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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - learning and adaptation.docx

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PSYC 1000
Anne Bergen

Chapter 7- Learning and Adaptation: The Role of Experience Adapting to the Environment • Learning is the process of adapting to the ever-changing circumstances of life with attention addressed to the cultural environmental affecting the mental process of learning. • Learning- a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviour or performance capabilities that occurs as a result of experience. It is measured by changes in performance. • Ethologists at first believed that some animal behaviour in the environment ,through evolution was biologically wired (ex. newly hatched gulls peck for food at a red mark on their parents’ bills) • Adaptive Significance-the manner in which a particular behaviour enhances the chances of survival and reproduction • Fixed Action Pattern-an unlearned response that is automatically triggered by a (releaser) stimulus • Through research it became clear that fixed action patterns can be modified through learning (ex. Unlike newly hatched chicks, adult gulls will not peck at inanimate objects with red markings for food unless it resembles an adult head)and “instinctive” behaviour actually involves learning • Habituation-a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus (ex. if a loud sound first occurs you get startled but as it keeps occurring you eventually ignore it) • Habituation allows organisms to attend to other stimuli that are important by conserving energy for more important events Classical Conditioning: Associating One Stimulus to Another • Classical Conditioning-a procedure in which a formerly neutral stimulus (the conditioned stimulus) come to elicit a conditioned response by virtue of being paired with an unconditioned stimulus that naturally elicits a similar response (the unconditioned response) • Example: The tone (CS) elicits salivation(CR) after conditioning, much like response with food (UCS) and salivation (UCR) (Fig. 7.4) • Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) - a stimulus that elicits a particular reflexive or innate response (the UCR) without prior learning • Unconditioned Response (the UCR)-a response (usually reflexive or innate) that is elicited by a specific stimulus (the UCS) without prior learning • Conditioned Stimulus (CS) - a neutral stimulus that comes to evoke a conditioned response after being paired with an unconditioned stimulus • Conditioned Response (CR) - in classical conditioning. A response to a conditioned stimulus; the CR is established by pairing a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus that evoked a similar response • Extinction- weakening and eventual cessation of the CR. (ex. when Pavlov presented the tone without food, the dogs eventually sopped salivating to the tone, therefore occasional repairing of the CS (tone) and the UCS (food) are required to maintain a CR. • The key ingredient to extinction is not the mere passage of time, but the repeated presentation of the CS without the UCS. Also spontaneous recovery of a once extinguished CR could occur but is usually weaker than the original CR and disappears more rapidly after absence of the UCS. • Stimulus generalization occurs when a CR is evoked by a stimulus similar to the original CS. • Once a stimulus (a tone) becomes a CS, it can now be used in place of the original UCS (food) to condition other stimuli. • Discrimination- the ability in classical conditioning to respond to one stimulus but not another. In operant conditioning the ability to respond differently to stimuli what offer different consequences • An animal that becomes alarmed by every sound it hears will exhaust itself from stress. It must distinguish irrelevant sounds from those that may signal danger • Higher-Order Conditioning- when a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after paired with another CS (Fig. 7.8) i.e. presenting a black square just before the tone but do not present any food. Over time the square will become the CS and elicit salivation. • Exposure Therapy- a technique to extinguish anxiety responses by exposing clients to anxiety aroused stimuli while preventing avoidance (Table 7.2). • Aversion Therapy- an attempt to condition repulsion toward the CS (ex: Conditioned taste aversion- a learned repulsion to a food that formerly was neutral or desired, by virtue of pairing the food with an aversive UCS (nausea, stomach illness)(Ex: an alcoholic’s attraction to alcohol, the patient is given a nausea inducing drug when alcohol is consumed). Operant Conditioning: Learning through Consequences • Law of Effect- Thorndike’s concept that a response followed by satisfying consequences will become more likely to occur, whereas a response followed by unsatisfying consequences will become less likely to occur • A hungry cat put into a box with food presented outside will use trial and error to learn how to open Thorndike’s puzzle boxes to get the food • Operant Conditioning- a type of learning in which behaviour is modified by its
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