PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Vise, Parietal Lobe, Social Cognition

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11 Mar 2013
Chapter 6: Learning
Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which stimulus acquires the
capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus
(Pavlovian stimulus)
Pavlov demonstrates “Psychic reflexes”
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist that stumbled onto what he called
“psychic reflexes” in his study of digestive processes in dogs
He would present meat powder to the dog and it would salivate; he noticed
that it started to salivate even before the powder was presented (ex. it would
start salivation to the clicking sound that was usually associated with the
presence of the meat powder)
The key tone in this experiment was the fact that it was a neutral stimulus
and alone would not have elicited a salivation response without pairing the
tone with the meat powder
Pavlov demonstrated how learned associations were formed by events in an
organisms environment
Terminology and Procedures
Unconditional stimulus is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned
response without previous conditioning
Unconditioned response is an unlearned reaction to an unconditional
stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning
Conditioned stimulus is a previously neutral stimulus that has, through
conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.
Conditioned response is a learned reaction to a condition stimulus that
occurs because of previous conditioning
Unconditioned and conditioned response often consist of the same behavior,
although there may be subtle differences between them
Ex. the UCR and the CR in Pavlov’s experiment was salivation; when
presented with meat powder (UCS), salivation was the unconditioned
response. When evoked by the tone (CS), it became a conditioned response
Classically conditioned responses are elicited (drawn forth) because most
are said to be automatic or involuntary
Trial in classical conditioning consists of any presentation of stimulus or pair
of stimulus
Classical conditioning in everyday life
Many everyday behaviors are regulated by classical conditioning; plays a key
role in shaping emotional responses such as fears
Many irrational ears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical
oEx. a woman who is afraid of all bridges now traces her fear back to
when her father used to drive over a rickety, old bridge while making
joke about its enormous danger
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Conditioning effects can occur through a number of everyday behaviors
Classical conditioning and physiological response
Classical conditioning affects physiological processes as well
Ex. research has revealed that immune system functioning can be influenced
by psychological factors, including conditioning (immunosuppression the
decrease in the production of antibodies)
When a CS is paired with a UCS that suppresses immunosuppression, when
the CS is shows to the subject again without the UCS, it can cause an
Classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions, drug tolerance, sexual
arousal, etc.
Conditioning and Drug effects
Drug tolerance involves a gradual decline in responsiveness to a drug with
repeated use so that larger and larger doses are required to attain the user’s
customary effect – causes physiological changes to the user
Stimulus paired with the administration of drugs can acquire the capacity to
elicit conditioned responses that are opposite to the effects of the drug
Compensatory CRs are opponent responses that partially compensate for
some drug effects to maintain homeostasis
Environmental cues eventually begin to elicit compensatory CRs that partially
cancel out some of the anticipated effects of abused drugs; the CCRs can
strengthen and neutralize more and more of the drug’s pleasurable effects
and produce a gradual decline in the user’s responsiveness to the drug
Basic processes in classical conditioning
Most conditioned responses are reflexive and difficult to control
Acquisition: forming New Responses
Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something; acquisition of a
conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity, but not always
What determines the occurrence of conditioning?
Extinction: the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned
response tendency; caused by the presence of the conditioned stimulus alone
without the unconditioned stimulus
Spontaneous Recover: the reappearance of an extinguished response after
the period of non-exposure to the conditioned stimulus
oIf a response is extinguished in a different environment than acquired,
it will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment
Stimulus generalization occurs when an organism that has learned a
response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that
are similar to the original stimulus
oThe more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the
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Stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism that has learned a
response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to a new
stimuli that is similar to the original stimulus
oThe development of this occurs when the original CS continues to be
paired with the UCS while similar stimulus are not paired with the UCS
oThe less similar the new stimuli are to the original, the greater the
likelihood of discrimination
Higher order conditioning is when a conditioned stimulus functions as if it
were an unconditioned stimulus
Operant Conditioning
Classical conditioning best explains reflexive responding controlled by
stimulus that recede the response
Operant Conditioning: is a form of learning in which responses come to be
controlled by their consequences; governed by voluntary responses, although
both classical and operant conditioning overlap and sometimes operant
conditioning emits reflexive responses
Thorndike’s Law of effect
Another name for operant conditioning is instrumental learning; its like you
are playing an instrument to obtain some desired result
Thorndike ran an experiment to see if animals can think by putting a cat in a
puzzle box and for it to escape it had to do something (ex. press a lever) to
get out and receive its reward
oHe monitored how long it took to the get the cat out of the box over a
series of trials and noticed that it took less time for the cat to escape
from the box over a series of trials
He called this learning principle law of effect: if a response in the presence
of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimulus
and response is strengthened
Skinners’ Demonstration: It’s All a matter of consequences
Made use of reinforcement principles; he demonstrated that organisms tend
to repeat those responses that are followed by favourable consequences
Reinforcements occurs when an event following a response increases an
organism’s tendency to make that response; response is strengthened
because it leads to rewarding consequences
Terminology and procedures
an operant chamber is a small enclosure in which an animal can make a
specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response
are systematically controlled
operant responses emit responses rather than elicit; emit means to send
Reinforcement contingencies are the circumstances or rules that
determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers;
experimenters manipulate whether positive consequences occur when the
animal makes the designated response
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