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PSY BEH 11B Study Guide - Winter 2019, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Memory, Jessica Buchanan, Behaviorism


Department
Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
PSY BEH 11B
Professor
Linda Levine
Study Guide
Midterm

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PSY BEH 11B

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Jessica Mangold
PsyBeh 11B
Professor Levine
Week 1 Lecture 1
1/8/19
Introduction Lecture
Course Topics
- learning & memory
- emotion & thinking & language development
- human development
Grades
- exams: 96% (32% each)
- iClicker questions: 4%
- can earn extra credit by signing up for participation in experiments or writing paper
Learning
- starting small:
- biology of learning
- basic structure & plasticity of neurons
- going big:
- philosophy of learning
- rationalism & empiricism
Overview of the Structure of Neurons & How Neurons Change
- how is a neuron like an 8th grade girl?
- have their own language
- match intensity of message conveyed & then go off & share message with peers
- neuron passes message to nearby neuron & that neuron passes message on
- basic unit of communication in nervous system is neuron
- receives signals from other neurons & responds by either sending signal on or not
- parts of neuron: dendrites, soma/cell body, axon, axon terminals
- dendrites
- receiving or sensing part of the neuron
- receptors that pick of chemical signals called neurotransmitters from surrounding
neurons
- passes signals to soma
- soma or cell body
- calculates sum of signals & makes decision about whether signal strong enough to pass
down the axon
- signal has to achieve voltage threshold
- axon
- where electrical signal passed from soma to axon terminals
- moving signal called action potential
- axon terminals or pre-synaptic terminals
- where signals leave one neuron for another neuron
- when signal reaches axon terminal -> neurotransmitters are released & picked up by
receptors on dendrites of next neuron
- neurons do not touch each other
- space between axon terminals of one neuron & dendrites of another neuron called
synapse
- neurotransmitters kept in vesicles
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- action potential trigger vesicles to dump neurotransmitters into the synapse
- neurotransmitters then attach to receptors on post-synaptic neuron
Plasticity
- capacity of neurons to change way they function as result of experience
- past experience can:
- increase or decrease how much neurotransmitter is released by presynaptic neuron
- increase or decrease how sensitive post synaptic neuron is to neurotransmitter
- can grow new receptors & dendrites
- can also prune or decrease dendrites & the number of receptors
- can strengthen or weaken synaptic connection
- strengthen -> post-synaptic neuron more easily activated by presynaptic neurons
- called long term potentiation (LTP)
The Philosophy of Learning
- where does knowledge come from?
- nature v. nurture
- nurture: empiricism (environment)
- learning comes from the environment
- all knowledge obtained through senses, not inherited
- Locke: born as a “blank slate”
- what someone becomes depends on environment that they are exposed to
- start out with very little -> have senses & ability to create copies of sensory info in brain
- everything else learned over course of life
- behaviorism -> what person became, learned is entirely dependent on environment
- nature: rationalism (nativism)
- we are born with innate knowledge or reasoning abilities that allow us to understand the
world around us
- e.g., Plato, Kant, Chomsky
- inferences made, associations formed, are constrained by species, heredity, maturation
- questioned whether certain things could be picked up from the environment alone
- some sort of innate ability in order to make sense of the world around us
Who Cares?
- do people’s views about the source of knowledge have consequences?
- expectations about people’s knowledge & learning abilities really do make a difference
Expectations & Learning
- Rosenthal & Jacobson (1968)
- gave all elementary school students an intelligence test
- told the teachers that based on this test they identified subset of students that were likely
to go through period of rapid intellectual growth over school year & do better than peers
- reality: this subset of students selected randomly
- when tested 8 months later, selected students showed greater gains in IQ & academic
performance than classmates
- WHY?
- teacher paid more attention to the supposedly gifted students
- confirmation bias -> if teachers believe that certain students are smarter then
they will seek evidence that proves that
- interpret what student says in a positive light
- follow-up studies found that teachers treated the selected students differently
- found by looking at videotapes
- asked students more questions, gave them more challenging work, were
praised more for what they did well, given enough time to answer
questions
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- contributed to students working harder & achieving more
- views about the source of knowledge influence expectations which can influence behaviors
which can influence learning
The Blind Men & the Elephant
- need to combine different reports to get an idea of what the full elephant is like
- going to face similar issues between disagreeing researchers & psychologists
- need to see human being as complex
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