: Thorndike (1913) – the law of effect Rats in Skinner (1953) box • Conditioning – process of forming associations thru experience/ repeated exposure/ training /etc. Conditioning: Stimuli • Neutral or Conditioned Stimulus (CS) – Bell does not normally elicit a response or reflex action by itself A bell ringing A color A furry object o Becomes a conditioned stimulus after it elicits a conditioned response • Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) – Food always elicits a reflex action: an unconditioned response Food Blast of air Noise Conditioning: Response • Unconditioned Response (UCR) – salivation a response to an unconditioned stimulus – naturally occurring Salivation at smell of food Eye blinks at blast of air Startle reaction in babies • Conditioned Response (CR) – salivation a response to a conditioned (previously neutral)n stimulus – learned association or reliable predictor Salivation at ringing of bell Eye blink when see color red Startle or cry at sight of furry object Classical Conditioning • Stimulus generalization Similar stimuli serve as a CS to the CR Example: both high and low tone bells (CS) lead to salivation (CR) • Stimulus discrimination Stimulus (CS) eliciting response (CR) is very specific Example: only high tone bells (CS) lead to salivation (CR) • Extinction – lack of pairings between CS and (predictability) to CR Example: over time the bell is no longer paired with food, salivation response (CR) will decrease in reaction to the bell (CS) • Spontaneous recovery – after a period of rest (not being exposed to CS) or extinction, and once again being presented with CS, CR will return
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