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Chapter 07

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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. PART I: HABITUATION - Orienting response: any response by which an organism directs appropriate sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose) toward the source of a novel stimulus. - Habituation: the simplest form of learning; learning not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly. - George Humphrey (1933): experiment with snails, tapped plate. - The simplest form of habituation is temporary, and is known as shote term habituation. - Animals, particularly those that have more complex nervous systems, are capable of long term habituation (hunting dog). - What distinguished short term from long term- when stimuli are massed into quick rep- etitions, habituation is rapid but short term, when these stimuli are presented in small groups that are spaces in time, habituation is slower but long term. - Evidence that short + long are produced by different neural mechanisms. PART II: CLASSICAL CONDITIONING Pavlov’s Serendipitous Discovery - Experiment with dog- showed that a neural stimulus can elicit a response similar to the original reflex when the stimulus predicts the occurrence of a significant stimulus. - Classical conditioning: the process by which a response normally elicited by one stim- ulus (the unconditional stimulus or UCS) comes to be controlled by another stimulus. (the conditional stimulus or CS) as well. - Sequence/timing of events are important. - Classical conditioning provides us with a way to learn cause-and-effect relations be- tween environmental events. - 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 salva- tion, that is naturally elicited by the UCS. - Conditional stimulus (CS): in classical conditioning, a stimulus that because of its re- peated association with the UCS, eventually elicits a conditional response (CR). - Conditional response (CR): in classical conditioning the response elicited by the CS. The Biological Significant of Classical Conditioning - Classical conditioning accomplishes 2 functions. - 1.ability to learn to recognize stimuli that predicts the occurrence of an important event allows the learner to male the appropriate response faster and more ef- fectively. - 2. Through CC, stimuli that were previously unimportant acquire some of the properties of the important stimuli with which they have been associated and this become able to modify behaviors. - A neutral stimulus becomes desirable when it is associated with a desirable stimulus or becomes undesirable when it is associated with an undesirable one. - Evidence that the specific sensory properties of the UCS become associated with the CS (Watt + Honey 1997). Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning - > Acquisition - Acquisition: in CC, the time during which a CR fist appears and increases in frequency. - 2 factors that influence the strength of the CR are: - 1. Intensity of the UCS. - 2. Timing of the CS and UCS. - The intensity of the UCS can determine how quickly the CR will be acquired: the more intense the UCS, the stronger the CR generally is. - CC occurs fastest when the CS occurs shortly before the UCS and both stimuli. - With shorter or longer delays, conditioning is generally slower and weaker. - > Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery - Extinction: in CC, the elimination of a response that occurs when the CS is repeatedly presented without being followed by the UCS. - Once CRs are formed, they do not necessarily remain a part of an organism’s behav- ior. - Extinction only occurs 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. - Pavlov also found that if he began to present the CS and the UCS together again, the animals would acquire the conditional response very rapidly- much faster than they did in the first place. - > Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination - Discrimination training is accomplished by using 2 different CSs during training. 1 CS is always followed by the UCS; the other CS is never followed by the UCS. Conditional Emotional Responses - Classical conditioning may play a role in the development of personal likes and dislikes or in the emotional reaction to other stimuli, including those that produce pain. (Wunsch, Philippot, Plaghki, 2003) - Phobias: 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. What is Learned in Classical Conditioning? - A neutral stimulus becomes a CS only when the following conditions are satisfied: - 1. The CS regularly occur prior to the presentation of the UCS - 2. 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. - Only if something about the UCS had changed at the time CS2 was introduced would it provide new information (Rescorla, 1999). - CC would seem to provide 2-types of information: the what and the when of future events. - The what allows animals to learn that a particular event is about to occur. - behavior is determined by their memory of the event (Rescorla, 1973).- example with fish. - The when is about the timing of events. - Inhibitory conditional response: a response conditioned to a signal that predicts the ab- sence of the UCS; generally not observed directly but assessed through other tests. - Excitatory conditional response: a response tendency conditioned to a signal that the UCS is about to occur. This is the type if CR exemplified by Pavlov’s salivation re- sponse. PART III: OPERANT CONDITIONING - Operant conditioning: a form of learning in which behavior is affected by its conse- quences. Favorable consequences strengthen the behavior and unfavorable conse- quences weaken the behavior. The Law of Effect - Law of effect: Thordike’s idea that the consequences of behavior determine whether it is likely to be repeated. (example with the hungry cat). 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. - These 2 developments represent clear advancements over Thorndike’s research meth- ods because participants can 1. Emit responses more freely over a greater time period. 2. Be studied for longer periods of time without interference produced by the researcher handling or otherwise interacting with them between trials. The Three-Term Contingency - 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. - 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 rein- forced only when the discriminative stimulus is present. (Skinner) - The preceding event-the discriminative stimulus- sets the occasion for respond- ing because, in the past, when that stimulus occurred, the response was fol- lowed by certain consequences. - The response we make-in this case, picking up the phone and saying hello when it rings-is called an operant behavior. - The following event-the voice on the other end of the line-is the consequence of the operant behavior. - These consequences are contingent upon behavior. Reinforcement, Punishment, and Extinction - > Positive Reinforcement - Positive reinforcement: an increase in the frequency of a response that is regularly and reliably followed by an appetitive stimulus. - > Negative Reinforcement - Negative reinforcement:
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