PSY100H1 Chapter 6-9-11: PSY100 Chapters 6-9,11 Summary

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Published on 26 Jan 2017
School
UTSG
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Rahaf Fasheh
1
PSY100
Reading Notes: Chapters 6,7,8,9 & 11
Chapter 6: Learning
6.1 Classical Conditioning: Learning by Association
Learning: is a process by which behaviour or knowledge changes as a result of experience
o Cognitive learning: the activities individuals do to acquire new information (ex. Reading)
o Associative learning
Palo’s Dog: Classial oditioig of “aliatio
Ivan Pavlov:
o Was a psychologist studying digestion using dogs as a model species for his experiments
o Noticed that as he prepared dogs for procedures, even before meat powder was presented, the dogs
would start salivating
o Considered that digestive responses were more than just simple reflexes in response to food
If dogs salivate in anticipation of food, then the salivary response can also be learned Psychic
secretions
o Conducted an experiment:
Presented a sound from a metronome along with the meat powder to the dogs
After pairing the sound with the good several times, Pavlov discovered that the metronome by
itself could elicit salivation
o Classical conditioning: learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus (sound of metronome) elicits a
response that was originally caused by another stimulus (presenting the food)
Also referred to Pavlovian conditioning
Served as one of the foundations of behaviourism
o Terms for classical conditioning:
Stimulus: an external event or cue that elicits a response
Unconditioned stimulus (US): a stimulus that elicits a reflexive response without learning/
conditioning (meat powder eliciting salivation)
Unconditioned response (UR): is a reflective, unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus
(salivation from meat powder)
Neutral stimulus: a stimulus that does not elicit a response
Conditioned stimulus (CS): a once neutral stimulus that later elicits a conditioned response
because it has a history of being paired with an unconditioned stimulus
Conditioned response (CR): the learned response that occurs to the conditioned stimulus
After being repeatedly paired with the US, the once neutral tone of the metronome
became a conditioned stimulus (CS) because it elicited the conditioned response (CR) of
salivation.
o What distinguishes the unconditioned response (UR) from the conditioned response (CR):
Salivation is a UR if it occurs in response to a US (food)
Salivation is a CR if it occurs in response to a CS (the tone)
A CS can only have this effect if its associated with a US
UR is a naturally occurring response, whereas CR must be learned
Classical conditioning and the brain
o Connections between specific groups of neurons (or specific axon terminals and receptors sites on
neurons) become strengthened during each instance of classical conditioning
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o The unconditioned stimulus (US) reliably triggers the Unconditioned response (UR): this relationship is
represented by strong neural connections between groups of neurons in the temporal lobes of the brain
o When the CS is presented at approximately the same time as the US:
Hebb Rule: when a weak connection between neurons is stimulated at the same time as a strong
connection, the weak connection becomes strengthened
Process of Classical Conditioning
Acquisition, extinction and spontaneous recovery
o Learning involves a change in behaviour due to experience, which can include acquiring a new response
o Acquisition: the initial phase of learning in which a response is established
In classical conditioning, acquisition Is the phase in which a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired
with the US
I Palo’s epeiet, the oditioed salia espose as auied ith ueous toe-
food pairing
A critical part of acquisition is the predictability with which the CS and US occur together:
Conditioning either would not occur or would be very weak if food was delivered only
sometimes when the tone was sounded
Neural explanation: synapses are strengthened when neurons (or group of neurons) fire
at the same time, as in conditioning
o Extinction: the loss or weakening of a conditioned response when a conditioned stimulus and
unconditioned stimulus no longer occur together
I Palo’s epeiet: if a toe is peseted epeatedl ad o food follos, the saliatio
should occur less and less, until eventually it may not occur at all
Biological perspective: if the tone is no longer a reliable predictor of food, then salivation
becomes unnecessary
Neural level: the rate of firing in brain areas related to the learned association decreases over
the course of extinction
Even after extinction occurs, a previously stablished conditioned response can return (very
quickly) which suggests that the network of brain areas related to conditioning were preserved
in some form
o Spontaneous recovery: the reoccurrence of a previously extinguished conditioned response, typically
after some time has passed since extinction
Palo’s experiment: salivation would reappear when the dogs were later returned to the
experimental testing room where acquisition and extinction trials had been conducted
The dogs would salivate again in response to a tone, less so than at the end of acquisition
This is because extinction also involves learning something new: learning that a tone indicated
that food will not appear
Spontaneous recovery may be a case of the animal not being able to retrieve the memory of
extinction and thus reverting back to the original memory, the classically conditioned response
o Extinction and spontaneous recovery are evidence that classically conditioned responses can change
once they are acquired
Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination
o Stimulus Generalization: is a process in which a response that originally occurs to a specific stimulus also
occurs tod different, though similar, stimuli
Palo’s Experiment: dogs salivated not just to the original tone (CS), but also to very similar
tones
At the cellular level, generalization may be explained by the Hebb rule
When we experience a stimulus, it activates not only our brains representation of that
item, but also our representations of related items
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Some of these additional representations may become activated at the same time as the
synapses involved in conditioned responses
If this did happen, the additional synapse would become strengthened and would
therefore be more likely to fire along with the other cells in the future
Generalizations allows for flexibility in learned behaviours
o Stimulus discrimination: occurs when an organism learns to respond to one original stimulus but not to
new stimuli that may be similar to the original stimulus
If stimuli that are similar to the CS are presented without a US, then it becomes less likely that
these stimuli will lead to stimulus generalization
These other tones would have their own memory representation in the brains in which they did
not receive food
Applications of Classical Conditioning
Conditioned emotional responses: consists of emotional and physiological responses that develop to a specific
object or situation
o Watson and Rayner
Conditioned an 11month old child to fear white rats by banging a hammer every time the rat
was presented
The child soon showed a conditioned emotional response just to the rat
The loud noise was the US and fear was the UR, overtime, the white rat became the CS with fear
being the CR
The emotional conditioning generalized to other white furry objects (rabbit/Santa mask)
o Conditioned emotional responses offer a possible explanation for many phobias which are intense,
irrational fears of objects or situations.
o Brain regions responsible:
When an organism learns a fear-related association activity occurs in the amygdala, a brain area
related to fear
Contextual fear conditioning: produced If an organism learns to fear a location context-related
activity in the hippocampus will interact with fear-related activity in the amygdala
o Fear conditioning procedures have been used to examine learning and emotional processes combined
with neuroimaging techniques to examine both the cognitive and the biological components of these
behaviours
A neutral stimulus (NS) such as a tone is briefly presented followed by an unconditioned stimulus
(US) such as a mild electric shock
The result is a conditioned fear response to the CS
This procedure was used to compare fear responses in people diagnosed with psychopathy with
control participants
Those with psychopathy show very little responding in their emotional brain circuitry
when presented with the CS
Control participants show strong activation in their emotional brain centres
Evolutionary role for fear conditioning
o Fear of snakes seems to be instinctive but in reality young primates tend to be more curious about, or
indifferent, to snakes, so this fear is most likely the product of learning rather than instinct
o Photographs of snake (CS) were paired with a mild electric shock (US) which elicits increased palm swear
(UR)known as the skin conductance response
This reaction is part of the fight-or-flight response generated by autonomic nervous system,
occurs when our bodies are aroused by a threatening or uncomfortable stimulus
o Following several pairings between snake photos and shock in an experimental setting, the snake photos
alone (CS) elicit a strong increase in skin conductance response (CR)
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Document Summary

Learning: is a process by which behaviour or knowledge changes as a result of experience: cognitive learning: the activities individuals do to acquire new information (ex. If dogs salivate in anticipation of food, then the salivary response can also be learned psychic secretions: conducted an experiment: Presented a sound from a metronome along with the meat powder to the dogs. Served as one of the foundations of behaviourism: terms for classical conditioning: Stimulus: an external event or cue that elicits a response. Unconditioned stimulus (us): a stimulus that elicits a reflexive response without learning/ conditioning (meat powder eliciting salivation) Unconditioned response (ur): is a reflective, unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus (salivation from meat powder) Neutral stimulus: a stimulus that does not elicit a response. Conditioned stimulus (cs): a once neutral stimulus that later elicits a conditioned response because it has a history of being paired with an unconditioned stimulus.