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Chapter 7

PSY 1101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Tinkertoy, Organism, High Crime

Course Code
PSY 1101
Mark Dallas

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Chapter 7: Learning
How Do We Learn?
Psychologist denes learning as the process of acquiring new and
relatively enduring information or behaviours.
By learning we are able to adapt to our environments
We learn by association. Our minds naturally connect events that occur
in sequence. (Example in textbook or eating bread and hearing a
frightening noise)
Learned associations often operate subtly. Ex. giving someone a red
pen to mark a essay rather than a blue/black they will spot more errors
and this results in a lower grade.
Learned associations also feed our habitual behaviours.
oAs we repeat behaviours in a given contexts - Sleeping in a
certain posture in bed, walking certain routes on campus, eating
popcorn in a movie theater- the behaviours become associated
with the context.
oOur next experience of the context then evokes our habitual
oBehaviours become habitual after 66 days
Other animals also learn by associations
oDisturbed by a squirt of water the sea slug protectively
withdraws its gills.
oAquarium seal will repeat behaviours, such as slapping and
barking, that prompt people to toss it a herring
By linking two events that occur close together, both animals are
exhibiting associative learning.
The process of learning associations is
and it takes two
main forms:
Classical conditioning
we learn to associate two stimuli and thus
to anticipate events
Operant conditioning
we learn to associate a response (our
behaviour) and its consequence. Thus we repeat acts followed
by good results and avoid acts followed by bad results
Conditioning is not the only form of learning. Through cognitive
learning we acquire mental information that guides our behaviour.
(Whether by observing events, by watching others, or through
What is learning, and what are some basics forms of learning?
Learning is the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring
information or behaviours. In associative learning, we learn that certain
events occur together. In classical condition, we learn to associate two
or more stimuli. In operation condition, we learn to associate a
response and its consequences. Through cognitive learning, we acquire
mental information that guides our behaviour.
Classical Conditioning
Ivan Pavlov, is known for psychology’s most famous research.

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Classical conditioning a type of learning in which one learns to link
two or more stimuli and anticipate events.
Pavlov’s work laid the foundation for many of John B. Watson’s ideas.
Watson called behaviourism the view that psychology (1) should be
an objective science that (2) studies behaviour without reference
mental processes. Most research psychologist today agrees with (1)
but not with (2).
Pavlov’s Experiments
Spent two decades studying the digestive system, this worked earned
him Russia’s rst Nobel prize in 1904
Accidently discovered classical conditioning through his work on
salivation with dogs
Investigated this phenomenon further through experimentation.
He used the gastric <uid of the dogs to raise money for his
experimenters. This became a popular treatment for dyspepsia
Before conditioning
neural stimulus
produced no response to the
Before conditioning
unconditioned stimulus
response was the dog
salivates when seeing food
During condition
neutral stimulus
and the
unconditioned stimulus
resulted in the
unconditioned response which
meant the dog salivates
After conditioning
the conditioned stimulus which is the bell resulted in
the conditioned response which was the dog salivates.
Conditioned means: Learned
Unconditioned means: Unlearned
Neutral stimulus (NS) a stimulus that elicits no response before
Unconditioned response (UR) is an unlearned, naturally occurring
response to an unconditional stimulus
Unconditioned stimulus (US) a stimulus that unconditionally –
naturally and automatically- triggers a response (UR)
Conditioned response (CR) a learned response to a previous neutral
stimulus (CS)
Conditioned stimulus (CS) and originally irrelevant stimulus that,
after association with an unconditional stimulus (US), comes to trigger
a condition response
Acquisition or initial learning, when one links a neutral stimulus and a
unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus begins triggering
the conditioned response.
Classical conditioning is biologically adaptive because it helps humans
and other animals prepare for good and bad events.
If the good or bad event has already occurred, the tone or the sound
won’t help the animal prepare
Higher order conditioning a process in which conditioned stimulus
in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus,

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creating a second weaker conditioned stimulus (also called second-
order conditioning)
A new NS can become a new CS. If a tone regularly signals food and
produces salivation, then a light that becomes associated with the tone
may also begin to trigger salvation
Extinction and spontaneous recovery
Extinction the diminishing of conditioned response, occurs when an
unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus
(CS). (the tone sounding o? but no food appearing)
Spontaneous recovery the reappearance, after a pause, of an
extinguished conditioned response. This suggested that extinction was
supressing the CR rather than eliminating it
The rst step of classical conditioning, whe NS becomes a CS is called
When a US no longer follows a CS, and the CR becomes
weakened, this is
Generalization the tendency, once a response has been conditioned,
for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar response.
Can have positive attributes for survival or negative
Discrimination the learned ability to distinguish between a
conditioned stimulus, and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned
Ex. A mothers loves face vs. dislike face of a neighbour women
Ex. Confronted by a guard dog your heart may race, confronted by a
guide dog, it will probably not.
Pavlov’s Legacy
Classical conditioning is one way that virtually all organisms learn to
adapt to their environment
Pavlov showed us that how a process such as learning can be studied
Applications of Classical Conditioning
Former drug users often feel craving when they are again in drug-using
context- with people or places they associate with previous highs
Classical condition works on the immune system. When a particular
taste accompanies a drug that in<uences immune response, the taste
itself may come to produce an immune response.
Watson experimented on little Albert.
Watson believed that human emotions and behaviours are merely a
bundle of conditioned responses
Watson and a colleague Raynor, conditioned a baby to associate white
rats (CS) with a loud noise (US) and fear them (CR)
Before conditioning Albert had no fear to the rat (NS). By hitting a
hammer the loud noise (UCS) scared Albert (natural re<ex fear)
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