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PS261 Study Notes Ch. 1-5

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Anneke Olthof

PS-261 Study Notes Ch.1-5 Two Mechanisms of Change • Maturation: The unfolding of a genetic program that we inherited from our parents at conception • Learning: Involves forming an association or connection between events. There are two types we will focus on:  Classical Conditioning: You make an association between two stimuli because one stimulus reliably predicts the other stimulus (ex. toilet flushing and cold water in shower)  Instrumental Conditioning: You make an association between a response and a consequence Antecedent Parents to the Study of Animal Learning • Philosophy: Contemplated the nature of the mind  Descartes: noticed that some behaviors are involuntary and not the result of free will. Introduced idea of Cartesian Dualism; Held that behavior can be voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary behavior was caused by the environment while voluntary was caused by the mind  British Empiricists: Locke and Hume believed at birth our minds are a blank slate, and that everything we know is the result of experience  Rationalists: Kant and others believed that while a lot comes from experiences, we are also born knowing basic things, such as how to make associations • Biology: Used rigorous experimental techniques to uncover information about the body  Sechenov: Theorized that a very faint stimulus could produce a very strong response. Also that that thoughts are reflexive responses to external stimuli  Pavlov: Invented Classical Conditioning; Was able to show that a reflexive response can be elicited from a previously neutral stimulus by pairing it (the neutral stimulus) with a biologically relevant stimulus. Transformed a neutral stimulus (bell) into inducing a reflexive response (salivation) by pairing it with a biologically relevant stimulus (food)  Darwin: Proposed that all life evolved from natural selection: That any heritable physical or psychological characteristics that helps an animal adapt to its environment (survive and reproduce) will propagate in the population Major Players In Early Learning Experiments • Thorndike: The first to study instrumental conditioning. Worked with cats in puzzle boxes. The goal was to get the cat to open the box, and then a piece of food would be waiting outside for reinforcement. Also developed the Law of Effect.  Law of Effect: States that the consequence of a response (escaping the box and getting food) determines what happens to the strength of the association between S and R. If the consequence is pleasant, the association will be strengthened and in vice versa. • Watson: Argued that research should be limited to observable behavior only. He also held the belief that experience influences 100% of behavior and genetics meant nothing. • Skinner: Developed the concept of Radical Behaviorism, and invented the Skinner Box.  Radical Behaviorism: Says that behavior is lawfully related to the environment, and that mental occurrences are irrelevant because they don’t change the relationship between behavior and the consequence.  Skinner Box: An Automated machine with a food delivery system where responses are manipulated. A rat uses a Skinner box with a lever, and the rat would have to push the lever after a certain amount of time or a certain number of times to have the food delivered. A pigeon pecks a key in the same way. It was made to show that behavior is controlled by the consequences.  Superstition Experiment: Tested pigeons ability to learn when given access to food. Pigeons would repeat whatever action they were doing when the food arrived. Learned that animals are super sensitive to the timing of the reinforcement in relation to the response, more so than the relationship between the response and reinforcement. • Tolman: Studied the cognitive abilities of animals. Coined the terms Cognitive Map and Latent Learning.  Latent Learning: Learning in the absence of reinforcement and reward.  Cognitive Map: Animals learn and make mental associations with places and have varied responses in order to achieve a goal. There is not just an S-R association. Terminology • Stimuli = S • Response = R General Process Approach • Assumes that the way we learn is basically the same across different learning situations. Elicited Behavior, Habituation and Sensitization • Elicited Behavior: Behavior that occurs in response to a specific stimulus • Reflexes: Involve a precise relationship between an external stimulus and the corresponding response, and the specificity of this relationship is caused by how the nervous system is organized  The Reflex Arc: Three different neurons that work together to mediate reflexes. This system is efficient because it is faster or signals to travel to and from the spinal cord than to and from the brain. o Sensory/Afferent Neurons: Engaged by environmental stimuli and send information toward the spinal cord. o Motor/Efferent Neurons: Receive information from the spinal cord and transmit it away to the muscles to perform the reflexive response. o Interneuron: Works as the ‘middle man’ and relays information from the sensory neuron to the motor neuron.  Modal Action Patterns: Sequences of reflexive responses that are common to a particular species (species-specific). There’s a lot of variability in the response and the stimulus conditions that elicit the response. o Sign/Releasing Stimulus: The specific set of features that elicit the modal action pattern o Supernormal Stimulus: An exaggerated sign stimulus that elicits a super strong response. Normally only found artificially in experiments  Behavior Sequences: o Appetitive Behavior: General search, focal search, extraction of food, handling of food. o Consummatory Behavior: Series specific behaviors (modal action patterns) that occur in response to a specific eliciting stimulus; final stage of eating the food (chewing, smacking, swallowing)  Habituation Effect: A decrease in responding with repeated presentation of the same eliciting stimulus. This effect is very stimulus specific (people who habituate to listening to one clock tick will not effect their hearing response to other clocks) o Habituation is greater when startle stimulus was presented every 3 seconds compared to just once a day o Spontaneous recovery was seen of the startle response when the tone presentation was returned to once a day after it had been presented every 3 seconds.  Sensitization Effect: An increase in responsiveness to an eliciting stimulus following repeated presentation. o Stabilimeter: Device used to measure the startle response of rats  Habituation & Sensitization o Habituation and sensitization are very adaptive tools that help to sort through the bombardment of stimuli that were constantly faced with; Habituation helps you to ignore the irrelevant stuff, and sensitization helps you to respond to stuff that may be relevant. o We need to be sure that a change in behavior is due to a learned association, and not habituation or sensitization.  Sensory Adaptation: Occurs when the senses are temporarily insensitive to external stimulation. (ex. When a flash from a camera blinds your eyes for a few seconds). It is necessary to show that habituation is response specific to control for sensory adaptation. If two responses are elicited and one habituates and the other doesn’t, we can be sure that it is habituation and sensory adaptation isn’t happening. If sensory adaptation happened, both responses would be effected.  Fatigue: When the muscles are temporarily unable to make the motor response. It is necessary to show that habituation is stimulus specific to control for fatigue. If the muscles are experiencing fatigue, they will not respond to any stimulus while if there is no response to one stimulus alone then it is habituation.  The Dual Process Theory: o Assumes that there are different types of underlying neural processes that are responsible for the habituation and sensitization effects. It refers to the brains processes and what is causing the observable change. The habituation process is the neurological process that is responsible for producing a decrease in behavior, while the sensitization process in the neural process that leads to an increase in behavior. o Assumes that both the habituation and sensitization processes can be activated at the same time o Assumes that habituation and sensitization effects are net result of both the habituation and sensitization processes (if the habituation process is greater than the sensitization process, the result will be habituation etc. o Both processes decay over time without stimulation o Spontaneous recovery can be observed from both processes  S-R and State Systems: o S-R system is where the habituation process occurs. Stimulus specific. o State system is where the sensitization process occurs. Only activated when arousal is heightened. Not stimulus Specific.  Opponent Process Theory of Motivation: o Explains how emotional reactions to eliciting stimuli change with time  Emotional reactions are biphasic (when the stimulus ends, the opposite emotion occurs)  Emotional reactions change with experience  The net result of both processes is the observable emotional response  The b-process is slow to decay and lasts a long time after the a-process ends o The primary process (a-process) is the emotional state that results from the presentation of a stimulus. o The opponent process ( b-process) is the elicited by the a- process to produce the opposite emotional state  Drug Tolerance: The decline in the effectiveness of a drug with repeated exposures Classical Conditioning  Conditioned Suppression Procedures: A measure of how much an ongoing behavior is suppressed in response to the presentation of a fearful stimulus o Lick-Suppression Procedure: Thirsty rat given access to drinking spout and number of licks is recorded. A buzzer (CS) is sounded and then a shock (US) is given. If the licks are suppressed with the buzzer it is assumed that an association has formed. o Conditioned Emotional Response (CER) Procedure: Rat lever presses for food, CS is presented followed by a shock (US) and i
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