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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Summary

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

Learning is any relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience Phobias are irrational fears of specific objects to situations Classical Conditioning is a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus Pavlovian conditioning Pavlov's Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes” Ivan Pavlov - responsible for turning psychology from research focusing on subjective accounts of experience, introspection, to more objective, rigorous, scientific approach. - his work showed how stimuli in the external world controlled our actions and behaviour - de-emphasized the mind, and mentalistic accounts of behaviour - showed how learning was under the influence of experience and that “associations could be built up in consciousness” - experiment with dogs - role of saliva in the digestive processes of dogs - present meat powder to a dog, dogs salivated before meat powder was presented - clicking sound before meat powder? Dogs salivated - auditory tone used together with meat powder -> use only auditory tone -> dogs salivated - the tone started out as a neutral stimulus - the tone acquired a capacity to trigger the response of salivation Terminology and Procedures - unconditioned association: natural, unlearned association - unconditioned stimulus (UCS) is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning - unconditioned response (UCR) is an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning - conditioned association: established through conditioning - conditioned stimulus (CS) is a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response - conditioned response (CR) is a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning - in Pavlov's, the UCR and CR were both salivation. When evoked by the UCS (meat powder), salivation was an unconditioned response. When evoked by the CS (the tone), salivation was a conditioned response - Pavlov's “psychic reflex” came to be called the “conditioned reflex” - classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively automatic or involuntary - a trial in classical conditioning consists of any presentation of a stimulus or a pair of stimuli Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life - eyelid closure, knee jerks, the flexing of various limbs, fear responses, etc.Are used Conditioned Fear andAnxiety - plays a key role in shaping emotional responses such as fears - phobias are a good example of such responses - many irrational fears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical conditioning - not to say that traumatic experiences associated with stimuli automatically lead to conditioned fears or phobias - some people acquire conditioned fears less readily than others, probably because of differences in their genetic makeup - everyday conditioning effects are not restricted to negative emotions, such as fear Evaluative Conditioning ofAttitudes - Pavlovian conditioning can also influence people's attitudes - subtype of classical conditioning -> evaluative conditioning - evaluative conditioning refers to changes in the liking of a stimulus that result from pairing that stimulus with other positive or negative stimuli - involves the acquisition of likes and dislikes, or preferences, through classical conditioning - a neutral stimulus is paired with unconditioned stimuli that trigger positive reactions so that neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits similar positive reactions Conditioning and Physiological Responses - classical conditioning affects not only overt behaviours but physiological processes as well - classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression – a decrease in the production of antibodies - ex.Animals injected with a drug (US) that chemically causes immunosuppression while they are simultaneously given an unusual-tasting liquid to drink - after it ends, they are given the unusual-tasting liquid to drink again and there is a reduced immune response - classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reaction and that classical conditioning contributes to the growth of drug tolerance and the experience of withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted - continued use of drugs may lead to increased drug tolerance, in which increasing amounts of the drug are needed to produce the same effect - drug use leads the body to produce compensatory responses in an attempt to counteract or compensate for the effects of the drug on the body - classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal - quail can be conditioned to become sexually aroused by a neutral, nonsexual stimulus – such as a red light – that has been paired with opportunities to copulate Conditioning and Drug Effects - drug tolerance involves a gradual decline in responsiveness to a drug with repeated use, so that larger and larger doses are required to attain the user's customary effect - classical conditioning contributes to drug tolerance - the conditioned responses are physiological reactions that are just the opposite of the normal effects of the drugs - these are called compensatory CRs because they partially compensate for some drug effects - help maintain homeostasis (internal balance) in physiological processes - they are adaptive in the short term, as they counterbalance some of the potentially dangerous effects of various drugs - consistent pairing of drug administration and certain stimuli (syringes, cocaine bottles, specific settings and rituals) - drug administration process itself can be come a CS associated with drug effects - these environmental cues eventually begin to elicit compensatory CRs that partially cancel out some of the anticipated effects of abused drugs - as these compensatory CRs strengthen, they neutralize more and more of a drug's pleasurable effects, producing a gradual decline in the user's responsiveness to the drug (tolerance) - if drugs are taken in new ways or in new settings, the usual compensatory CRs may not occur - with the counterbalancing effects eliminated, the drugs may have a much stronger impact than usual, thus increasing the risk of an overdose Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning - portrayed as mechanical processes that inevitably leads to a certain result - most conditioned responses are reflexive and difficult to control (AES) Acquisition: Forming New Responses -Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something - the acquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity - stimulus are contiguous if they occur together in time and space - contiguity alone doesn't automatically produce conditioning - stimuli are novel, unusual or especially intense have more potential to become CSs than routine stimuli, probably because they are more likely to stand out among other stimuli Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses - the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency - doesn't last forever -> the consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone, without the unconditioned stimulus - ex. Pavlov consistently presented only the tone to a previously conditioned dog, the tone gradually lost its capacity to elicit the response of salivation - the strength of the conditioned bond when extinction begins -> determines how long it takes to extinguish a conditioned response Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses - some conditioned responses display the ultimate in tenacity by “reappearing from the dead” after having been extinguished - the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to the conditioned stimulus - ex. Extinguished a dog's CR of salivation to a tone and then returned the dog to its home cage for a “rest interval” -> when the dog was brought back and the tone was presented, the salivation response appeared, although weak - renewal effect – if a response is extinguished in a different environment that it was acquired, the extinguished response will appear if the animal is returned to the original environment where acquisition took place - extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than erasing a learned association - extinction does not appear to lead to unlearning Stimulus Generalization and the Mysterious Case of LittleAlbert - after conditioning has occurred, organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS used but also to other, similar stimuli - Pavlov's dogs may have salivated in response to a different-sounding tone - you might cringe at the sound of a jeweller's as well as a dentist's drill - Stimulus Generalization occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus - generalization is adaptive, given that organism rarely encounter the exact stimulus more than once - ex. Woman who got scared when her dad scared her at the old bridge. Now she's scared of all bridges D: - the more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater generalization - generalization gradients -> graphs - implications of the process of generalization - contributes to the development of panic disorder -> recurrent, overwhelming anxiety attacks that occur suddenly and unexpectedly - LittleAlbert - white rat -> not scared of it - paired the presentation of the rat with a loud, startling sound -Albert showed fear to the loud noise - after pairing,Albert feared the rat Stimulus Discrimination - opposite of stimulus generalization - occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus - ex. When you pull your car into the driveway, your dog runs around - does that for every car - then, only does it for YOUR car in the driveway - development of stimulus discrimination usually requires that the original CS (your car) continues to be paired with the UCS (your arrival) while similar stimuli (the other cars) not be paired with the UCS - The less similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the likelihood (and ease) of discrimination - if a new stimulus is quite similar to the original CS, discrimination will be relatively difficult to learn - the generalization gradient narrows around the original CS, which means that the organism is generalizing into a smaller range of similar stimuli Higher-Order Conditioning - ex. Condition a dog to salivate in response to the sound of a tone by pairing the tone with meat powder -> firmly established the CS, you pair the tone with a new stimulus – a red light for 15 trials -> then you present the red light alone without the tone -> dog salivates - high-order conditioning -> in which a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus - classical conditioning does not depend on the presence of a genuine, natural UCS -> an already established CS will do just fine - new conditioned responses are built on the foundation of already-established conditioned responses Operant Conditioning - is a form of learning in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences Thorndike's Law of Effect - another name for operant conditioning is instrumental learning - this kind of responding is often instrumental in obtaining some desired outcome - ex. Hungry cat inside a cage has to solve a puzzle (pulling a wire or depressing a lever) and rewarded with food when it got out -> predicted there would be a sudden drop in time req'd to escape when the cat recognized the solution to the problem - law of effect -> if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened Skinner's Demonstration: It'sAll a Matter of Consequences - Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favourable consequences - Reinforcement occurs when an event following a response increases an organism's tendency to make that response - a response is strengthened because it leads to rewarding consequences Terminology and Procedures -An operant chamber, or Skinner box, is a small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response are systematically controlled - because operant responses tend to be voluntary, they are said to be emitted rather than elicited. To emit means to send forth. - for rats, the main response made available is pressing a small lever mounted on one side wall - for pigeons, the designated response is pecking a small disk mounted on a side wall - the Skinner box permits the experimenter to control the reinforcement contingencies that are in effect for the animal - Reinforcement Contingencies are the circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers - the experimenter manipulates whether positive consequences occur when the animal makes the designated response - main positive consequence? Usually a delivery of a small bit of food into a food cup mounted in the chamber - animals are deprived of food while prior to the experimental session -> hunger virtually ensures that food serves as a reinforcer - key dependent variable -> subjects' response rate over time - animal's rate of lever pressing or disk pecking in the Skinner box is monitored continuously by a device called a cumulative recorder - cumulative recorder creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a Skinner box as a function of time - no response -> pen stays still - designated response occurs -> pens moves upward a notch - results are usually portrayed in graphs - horizontal axis -> passage of time, vertical axis -> plot the accumulation of responses - a rapid response produces a steep slope - a slow response rate produces a shallow slope Basic Processes in Operant Conditioning Acquisition and Shaping - acquisition in operant conditioning refers to the initial stage of learning some new pattern of responding - operant responses are usually established through a gradual process -> shaping, which consists of the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response - shaping is necessary when an organism does not, on its own, emit the desired response - ex. Skinner box. Rats don't naturally know how to press levers -> releases food pellets whenever the rat moves toward lever - for closer approximation of the desired process, released pellets when rat touches lever - the rat will press the lever on occasion :) Extinction - in operant condition, extinction refers to the gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by a reinforcer - extinction begins in operant conditioning whenever previous available reinforcement is stopped - the experimenter stops delivering food when the rat presses the lever - key issue in operant conditioning: how much resistance to extinction an organism will display when reinforcement is halted - Resistance to extinction occurs when an organism continues to make a response after delivery of the reinforcer has been terminated - the greater the resistance to extinction, the longer the responding will continue - if the researcher stops giving reinforcement for lever pressing and the response tapers off slowly, the response shows high resistance to extinction - people often want to strengthen a response in such a way that it will be relatively resistant to extinction - ex. Most parents want to see their child's studying response survive even if the child hits a rocky stretch when studying doesn't lead to reinforcement (good grades) - the schedule of reinforcement used during acquisition is a factor for resistance to extinction - same renewal effect as classic conditioning -> if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired, the extinguished response will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment where acquisition took place Stimulus Control: Generalization and Discrimination - relates to response- outcome associations - stimuli that precede a response can also exert considerable influence over operant behaviour - when a response is consistently followed by a reinforcer in the presence of particular stimulus, that stimulus comes to serve as a “signal”, indicating that the response is likely to lead to a reinforcer - once an organism learns the signal, it tends to respond accordingly - ex.Apigeon's disk pecking may be reinforced only when a small light behind the disk is lit. When the light is out, pecking does not lead to the reward. Pigeons quickly learn to peck the disk only when it is lit. - The light that signals the availability of the reinforcement is called a discriminative stimulus - Discriminative stimuli are cues that influence operant behaviour by indicating the probably consequences (reinforcement or nonreinforcement) or a response - ex. Birds learn that hunting for worms is likely to be reinforced after a rain - reactions to a discriminative stimuli are governed by the process of stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination - ex. Cat that comes running into the kitchen whenever it hears the sound of a can opener -> sound has become a discriminative stimulus signalling a good chance of its getting fed - if the cat also responded to the blender, the response would represent generalization - discrimination would only occur if that cat learned to respond only to the can opener and not to the blender ***processes of acquisition, extinction, generalization and discrimination in operant conditioning parallel all these same processes in classical conditioning *** Reinforcement: Consequences That Strengthen Responses - the central processes in reinforcement is the strengthening of a response tendency - researchers must make it contingent on a response and observe whether the rate of this response increases after the supposed reinforcer has been presented - reinforcement is defined after the fact, in terms of its effect on behaviour – something that is clearly reinforcing for an organism at one time may not function as a reinforce later - food will reinforce lever pressing by a rat only if the rat is hungry - Something that serves as a reinforce for one person may not function as a reinforcer for another person - ex. parental approval is a potent reinforcer for most children, but not all - Primary reinforcers are events that are inherently reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs - a given species has a limited number of primary reinforcers because they are closely tied to physiological needs - primary reinforcers for humans: food, water, warmth, sex, and perhaps affection expressed through hugging and close bodily contact - Secondary, or conditioned, reinforcers are events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforces - the events that function as secondary reinforcers vary among members of a species because they depend on learning - ex. In humans: money, good grades, attention, flattery, praise and applause - people learn to find stylish clothes, sports cars, fine jewellery, and exotic vacations reinforcing Reinforcement and Superstitious Behaviour - reinforcement is key to the development of the kinds of superstitious behaviours exhibited by professional athletes - a hat trick when one happens to be wearing a black turtleneck, etc. - the behaviour has no real impact on the probability of receiving a reward - noncontingent reinforcement is the basis for superstitious behaviour - superstitious behaviour is extremely common and accidental reinforcement may sometimes contribute to these superstitious, along with various types of erroneous reasoning - superstitious behaviour tends to ascribe it to normal cognitive biases and errors that promote irrational reasoning rather to the unpredictable vagaries of operant conditioning - superstitious beliefs can actually enhance performance Schedules of Reinforcement - organisms make innumerable responses that do not lead to favourable consequences - most responses are reinforced only some of the time - operant psychologists have devoted an enormous amount of attention to how intermittent schedules of reinforcement influence operant behaviour - a schedule of reinforcement determines which occurrences of a specific response result in the presentation of a reinforcer - simplest pattern is continuous reinforcement - continuous reinfor
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