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Chapter 3

PSY260 ch3 textbooknotes

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Mandy Wintink

[PSY260] Ch3: Habituation, Sensitization, & Familiarization 1 C ASE S TUDY Jeffrey Dahmer: lured and killed 17 boys, but no one noticed. - Grandmother: got used to (habitutated to) the noises that Jeffrey made from her basement, just kicked him out - Police: Noticed but noticed but didn’t question the stench in Jeffrey’s apartment - Public: used to reports of disappearances, didn’t really notice that 17 people went missing before this came out of the story 2 B EHAVIOURAL P ROCESSES Latent learning: learning that takes place without any initial evidence that learning has occurred 2.1 R ECOGNIZING AND R ESPONDING TO REPETITION - Habituation: decrease in strength or occurrence of a behaviour after repeated exposure to the stimulus that produces the behaviour 2.1.1 The Process of Habituation - Acoustic startle reflex: defensive response to loud, unexpected noise. o Eg. Give rat a loud noise, it will jump o Repeat this noise, the jumping response (behaviour) will decrease over time - Orienting response: organism’s natural reaction to novel stimulus o Eg. Babies fixate on a new item, o Repeat the same item, babies will fixate for a slower length of time. - Pros of habituation: saving resources + time - Cons of habituation: getting used to a stimuli that might hurt you would be bad 2.1.2 Stimulus Specificity + Dishabituation - Specific: habituation to ONE THING doesn’t mean habituation to a SIMILAR THING o E.g. after habituation to one image occurs; if new image presented—renewal of orienting response o Baby’s fixation on image is higher when “new” image is much different if “new” image is similar to original image, then not as much renewal of orienting response o ^Stimulus Generalization - Dishabituation: renewal of responding after new stimulus has been presented - E.g. Coolidge effect: where male organism will mate with female organism until it gets bored; however if new female is introduced, then the organism will continue to mate with the new female (so it’s not that the male organism got tired with the first female) o Textbook suggests a vacation if you get bored with your spouse. 2.1.3 Factors influencing rate + duration of habituation 1) level of arousal /startling stimulus a. low arousal is easy to habituate to (itchy tag on shirt) b. high arousal is harder to habituate to (SPIDER CRAWLING UP YOUR BACK) 2) number of times experienced a. habituation effects accumulate over time i. During one session: HABITUATION effect accumulate (participant aware of this) ii. Over multiple sessions: HABITUATION effect—responses decrease across sessions 1. TRIAL 1 RT: 10, 9, 6, 4 2. TRIAL 2 RT: 10, 8, 5, 4 3. TRIAL 3 RT:10, 7, 4, 3 b. Shows that effects of earlier trials don’t fade away; underlying mechanisms are still at work even when spontaneous recovery is reached. 3) length of time between repeated exposures a. the process of habituation occurs most drastically in early repetitions rather than late repetitions (larger decreases in responses happen in early repetitions) b. (massed) SHORT INTERVALS B/N REPETITION: habituate in less # trials (spaced) LONGER INTERVALS B/N REPETITION: habituate in more # trials - SHORT TERM HABITUATION: effect goes away after seconds/ minutes LONGER TERM HABITUATION: longer than that ^ o SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY: reappearance / increase in strength of habituated response after a period of NO STIMULUS PRESENTATION - MASSED habituation associated with faster spontaneous recovery (SHORT TERM HABITUATION) SPACED habituation associated with slower spontaneous recovery (LONG TERM HABITUATION) 2.1.4 Process of Sensitization - Sensitization: phenomenon in which experiences with an arousing stimulus lead to stronger responses to a later stimulus o either a single strong stimulus o or repeated exposures - Eg: after a sensitizing stimulus, an acoustic startle reflex INCREASES (compare with HABITUATION) - Consider: maybe dishabituation is a result of a sensitizing stimulus that happens in the waiting period? - EXAMPLE: o Rats given loud noise repeatedly with habituate o If on trial 19 one set of rats are given a shock (“SENSITIZED”), then this habituation is undone & acoustic startle reflex is increased drastically o May last 10-15 mins - HUMAN EXAMPLE: o Skin Conductance Response (SCR): change in skin’s electrical conductivity associated with emotions such as anxiety, fear, or surprise. o LOUD NOISE = sharp SCR TONE= mild SCR LOUD NOISE (sensitize) before TONE= MUCH HIGHER SCR than mild SCR of TONE - SIMILARITIES with HABITUATION: Could have long lasting effects, but also short lived effects;; generalized to other species DIFFERENCES with HABITUATION: fewer exposures, not stimulus specific (once sensitized, organism may respond to anything ) - *note*: state of observer also determines whether something is habituating vs. sensitizing 2.1.5 Dual Process Theory < when do you HABITUATE + when do you SENSITIZE? > - Dual Process Theory: repeated events always lead to both HABITUATION and SENSITIZATION - STIMULUS S  activates motor response R and state system o S x R pairing weakens as habituation increases (is what happens in LOW AROUSAL) o HIGH AROUSAL may activated state system into sensitization - Depends on: o How often S is repeated o How intense + recent the sensitizing event (affecting state system) is o Whether other stimuli have activated the state system - Opponent Process Theory: esp. in emotional research, where emotions come in phases —FEAR (of rollercoaster ride) and EXHILIRATION (bc FUN!); over time, FEAR may be habituated and EXHILIRATION may be sensitized. - Final note: It could be that your simple response in learning is actually a combination of underlying processes 2.2 P ERCEPTUAL L EARNING Habituation & Sensitization: learning where exposure to stimuli increases RESPONSE to stimuli Perceptual learning: learning where exposure to stimuli increases DISCRIMINATION of stimuli - For example: to the untrained eye you probably can’t tell between rashes but to a medical professional the discrimination is easy to make 2.2.1 Mere Exposure Learning - Happens without any conscious effort of individual - Experiment: expose rats to triangular + circular shapes (without having them do anything with the shapes) – rats who lived
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