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Lecture 1

PSYC 3410 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Animal Cognition, Behaviorism, Habituation

Course Code
PSYC 3410
Elissa Rodkey

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Introduction to Learning
Lecture 1
-Research topics in learning:
Learning Fears
The partial reinforcement extinction effect
Habituation (exposure to repeated stimuli)
Exposure Therapy (facing fears)
Animal cognition
-Behaviours that have been partially reinforced are more resistant to extinction than a
behaviour that is continuously being reinforced
There is a clear distinction that the behaviour will no longer be reinforced when the
reinforcement stops abruptly
-Learning- an enduring change in the mechanisms of behaviour involving specific stimuli and
responses that results from prior experience with those or similar stimuli and responses
Specific events/experiences lead to later learning (specific stimuli)
the mechanisms of behaviour does not necessarily mean a change in observable
behaviour, but rather a change in the knowledge (new associations)
-The 4 «!Why’s/ becauses!» of learned behaviour
Material Cause- Substrate (Neuroscience): x is what y is made of
Efficient Cause- Triggers, conditions that produce behaviour (Learning): x is what produces
Formal Cause- Model, description or blueprint (Cognition): x is what it is to be y
Final Cause- Function (Evolutionary Psychology): x is what y is for
x = cause, y = learned behaviour
-The study of learning is a science based on observable behaviour (emperical science)
Informal reflections on behaviour
-Introspection (other people are like me)
-Describe large and complex units of behaviour (emotions, motivations, cognitions,
-attributing behaviour to internal factors such as intentions/motivations
Clever Hans could solve simple math problems
-Clever Hans could not solve the math problems correctly when the tester did not know
that answer on the card
-He was observing the tester (who was not aware that he was doing so), for cues for the
correct answer
-the word innate is inadequate to explain behaviour because there are many different
meanings and interpretations to the word
-radicall behaviourist: believe that an external stimulus directly causes a behaviour
-an external stimulus triggers an internal behaviour (thoughts related to the stimulus) that drive
the behaviour
-TOLMAN used food as a reinforcer to study the learning of rats to get through a maze with
the fewest amount of errors
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