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Chapter 7

PSYA01 Chapter 7 Notes.docx

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Steve Joordens

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CHAPTER 7- LEARNING  learning is basically a short form of the collection of different techniques, procedures and outcomes that create changes in an organism's behaviour.  basic principle of learning is that learning involves the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, or responses from experience that result in a relatively permanent change in the state of the learner.  three basic fundamentals of learning: 1) it is experience based 2) creates changes in an organism 3) these changes are permanent  most of the fundamental work on learning theory was done in the same time as the behaviorism theory (1930s-1950s)  behaviorists believed that the permanent experience change caused due to learning can be demonstrated equally in any organism (rats, dogs, humans, etc) thus they concluded that learning was solely based on behaviour and had no mental activity associated with it  CLASSICAL CONDITIONING (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)  Pavlov studied the digestive processes of laboratory animals by surgically implanting test tubes into the cheeks of dogs to measure their salivary responses to different kinds of foods, this revealed classical conditioning- in his experiment it revealed that dogs salivated to a neutral stimulus (bell or tone) after that stimulus had been associated with another stimulus that naturally caused the dogs to salivate (food)  Classical conditioning occurs when a neutral stimulus creates a response after being paired with a stimulus that naturally produces a response, it has four basic elements as follows:  unconditioned stimulus (US) is something that reliably produces a naturally occurring reaction in an organism (in Pavlov's experiment the US was food because when it was placed before the dogs, they began to salivate)  unconditioned response (UR) is a reflexive reaction that is produces by an unconditioned stimulus (in Pavlov's experiment the UR was the dogs' salivation)  conditioned stimulus (CS) id a stimulus that is initially neutral and produces no reliable response in an organism (in Pavlov's experiment he found out that if he paired food with different sounds such as the humming of a tuning fork or the sound of a buzzer, the dogs would salivate to these sounds, which thus were the CS)  conditioned response (CR) is a response that resembles an unconditioned response but is produced by a conditioned stimulus (in Pavlov's experiment the sounds that were paired with the food caused the dogs to salivate, overtime the dogs learned to associate these sounds to food and in turn just salivated at these sounds alone- this was the CR)  BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING:  ACQUISITION: the phase of classical conditioning when the CS and the US are presented together  in the initial phase of classical conditioning, there is a gradual increase of learning: starts slow, rapidly rises, and then slowly tampers off  SECOND-ORDER CONDITIONING: conditioning where the stimulus that functions as the US is actually the CS from an earlier procedure in which it acquired its ability to produce learning  in a previous experiment, Pavlov repeatedly associated a new CS (black square) with the sounds and after many training trials the dogs began to salivate at the sound of the black square even though it had never been associated to food  EXTINCTION: the gradual elimination of a learned response that occurs when the US is no longer presented  when Pavlov tested the dogs without presenting them with food and only sounding the sounds, their behaviour of salivating slow reduced until they stopped salivating at the sounds  SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY: the tendency of a learned behavior to recover from extinction after a rest period  in Pavlov's experiment, he extinguished the classically conditioned salivation response and then gave the dogs a break (rest period). once they were brought back after the rest period and given the CS again, they showed spontaneous recovery (began to salivate again)  GENERALIZATION: a phenomenon in which the CR is observed even if the CS is slightly different from the original on used during acquisition  meaning that the conditioning "generalizes" to stimuli that are similar to the CS used during the original training. however, the more the stimulus is changed the less conditioned the responses are  generalization to a new stimulus causes two things to happen: 1)since the organism responds to the new stimuli, it shows that it recognizes the similarity between the original CS and the new CS 2) by displaying diminished responses, it shows that the organism recognizes the differences between the two stimuli  DISCRIMINATION: the capacity to distinguish between similar but distinct stimuli  classical conditioning demonstrates that durable, substantial changes in behavior can be achieved simply by setting up the proper conditions  no reference to a organism's wanting to learn the behavior, willingness to do it, thinking about the situation or reasoning through the available options  Watson used little Albert to prove his theory that even complex behaviors were the result of conditioning (he basically wanted to prove that a complex reaction could be conditioned using Pavilion techniques and that emotional responses could be produced by classical conditioning and thus don't need to associated with unconscious processes or early life experiences. He also wanted to confirm that condition could be applied to humans along with animals)  in a therapy for the condition induced fears, patients are repeatedly exposed to conditioned stimuli associated with their trauma in a safe setting in order to cause extinction of their conditioned fear response  COGNITIVE ELEMENTS OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING  classical condition only occurs when an organism has learned to set up an expectation (Rescorla-Wagner model; also predicted that conditioning is easier when the CS is an unfamiliar event than when it is a familiar one because familiar ones already have expectations associated with them thus making it harder to create new conditions)  ROLE OF CONSCIOUSNES :  in the Rescorla-Wagner model, the cognitive elements are not necessarily conscious- they likely reflect the operation of non-conscious associative mechanisms that do more than just record co-occurrences of events (these are linked to prior experiences thus generating expectations)  the Rescorla-Wagner model involved non-human animals  in delay conditioning, the CS is followed immediately by the US, which creates an eye blink response  in trace conditioning, the process is similar to that of delay conditioning except there is a brief interval in between the delivery of the CS and US  delay conditioning does not require awareness between the contingency between the CS and the US, whereas trace conditioning does  IMPLICATIONS FOR PATIENTS IN A VEGETATIVE STATE:  although trace conditioning depends on awareness of the contingency of the CS and the US, researchers argued that trace conditioning in the vegetative state reflects some degree of conscious processing in patients  IMPLICATIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING SCHIZOPHRENIA:  conditioning procedures are being used to study the relationship between hallucinations and reality  studies with rats have shown that pairing a rewarding stimulus with nausea will cause the animals to reduce their subsequent intake of the stimulus  NEURAL ELEMENTS OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING:  through research it was found that the cerebellum is critical for both delay and trace conditioning  hippocampus is important for trace conditioning but not delay conditioning  amygdala (the area known as central nucleus) is also critical for emotional conditioning  EVOLUTIONARY ELEMENTS OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING  it was found through an experiment that in order to have adaptive value for food, some several properties should be adhered: 1) there should be rapid learning that occurs in perhaps one or two trials 2) conditioning should be able to take place over very long intervals (up to several hours) 3) organism should develop the aversion to the smell or taste of the food rather than its ingestion 4) learned aversions should occur more often with novel foods than with familiar foods  biological preparedness is a propensity for learning particular kinds of associations over others- such that some behaviors are relatively easy to condition in some species but not others  OPERANT CONDITIONS (THE LAW OF EFFECT):  operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the consequences of an organism's behavior determine whether it will be repeated in the future- exploration of behaviors that are active  this study began at the same time as classical conditioning began  law of effect states that behaviors that are followed by a "satisfying state of affairs" tend to be repeated and those that produce an "unpleasant state of affairs" are less likely to be repeated  operant behavior is behavior that an organism produces that has some impact on the environment  reinforcer is any stimulus or event that functions to increase the likelihood of the behavior that led to it  punisher is any stimulus or event that functions to decrease the likelihood of the behavior that led to it  positive reinforcement is when a rewarding stimulus is presented  negative reinforcement is when an unpleasant stimulus is removed  positive punishment is when an unpleasant stimulus is administered  negative punishment is when a rewarding stimulus is
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