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York University
PSYC 1010
Doug Mc Cann

Chapter 6: Learning Learning: relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience - superstitions involves people repeating behaviour that they think will lead to a certain outcome (operant conditioning) - phobias: irrational fears of specific objects or situations o often the result of classical conditioning - conditioning: learning associations between events that occur in an organism‟s environment o a specific kind of learning Classical Conditioning Classical conditioning: type of learning whereby after several pairings of a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus (which produces an unconditioned response), the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus and gains the capacity to produce a conditioned response (which is similar to the unconditioned response) - learning by association - also called Pavlovian conditioning (pioneered by Ivan Pavlov) - the term “conditioning” comes from Pavlov‟s determination to discover the “conditions” of this kind of learning - neutral stimulus (NS): a stimulus that does not evoke a conditioned response - unconditioned stimulus (UCS): a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning - unconditioned response (UCR): an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning) - conditioned stimulus (CS): a previously neutral stimulus (NS) that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response - conditioned response (CR): a learned reaction to conditioned stimulus because of previous conditioning - ex. in dogs: o meat powder (UCS) → salivation (UCR) this is an automatic, unlearned response o a tone (NS) + meat powder (UCS) → salivation (UCR) a neutral stimulus is paired with presentations of meat powder o a tone (CS) → salivation (CS) the neutral stimulus becomes associated with the response of the meat powder, becoming the conditioned stimulus when the tone is presented alone, it can produce the salivation response - UCR and CR are usually the same, but there could be subtle differences - classically conditioned responses are known as conditioned reflexes (formerly “psychic reflexes”) o they are elicited (drawn forth) - trial: consists of presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimulus o classical conditioning usually requires several trials, but sometimes needs only 1 trial Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life - phobias: conditioned fears o case studies of patients suffering from phobias suggest many irrational fears can be traced to experiences involving classical conditioning o fear (UCR) is associated with UCS and NS, new CS causes CR of fear - classical conditioning works for pleasant emotions as well o advertising: attractive people in pleasant environment associated with products o e.g. attractive people and situation (UCS) elicit pleasant emotions (UCR) and products (CS) elicits pleasant emotions (CR) Conditioning and Physiological Responses - Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen showed classical conditioning can lead to immunosuppression: decrease in production of antibodies o animal given chemical immunosuppression (UCS) with unusual-tasting liquid (NS), animal showed lowered immune response after taking liquid alone, liquid became CS - studies show classical condition can elicit allergic reactions - classical conditioning contributes to increased drug tolerance o contextual cues or predrug cues (e.g. park, swings = where a person used a drug) become conditioned stimuli that elicit conditioned compensatory responses (body processes that oppose drug effects) o therefore: if the situation elicits compensatory CRs that weaken drug effects, users will use more drugs to get the same effect (causing compensatory CR to grow in strength over time as well) o if users take drugs in a new context or situation, then this new environment won‟t elicit compensatory CRs and the person doesn‟t need to take as much drugs to get the same effect - withdrawal symptoms present when cues present but not administering drug - classical conditioning involved in sexual arousal and fetishes o in quails, red light paired (NS) with opportunities to copulate (UCS), red light became a conditioned response and elicited increased sperm release (CS) Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning - acquisition: initial stage of learning something o Pavlov theorized stimulus contiguity: stimuli are contiguous when they occur together in time and space o occurs when CS and UCS are paired, gradually resulting in a CR o evidence shows that stimuli which are unusual or intense have more potential to become CSs in conditioning probably because these types of stimuli stand out more York SOS | 6 - extinction: gradual weakening or disappearance of a conditioned response tendency o occurs after repeated presentation of CS alone without UCS e.g. continuous tone with salivating dogs and no meat powder → dogs‟ salivation declines o does not lead to unlearning, rather suppression - spontaneous recovery: reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to CS o e.g. dogs‟ salivation to the tone extinguished → later exposure to tone created a little salivation in the dog - renewal effect: CR returns when reintroduced to original environment where it was acquired first (response was extinguished in a different environment) - stimulus generalization: occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to a new stimuli that is similar to the original stimulus o CR elicited by new stimulus resembles original CS o adaptive measure because we rarely experience the same stimulus twice o generalization declines as similarity decreases generalization gradients quantify the degree of generalization across similar objects - stimulus discrimination: occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus o opposite of generalization (CR is not elicited by new stimulus that resembles original CS) o new stimuli are unpaired with original stimuli o adaptive measure, e.g. avoiding poisonous foods, recognizing friend from foe o less similar a stimuli is to the original the greater likelihood of discrimination - higher-order conditioning: conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus o natural UCS can be substituted with CS after response established in the CS o CS is paired with NS over trials, NS becomes a second CS Operant Conditioning Operant conditioning: form of learning where responses come to be controlled by their consequences - developed by B.F. Skinner - mainly regulates voluntary, spontaneous responses (e.g. studying) Thorndike’s Law of Effect - operant conditioning a.k.a. instrumental learning - law of effect: response in presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between stimulus and response is strengthened o e.g. experiment where cats were rewarded upon escape, the cats were escaping faster and faster B.F. Skinner’s Demonstration: It’s All a Matter of Consequences - reinforcement: occurs when an event following a response increases an organism‟s tendency to make that response - operant chamber or Skinner box: small enclosure where an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while consequences of the response are systematically controlled - operant responses tend to be emitted (sent forth, voluntary) o unlike elicited (drawn forth, involuntary) - reinforcement contingencies: circumstances or rules that determine whether the responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers - cumulative recorder: creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a Skinner box as a function of time (dependent variable = rate of response) o steep slope = rapid response rate o shallow slope = slow response rate o line never goes down because it is cumulative Basic Processes in Operant Conditioning - same stages as classical conditioning - acquisition: initial stage of learning some new pattern of responding o responding gradually increases because of reinforcement (possibly through shaping) - shaping: consist of reinforcements of closer and closer approximations of a desired response o e.g. rewarding a child each time s/he gets closer and closer to tying their shoe correctly - extinction: responding gradually slows and stops after reinforcement is terminated o organism will eventually cease to perform behaviour - resistance to extinction: occurs when an organism continues to make a response after reinforcement termination o high resistance if response tapers off slowly o low resistance if response tapers off quickly - discriminative stimuli: cues that influence operant behaviour by indicating the probable consequences (reinforcement or nonreinforcement) of a response o e.g. birds learn to hunt after it has rained because worms are easier to find - stimulus generalization: responding increases (generalization) in the presence of a stimulus that resembles discriminative stimulus - stimulus discrimination: responding decreases (discrimination) in the presence of a stimulus that does not resemble discriminative stimulus Reinforcement: Consequences That Strengthen Responses - strengthening of a response tendency after a favourable outcome o defined after effect, in other words after observation - primary reinforcers: events that inherently reinforce because they satisfy biological needs o e.g. food, water, warmth, sex, etc. - secondary or conditioned reinforcers: events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforcers o e.g. money, good grades, attention, flattery, praise, etc. Schedules of Reinforcement - schedule of reinforcement: determines which occurrences of a specific response result in the presentation of a reinforcer o basically “how often is behaviour reinforced” - continuous reinforcement: occurs when every instance of a designated response is reinforced o fast extinction if reinforcement ceased - intermittent or partial reinforcement: occurs when a designated response is reinforced only some of the time o longer-lasting effects - ratio schedules require organism to make designated response a certain number of times to fain each reinforcer o fixed-ratio (FR) schedule: reinforcer is given after a fixed number of non-reinforced responses e.g. salesman receives bonus every 4 encyclopedias sold o variable-ratio (VR) schedule: reinforcer is given after a variable number of non- reinforced responses (varies around predetermined average) e.g. slot machine pays off once every 6 tries on the average, number of non-winnings varies one time to the next - interval schedules require time period to pass between presentation of reinforcers o fixed-interval (FI) schedule: reinforcer given for the first response that occurs after a fixed time interval has elapsed e.g. man washing clothes periodically checks to see whether each load is finished reinforced) o variable-interval (VI) schedule: reinforcer given for the first response after a variable time interval has elapsed e.g. person repeatedly dialing a busy phone number (getting through is reinforcer) - ratio schedules produce more rapid responding because it leads to reinforcement sooner Positive Reinforcement versus Negative Reinforcement - positive reinforcement: occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by presentation of a rewarding stimulus o e.g. studying hard (response) earns good grades (rewarding stimulus) - negative reinforcement: occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the removal of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus o e.g. giving in (response) to a demanding child (unpleasant stimulus) o leads to escape learning: organism acquires a response that decreases or ends some aversive stimulation e.g. leaving a party when being picked on (ending unpleasantness) e.g. turning on AC to get rid of stifling heat (decreasing unpleasantness) o leads to avoidance learning: organism acquires a response that prevents some aversive stimulation from occurring e.g. quitting parties to avoid being picked on e.g. turning on AC before entering a hot room o operant conditioning can work with classical conditioning e.g. phobia: presentation of stimulus (CS) followed by avoidance behaviour (CR) is reinforced (operant response) Punishment: consequences that weaken responses - positive punishment: presentation of an aversive stimulus to reduce occurrence of response o e.g. spanking (aversive stimulus) a child o used a lot for disciplinary purposes - negative punishment: removal of a rewarding stimulus o e.g. parent taking away child‟s TV time (rewarding stimulus) for misbehaving - side effects of physical punishment: o Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff concluded physical punishment is associated with: poor- quality parent-child relations, elevated aggression, delinquency, behavioural problems in youngsters, increased likelihood of children being abused o studies show effects carry over into adulthood for those who were abused in childhood: increased aggression, criminal behaviour, mental health problems, child abuse o rebuttal: these relations are correlations and that levels of punishment was unaccounted for Effective Punishment 1) Apply punishment swiftly: punish after immediately after unfavourable response or the effectiveness of it is loss - delayed punishment can make ex. a child confused at why they were punished 2) Use punishment just severe enough to be effective - more severe punishment can have undesirable effects 3) Make punishment consistent: punish the response very time, or else confusion is created in learning 4) Explain the punishment: punishment combined with reasoning is more effective than either alone - [makes ex. a child realize clearly which stimulus (bad behaviour) their parents disapprove of] 5) Use noncorporal punishments (e.g. withdrawal of privileges) - withdrawing allows e.g. a child to contemplate the wisdom of changing their ways Changing Directions in the Study of Conditioning Instinctive drift: occurs when an animal‟s innate response tendencies interfere with conditioning - e.g. raccoons can be conditioned to deposit 1 coin in a piggy bank, but couldn‟t be conditioned to deposit 2 or more coins (they would rub the coins together and keep them) o raccoons have an instinct to rub things together to clean them Conditioned Taste Aversion: many people develop aversions to food followed by nausea, food poisoning and alcohol intoxication - e.g. “sauce béarnaise syndrome”: CS (sauce) + UCS (flu) elicit nausea (UCR + CR) o taste-nausea and odour-nausea associations form quickly despite CS-UCS delays o study: rats developed taste aversion when given radiation that causes nausea after eating, but not to electric shock visual and auditory stimuli before induced-nausea did not create conditioned aversions o reason: natural selection favours those able to choose right foods to eat (evolutionary influences) Preparedness and Phobias - preparedness: species-specific predisposition to be conditioned in certain ways and not others - evolutionary forces gradually programmed humans to easily acquire conditioned fears to common objects more easily and rapidly (e.g. dark, spiders, etc.) Arbitrary Versus Ecological Conditioned Stimuli - Domjan argues that in the real world, conditioned stimuli tend to have natural relationships to the unconditioned stimuli Evolutionary Perspectives on Learning - popular view: basic mechanisms of learning are similar across species but sometimes are modified due to different environmental demands on species - radical view: there isn‟t the learning process, rather there are many learning processes sculpted by evolution for each particular species o no universal laws to learning Recognizing Cognitive Processes in Conditioning Signal Relations - Robert Rescorla asserts environmental stimuli serve as signals and that some are better than others o a “good” signal is a CS that allows accurate prediction of UCS o more UCS-CS pairings, the stronger the CR Response-Outcome Relations and Reinforcement - people actively reason out relations between responses and outcomes - response is more likely to be strengthened if it appeared to have caused the favourable outcome - modern theory: conditioning is a matter of detecting contingencies (what causes what) o looks at contingencies of behaviour and the environment o stimuli are signals that help organism minimize unpleasant experiences and maximize pleasant experiences o departure from mechanical and mindless process of classical conditioning of old theory Observational Learning Observational Learning: occurs when an organism‟s responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models (indirect experience) - Albert Bandura‟s research in observational learning has been pivotal o demonstrated that classical and operant conditioning can take place vicariously through observational learning Basic Processes 1) Attention: paying attention to another person‟s behaviour and its consequences 2) Retention: storage of a mental representation of what you have witnessed in memory 3) Reproduction: enacting a modelled response (depends on ability to convert memory to overt behaviour) 4) Motivation: encountering a situation where you believe the response will pay off Acquisition versus Performance - distinguishes acquisition of a learned response and performance of that response - reinforcement affects which responses are actually performed more than which responses are acquired - Bandura asserts reinforcement influences performance rather learning Observational Learning the Media Violence Controversy - media violence and aggression connection still debated - Bandura performed experiments using the “Bobo doll” o children acted aggressively with the doll after seeing an adult model doing the same o supports idea of media violence and aggressiveness - many studies support the finding that violence in media has short-term effects, ex. verbal aggression - others argue that violence in the media is only one of many factors that determine a person‟s level of aggression - physical punishment tends to increase aggression in children even when it is intended to do the opposite Observational Learning and the Brain: Mirror Neurons - mirror neurons: neurons activated by performing an action or seeing another monkey or person perform the same action o study: the brain activity of a monkey watching another monkey do something was the same o found in humans with fMRI Featured Study: The Long-Term Effects of Watching Violence on TV Method - a study measured a group of children‟s aggression, amount of TV violence watched, and measured their aggressiveness 15 years later Results & Discussion - children‟s attitudes toward TV violence (ex. identifying with a violent TV character) related to level of aggression as adults - this was especially true of boys, who identified with violent TV characters Personal Application: Achieving Self-Control Through Behaviour Modification Behaviour modification: systematic approach to changing behaviour through application of principles of conditioning - specify target behaviour o can only target overt behaviours - baseline target behaviour o initial level of target behaviour - monitor the antecedents: events that typically precede a target response - monitor the consequences: factors that maintain the undesirable behaviour o ex. smoking decreases someone‟s anxiety - design a program that increases the desirable behaviour and decreases undesirable behaviour o break the link of problem behaviour to its antecedents and consequences o choose an appropriate reinforcer can give a list of reinforcers for a person to seek out appropriate reinforcers perhaps use a token economy: system for doling out symbolic reinforcers that are exchanged for a variety of genuine reinforcers o consider using punishment, but not alone and at a mild level - execute and evaluate your program o look at the behavioural data to see if behaviour is improving o can increase compliance with the person with a behavioural contract: written agreement outlining a promise to adhere to the contingencies of a behaviour modification program Critical Thinking Application: Manipulating Emotions: Pavlov and Persuasion Classical Conditioning in Various Areas - advertising: associating products with pleasant emotions - business negotiations: fine dining and entertainment through major events elicit pleasant feelings as well as reciprocity norm (social rule of giving back the host in perhaps business deals) - politics: politicians pairing themselves with positive events, so they in turn are associated with pleasant emotions o e.g. Nazis pairing Jewish people with repulsive imagery Chapter 7: Human Memory ................................................................................................................................. Encoding: forming a memory code Storage: maintaining encoded information over time Retrieval: recovering information from memory stores Encoding: Getting Information into Memory Next-in-line Effect: tendency to forget much of what was said before they took their turn speaking Attention: focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events - linked to a filter that screens out most potential stimuli while allowing a few select stimuli to pass through to consciousness awareness - filter found in early (during sensory input) or late (after brain processing)? o evidence for both, therefore filters assumed to be not fixed, but flexible between 2 extremes - people experience large reduction in memory performance when dividing attention between memory encoding and other tasks o as well as task performance when attention divided among several tasks e.g. driving while conversing on cell phone - information can be acquired through effort, but as well as automatically Levels of Processing - not all attention is equal - levels-of-processing theory: proposes deeper levels of processing result in longer-lasting memory codes o shallow processing (structural encoding): physical structure of stimuli o intermediate processing (phonemic encoding): what a word sounds like o deep processing (semantic encoding): meaning of the verbal input - deeper processing leads to enhanced memory - length of time is not reliable in determining level of processing Enriching Encoding - elaboration: linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding - visual imagery: creation of visual images to represent the words to be remembered o concrete images easier to encode than abstract (e.g. „juggler‟ easier to encode than „truth‟) o dual code theory: memory is enhanced by forming semantic and visual codes, since either can lead to recall - self-referent encoding: deciding how or whether information is personally relevant o enhances recall by promoting additional elaboration and better organization of information Storage: Maintaining Information in Memory Sensory Memory: preserves information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only a fraction of a second - allows sensation of visual patterns (as afterimage, like sparkler), sound or touch to linger - retention of sensory input quickly loss if not acted upon Short-Term Memory (STM): limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for up to about 20 seconds - store STM indefinitely through rehearsal: process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about information o e.g. repeating a phone number you‟re about to dial - duration of STM has been found to be shorter with different approaches - loss of information due to decay as well as interference from competing material - George Miller pointed out that people can recall only about 7 items in task with unfamiliar material - increase capacity of STM by combining stimuli into larger, possibly higherorder units called chunks: group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit o easier to recall chunks when related with information from longterm memory - considered now as working memory (more responsibility): o STM found to be not limited to phonemic encoding 1) phonological rehearsal loop: represented STM in earlier model 2) visuospatial sketchpad: permits people to temporarily hold and manipulate visual images 3) executive control system: controls deployment of attention 4) episodic buffer: temporary, limited-capacity store that allows various components of working memory to integrate information and serves as interface between working memory and long-term memory Long-Term Memory (LTM): unlimited capacity store that can hold information over lengthy periods of time - 1 theory suggests information is permanently stored in LTM o forgetting results from inability to retrieve information o e.g. patients recall long lost memories through electrical stimulation of brain - flashbulb memories: unusually vivid and detailed recollections of momentous events (e.g. 9/11, people can recall where they were, etc.) o closer scrutiny shows: long lost memories show distortions and impossibilities flashbulb memories become less detailed and complete and are often inaccurate - no convincing evidence as of yet Are Short-Term Memory and Long-Term Memory Really Separate? - sensory memory may be nothing more than perceptual process - separation of STM and LTM based on different encoding o STM : phonemic encoding and forgetting due to decay; LTM: semantic encoding and forgetting due to interference o STM found to have elements of LTM - other view: STM is tiny and changing portion of LTM - radical view: 1 single, unitary memory store Organization of Memory - conceptual hierarchies: multilevel classification system based on common properties of items o clustering: tendency to remember similar or related items in groups - schemas: organized cluster of information about an object or event abstracted from previous experience with the object of event o e.g. recalling things in things in the office that weren‟t there, but they‟re associated with the office o relational schemas: regularities associated with social settings - semantic networks: consists of concepts joined by pathways of linking related concepts o ovals represent nodes, shorter lines = closer relationships - connectionist networks or parallel distributed processing (PDP) models: assume that memories consist of patterns of activation in connectionist networks that resemble neural networks o differs from semantic network because piece of knowledge is represented by a particular pattern of activation across an entire network Retrieval: Getting Information Out of Memory Using Cues to Aid Retrieval - tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon: temporary inability to remember something you know, accompanied by the feeling that it‟s just out of reach (increases with age) - people can partially remember what they‟re trying to recall - memory can be jogged by retrieval cues Reinstating the Context of an Event - encoding specificity principle: better memory for information when conditions during encoding and retrieval are similar - context cues often facilitate retrieval of information (putting yourself back in the situation) - mood and state during encoding affect retrieval efforts o e.g. if you were enraged, intoxicated, etc. Reconstructing Memories and the Misinformation Effect - memories are sketchy reconstructions of the past that can be distorted (due to schemas) - misinformation effect: recall of an event is changed by misleading postevent information o e.g. witness accounts in court Source Monitoring and Reality Monitoring - source monitoring: process of making attributions about the origins of memories (trying to pinpoint when something occurred) - source-monitoring error: occurs when memory derived from 1 source is misattributed to another source o explains cryptomnesia: inadvertent plagiarism - reality monitoring: process of deciding whether memories are based on external sources (one‟s perception of actual events) or internal sources (one‟s thought and imagination) Forgetting: When Memory Lapses How Quickly We Forget: Ebbinghaus‟s Forgetting Curve - Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted forgetting research on himself using nonsense syllables - determined forgetting curve: graphs retention and forgetting over time - concluded most forgetting occurs very rapidly after learning something - important to remember he worked with meaningless material and his curve is very steep Measures of Forgetting - retention: refers to proportion of material retained (remembered), kinds: o recall measure: subjects reproduce information on their own without cues o recognition measure: subjects select previously learned information from an arrow of options (e.g. multiple choice questions) tendency to be easier than recall measure (difficulty varies) o relearning measure: subject memorizes information a second time to determine how much time or how many practice trials are saved by having learned it before Why We Forget - pseudoforgetting: forgot something you never really learned (due to lack of attention) o due to ineffective encoding o e.g. penny design o e.g. studying textbook while doing something else, you could just be reading it outloud (phonemic encoding, which is inferior to semantic encoding) - decay theory: forgetting occurs because memory traces fade with time (found in sensory input, STM, not evidence supporting LTM) - interference theory: people forget information because of competition from other material o decreasing similarity of material should reduce interference o types: retroactive interference: new information impairs retention of previously learned information proactive interference: previously learned information interferes with retention of new information - retrieval failure: failure in the process of retrieving o encoding specificity principle: states value of retrieval cue depends on how well it corresponds to the memory code o transfer-appropriate processing: initial processing of information is similar to the type of processing required by subsequent measure of retention poor fit between processing done during encoding and the processing invoked by the measure of retention - motivated forgetting: o repression: keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in unconscious Repressed Memories Controversy - recent years show surge of reports of recovered memories of previously forgotten sexual abuse in childhood - psychologists and psychiatrists assert sexual abuse in childhood is far more widespread than most people realize - abuse is repressed and sometimes later the individual experiences amnesia for the abuse o evokes coping efforts in parents in an attempt to block awareness of abuse o study is debatable: women could have lied due to embarrassment, normal forgetfulness, etc. - critics blame a minority of therapists for using the power of suggestion to attribute al psychological problems to child abuse, implanting false memories - important to remember that some cases are authentic - experiments show it is easy to create memory illusions (false memories) - many memories of abuse recovered: o under hypnosis: promotes distortions o dream interpretation: subjective - rebuttals: o experiments deal with insignificant memories o implantation of entire multiple scenarios? In Search of the Memory Trace: Physiology of Memory The Biochemistry of Memory - one study showed memory formation
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