Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
Western (10,000)
PSYCH (5,000)
PSYCH 1000 (1,000)
Dr.Mike (700)
Chapter 7

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Noxious Stimulus, Neural Adaptation, Behaviorism

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 17 pages of the document.
Psych Chapter 7: Learning & Adaptation
Learning is a process by which experience produces an enduring change in an
organism’s behaviour or capabilities
o There is a difference between “knowing how” (learning) and actually “doing”
Learning could be viewed as the personal adaptation to the ever-changing
circumstances of our lives
How Do we Learn? The Search for Mechanisms
Behaviourists examine how organisms learn and the processes by which experience
influences behaviour
o They treat organisms as blank tablets, upon which learning experiences were
o Explain learning based on observable events
Learning is a process of personal adaptation whereas evolution focuses on species
Culture has a large impact on our learning
Cognitive and biological factors play important roles in learning
Habituation and Sensitization
Habituation decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus
o Simplest form of learning
o Ex the feeling of clothes on your skin
o Without it, we would be overwhelmed by different stimuli
o This helps us conserve energy and attend to other stimuli that are important
o Different from sensory adaptation, which refers to decreased sensory
response to a continuously present stimulus; habituation on the other hand is
a simple form of learning that occurs in the CNS
Sensitization increase in strength of response of a repeated stimulus
o Ex. Being startled by a loud sound, then being startled again for a 2nd time by
a loud sound shortly after
o Tends to occur to strong or noxious stimuli, and its purpose is to increase
responses to a potentially dangerous stimuli

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Classical conditioning when an organism learns to associate 2 stimuli (ex. Like a
song and a happy event)
o Basic form of learning in many species
o Involves an association between stimuli
Pavlov’s Pioneering Research
Measured salivary responses of dogs to food
Noticed that they would begin salivating even before the food was presented, for
example the experimenter’s steps towards the room would cause salivation
This is called classical conditioning, or Pavlovian conditioning
Classical conditioning has an adaptive function, it alerts organisms to stimuli that
signal the arrival of an important event
Basic Principles of Conditioning
Period during which response is being learned
Ex. Sounding a tone, but since the dog hasn’t been conditioned yet, it does not
o The tone is a neutral stimulus
Unconditional stimulus stimulus that innately elicits a response
o Ex. No learning required for dog to salivate to food, so food is the UCS
Unconditional response reflexive, unlearned response to an innately important
o Ex. Salivation in response to food
Learning trial when the tone and the food are paired (stimulus and response)
After many trials, dog will salivate to the tone
o Tone becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) stimulus that gains value
through learning
o Salivation becomes a conditioned response (CR) response elicited by a
stimulus whose importance depends on past learning
Sometimes only one CS and UCS pairing are required
o Ex. Car accident causes fear, fear was UCR and it becomes CR triggered by
sight of cars or thought of driving
Timing of CS-UCS pairing affects conditioning
o Forward short-delay pairing: learning occurs most quickly, CS (tone) appears
first and is still present when UCS (food) appears

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

o Forward trace pairing: tone would come on and off, and then afterward food
would be presented; optimal for tone to come 2-3 seconds before food; has
adaptive value since it tells you UCS is coming
o Simultaneous pairing: presenting CS and UCS at same time, produce slow
o Backward pairing: CS presented after UCS, learning is slowest or doesn’t
occur at all
Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery
If CS is presented repeatedly in absence of UCS, then CR weakens and eventually
This is called extinction
Each presentation of CS without UCS is called an extinction trial
Ex. If you keep ringing the tone without food, they will stop salivating to the tone
When CR extinguishes, not all traces are erased
Spontaneous recovery the reappearance of a previously extinguished CR after a
rest period and without new learning trials
Spontaneously recovered CR usually weaker than initial CR and extinguishes more
rapidly in absence of the UCS
This is why phobias require so many sessions to treat
Generalization and Discrimination
Stimulus generalization stimuli similar to the initial CS elicit a CR
o ex. A similar frequency tone will still cause the dog to salivate
o has adaptive functions ex. Animal will use similar sounds as an alarm of a
predator approaching like the rustling of a bush
Stimulus discrimination organisms need to be able to discriminate between
o an animal that was alarmed at every sound would exhaust itself
o demonstrated when a CR (like an alarm reaction) occurs to one stimulus (a
sound) but not to others
o this can be taught by pairing the CS with the UCS combined with pairing
similar stimuli with no consequence leading to a narrowing response and a
loss of generalized responses to other similar stimuli
Higher-Order Conditioning
higher-order conditioning neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with
an already established CS (but no UCS)
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version