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Learning - Midterm Notes Chapters 1-6

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York University
PSYC 2210
Anthony Nield

Ben Kim PSYC2210 Page 1 of 15 Learning Midterm Notes Chapter 1-6 Biorhythm Theory: Simply by knowing the date of birth, advocates can consult a chart that will predict how well someone is likely to display heightened or decreased levels of physical, emotional, or intellectual features. Major Components of Scientific Theories Intervening Variables: purely theoretical concepts that cannot be observed directly. o E.g. predicting the flight of a ping-pong ball relies on a number of intervening variables such as force, mass, air resistance, and gravity Syntax: rules or definitions that state how the independent and dependent variables are to be measured and that specify the relationship among independent variables, intervening variables, and dependent variables o The syntax of biorhythm theory describes how to use a persons birthday to calculate the current status of the three cycles. The syntax also relates the cycles to the dependent variable, a persons performance, by stating that positive cycles should cause high levels of performance, whereas low or critical cycles should cause low performance levels Judging Scientific Theories 5 Characteristics of good scientific theories Testability (Falsifiability): A theory should make unambiguous predictions that can be tested against the facts. It is generally agreed that a good theory is one that could, in principle, be proven wrong. Simplicity: If two theories are equal in their ability to account for a body of data, the theory that does so with the smaller number of hypothetical constructs and assumptions is to be preferred. Generality: Theories that deal with more phenomena, with greater range of observations, are usually judged to be better than theories of more restricted scope o The more areas it applies too, the better it is Fruitfulness: An important property of a scientific theory is its ability to stimulate further research and further thinking about a particular topic. Agreement with the Data: If a theory makes predictions that clearly contradicts some well-established facts, the theory must be either modified or discarded Issues and Techniques in Comparing Theory with Data Case History Method: reports about where a clinician may encounter only one or two cases of a disorder Observational Techniques: denote a wide range of research methods, including field observations, the use of surveys and questionnaires, and the use of archival data (information contained in written documents and records). Observational techniques always involve a systematic effort to obtain a representative sample from the population of interest Ben Kim PSYC2210 Page 2 of 15 Experimental Techniques: the researcher actively manipulates the independent variables as they already exist and tries to discern the relationship between them. In an experiment, the researcher actively manipulates the independent variable in some systematic way o Confounding Variable: something that is not of interest to the researcher but can nevertheless affect the results of an experiment. In any experiment where a single group of subjects experiences two or more conditions in succession, there is always the possibility that a confounding variable can affect the results o Double-blind Procedure: when neither the subject nor the person conducting the experiment knows whether that subject is in the control group or the experimental group Statistics and Significant Tests o Inferential Statistics: assets the researcher in drawing inferences or theoretical conclusions from empirical results o Statistically Significant: Implies nothing about the importance of a finding it simply means that it is unlikely the result occurred by chance On Free Will, Determinism, and Chaos Theory Determinism: A philosophical position that all events of the world, including all human behaviors, are determined by physical causes that could, at least in principle, be discovered and analyzed with the techniques of science Free Will: the idea that some nonphysical entity, such as the will or the soul, can direct human behavior Chaos Theory: provides mathematical techniques for dealing with complex physical systems, and it has been applied to a great variety of scientific topics, ranging form the beating of the human heart to weather forecasting Simple Ideas, Simple Associations, and Simple Cells Associationist: three principles of association that can be viewed as an elementary theory of memory. Aristotle suggested that these principles describe how one thought leads to another. o 1 Principle Contiguity: the more closely together (contiguous) in space or time two items occur, the more likely will the thought of item lead to the thought of the other. E.g. The response chair to the word table illustrates association by spatial contiguity, since the two items are often found close together nd o 2 Principle Similarity: The thought of one concept often leads to the thought of similar concepts E.g. responses orange or pear to the prompt apple o 3 Principle Contrast: An item often leads to the thought of its opposite E.g. night0day, boy-girl Ben Kim PSYC2210 Page 3 of 15 The British Associationists: Simple and Complex Ideas Associationism: seen as a theory of all knowledge. Also called British Empiricists because of their belief that every person acquires all knowledge empirically, that is, through experience Nativism: the opposite of Empiricism, or the position that some ideas are innate and do not depend on an individuals part experience. Complex Idea: If two or more sensations are presented together o The idea of red and rectangle might elicit a complex idea of a brick. Duplex Idea: Complex ideas could themselves combine o James Mill suggested that all complex idea can be decomposed into two or more simple ideas, and are always formed thought the repeated pairing of these simple ideas Thomas Browns Secondary Principles of Association Brown tried to create a remedy that would cover Aristotles seemingly incomplete list of principles of association by proposing nine secondary principles of association to supplement Aristotles list 1. The length of time two sensations coexist determines the strength of the associations 2. The liveliness or vividness of the sensations also affects the strength of the association 3. If the two sensations have been paired frequently 4. If they have been paired recently 5. If both sensations are Free from strong associations with other sensations 6. Constitutional differences among different individuals 7. A persons current emotional state 8. The momentary state of the body 9. Prior habit Ebbinghaus Major Findings The Effects of Repetition: The frequency of pairing directly affects the strength of an association. o Overlearning: Continuing to practice after performance is apparently perfect Backwards Associations: In one experiment, Ebbinghaus learned a list one day and then attempted to learn the list in the opposite order the following day. He was not successful in memorizing the list as well as reciting them regularly. Physiological Research on Learning Chemical Change: There is now plenty of evidence that some changes in the brain do not depend on the growth of new synapses, but rather on chemical changes in already existing synapses o Long-term Potentiation: The increase in the strength of excitatory synapses as a result of electrical stimulation
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