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Chapter 7

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PSYC 2410
Hank Davis

Chapter 7  Learning is a process by which experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviour or capabilities.  Classical Conditioning (Pavlovian Conditioning) occurs when two stimuli become associated with each other. An organism learns to associate two stimuli, such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that originally was produced only by the other stimulus.  Operant Conditioning we learn to associate our responses with specific consequents.  Observational Learning is where we learn by watching others behave.  Habituation is a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus. It is the simplest form of learning.  Sensitization is an increase in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus.  Acquisition refers to the period during which a response is being learned.  Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)  Unconditioned Response (UCR) is a natural, unlearned (unconditioned) reflex.  Conditioned Stimulus (UC)  Conditioned Response (UR) is a learned (conditioned) response.  Simultaneous Pairing is when the CS and UCS are presented at the same time. This produces a less rapid conditioning.  Backwards Pairing is when the CS is presented after the UCS and here, learning is slowest if it even occurs at all.  Extinction is the process where if the CS is presented repeatedly in the absence of the UCS, the CR weakens and eventually disappears.  Spontaneous Recovery is the reappearance of a previously extinguished CR after a rest period and without new learning trials.  Stimulus Generalization: stimuli similar to the initial CS elicit a CR.  Discrimination (detect) is demonstrated when a CR occurs to one stimulus but not to others.  Higher-order Conditioning: a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with an already established CS.  An assumption made is that if phobias are learned, they can be “unlearned”.  Exposure Therapies: goal is to expose the phobic patient to the feared stimulus (UC) without any UCS, allowing extinction to occur.  Systematic Desensitization: the patient learns muscular relaxation techniques and then is gradually exposed to the fear-provoking stimulus.  Flooding: immediately exposing the person to the phobic stimulus.  Aversion Therapy: attempts to condition an aversion (a repulsion) to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS.  Law of Effect: states that 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.  Foundation of Behaviourism was the Law of Effect.  Operant Behaviour means that an organism operates on its environment in some way; it emits responses that produce certain consequences.  Operant Conditioning is a type of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences. Behaviours that produce a positive outcome will be repeated and behaviours that produce a negative outcome will be avoided.  Through operant conditioning living organisms learn to increase behaviours that will benefit them and decrease or avoid behaviours that will harm them.  Skinner box: a special chamber, designed by Skinner, to study operant conditioning experimentally.  Two important consequences: reinforcement and punishment.  Reinforcement: a response that is strengthened by an outcome that follows it.  Punishment: occurs when a response is weakened by outcomes that follow it.  Antecedents (A): stimuli that are present before behaviour occurs.  Behaviour (B): what the organism emits (how it acts).  Consequences (C): follows behaviour.  Contingencies: relationship between A, B,
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