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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Notes


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA01H3
Professor
Illes
Chapter
5

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Learning and Behaviour
Learning an adpative process in which the tendency to perform particular
behaviour is changed by experience
as conditions change we learn new behaviours and eliminate old ones
learning can only be observed through behaviour, but some behaviour is not a
result of learning, and some learning doesnt produce a change is behaviour
experience alters chemistry of brain these alterations affect how NS responds to
subsequent events
Performance behavioural change produced by internal changes brought about by
learning (evidence that learning has occured)
factors such as fatigue and motivation can affect behaviour so psychologists also
look for specific aspects of performance such as durability and specifity
three types of learning: habituation, classical conditioning, operant conditioning
all involve cause and effect relationships with environment and behaviour
learn which stimuli are trivial and which are important; learn to make adaptive
responses and to avoid maladaptive ones; learn to recognize conditions that reponse
would be useful or if more appropriate reponse exists
these types of learning are building blocks for complex behaviours
Habituation:
we react automatically to events:
orienting response organism directs appropriate sensory organ toward source of
novel stimulus
habituation simplest form of learning: learning not to respond to an unimportant
event that occurs repeatedly
George Humphrey experiment with snails, got used to tapping so wouldnt retreat
into shell
from evolutionary perspective waste of time and energy
Wicks and Rankin used worm Nemoda and subjected them to taps or heat
found that this withdrawing effect occurs through neurons that respond to
mechanical stimulus, regardless of stimulus
could produce habituation to tap-elicited stimulus but not to heat shows they
learned something about tap and could distinguish it from reaction to source of
heat
only had 302 neurons in NS
short term habituation simplest form
long term habituation animals with more complex nervous system
pattern of experience plays a role in distinguishing long-term and short-term:
when sitmuli are massed into quick repetitions, habituation is rapid but ST
when sitmuli are presented in small groups that are spaced over time, habituation
is slower but LT
evidence that 2 different neural mechanisms are responsible for this
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Classical Conditioning:
invovled learning about conditions that predict that a significant event will occur
Pavlov noticed dogs salivated when they saw research assistant come into room so
he set up experiment with bell and food and dogs learned to salivate when they heard
bell ring
Classical Conditioning process by which a response normally elicitied by one
stimulus (UCS) comes to be controlled by another stimulus (CS) as well
sequence and timing is important
unconditional stimulus stimulus that naturally elicits a reflexive response
unconditional response - behaviour itself that is naturally elicited by UCS
conditional stimulus stimulus that, because of repeated association with UCS,
eventually elicits conditional response
conditional response response elicited by CR
Biological Significance of Classical Conditioning:
two funcitons:
ability to learn to recognize stimuli that predicts occurence of an important event
allows learner to make appropriate response faster and more effectively
siamese fighting fish more likely to win fight if they were given stimulus (CS)
that intruding male (UCS) would enter territory
blue gouramis more likely to mate sooner and produce more offspring when
they received stimulus (CS) signalling approaching female (UCS)
learning that occurs with biologically significant UCS is more resistant to
subsequent modifications
stimuli that were previously unimportant acquire some properties of important
stimuli with which they have been associated and thus become able to modify
behaviour
neutral stimulus becomes desirable when it is associated with desirable
stimulus or becomes undesirable when it is associated with undesirable
stimulus
specific properties of UCS become associated with CS - UCS takes on symbolic
value
Ward-Robinson demonstrated this with pigeons where they pecked at light
when sound went on (paired sound CS with food UCS)
adaptive significance is so general that even nematode exhibits it
Wen placed worms in solution of Na+ or Cl- with bacteria; when placed with patches
on ions and no bacteria, worm migrated to ions thinking there was food
Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning:
discovered 7 interesting phenomena: acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery,
stimulus generalization, and discrimination
Acquisition:
acquisition time during wich CR appears and increases in frequency
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strength of CR is influenced by: intesity of UCS and timing of CS and UCS
more intense UCS produces rapid learning
more intense UCS stronger the CR is
classical conditioning occurs fastest when CS occurs shorlty before UCS and both
end at same time
0.5 seconds is optimal delay between onset of CS and UCS
little conditioning if CS follows UCS, or if too long or short delay will be slower and
weaker
Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery:
extinction elimination of a response that occurs when CS is repeatedly presented
without being followed by UCS
participant learns that CS is no longer followed by UCS if neither are presented
then extinction doesn't occur
doesn't necessarily disappear permanently
spontaneous recovery after an interval of time, reappearance of response that
had previously extinguished
Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination:
generalization CR elicited by stimuli that resembles CS used in training
once response has been conditioned to CS similar stimuli will also elicit that
response
more stimuli resembles CS more likely it will elicit CR
discrimination appearance of CR when one stimulus is presented (CR+) but not
another one (CR-) accomplished by using 2 CS during training one is followed by the
UCS and another isn't
involes learning difference between 2 or more stimuli
Conditioned Emotional Responses:
many stimuli are able to arouse emotional response (disgust, contempt, fear, anger,
sadness, tenderness, longing, or sexual desire)
many had no special signifance but were paired with stimuli that elicited strong
emotional reaction so they acquired emotional or evaluative signifance
Todrank, Byrnes, Wrzesniewski, and Rozin people associated pleasant or
unpleasant odour with attractive or unactriveness of person in photograph
phobias unreasonable fear of specific onjects or situations learned through classical
learning
at some time early in life person was exposed to now-fearsome object in conjunction
with stimulus that elicited pain or fear
classical conditioning can occur without direct experience with CS or UCS can be
learned through observation (vicariously)
imaginary episodes that we picture as we hear or read story (UCS) can provide
imaginary stimuli (CS) that lead to real conditional emotional responses (CR)
therapists use knowledge of principles of learning to eliminate them
suggestions that biologically relevant stimuli are especially prone to classically
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