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PSYC 2410 (149)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Learning

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2410
Hank Davis

Chapter 7- Learning Learning- a process by which experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviours and characteristics. Why We Learn: Ethnology- animal behaviour within the natural environment. Adaptive Significance- how does behaviour influence reproduction Fixed action pattern- and unlearned response automatically triggered by a particular stimulus. Habituation- is a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus over time. Biology, Cognition and Culture: Organisms must learn the following things: • Which events are, or are not, important to its survival and well-being • Which stimuli signal that an important event is about to occur; and • Whether its responses will produce positive or negative consequences Classical conditioning- organisms learn to associate two stimuli, such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that originally was produced only by the other stimulus. The example of Pavlov’s Dog: • Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)- no learning is required to produce salivation • Unconditioned Response (UCR)- salivation • Conditioned Stimulus (CS)- Tone • Conditioned Response (CR)- Salivation Term Description Example Unconditioned Stimulus A stimulus that innately Food elicits a response Conditioned Stimulus A stimulus that gains The sight of your favourite value through learning restaurant Unconditioned Response A reflexive, unlearned Salivation is response to response to an innately food important stimulus Conditioned Response A response elicited by a Feeling hungry when you stimulus whose see your favourite importance depends on restaurant past learning Extinction- CS is presented repeatedly in the absence of UCS. Spontaneous Recovery- the reappearance of a previously extinguished CR after a rest period. Stimulus Generalization- stimuli similar to the initial CS elicit a CR. Discrimination- is shown when a CR occurs to one stimulus but not to the others. Higher order conditioning- a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with an already established CS. Applications of Classical Conditioning: Exposure Therapy- Their goal is to expose the phobic patient to the feared stimulus CS without any UCS allowing extinction. Aversion therapy- attempt to condition an aversion (repulsion) to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCR. Eg. An alcoholic is given a pill that makes him throw up whenever he drinks Law of effect- in a given situation a response followed by a “satisfying” consequence will become more likely to occur and a response followed by an unsatisfying outcome will become less likely to occur. Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning: Operant conditioning- behaviour is influenced by its consequences. Skinner box- study of operant conditioning experimentally. Reinforcement- a response is strengthened by an outcome t
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