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Chapter 8

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PSYC 3100
Hank Davis

Chapter 8 - Tinbergen: - bee wolves –solitary predatory wasps capture bees to feed their young. When leaving burrow to find food they fly over area in progressively expanding set of loops. - Rainy weather kept bees inside possibly because rain shifted landmarks outside of burrow - Placed pinecones outside burrow so bee wolf would use as landmark then moved so when bee wolf returned she landed at center of pinecones instead of at her burrow. Landmarks are important because every individual has unique burrow Learning mechanisms are products of evolution - Learning mechanisms are evolved adaptations to an organism’s natural environment - Innate behaviours are said to be instinctive; supposedly fixed or stereotyped not showing much variation from one individual to another - Learned behaviours more variable and shaped by experiences over lifetime of individuals - Learning occurs when behaviour is modified by experience - Evolution shapes learning with evolved traits and facultative adaptations - Even obligate traits depend on experience. Deprivation experiment have provided best evidence against innateness –can always find some type of deprivation that disrupt the behaviour - Selection simply retains those genes that are good at getting into the next generation - Even obligate traits are designed with certain set of expectation based on kinds of environments in which they were favoured. Learning mechanisms are facultative adaptations - Learning involves adjustments of behavioural phenotype in response to environmental input - Selection designs what can be learned and how its learned in the same way that it designs other facultative adaptations; building mechanisms that produced specialized patterns of responsiveness An evolutionary analysis of classical conditioning - Adaptations are specialized. Learning mechanisms are adaptations thus expect they will e specialized for solving specific real world problems - Selection might build general purpose learning mechanisms if animal faced general problem like: o Did one even cause another? o Did I do that? Classical conditioning: does one event cause another - The connection between the unconditioned stimulus and response is taken as an intrinsic feature of the organism - What’s learned in classical conditioning is the connection between a new arbitrary stimulus and normal unconditioned stimulus - Standard view is classical conditional works because of tight temporal contiguity between unconditioned stimulus and conditioned stimulus - Learning association depends on how often food is presented without bell (background rate of food presentation) o Low background (food offered every time bell rung, never offered without bell) there will be learning associations o High background (food offered lots without bell) no learning . causes animal to discount the association between the US and CS - Classical conditioning is specialized for particular task; identifying causation - Food aversion learning; rats fed food paired with certain novel stimuli and then punished for eating food o Rats learned on single trial permanently even if made ill up to seven hours after tasting food. o Nausea is an especially strong stimulus o Digestion requires time so the physiological consequences of novel food might not be immediately apparent. o Those punished with foot shocks instead of nausea quickly learned to avoid bright noisy foods o Clean predisposition to associate certain stimuli with certain outcomes and these predispositions are entirely sensible given the normal patterns of cause and effect in their world. Instrumental conditioning: did I do that? - An animal that can learn about causal patterns may be able to use those patterns to its own advantage. Learning how to manipulate the environment might be general problems - Stay learning vs shift learning: o Humming birds better at shift learning because they’ve learned through thousands of years to go to different flowers for food o Rats
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