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Chapter 5

PSY105 Chapter 5 Detailed Notes

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PSY 105
Kristin Vickers

Chapter 5: Learning LO1 What is Learning Learning • Learning- a lasting change caused by experience • Learning is measure in change of behavioural responses • Learning and memory are interrelated o Traditionally animals are the focus for studying learning while human are for studying memory • Learning can be divided into associative and non-associative learning o Associative learning – is a change that occurs as the result of experiences that lead us to link two or more stimuli together  Flinching at the whine of a dental frill b/c you associate the sound with the pain the frill has caused you in the past o Non-associative learning – also involves change based on experience, but happens when we change the magnitude of our response to a tingle stimulus  Ex. Awaken by the sound of the neighborhood when sleeping in a new apartment, but after a few days you’ll be able to ignore it • Can be conscious and deliberate (explicit) or unconscious (implicit) Non-associative Learning • Occurring as a result of our experiences with a single sensory sue • Two major types: habituation and sensitization Habituation • Habituation – a general process in which repeated or prolonged exposure to a stimulus results in a gradual reduction in responding • We’ve seen this idea before • Is not the exclusive result of sensory adaptation or fatigue of neurons in the sensory receptors but in the instead occurs within the central nervous system • Scientists studies not only behaviour but also changing patterns of neuronal activation in various regions of cortex • The prefrontal cortex is also activated along with the temporal cortex when habituation occurs o Ex. Baby interested in a mobile at first but later shows no interest in it Sensitization • Sensitization - form of non-associative learning whereby a strong stimulus results in an exaggerated response to the subsequent presentation of weaker stimuli • Involves an increase in response with learning o Ex. A cat knocks over a lamps startles you then the phone rings that startles you again Non-associative learning • Sea slugs are used for studying non-associative learning because of visible neurons with the naked eyes • Shows that during habituation , the amount of neural activity in the motor neurons decreases as the animal is repeatedly touched o The amount of transmitter has diminished to the point that the synapse can no longer be activated • To study sensitization, scientists apply an electric shock to the tail of the sea slug o Sea slug would respond with a strong gill and siphon withdraw reflex o Then again apply a mild tactile stimulus to the body results in a strong withdraw because it is sensitized o Interneurons release excitatory neurochemicals that work to enhance the weakened sensory neuron input to the synapse of the sensory and motor nerves Associative Learning • Majority of learning is associative and involves making connections between two or more stimuli • Two major types are: classical conditioning and operant, or instrumental, conditioning • Classical conditioning associate two stimuli, eventually responding the same way to both • Operant conditioning to associate stimuli with our behaviours • Many situations involves both classical and operant conditioning Learning Alters the Brain • Neural plasticity – the nervous system’s ability to change: o Growth of dendrites and axons o Synaptogenesis o Pruning o During learning: long term potentiation (LTP) Types of Associative Learning • Examples • “watching others” – observational learning • “rewards” – operant learning • “making connections” – classical conditioning LO2 Classical Learning • Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov discoveries led the way a systematic investigation of associative learning o He was interested in salivary reflex during digestion o He conducted his study with dogs, giving hungry dogs food and measuring salivary output o As time progressed he notice that the dog were salivating when when food wasn’t present but with the presence of the assistant  Or when they hear a noise that signalled the arrival of the assistants • Pavlovian or Classical conditioning (Windholz, 1987)– a form of associative learning whereby a neutral stimulus is paired with a salient stimulus so that eventually the neutral stimulus predicts the salient stimulus How Does Classical Conditioning Work? • A person or animal learns to associate a previously neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus (US), one that normally elicits a physiological response (UR) o Unconditioned stimulus (US) a stimulus that on its own elicits a response o Unconditioned response (UR) – a physical response elicited by an unconditioned stimulus; it does not need to be learned • With repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus alone elicits the physiological response • After the stimulus is no longer neutral, it is now called the conditioned (CS) and the physiological response it elicits is called the conditioned response (CR) o Conditioned stimulus (CS) – a neutral stimulus that eventually elicits the same response as an unconditioned stimulus with which it has been paired o Conditioned response (CR) – a physical response elicited by a conditioned stimulus; it is usually the same as the unconditioned response • The dog experiment o US was the food which is meat powder o UR was to salivate o Neutral stimulus is the arrival of the lab assistant o Repeated pairing of the lab assistant and meat powder, the assistant’s arrival became a CS o The US become paired up with the CS o Dog has learned the association between the arrival of the assistant and the presentation of meat powder o Dog then response to the CS, the arrival of the assistant by salivating o CS elicited the CR, which is salivation • Timing also plays a role in formation of associations o If CS occurs before US o The optimal delay is half a minute • Acquisition – the acquiring of a leaned response as a result of the pairing of a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus • Stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism learns to emit a specific behaviour in the presence of a stimulus, but not in the presence of stimuli similar to the original stimulus • Higher order conditioning – what occurs when a previously conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus for further conditioning • Extinction – the weakening and eventual disappearance of a learned response because the conditioned stimulus in no longer paired with the unconditioned stimulus o It is not due to unlearning or forgetting but rather a process by which the previously learned CR is actively inhibited; a reduction in response to the CR • Spontaneous recovery – the reappearance of a learned response after its apparent extinction o A previous learned information has not been lost or forgotten, because it can be spontaneously recovered without any further learning Classical Learning: What Happens in the Brain? • Shepard Siegal focused on the role of classical conditioning in drug dependency • Drug dependency involves the psychological and physiological experience that occurs as the individual experience withdrawal if drug is reduced or stopped • Withdrawal occurs as the brain required more and more of the drug to return to its normal state • Tolerance develops when drug users and a higher dose would be needed to see the same effect • Be believed that compensatory response may be involved in some drug overdoses o The greater the compensatory response the larger the doses of heroin • External environmental cues is called extroceptive cues Classical Learning and Fear • Fear conditioning was first studied by John Watson and his student, Rosalie Rayner • Most well known studied “Little Albert”, a 11 month old baby named Albert B o Watson showed Albert a rat and he reached out his hand to touch it o Then Watson creates a loud bang with a hammer o Startled Albert and he started crying o Several white rat (CS) with the loud sound (US) made albert cry and avoid the rat (CR) o Belived that Watson overstated his study as other researchers have failed to
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