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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Learning.docx

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PSY 102
John Turtle

Learning: How Nurture (vs. Nature) Changes Us Chapter 6 1. Overview of the Learning/Behaviorist Approach 2. Classical Conditioning 3. Operant Conditioning 
 1. Overview of the Learning/Behaviorist Approach • observable behavior is the focus as opposed to internal “mind” processes that we can’t see • behavior is assumed to be determined by previous experience • often referred to as "learning perspective," but not in the traditional sense of students learning in school • rather the focus is on the effect of all prior experience on current behavior • for example a childs misbehavior is seen as the result of inappropriate previous experience (peers encouragement) • learning perspective treatment/therapy would provide alternative, desirable, beneficial experiences to replace old ones, as opposed to punishing undesirable behaviors. • most research has been done with animals, but there are MANY examples of its relevance to humans ex rats running mazes, pressing bars for food. • behaviourism was a radical positive departure from the dominant perspective in psychology around 1920 despite strange aspects and lingering implications. • Classical conditioning is a fundamental bio-psychological aspect of how humans and other organisms function and adapt. • Operant conditioning also underlies much of our behavior especially in the case of children and non human animals. 2. Classical Conditioning 
 A. Historical Origins • originally demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov around the turn of the 20 century as an incidental part of his physiology research on digestive functioning in dogs • noted that events (like a clicking noise) just before giving dogs meat caused them to salivate as if the meat was already in their mouths • Pavlov reasoned that the clicking sound (or pretty much any other “signal”) was eliciting salivation because it had been paired with the meat so many times • Sounds signaled food was on its way • Natural process that occurs spontaneously, not trained 
 B. Acquisition • we will learn the alphabet soup of abbreviations used in this area, but the concepts are the important parts, and the abbreviations are just meant to make it easier to use the concepts ◦ the summary is that an NS becomes a CS and elicits a CR if it is paired a sufficient number of times with a UCS that naturally elicits an UCR ◦ in other words: previously neutral stimuli (sounds, pictures, smells) come to elicit automatic responses because they have occurred in the past at the same time as naturally ("reflexively") effective stimuli (e.g., food, sex) • a fundamental survival mechanism for how our bodies react and adjust to experiences • now commonly exploited in advertising as a way to get people to buy things • neutral product, label, or logo is paired in ads with a naturally arousing person, music, or pleasing surroundings. • So the product eventually comes to have similar arousing properties as the person or the surroundings 
 C. Extinction and spontaneous recovery • a CS can lose its effectiveness if repeatedly presented without the UCS ◦ called EXTINCTION • but a short absence from the situation will often produce a renewed effectiveness of the CS WITHOUT ADDITIONAL PAIRINGS WITH THE UCS ◦ called SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY ◦ increase in response even after extinction ◦ eg get clean from drugs, go back to old home, get cravings and get hooked again 
 D. Generalization and discrimination • most organisms recognize a variety of stimuli similar to the original CS as equally effective CSs ◦ called GENERALIZATION ◦ eg pigeons conditioned to___? also respond to tones at similar frequencies but at a lower rate ◦ eg getting bit by a dog (US) is painful (UR) so you avoid other dogs(CS) because the elicit fear (CR) • but there is usually a limit on how different a stimulus can be ◦ called DISCRIMINATION ex pigeons conditioned to a 1KHZ tone are unlikely to respond to a 10 kHX tone ◦ eg getting bit by a dog is unlikely to make you afraid of dogs on tv or other 4 legged mamals. Drug addition on classical conditions: - pg 248 our text describes an interesting but unfornutate phenonmenom discovered by shep siegel and colleagues at mcmaster university - frequent drug users bodies tend to produce substances (neurotransmitters and hormones) to compensate for the effects of their drug ( part of drug tolerance from chapter 5) - such as trying to lower heart rate if the drug tends to increase heart rate. - Just the paraphernalia friends and setting for some frequent drug users can trigger the release of compensatory substances - Eg need becomes a CS that causes the body to produce a CR - But if they take the drug in an unfamiliar setting the cs is not there, the cr does not occur, and they can overdose if the drug effect k
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