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PSYB64H3 (201)
Chapter 12


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Janelle Leboutillier

PSYB64: Chapter 12 Learning and Memory Learning 3 major categories of behavior: 1. reflexes - involuntary responses to stimuli - produced by prewired neural connections or reflex arcs - advantage of producing rapid, reliable responses but disadvantage of inflexibility when environment changes 2. instincts - automatic but more complex - involve mating or parenting behaviour - consistent enough to be referred to as fixed action patterns - e.g. peacock courtship displays 3. Learning - permanent change in behavior (or capacity for behavior) - most flexible means for responding to the environment - adaptability to our environment = learning - only those behavioral changes that result from experience will be considered learning - excludes changes in behavior that occur due to maturation and growth Types of learning Learning occurs through: 1. associative learning - forms a connection between two features (elements or events) of its environment - classical condition a. Classical Conditioning o stimuli act as signals that predict the occurrence of other important events. o Pavlov = CS (bell) paired with UCS (food) CR (salivates from bell) and UCR (salivates from sight of food) o Development of conditioned responses constitutes the change in behavior that tells us learning has occurred o An advantage to an organism in the struggle for survival ability to anticipate future events and prepare for responses 1 2. Nonassociative learning - involves a change in the magnitude of responses to stimuli rather than the formation of connections between elements or events - habituation and sensitization a. Habituation o organism reduces its responses to unchanging, harmless stimuli o e.g. when studying, you tune out noises you started hearing. b. Sensitization o repeated exposure to a strong stimulus increases response to other environmental stimuli able to us react more quickly to other sources of potential harm, even if the precise stimulus that signals danger changes o e.g. people after an accident (gun shooting) tend to jump every time he hears a similar noise to gun shot Using Invertebrates To study learning - invertebrates are ideal subjects = capable of learning = they large and simple-celled - sea slug = Aplysia californica = neural nets, ganglia or collections of cell bodies = major processing centres = they have neural nets as opposed to brains = dorsal (towards its back) gill = gill is covered by mantle shelf = siphon - served by 24 touch receptors tube releases waste and seawater = gill withdrawal reflex protective response from touching their siphon, in which the gill is retracted siphon is touched repeatedly, it will gradually diminish Repeated touching of the siphon (refer to figure 12.4 in page 344) - (a) control: o single stimulus to siphon o sensory neuron releases normal amounts of neurotransmitter o motor neuron releases normal amounts of neurotransmitter o gill retracts - (b) Habituation: o repeated stimuli to siphon 2o sensory neuron releases less neurotransmitter o motor neuron releases less neurotransmitter o gill shows weak withdrawal reduced size of excitatory postsynaptic potentials in inter- and motor neurons can lasts up to three weeks depletion of available neurotransmitter = cause of longer-lasting habituation (postsynaptic like NMDA) = short-term habituation (presynaptic sensory neurons) = and reduced activity at the synapse b/w sensory and motor neurons depends on NMDA glutamate receptor for learning. - (c) Sensitization: o shocking the tail is followed by a stimulus to the siphon o sensory neuron in tail releases neurotransmitter o facilitating interneurons release serotonin, which causes siphon sensory neuron to release increased amounts of neurotransmitter o motor neuron releases increased amounts of neurotransmitter o gill shows stronger-than-normal withdrawal stim
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