Habituation and Observational Learning
• Decline in response to a stimulus once that stimulus has become familiar
o E.g., summer storm rolling in – first vs. fifth minute of wind gusts and rain
• Increase in responsiveness with change in something familiar
o E.g. summer storm – now there’s thunder!
o The storm stops suddenly
• Learning by watching others
• No direct experience involved
• Modeling and imitation
Observational Learning (cont.)
• Bandura’s Bobo Doll study
o Study design
▪ Experimental group:
• Child plays, adult plays
• Adult plays violently with Bobo doll
• Child taken to second room (cool toys!); experimenter prohibits
• Child taken to third room, with Bobo doll
▪ Control group?
• Adult not violent
o Study findings?
Children exposed to violent adult model more likely to lash out at the doll
(experimental group violence > control group violence)
• Who are we most likely to learn from?
• Mirror neurons
o Neurons that fire when we make an action or when we observe someone else
making that action
o Mirror neurons may help enable imitation
▪ May contribute to the ability to experience empathy
• …for good
o can enable prosocial effects
• …for bad
o can also promote antisocial effects
• the impact of media violence on behavior o correlational studies clearly tell us that violent viewing is linked to violent
but what is the directionality of the effect?
• experimental studies suggest that viewing media violence does lead to more violent
o violent videos
▪ deliver more shocks
o non-violent videos
▪ deliver fewer shocks
• The Office
• Ivan Pavlov
o Investigating dogs’gastric functioning
o Dogs salivated before food was actually delivered
Summary of Classical Conditioning
• Food (unconditioned stimulus) causes the dog to salivate (unconditioned response)
• Abell (neutral stimulus) does not cause the dog to salivate
During the Conditioning
• The ringing bell is presented to a dog along with the food
***bell must be presented BEFORE the meat during pairing trials
• The ringing bell (conditioned stimulus) is presented without the food, and the dog’s
response is measured
***Learning via association (linking stimuli and anticipating events)
Other Instances of Classical Conditioning
• In animals…
o Dogs and their leashes
▪ UCS = walk, UCR = excitement!
▪ CS = leash, CR = excitement (over sight of leash)
• In humans…
o Someone who’s mugged on the street at dusk
▪ UCS = mugging, UCR = fear
▪ CS = dusk, CR = fear (of that time of day)
UCS: female legs
UCR: arousal NS: car
CR: arousal (to car)
• US = do you want an altoid? (salvation)
• UR = reaches for mint
• CS = computer bell
• CR = reach/salivate
• What would happen if…
o Bell no longer paired with food?
o Computer no longer paired with altoid?
o Spontaneous recovery
Watson’s “LittleAlbert” Study
• Classical conditioning again
• Wanted to show that fear is conditioned
o UCS = loud noise
o UCR = fear
o CS = rat
o CR = fear (to the rat)
Two Final Terms
o CR to a range of stimuli, provided the stimuli are enough to the CS
Operant (instrument) Conditioning
• Thorndike and the Puzzle Box
o Learned to escape in small increments
o Incorrect response gradually “stamped out” current response gradually “stamped
The Law of Effect
• Responses followed by a reward
o More likely to occur again in the same situation
• Responses followed by no reward
o Unlikely to occur again in the same situation
• B.F. Skinner
o Agreed with the Law of Effect
o Felt Thorndike’s method was inefficient ▪ Used Skinner Box
• The organism is operating on the environment
• Reinforce: stimulus delivered after a response that makes the response more likely in the
o What is reinforcing varies across situations and organisms! Not universal!
• Shaping: rewarding successive approximations of desired behavior
• Schedules of reinforcement
o Ratio schedules (# responses)
▪ Fixed ratio (pellet every 10 peck)
▪ Variable ratio (pellet after random #)
o Interval schedules (time)
▪ Fixed interval (pellet after every 5 minutes)
▪ Variable interval (pellet after random minutes)
Ways to Increase Behavior
• Positive reinforcement
o Description: add a desirable stimulus
o Examples: pet a dog that comes when you call it; pay the person who paints your
• Negative reinforcement
o Description: remove an aversive stimulus
o Examples: take painkillers to end pain; fasten seatbelt to end loud beeping
Ways to Decrease Behavior
• Positive punishment
o Administer an aversive stimulus
▪ Spray water on barking dog; get traffic ticket for speeding
• Negative punishment
o Withdraw a rewarding stimulus
▪ Take away a teen’s driving privileges
Reinforcement vs. Punishment
o Reinforcement makes a behavior more likely
o Punishment makes a behavior less likely
o Positive means adding something
o Negative means taking something away
Building and Storing Memory
• What do we have to do in order to remember something? What steps are we going
o Encoding (acquisition)
Original 3-Stage Memory Model • Allanson and Shiffrin
o Sensory memory ▯ short-term memory (encoding through rehearsal) ▯ long-
term memory (storage, for later retrieval)
• Short term memory is working memory; it’s active space
o External events ▯ sensory memory ▯ working/short-term memory ▯ ▯ long
term memory storage
▪ External events ▯ sensory events is sensory input
▪ Sensory memory ▯ working/short-term memory is attention to important
or novel info/encoding
Working/short-term memory ▯ long-term memory storage is encoding
▪ Long-term memory storage ▯ working/short term memory is retrieving
▪ External events ▯ long term memory storage is automatic processing
▪ Long term memory storage contains info you can remember if asked
• One way information may be encoded
o Incidental learning
o Yields implicit memories
E.g. what did you have for dinner last night?
• Immediate, brief recording of sensory info in memory
• Full but fleeting
o Iconic memory
o Echoic memory (3-4 seconds)
• What does working memory do?
o Actively processes incoming info
o Serves as a place for temporary storage, organization, and manipulation of info
• Encoding though effortful processing
o Intentional leaning
o Explicit memories
▪ E.g. what are you new colleagues names? What are some monocular cues
we use to aid in depth perception?
• What is the capacity of working/short term memory?
o 7 items, plus or minus 2 items
o any way to get around this?...
Effortful Processing Strategies
o but still only 7 +/- 2 chunks
• AKA: techniques for improving memory (mnemonics)
o Imagery (interactive is not) o Method of loci
o Use of sentences or words
▪ Elizabeth Smelled Roses; HOMES
Effort Processing Strategies
o Encoding and effortful processing
▪ Sensory memory
▪ Capacity of short term and working memory
▪ Effortful processing strategies
• Spacing effect
o Distributed vs. mass practice
• Testing effect
o Practice retrieval over time; don’t just reread
Other Ways to Enhance Memory?
• Make material personally relevant
• Deep processing (somatic processing) vs. shallow processing
o Attention to meaning vs. attention to superficial characteristics of the information
to be remembered
Depth of Processing
• Study asking participants to memorize 48 words
o Group 1: contain an “e”? capital form?
o Group 2: rhyme with another word?
o Group 3: does the word fit into a particular category?
o Group 4: does it fit into a sentence?
• Why might this process work better?
o Creates lots of retrieval paths
Connections, ways to access material later
o Physical trace is stronger?
• Many parts of the brain interact as we encode, store, and retrieve memories
• Memory storage: explicit memories ▯ declaritative
• Hippocampus ((loading dock) ▯ frontal lobes (storage))
o Hippocampus consolidates memories as you sleep
▪ Sleep: another way to improve your memory
Sleep and Memory in College Students
• How much sleep does the average college student need?
o 9 hours
• what percent of college students sleep enough?
o Very few • How much does sleep help your memory? (And how much does sleep deprivation hurt
• Most critical period of sleep for memory consolidation?
o The hours immediately following a lesson
• Implicit and procedural memories
o Implicit: classically conditioned process
▪ Cerebellum ▯ implicit
o Procedural: how to ride bike, play piano
Basal ganglia ▯ procedural
Memory Storage: Emotion: Related
What is the neural basis for learning and memory?
• Long term potentiation (LTP): increase in synaptic communication as you associate
o Name 7 key structures on a neuron and describe their corresponding functions
o Which of the following is a structure found on a neuron?