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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 summary - learning.doc

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Dax Urbszat

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 conditioning o Ex. 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 • 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 immunosuppression • 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 o If 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 o The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization • 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 o The development of this occurs when the original CS continues to be paired with the UCS while similar stimulus are not paired with the UCS o The 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 o He 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 forth • 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 • The key dependant variable in most research on operant condition is the subjects’ response rate over time • The cumulative recorder creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a operant chamber/skinner box as a function of time; the result of operant-conditioning studies are usually portrayed in graphs o The slope represents the record of responding; a rapid rate produces a steep slope, whereas a slow response rates produces a shallow slope Basic Processes in Operant Conditioning • Operant responses are usually established through a gradual process called shaping, which consists of the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response o Ex. when the rat is placed in a box, it may not press the lever at all and in this case, the experimenter begins shaping by releasing food pellets whenever the rat moves toward the lever. As the response becomes more frequent, he starts to change his timing of releasing food – only when the rat touches the lever. Eventually, the rat will press the lever and reinforcements will gradually increase the rate of lever pressing • Extinction refers to the gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by a reinforce; reinforcement is stopped • Resistance to extinction occurs when an organism continues to make a response after delivery of the reinforce has been terminated (ex. if the experimenter stops giving the reinforcement, and the animal still gives a response, it shows high resistance to extinction) • Discriminative stimuli are cues that influence operant behavior by indicating the probably consequences (reinforcement or non-reinforcement) of a response; o Ex. when birds learn that hunting for worms is likely to be reinforced after rain o This is governed by the process of stimulus generalization, where an animal responds to a new stimulus as if it were the original. o Ex. with a cat, if it hears the blender going, this would act as discriminative stimuli because it responds to run to the kitchen thinking that thee blender is the sound of the can opening • Reinforcement occurs whenever an outcome strengthens a response – increase in the rate of responding; the central process in reinforcement is the strengthening of a response tendency • Reinforcement is defined in terms of effect on behavior; not all reinforcements will work on every organism o Reinforcement is key to the development of the kinds of superstitious behaviors exhibited by professional athletes; (ex. Skinner observed that the birds would tend to repeat whatever behavior they had been engaged in when food was presented) • Primary reinforces are events that are inherently reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs (ex. food, water, warmth, etc.) • Secondary/conditioned reinforcers are events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforcers; they depend on learning (ex. money, good grades, attention, etc.) Schedules of Reinforcements • Organisms make innumerable responses that do not lead to favourable consequences • A schedule of reinforcement determines which occurrences of a specific response result in the presentation of a reinforcer • Continuous reinforcement occurs when every instance of a designated response is reinforced • Intermittent/partial reinforcement occurs when a designated response is reinforced only some of the time • Organisms continue responding longer after removal of reinforcers when a response has been reinforced some of the time and sporadic delivery of reinforcers can yield great resistance to extinction
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