PSYA01H3 Study Guide - Operant Conditioning Chamber, Pharmacology, Behaviorism

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Published on 30 Apr 2011
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Chapter 7 Learning and Behaviour
-Our behaviour is changeable in response to certain experience
-Behaviour is not controlled by neural circuits that are fixed and
unchanging
-Instructions can also change behaviour
-Learning: An adaptive process in which the tendency to perform a
particular behaviour is changed by experience
-As conditions change, we learn new behaviours and eliminate old ones
-Learning cannot be observed directly it can only be inferred from
changes in behaviour
-Not all changes in behaviour are caused by learning
oYour performance can be affected by physical or mental
condition such as fatigue, fearfulness etc
oLearning how to do something is different than actually doing it
Ex: learning how to change a car tire and changing a car
tire
-Learning may occur without noticeable changes in observable
behaviour taking place
-Experience alters the structure and chemistry of the brain
-These alterations affect how the nerouv system responds to events
-Performance: The behavioural change produced by the internal
changes brought by learning
oPerformance is the evidence that learning has occurred
oIt is imperfect evidence, because other factors also affect
behaviour
-Psychologists who study learning look for special aspects of
performance
oSuch as durability and specificity
oTo see if learning has taken place
-three types of learning: Habituation, classical conditioning and operant
conditioning
oAll three involve cause-and-effect relations between
environment and behaviour
Habituation
-We react automatically to many events.
-Noise causes an Orientation Response: Any response by which an
organism directs appropriate sensory organs toward the source of a
stimulus
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oWe become alert to it
oHowever, if noise occurs repeatedly, we gradually cease to
respond and eventually ignore it
-Habituation: The simplest form of learning; learning not to respond
to an unimportant even that occurs repeatedly
-Animals with primitive nervous system are capable of habituation
-George Humphrey made this point in a simple experiment using land
snails:
oWhat he did:
Placed several small snails on a glass plate and tapped
sharply on the plate
Snails immediately and reflexively withdrew into their
shells
With each further tap, fewer snails withdrew into their
shells, until after many taps, none would respond
Probability of reacting to the tap decreased with each
exposure
Some might say that this experiment doesnt show
habituation and instead fatigue
-Habituation makes sense from evolutionary perspective
oResponding to a stimulus that has no significance/importance
wastes time and energy
-The simplest form of habituation is temporary
oKnown as short term habituation
oIf we leave the snails alone for a few days they will respond
again
oThe snail does not remember what happened previously
-Animals that have more complex nervous systems are capable of:
oLong term habituation
oEx: a hunting dog knows not to be frightened by a shotgun
sound
oHabituation carries across from day to day and even seasons
-What distinguishes short term habituation from long term
habituation?
oThe pattern of experience plays a role
When stimuli are massed into quick repitions, habituation
is rapid but short term. When these stimuli are presented
in small groups that are spaced in time, habituation is
slower but long term
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oThere is evidence that short term and long term habituation are
produced by different neural mechanisms
Classical Conditioning
-Habituation involves learning about single events
-Unlike habituation, CLASSICAL CONDITIONING involves learning
about the conditions that PREDICT that a significant event will occur
-We acquire most of our behaviour through classical conditions
oExample: if you are hungry and smell food cooking, your mouth
will likely to water (YUP YUP:D)
oYou are reacting to the predictive relationship between
smell experience of the food
oIf you see someone with who you have recently had an
argument, you are likely to experience some emotional reaction
that occurred during the argument
-A simple example of a conditioned behaviour:
oMovie theater example on page 198
Pavlovs Serendipitous Discovery
-Ivan Pavlov considered one of the foremost scientists of his time
-His ambition was to discover the neural mechanisms controlling
glandular secretions during digestions
-He measured the secretions during the course of a meal
-He inserted a small tube in an animals mouth and collected drops of
saliva
-Pavlovs strategy was to study salivary processes in individual dogs
over many test sessions
-What he did:
oDuring each seassions he placed dry food power inside the dogs
mouth and then collected the saliva
oAll went well until dogs became experienced participants
oDogs began to salvitate before being fed, usually when lab
assistant came in the room
-What he discovered:
oA form of learning in which one stimulus predicts the occurrence
of another
oIn this case, the appearance of lab assistance predicted
appearance of food
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Document Summary

Our behaviour is changeable in response to certain experience. Behaviour is not controlled by neural circuits that are fixed and unchanging. Learning: an adaptive process in which the tendency to perform a particular behaviour is changed by experience. As conditions change, we learn new behaviours and eliminate old ones. Learning cannot be observed directly it can only be inferred from changes in behaviour. Not all changes in behaviour are caused by learning: your performance can be affected by physical or mental condition such as fatigue, fearfulness etc, learning how to do something is different than actually doing it.  ex: learning how to change a car tire and changing a car tire. Learning may occur without noticeable changes in observable behaviour taking place. Experience alters the structure and chemistry of the brain. These alterations affect how the nerouv system responds to events.

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