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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Notes

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PSY 102
Benjamin Dyson

Learning: change in the organism’s behaviour or thought as a result of experience Habituation: process of responding less strongly over time to repeated stimuli (simplest/earliest form of learning) Aplysia: 12-centimetre long sea slug found by Eric Kandel. If you prick the aplysia in a certain shot of its body & it retracts it gill in a defensive way, touch it in the same spot over & over again & it begins to ignore the stimulus. They discovery h3lp3e psychologists unravel the neural bases of learning - Studied habituation using skin conductance response: measure of electrical conductivity of the fingertips Sensitization: responding more strongly over time – rather than habituation Classical Conditioning British Associationists believed that we acquire virtually all of our knowledge by conditioning Pavlov’s Discoveries - Placed dogs in harnesses & inserted a cannula (collection tube) into their salivary glands to study their salivary responses to meat powder - Dogs began to salivate to a preview neutral stimuli; research assistants (bringing powder) foot steps coming Classical (Pavlovian) conditioning: form of learning where animals respond to a previous neutral stimulus that had been paired with another stimulus that produces an automatic response 1. Started with an initially neutral stimulus, one that didn’t produce any particular response. In this case, he used a metronome (a clicking pendulum that keeps time) 2. Then paired neutral stimulus again & again with an UCS (meat powder) & the UCR (salivation) 3. Now presenting the metronome = salivation (CR). The metronome has now become a CS Unconditioned stimulus (UCS): stimuli that produces automatic response without prior conditioning Unconditioned response (UCR): automatic response to an unconditioned stimulus Conditioned response (CR): response produced by a previously neutral stimulus as a result of conditioning Conditioned stimulus (CS): initially neutral stimulus which, after conditioning, produces a CR as a result of its association with an UCS Principles of Classical Conditioning - Occurs in 3 phases – acquisition, extinction, & spontaneous recovery Acquisition: learning phase during which a conditioned response (CR) is established Extinction: CR decreases & eventually disappears after the CS is presented repeatedly without the UCS. Ex. By just presenting the metronome & no meat powder after, the dog eventually stops salivating to the clock sound Spontaneous recovery: sudden reemergence of an extinct CR after a delay following an extinction procedure Renewal effect: sudden reemergence of a CR after extinction when an animal is returned to the environment in which the CR was acquired Stimulus generalization: process where stimuli that are similar (but not identical) to the original CS produce a response Generalization gradient: the more similar to the original CS the new stimulus is, the stronger the response Stimulus discrimination: when organisms display less pronounced CR to CS that differ from the original CS. Ex. Watching a tornado movie & not having the same response as if you would see one right in front of you Higher-Order Conditioning Higher-order conditioning: developing a CR to a CS by virtue of its association with the original CS Occasion setters: wanting to smoke cigarettes at a party b/c they’ve smoked at another parties with their friends Applications of Classical Conditioning to Daily Life Latent inhibition: difficulty in establishing classical conditioning to an already familiar stimulus Little Albert – 9-month-old infant. Watson & Rayner allowed the infant to play with a white rat, but later, every time he did, Watson would sneak up behind him & gong with a steel hammer creating a ear-splitting noise – making the infant cry. After 7 times he would cry every time we heard the hammer. This worked after 5 days too. He would also cry in response to rabbits, dogs, furry coats, & a Santa Claus mask. Created a phobia to Albert Pteronophobia: tickled by feathers. Coulrophobia: fear of clowns. Aulophobia: fear of flutes. Chorophobia: fear of dancing Mary Cover Jones- treated a 3-year-old bot ‘Litter Peter’s’ phobia of rabbits. She presented him with a white rabbit following feeding him with one of his favourite candies. Sight of the rabbit eventually produces a new CR Conditioned compensatory response: a CR that is the opposite of the UCR & serves to compensate for the UCR Fetishism: sexual attractive to nonliving things (shoes, stockings, dolls, stuffed animals, car engines) Disgust reactions: CSs- photo of rotten eggs – associated with UCSs – smell & taste in our mouths of rotten eggs Operant Conditioning Operant conditioning: organism’s behaviour is shaped by what comes after it (reward) - Psychologists refer to operant conditioning as instrumental conditioning; b/c the organisms response serves an instrumental function - Behaviourists refers to the behaviours produced by the animal to receive a reward as operants; b/c the animal “operates” on its environment to get what it wants Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning Target behaviour is... Produced automatically Emitted voluntarily Behaviour is a function of... Animals reward is independent of what Consequences that follow the it does behaviour (dependent) Behaviour depends primarily on... Autonomic nervous system Skeletal muscles The Law of Effect Law of effect: if were rewarded for a response to a stimulus, we’re more likely to repeat that response to the stimulus in the future - Thorndike’s classical puzzle box suggest that cats solve problems solely through trial & error Aha reaction: “aha- I got it!” once they solve the problem once, they get it right almost every time after time B.F. Skinner & Reinforcement Skinner box: small animal camber constructed by Skinner which electronically records an animal’s responses & prints out a cumulative record, or graph, of the animal’s activity. Has a bar, that when pressed, delivers food & a light that signals when reward is forthcoming. Terminology of Operant Conditioning Reinforcement: outcome that strengthens the probability of a response Positive reinforcement: consequence consists of presenting something pleasant (giving a chocolate to a child when he picks up his toys) Negative reinforcement: consequences to the behaviour consists of removing something unpleasant (a child not having to do her chores b/c she has been well behaved) Punishment: outcome or consequence of behaviour that weakens the probability of the behaviour Positive punishment: administering a stimulus that the organism wishes to avoid (spanking) Negative punishment: the removal of a stimulus that the organism wishes to experience (favourite toy) Procedure Effect on behaviour Positive Reinforcement Presenting a stimulus Increases target behaviour Negative Reinforcement Removing a stimulus Increases target behaviour Positive Punishment Presenting a stimulus Decreases target behaviour Negative Punishment Removing a stimulus Decreases target behaviour According to Skinner & others, punishment has several disadvantages: 1. Tells the organism only what not to do, not what to do 2. Often creates anxiety, which can interfere with future learning 3. May encourage subversive behaviour, prompting people to become sneakier about situations in which they can & cant display forbidden behaviour (child getting in trouble for grabbing his brother toys may learn to grab his brothers toys when his parents aren’t looking) 4. Punishment from parent may provide a model for children’s aggressive behaviour (child being snapped by parent when he misbehaves may “get the message” that slapping is acceptable - Widom state
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