PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Siamese Fighting Fish, Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning Chamber

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CHAPTER 7: LEARNING AND BEHAVIOUR
Learning: adaptive process in which tendency to perform particular behaviour is changed by experience
Performance: behavioural change produced by internal changes brought about by learning
(evidence for learning, but imperfect)
HABITUATION
Orienting response: any response by which an organism directs appropriate sensory organs towards the
source of a novel stimulus
Habituation: simplest form of learning, learning to not respond to an unimportant event that occurs
repeatedly
George Humphrey showed this in early psych textbook, experiment of tapping glass plate of snails and withdrawing
into their shells
Rankin experiments on worm from class Nematoda. Same as snails but still reflexes to heat showing its not fatigue
that causes it. Does with only 302 neurons in nervous system
Most common is short-term habituation if you tap snail shell few days later, response will be back
Animals with more complex nervous system capable of long term habituation i.e. hunting dog not responding to
gunshots even between hunting seasons, and noises in new house keeping people awake
When stimuli presented quick and large, short term, small and spaced out, long term. Different part of nervous
system produces each.
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
Classical conditioning: process by which response normally elicited by one stimulus (UCS unconditioned
stimulus) comes to be controlled by another stimulus as well (CS conditional stimulus)
Pavlovs Serendipitous Discovery
Pavlov a Russian physiologist, chief ambition to discover neural mechanisms controlling glandular secretions during
digestion
Originally, placed dried food powder in dog’s mouth and collected saliva from tube, after several testings, dogs
started salivating at sight of assistant, Pavlov aimed to find out why dogs started salivating at unrelated stimulus
Sequence and timing of events important factors, food must immediately follow bell
Unconditional stimulus (UCS): stimulus that naturally elicits reflexive response such as salivation
Unconditioned Response (UCR): a response such as salivation caused by a UCS
Conditional Stimulus (CS): stimulus that because of its repeated association with the UCS eventually elicits a
conditional response (CR)
Conditional Response(CR): response elicited by the CS
The Biological Significance of Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning accomplishes two things: 1) ability to learn to recognize stimuli that predicts occurance of an
important event to make appropriate response faster, {Hollis - Siamese fighting fish, if given signal that male fish
approaching, more likely to win, if female, more likely to mate faster and produce more babies}
2)stimuli that were unimportant gain important properties and able to modify behaviour
Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning
Acquisition: the time during which a CR first appears and increases in frequency
Single pairing of CS with UCS not sufficient for learning to take place, only repeated pairings does the CR usually
appear
Two important factors that influence strength of CR: intensity of UCS and timing of the CS and UCS, more intense
UCS produce more rapid learning and the CR
0.5 second pause between CS and UCS is optimal
Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery
Extinction: elimination of a response that occurs when the CS is repeatedly presented without being followed
by the UCS
Extinction will only happen if the CS is still there, needs to learn that the stimulus won’t be followed
Spontaneous recovery: after an interval of time, the reappearance of a response that had previously been
extinguished relearns it much faster
Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination
Generalization: CR’s elicited by stimuli that resemble the CS used in training
Organism can also be taught to distinguish between similar stimuli
Discrimination: appearance of a CR when one stimulus is presented but not another
Discrimination training done by using two CSs during training, one always follows UCS, one never does
Conditional Emotional Responses
Examples: songs or places causing emotional responses because they are paired with certain experiences
Todrank, Byrnes, Wrzesniewski, Rozin show pictures to participants of Europeans and asked if they like them,
took three neutral attractiveness picture and associated them with good, bad or neutral smell. This directly affected
their attractiveness rating which shows personal likes or dislikes may be caused by classical conditioning
Phobias: unreasonable fears of specific objects or situations such as insects, animals, enclosed spaces, learned
through classical conditioning
Phobia’s don’t need to be learn through experience, can be learned through seeing parent’s fear of something or
hearing stories about something
What is Learned in Classical Conditioning
Neutral stimulus only becomes a CS when CS regularly occurs prior to presentation of UCS, the CS does not
regularly occur when UCS is absent
Blocking: prevention of or attenuation in learning that occurs to a neutral CS when it is conditioned in
presence of a previously conditioned stimulus
An additional stimulus will not cause the CR if the other CS is already conditioned
Classical conditioning shows the what and when of future events
Shown in Siamese fish, the CS doesn’t cause the CR but a memory of what the CS predicts
Inhibitory conditional response: response tendency conditioned to a signal that predicts the absence of the
UCS; generally not observed directly but accessed through other tests
Excitatory conditional response: response tendency conditioned to a signal that the UCS is about to occur,
This is the type of CR exemplified by Pavlov’s dogs
OPERANT CONDITIONING
Operant conditioning: form of learning in which behaviours affected by its consequences. Favorable
consequences strengthen behaviour, unfavorable weaken
The Law Of Effect
Discovered by Thorndike in Jame’s basement at age 24
Placed cat inside puzzle box, eventually learned to operate a latch to get out
Law of effect: Thorndike’s idea that consequences of a behaviour determine whether it is likely to be repeated
Skinner and Operant Behaviour
Skinner championed lab studies of law of effect and advocated applications of behaviour analysis and its methods to
solving human problems
Operant chamber: apparatus in which animal behaviour can be easily observed, manipulated and
automatically recorded
Behaviour analysts manipulate environmental events to determine effect on response rate (number of responses
emitted during given time, increase=strength, decrease=weaken)
Cumulative recorder: mechanical device connected to operant chamber to record operant responses as they
occur in time
The Three Term Contingency
Discriminative stimulus: stimulus that sets the occasion for responding because in past behaviour has
produced certain consequences in presence of that stimulus
Three term contingency: relation among discriminative stimuli, behaviour, and consequences of behaviour.
Motivated organism emits specific response in presence of discriminative stimulus because in past response
reinforced only when discriminative stimulus is present
Discriminative stimulus: sets occasion for responding because in past, responding lead to certain consequences
Response: the operant behaviour, the response we make
Following Event: the voice on the other end of phone is consequence of operant behaviour
Reinforcement, Punishment and Extinction
Positive Reinforcement: increase in frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by an
appetitive stimulus
If appetitive stimulus follows a response and increases the frequency then it is positive reinforce
Negative Reinforcement: increase in frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by
termination of an aversive stimulus
Negative reinforcer is if aversive stimulus is stopped immediately following a response
Punishment: decrease in frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by an aversive
stimulus
If aversive follows response, punisher
Negative side effects: may cause bodily harm, fear, hostility and other undesirable emotions in people receiving and
result in retaliation, organisms only learn what responses to not make, not what to make
Response cost: decrease in frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by termination of
appetitive stimulus
Extinction: Decrease in frequency of a previously reinforced response because it is no longer followed by a
reinforce
Other Operant Procedures and Phenomena
Shaping: reinforcement of behaviour that successively approximates the desired response until that response
is fully acquired
Example rat in operant chamber. Make it hungry feed it at the same time every day with sound of click. Once it
knows where and when the food is signaled, shaping happens
Food for looking in direction of lever, then if it moves towards it, then if it presses it
Target behaviour: behaviour wanted to be achieved

Document Summary

Learning: adaptive process in which tendency to perform particular behaviour is changed by experience. Performance: behavioural change produced by internal changes brought about by learning (evidence for learning, but imperfect) Orienting response: any response by which an organism directs appropriate sensory organs towards the source of a novel stimulus. Habituation: simplest form of learning, learning to not respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly. George humphrey showed this in early psych textbook, experiment of tapping glass plate of snails and withdrawing into their shells. Same as snails but still reflexes to heat showing its not fatigue that causes it. Does with only 302 neurons in nervous system. Most common is short-term habituation if you tap snail shell few days later, response will be back. Animals with more complex nervous system capable of long term habituation i. e. hunting dog not responding to gunshots even between hunting seasons, and noises in new house keeping people awake.