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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Learning Textbook Notes Psych 1X03
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim
Semester
Fall

Description
Textbook Notes Psych 1X03 Chapter 3: Learning Introduction  Learning: A relatively enduring change in the mechanisms of behavior that occurs due to experiences o Three key concepts; mechanisms of behavior, learning involves change that is relatively enduring and learning is a process based on practice 1. Mechanisms of Behavior o Two compelling reasons to consider more than behavior alone – both involve the distinction between learning and performance a) Learning is distinct from merely performance of or changes in behaviors; learning is often context specific and goes beyond natural responses to stimuli  Eg/ Teach dog tricks by offering incentive (a treat) for performing well – one day, you want to show your friend your dogs tricks, but your dog will not perform  Could be because dog is tired  Dog may have had enough treats, and wont perform until he is craving a treat  Your dog did not “unlearn” the trick, behavior changed due to other reasons b) Latent Learning: Acquiring associations that are not immediately expressed or expressed only in appropriate contexts, reflect this distinction and highlights the importance of the specific mechanisms of learning  Eg/ Mice in maze, 11 trials –Mice group 1 have food at the goal box and quickly learned the correct route making few mistakes, Mice group 2 do not have food at the goal box and wander around the maze, Mice group 3 do not have food for the first 10 trials and wander around the maze, but once food is placed at goal box, they quickly find the goal box, making few mistakes  Suggests that the mice were learning the route while they wandered around the maze, they just had no change in performance 2. Learning Involves Change that is Relatively Enduring o Not all learning is permanent, but if often retained relatively strongly over time even if the behaviors are not continually expressed 3. Learning is a Process Based on Experience o There are behaviors that develop and change as an individual matures that are independent of experience  Eg/ Tadpole becomes a frog – shifts from swimming to hopping  is not learned o Maturation and learning in humans are often coupled o Eg/ Language Acquisition – a certain level of maturation is necessary before a child has developed motor control of the physical organs of speech production to produce language, but before this time, the child has already acquired considerable knowledge of words and their meaning  Learning Theory o John Locke and the empirical philosophers provided an elegant argument describing how we learn about the world by creating associates between ideas through experience Section 1: Orienting Responses, Habituation and Sensitization  When you become aware of a new stimulus or change in the environment it leads to a reflexive orienting response o Orienting Response: An automatic shift of attention toward that stimulus or event  Important for focusing attention on unfamiliar stimuli, which may signal sudden danger or unexpected opportunity  Habituation: A decrease in response to a stimulus or event as it is repeatedly presented without any consequence Textbook Notes Psych 1X03 o Functions to limit an orienting response and to allow the organism to ignore inputs that they have become familiar and have proved to be of no consequence  Eg/ Tactile Stimulation in every day life – when you put on a new hat, at first you are aware of the sensation of pressure on your head, but after a while, the sensory input does not change much and you stop being aware of it  Does not mean you have become incapable of perceiving the stimulus, you merely learned that this constant stimulation is unimportant and can be ignored  Habituation is a decrease in responsiveness – there are two alternate processes that can lead to an increase in responsiveness to a stimulus or event; dishabituation and sensitization  Dishabituation: An increase in responding that follows a change in the stimulus to which habituation has occurred o Important because a change in a familiar stimulus can indicate important new information o Eg/ When you take off the new hat, you do not immediately return to the baseline of not wearing a hat – you must habituate to the decreased pressure on your head o Eg/ Walking in the woods you habituate to the chirping and rustling sounds –when the noises get louder or stop you notice the change immediately  Sensitization: An increase in responding; focuses attention to stimuli that do have relevance o Eg/ Watching a suspenseful movie – music sets the mood and the tension builds, emotions and anxiety become heightened  Dishabituation and Sensitization are considered non-associative learning – they modify existing stimulus response relationship, rather than create a new one o The kind of processes affected by habituation or sensitization is typically a reflex, which takes place independent of conscious experience of the subject Section 2: Classical Conditioning  Classical Conditioning – takes advantage of our tendency to learn associations between stimuli without being aware of this learning, even when stimuli do not have any natural relationship  Evidence of learning occurs when the CS elicits the CR, the same as the UR without presentation of the US  Classical conditioning is highly integrated into many aspects of our lives and apparent in many species; it plays an adaptive role by tuning our cognitive resources towards important biological events Section 3: Major Phenomena of Cl
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