Textbook Chapter 7

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8 Dec 2010
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Psychology Chapter 7: Learning and Behaviour
-Learning: an adaptive process in which the tendency to perform a particular behaviour
is changed by experience
-Performance: the behavioural change produced by the internal changes brought about
by learning
-Scientists look at performance to decide if learning has taken place
Habituation:
-Orienting Response: any response by which an organism directs appropriate sensory
organs (eyes, ears, nose) toward the source of a novel stimulus
-Habituation: simplest form of learning: learning not to respond to an unimportant event
that occurs repeatedly
-George Humphrey: wrote a textbook on this topic and did an experiment on land
snails. Studied with Wundt.
Classical Conditioning:
-involves the learning about the conditions that predict that a significant event will occur
-ex. mouth watering when thinking or smelling favourite foods
Pavlovs Serendipitous Discovery:
-his main ambition was to discover the neural mechanisms controlling glandular
secretion during digestion
-Classical Conditioning: process by which a response normally elicited by one
stimulus (the unconditional stimulus or UCS) comes to be controlled by another stimulus
(the conditional stimulus or CS) as well
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-sequence and timing of events are important factors in classical conditioning
-provides us with a way to learn cause-and-effect relations between enviro events
-UCS: in classical conditioning, a stimulus such as food, that naturally elicits a reflexive
response, such as salivation
-UCR: unconditional response. A response such as salivation that is naturally elicited by
the UCS
-CS: a stimulus that, because of its repeated association with the UCS, eventually elicits
a conditioning response (CR)
-CR: the response elicit by the CS
Basic Principles of Classical Consitioning:
-Acquisition: in classical conditioning, the time during which a CR first appears and
increases in frequency
-Extinction: in classical conditioning, the elimination of a response that occurs when
the CS is repeatedly presented without being followed by the UCS
-Spontaneous Recovery: after an interval of time, the reappearance of a response that
had previously been extinguished
-Generalization: in classical conditioning, CRs elicited by stimuli that resemble the CS
used in training
-Discrimination: in classical conditioning, the appearance of a CR when one stimulus
is presented (the CS+) but not another (the CS-)
Conditional Emotional Responses:
-Phobias: unreasonable fear of specific objects or situations, such as insects, animals,
or enclosed spaces, learned through classical conditioning
What is Learned in Classical Conditioning:
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-A neuron stimulus becomes a CS only when the following conditions are satisfied:
The CS regularly occurs prior to the presentation of the UCS
The CS does not regularly occur when the UCS is absent
-Blocking: the prevention of or attenuation in learning that occurs to a neutral CS when
it is conditioned in the presence of a previously conditioned stimulus
-Inhibitory Conditional Response: a response tendency conditioned to a signal that
predicts the absence of the UCS; generally not observed directly but assessed though
other tests
-Excitatory Conditional Response: a response tendency conditioned to a signal that
the UCS is about to occur. This is the type of CR exemplified by Pavlovs salivation
response
Operant Conditioning:
-A form of learning in which behaviour is affected by its consequences. Favourable
consequences strengthen the behaviour and unfavourable consequences weaken the
behaviour
The Law of Effect:
-discovered by Thorndike
-Law of Effect: Thorndikes idea that the consequences of behaviour determine
whether it is likely to be repeated
Skinner and Operant Behaviour:
-He championed the law of effect, produced apparatus and methods for studying
behaviour and created his own philosophies for interpreting it
-Operant Chamber: an apparatus in which an animals behaviour can be easily
observed, manipulated and automatically recorded
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