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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Learning and Behavior

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 7 Learning and Behavior Learning: an adaptive process in which the tendency to perform a particular behavior is changed by experience Performance: the behavioral change produced by the internal changes brought about by learning ----------Habituation (the simplest form of learning; learning not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly) Orienting response: any response by which an organism directs appropriate sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose) toward the source of a novel stimulus Short-term habituation & long-term habituation: when stimuli are massed into quick repetitions, habituation is rapid but short term; when these stimuli are presented in small groups that are spaced in time, habituation is slower but long term -----------Classical Conditioning It involves learning about the conditions that predict a significant event will occur ***Pavlov’s serendipitous discovery Classical conditioning: the 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 Pavlov showed that a neutral stimulus can elicit a response similar to the original reflex when the stimulus predicts the occurrence of a significant stimulus (in this case, food powder). The sequence and timing of events are important factors in classical conditioning Unconditional stimulus (UCS): in classical conditioning, a stimulus, such as food, that naturally elicits a reflexive response, such as salivation Unconditional response (UCR): in classical conditioning, a response, such as salivation, that is naturally elicited by the UCS Conditional stimulus (CS): in classical conditioning, a stimulus that, because of its repeated association with the UCS, eventually elicits a conditional response (CR) Conditional response (CR): in classical conditioning, the response elicited by the CS ***The biological significance of classical conditioning The ability to learn to recognize stimuli that predict the occurrence of an important event allows the learner to make the appropriate response faster and more effectively Through classical conditioning, stimuli that were previously unimportant acquire some of the properties of the important stimuli with which they have been associated and thus become able to modify behavior ***Basic principles of classical conditioning *Acquisition (the rime during which a CR first appears and increases in frequency) Two factors that influence the strength of the CR are the intensity of the UCS and the timing of the CS and UCS. The intensity of the UCS can determine how quickly the CR will be acquired: More intense UCSs usually produce more rapid learning *extinction and spontaneous recovery Extinction: in classical conditioning, the elimination of a response that occurs when the CS is repeatedly presented without being followed by the UCS, eventually eliminates the CR It is important to realize that extinction occurs only when the CS no longer signals the UCS Spontaneous recovery: after an interval of time, the reappearance of a response that had previously been extinguished *Stimulus generalization and discrimination 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-) (it involves learning the difference between two or more stimuli) ***conditional emotional responses Phobia: unreasonable fear of specific objects or situations, such as insects, animals, or enclosed spaces, learned through classical conditioning Classical conditioning can occur even without direct experience with the conditional and unconditional stimuli Phobias can be considered conditioned emotional responses—fears that are acquired through classical conditioning ***what is learned in classical conditioning? A neutral 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 attenuation in learning that occurs to a neutral CS when it is conditioned in the presence of a previously conditioned stimulus Classical conditioning would seem to provide two types of information: the what and the when of future events It is not the unconditioned response that determines the CR, but rather the memory of what the CS predicts 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 Pavlov’s salivation response Backward conditioning: even though CS(f) had never been presented prior to a UCS, the rats behaved as though it signaled an upcoming UCS ---------------Operant conditioning (a form of learning in which behavior is affected by its consequences. Favorable consequences strengthen the behavior and unfavorable consequences weaken the behavior ***The law of effect (Thorndike’s idea that the consequences of a behavior determine whether it is likely to be repeated) ***Skinner and operant behavior Operant chamber: an apparatus in which an animal’s behavior can be easily observed, manipulated, and automatically recorded Cumulative recorder: a mechanical device connected to an operant chamber for the purpose of recording operant responses as they occur in time ***The three-term contingency (the relation among discriminative stimuli, behavior, and the consequences of that behavior. a motivated organism emits a specific response in the presence of a discriminative stimulus because, in the past, that response has been reinforced only when the discriminative stimulus is present Discriminative stimulus: in operant conditioning, the stimulus that sets the occasion for responding because, in the past, a behavior has produced certain consequences in the presence of that stimulus (the word speak serves as a discriminative stimulus) In the presence of discriminative stimuli, a consequence will occur if and only if an operant behavior occurs. In the absence of a discriminative stimulus, the operant behavior will have no effect ***Reinforcement, punishment and extinction *Positive reinforcement (an increase in the frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by an appetitive stimulus) *Negative reinforcement (an increase in the frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by t
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