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York University
PSYC 2510
Agnieszka Kopinska

LEARNING  Learning – evidenced by an enduring change in behavior resulting from prior experience specifically related to that behavior  Central concept in psychology  Has been demonstrated in all kinds of creatures  Not every change in behavior is evidence of learning  Motivation  Stimulus conditions  Fatigue  Growth/maturation  Evolution  Learning can sometimes be behaviorally silent – only evident in certain circumstances  Learning involves a change in potential for doing something Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning  Conditioning – involves learning associations between events or stimuli  Classical conditioning (CC) – a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response it did not elicit before  Ivan Pavlov  Russian physiologist  Studied digestion with dogs  Discovered CC accidentally through his research (“psychic reflexes”)  unconditioned stimulus – produces and unconditioned response  conditioned stimulus – produces a conditioned (learned) response  the UCR and CR are often, but not always, the same behavior.  CC is regularly exploited by advertisers (tune + positive emotion associated with the product)  Also at the root of some phobias  CC can also shape physiological processes  E.g. immune functioning, allergic reactions, sexual arousal  Tolerance to substances, in part, is caused by CC  Compensatory CRs – physiological responses that protect the body from substances’ harmful effects and reduce pleasurable effects of substances  E.g. soldier’s dependence on opium after returning to America after WWII was gone (no more environmental cues; no CRs)  CRs may not occur in unfamiliar settings  Absence of CS situational cues  Can result in overdose  Cravings and withdrawal symptoms Principles of CC  Acquisition  First association with the response you want and the stimulus  You want to strengthen this association  E.g. Pavlov’s dog first salivates at the sound of the bell  Extinction  The conditioned response disappears  If the conditioned stimuli isn’t repeated for some time, they’ll get out of the habit  E.g. If Pavlov’s dogs stopped salivating at the sound of a bell  Spontaneous recovery  The conditioned response comes back out of the blue  Usually if the response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired  Stimulus generalization  Stimuli that is similar to the original stimuli elicits the conditioned response  E.g. if Pavlov’s dog salivated at the sound of wind chimes rather than a bell  Stimulus discrimination  The more the stimulus differs from the original stimuli, the conditioned response will differ  E.g. Pavlov’s dog will react to a bell but not to drums  Higher-order (or second-order) conditioning  Suggests that CC does not depend on the presence of a natural UCS (a CS will be sufficient)  E.g. showing Pavlov’s dog a picture of a bird as you ring the bell Operant Conditioning  Coined by B.F. Skinner  Outcome of response shapes future behavior  Thorndike’s Law of Effect – When a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association is strengthened  Skinner and reinforcement  Built on Thorndike’s Law of Effect  Reinforcement takes place when an event following a response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response  Operant chamber/Skinner Box – box in which animal subjects can emit a response and the consequence of that response is carefully controlled  Reinforcement contingencies – rules that determine whether a response will be reinforced  Response rate is typical DV in operant conditioning  Cumulative recorder (gives a visual of how the operant conditioning works)  Shaping – reinforcing closer and closer forms of the desired response  Reinforcement is subjective  Defined in terms of its effects on behavior  Primary vs. secondary reinforces  Inherently reinforcing vs. dependent on learning  Animals respond mainly to primary reinforcers Processes in Operant Cond
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