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PSYA01 Chapter 6 Exam Notes

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Steve Joordens

Psychological ScienceChapter 6 Learning61 Classical Conditioning Learning by AssociationLearning is a process by which behavior or knowledge changes as a result of experienceCognitive learning refers to the process of learning new information such as reading listening and taking testsAssociative learning refers to learning information by the relationships of certain things oFor example you probably associate certain holidays with specific sights sounds and smells or foods with specific flavors and textures We are not the only species with this skilleven the simplest animals such as the earthworm can learn by associationPavlovs Dogs Classical Conditioning of SalivationoClassical conditioning is learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus elicits a response that was originally caused by another stimulus Also referred to as Pavlovian conditioningoAn unconditioned stimulus US is a stimulus that elicits a reflexive response without learningoAn unconditioned response UR is a reflexive unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulusoA conditioned stimulus CS is a once neutral stimulus that elicits a conditioned response because it has a history of being paired with an unconditioned stimulusoA conditioned response CR is the learned response that occurs to the conditioned stimulusoIn Pavlovs experiments the sound of a tone neutral stimulus was paired with meat powder unconditioned stimulus which resulted in salivation the unconditioned response After repeated pairings the dogs learned that the tone predicted meat powder the tone neutral stimulus became a conditioned stimulus Eventually hearing the tone alone could elicit salivation conditioned responseoTo establish that conditioning has taken place the tone CS must elicit salivated in the absence of food USProcesses of Classical ConditioningoAcquisition is the initial phase of learning in which a response is establishedis the loss or weakening of a conditioned response when a conditioned stimulus and unconditionedoExtinctionstimulus no longer occur togetheroSpontaneous recovery is the reoccurrence of a previously extinguished conditioned response typically after some time has passed since extinctionoScientists have found that extinction does not result in forgetting rather it involves learning something new In Pavlovs experiment for example the dogs learned that in a different setting the tone was no longer a reliable stimulus for predicting foodStimulus Generalization and DiscriminationoStimulus generalization is a process in which a response that originally occurs to a specific stimulus also occurs to different though similar stimuliIn Pavlovs experiment dogs salivated not just to the original tone CS but also to very similar tonesGeneralization allows for flexibility in learned behaviors however it is possible for behavior to be too flexible Salivating in response to any sound would be wasteful because not every sound correctly predicts food Thus Pavlovs dogs also showed discriminationoDiscrimination occurs when an organism learns to respond to one original stimulus but not to new stimuli that may be similar to the original stimulusConditioned emotional responses consist of emotional and physiological responses that develop to a specific object or situationoWatson and Rayner conducted one of their first studies with an 11monthold child known as Albert B also referred to as Little Albert Albert was not afraid of rats at first but the presence of the rat was paired with the striking of a steel bar with a hammer startling Albert Eventually he showed a conditioned emotional response just to the rat as well as other objects that resembled itoPsychopathy is a disorder that causes people to disregard the feelings for others When shown pictures of faces that had been paired with pain their emotional centers remained quiet and overall they did not seem to mindoA healthy fear response is important for survival but not all situations or objects are equally dangerous Snakes and heights should probably elicit more fear and caution than butterflies or freshly mown grass In fact fearing snakes is very common which makes it tempting to conclude that we have an instinct to fear them In reality young primates tend to be quite curious about or at least indifferent to snakes so this fear is most likely the product of learning rather than instinctoResearchers found that conditioned arousal to guns among participants was less than that to snake photos and comparable to that of harmless flowersoPreparedness refers to the biological predisposition to rapidly learn a response to a particular class of stimuli such as the finding that we learn to fear snakes more readily than either flowers or guns
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