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Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Learning

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Carleton University
PSYC 1001
Vessela Stamenova

Chapter 6: Learning  Learning – a relatively permanent change in an organism’s behaviour (or knowledge) due to experience  How do we learn? o Association o Observation (learn from behaviours and experiences of others) Association and Conditioning  Associative Learning – certain events occur together o Classical Conditioning – two stimuli occur together (can opener = food) o Operant Conditioning – relationship between behaviour and consequence (meowing = food/reward)  Many limitations, but common Classical Conditioning  Ivan Pavlov, MD; “Pavlov’s dogs”  Experiment Paradigm: 1. Before conditioning, the food was an unconditioned stimulus (US) and salivation was an unconditioned response (UR).= 2. Before conditioning, the tuning fork was a neutral stimulus (NS), and salivation was not a response. 3. During conditioning, the tuning fork and the food combined as stimuli, and the salivation was an unconditioned response. 4. After conditioning, the tuning fork became a conditioned stimulus (CS) and salivation a conditioned response (CS).  A type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another natural stimulus.  Aka Pavlovian Conditioning Classical Conditioning: Four Elements  Unconditioned stimulus (US) o A stimulus that naturally elicits a response  Unconditioned response (UR) o The natural response to a stimulus  Conditioned stimulus (CS) or Neutral Stimulus (NS) o An originally neutral stimulus that, through repeated pairing, will eventually elicit a response  Conditioned response (CR) o A learned response to a previously neutral stimulus  THE CR AND THE UR ARE THE SAME BEHAVIOUR Terminology  Responses are elicited: the response is somewhat automatic and involuntary and therefore is drawn forward  Trail: any presentation of a stimulus or a pair of stimuli Examples  Advertising o Products (CS) o Attractive person (US) o Product emotional response (UR/CR)  Phobias: irrational fears of specific objects or situations o Bridge (CS) o Fear (CR) o Father’s scare tactics (UR/CR)  Taste aversion Taste Aversion  Thinking about a hamburger elicits no bad response  Eating a hamburger with E. coli (US) elicits vomiting (UR)  After pairing: o Even the thought of eating a burger (CS) elicits nausea/vomiting (CR)  CR and UR are the same behaviour  Thought of a burger = conditioned stimulus  E. Coli in food – unconditioned stimulus  Nausea/vomiting o Unconditioned response when in response to US o Conditioned response when in response to CS Classical Conditioning and Drug Effects Addiction/Drug Craving  Drug (US)  Seeing a pack of smokes (CS)  Drug-induced effect (UR)  Drug-induced effect (CR) Tolerance  Drug (US)  Environmental context (CS)  Drug-induced effect (UR)  Opposite response to drug-induced effect/UR (CR) Laws of Association  Intensity o The strength of any association depends on the vividness of the stimuli used  Contiguity or Timing o Events that occur at roughly the same time are associated o But the conditioned stimulus must occur before the unconditioned stimulus o The CS must predict the US for learning to occur Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning  Acquisition = initial stage in learning  Stimulus contiguity = occurring together in time and space  3 types of classical conditioning o Simultaneous conditioning: CS and US begin and end together o Short-delayed conditioning: CS begins just before the US, end together o Trace conditioning: CS begins and ends before the US is presented Extinction  If the bell (CS) is presented repeatedly without food (US), it will eventually stop eliciting the conditioned response Spontaneous Recovery  Sometimes, the conditioned response may occur if the bell (CS) is presented without food  The environment is crucial to the conditioned response; must be similar to or exactly the same as the original conditioning environment Stimulus Generalization  Generalization of the response to other stimuli not initially part of learning process Stimulus Discrimination  The opposite of stimulus generalization  Occurs when an organism that has learned a specific response to a stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus Applications: Desensitization  Systematic exposure to a fearful or anxiety-provoking stimulus  Now used regularly in the treatment of phobias and anxiety  Often paired with relaxation as the pleasurable event Development of Anxiety Through Classical Conditioning  Speaking up in class > no negative emotional reaction  Speaking up in class (CS) > students laugh (US) > anxiety (UR)  Speaking up in class (CS) > anxiety (CR) Desensitization  Speaking up in class (CS)> anxiety (CR)  Speaking up in class (CS) > relaxation
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