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Chapter 7 – Learning and Adaptation FINAL.docx

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Psychology 1000
Mark Cole

Chapter 7 – Learning and Adaptation Learning – process which experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behavior or capabilities - Capabilities – difference between “knowing how” and “doing” - You measure change by actual changes in performance - Learning is a process of personal adaptation to the changes in our lives - Behaviorists explain learning as directly observable events about adapting to the environment - Cognitive perspective, biological factors, and emergence of cross-cultural psychology also expand our learning 1. Habituation – a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus - Occurs across species - Learning not to respond to uneventful stimuli saves us energy and allows us to pay attention to the important stimuli - It is a simple form of learning that occurs within the central nervous system because sensory information is still available to us even if it is irrelevant (can become relevant) 2. Sensitization – an increase in the strength of a response to repeated stimulus - With repeated presentation, your start response will increase in intensity - You will experience a stronger emotional reaction (show sensitization) - Found across a wide range of species and will occur to strong or noxious stimuli - Its purpose is to increase responses to a dangerous stimulus Classical Conditioning Classical Conditioning – an organism learns to associate two stimuli so that one of them comes to produce a response that originally was produced only by the other stimulus - Example) A song and a first date  the song will allow you to feel happy (but was originally caused by the first date) - Basic form of learning that occurs in all species (animals and humans) - It is the learning and association between stimuli Pavlov’s Pioneering Research – he read Darwin’s theory of evolution and it inspired him to conduct research on digestion in dogs - He presented various types of food to the dog and measured their natural saliva - With repeated trials, the dogs would start to salivate before the food was even present (just when they heard him bringing the food) - He added in a tone that played before the dog received the food, and the dog started to salivate to the tone alone after repeated trials (classical / Pavlovian conditioning) - This was a basic learning process that performed key adaptive functions of classical conditioning alerting the organism to stimuli that signal before the arrival of the important event Acquisition – the period during which a response is being learnt - Neural Stimulus – does not trigger the salivation response - Learning is required for the food to produce salivation o Food = unconditioned stimulus (UCS) o Salivation = unconditioned response (UCR) o Food + tone = learning trial o Through association, the tone becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) and salivation becomes a conditioned response (CR)  Salivation = UCR (natural) and CR (learnt) - During an experiment, a CS is usually paired with a UCS many times to create a strong CR - The sequence and time interval of the CS-UCS also affects conditioning because learning usually occurs faster with forward short-delay pairing - The CS (tone) appeared first and is still present when the UCS (food) appears - Forward Trace Pairing – when the tone would come on and off and afterwards the food would be presented o Has adaptive values due to the fact that CS signals the impending arrival of the UCS - Usually when presenting CS and UCS at the same time, there will be less rapid conditioning and learning will be slow  Classical conditioning usually is strongest when repeated CS-UCS pairings, the UCS is the most intense, there is forward trace pairing, and there is short time intervals between CS and UCS ** Extinction – when the CS is repeatedly absent from the UCS, the CR will weaken and eventually disappear - Repeated exposure to the CS with no UCS will lead to an extinction of the fear CR - Spontaneous Recovery – when the person may still experience the fear of the extinguished CR after a rest period without new learning trials o Recovered CR is usually weaker than the initial CR and extinguished faster when there is no UCS o The fear (CR) may appear to be gone, but may reoccur in the future o Extinction Trials- will weaken the CR and I will eventually disappear Generalization and Discrimination – once a CR is acquired, the organism will often respond to the original CS AND to similar stimuli - Stimulus Generalization – similar stimuli to the initial CS elicit a CR (very adaptive) o You will develop an alarm response to a range of sounds - Discrimination – when a CR occurs to one stimulus but not to others o Pairing the CS with the UCS will lead to narrowing of response to the CS and a loss of generalized responses to other similar stimuli Higher-order Conditioning – a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with an already established CS - Will typically produce a CR that is weaker than the original CR - Greatly expands the influence of conditioned stimuli and can affect what we come to value (fears) Applications of Classical Conditioning Overcoming Fears - Fears are caused by a fear-triggering CS that has paired with an aversive UCS and stimulus generalization - Little Albert – Rayner showed him a white mouse and he showed no fear until it was paired with a loud bang o Albert would start to cry every time he saw the mouse after the bang came into play OR if he saw anything that reminded him of the mouse - Lab experiments show that humans/mammals become afraid of neutral stimuli that are paired with electric shock - Behavioral treatments are among the most effective psychotherapies for phobias (phobias can be unlearned) - Exposure Therapies – their basic goal is to expose the phobic patient to the feared stimulus (CS) without any UCS, allowing extinction to occur - Systematic Desensitization – when the patient learns muscular relaxation and then is gradually exposed to the fear-provoked-stimuli - Flooding – exposes the person to the phobic stimulus Conditioned Attraction and Aversion - When scents or images can become conditioned stimulus for arousal - People become more sexually aroused to various stimuli after those CS have been paired with sexually arousing UCS - Aversion - classical conditioning can decrease our arousal by attempting to condition an aversion to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS - Neutral stimuli acquire favourable or unfavourable (attractive or unattractive) by being paired with other stimuli that already elicit positive or negative attitudes - Conditioning can create negative attitudes towards CS by pairing the CS with an unpleasant UCS - Allergic responses occur when the immune system overreacts and releases too many antibodies to combat with the foreign substance o When a neural stimulus is repeatedly paired with a natural allergen (UCS) it may become a CS that triggers an allergic CR o Allergic reactions can be reduced through extinction trials in which the CS is presented without the UCS Operant Conditioning Thorndike’s Law of Effect - Edward Thorndike was discovering how animals learn to solve problems - Puzzle box – this box could be opened from the inside by pulling a string or stepping on a level o He placed a hungry animal inside the box with a bowl of food on the outside to see if the animal would learn to open the box o He found that by change, the animal stepped on the lever and, over time, it slowly improved in being able to open the door - He concluded that animals did not attain insight, but rather just opened the door by trail and error - Instrumental Learning – organism behaviour is instrumental in bringing about certain outcomes - Law of Effect – in a given situation, a response followed by a satisfying consequence will become more likely to occur Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning - Operant behaviour means an organism operates on its environment in some way - Operant conditioning is a type of learning where behaviour is influenced by its consequences o Responses that produce positive favourable consequences are repeated (such as receiving food) - Two main types of consequences: 1. Reinforcement – a response is strengthened by an outcome that follows it - An increase in the frequency of a response - Reinforcer is the outcome/event that increases the frequency (food) 2. Punishment – occurs when a response is weakened by outcomes that follow it - Punisher is a consequence that weakens the behaviour (electric shock) Skinners ABCs of Operant Conditioning A  antecedents: stimuli that are present before a behaviour occurs B  behaviours: that the organism emits C  consequences: that follow the behaviours RECALL Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning - Organism learns an association - Organism learns an association between two stimuli (CS – UCS) between behaviour and its that occurs before the behaviour consequences after the event - Focuses on elicited behaviours as the - Focuses on emitted behaviours conditioned response is triggered as the organism generates involuntarily by a stimulus responses voluntarily Antecedent Conditions - In operant conditioning, the antecedent can be general or specific - Discriminative stimulus is a signal that a particular response will now produce certain consequences o They set the occasion for operant responses Consequences 1. Positive Reinforcement – when a response is strengthened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus - Positive reinforcer is the stimulus that follows and strengthens the response (such as food) 2. Negative Reinforcement – when a response is strengthened by the subsequent removal or avoidance of a stimulus (umbrella to stop the rain) - Remember: punishment weakens a response, while a reinforcer (positive or negative) will strengthen a response Operant Extinction - The weakening and eventual disappearance of a response because it is no longer reinforced - We abandon and replace the behaviour for a new, successful one - Resistance to extinction is the degree to which non-reinforced responses persist o Low resistance = stop quickly o High resistance = keep occurring o Strongly influenced by the pattern of reinforcement that has previously maintained the behaviour - Good alternative to punishment as a method for reducing undesirable behaviours (such as time outs) Positive Punishment - Actively applying aversive stimuli, such as electric shock, and verbal reprimands - When a response weakened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus - Produces rapid results and will stop dangerous behaviours - Punishments suppress behaviour BUT don’t allow the organism to forget it - This form is not highly recommended by psychologists Negative Punishment - Attempts to punish behaviour by taking away something that an organism desires or finds satisfying (time outs) - A response is weakened by the subsequent removal of a stimulus - Depriving the subject of something they desire, but which isn’t the cause of the bad behaviour (not allowing them to watch TV) - It is less likely to create strong fear or hatred of the punisher because there is no physical aggression, resulting in less opportunity for learning aggression through imitation - The withheld reinforcer should be some prized object, not love - Punishment teaches them what not to do but doesn’t guarantee that desirable behaviour will appear Primary and Secondary Consequences - Primary Consequences – stimuli (food) that an organism naturally finds reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs - Secondary Consequences – through primary consequences, secondary consequences can form (money, tokens, feedback, grades, etc) o Show how behaviour depends on both classical and operant conditioning o Importance is due to learning - Apply to both positive and negative reinforcement Immediate VS. Delayed Consequences - Reinforcement/punishment that happens right after a behaviour has a stronger effect than when it is delayed - Delay of Gratification – the ability to forego an immediate smaller reward for a delayed, but more satisfying, outcome o May play a role in behaviour, such as chronic drinking, smoking, etc Shaping and Chaining - Selective mutism is when there is nothing physically wrong with someone’s vocal cords, throat, or mouth, but they don’t talk - Shaping – reinforcing successive approximations towards a final response o To fix selective mutism, you must set a specific goal: have Sami speak aloud o Second, you need to select a reinforcer that will work to influence his behaviour: a change to play with his favorite toys  Start with one word, move to several, then to sentences … o Third, you reinforce him whenever he talks out loud in front of others - Chaining – used to develop a sequence of responses by reinforcing each response with the opportunity to perform the next response o Usually begins with the final response in the sequence and works backwards toward the first response Generalization and Discrimination - Operant Generalization – operant response occurs to a new antecedent stimulus or situation that is similar to the original one - Operant Discrimination – operant response will occur to ne antecedent stimulus but not to another - When discriminative stimuli influence a behaviour, it is known as a stimulus control - Operant discrimination training is when we can teach an organism that making a response when a discriminative stimulus is present produced a positive consequence (pressing a lever  when the light flashes  get food) Schedules of Reinforcement - Patterns that have strong and predictable effects on learning, extinction, and performance - Continuous Reinforcement Schedule
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