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Chapter 7

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Operant Conditioning Chamber, Latent Learning, Behaviorism

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

of 8
Chapter 7
The Role of Experience
Chapter 7:
Learning and Adaptation: The Role of Experience
- Through experience we learn to think, act, and feel in ways that contribute
richly to our individual identity
- Learning is a process by which experience produces a relatively enduring
change in an organism’s behaviour
o Measured by actual changes in behaviour
- Habituation and Sensitization
o Change in behaviour that results from repeated exposure to a single
- Classical Conditioning
o When two stimuli becomes associated with each other
- Operant Conditioning
o Learn to associate responses with specific consequences
- Observational Learning
o Learn to watch others behave
Adapting to the Environment
- Learning is the process of personal adaptation to the ever-changing
circumstances of our lives
Habituation and Sensitization
- Habituation is the decrease in strength of response to a repeated stimulus
- Learning not to respond to uneventful familiar stimuli
- Organisms conserve energy and attend to other more important stimuli
- Sensory adaptation is the decreased sensory response to a continuously
present stimuli
- Increase in strength of response to a repeated stimulus
- Found across a wide range of species
Classical Conditioning: Associating One Stimulus with Another
- Organism learns to associate two stimuli
o One stimulus comes to produce a response that was originally
produced by the other one
- Involves learning and associating between stimuli
Basic Principles
- Period during which a response is being learned
- Neutral Stimulus
o In the beginning of the experiment the sound of the bell won’t cause
dogs to salivate because they won’t what it signals
Chapter 7
The Role of Experience
o As food is placed into dogs mouth every time bell rings the dog will
associate the two together and start to salivate on command
- Unconditioned Stimulus Food
- Unconditioned Response Salivation
- Eventually dog starts to salivate even if there is no food
o Conditioned stimulus is tone and conditioned response is salivation
- Presenting CS and UCS at the same time produces less rapid conditioning
- UCS is more intense, sequence involves forward pairing (time between is CS
and UCS is short)
Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery
- Has to be a way of eliminating CR when it’s no longer needed
o But if continuously repeated without presences of UCS then CR
- Extinction is the presentation of CS without UCS
- Occasional re-pairings of CS and UCS are needed to maintain CR
- Spontaneous Recovery is defined as the reappearance of previously
extinguished CR after a rest period
Generalization and Discrimination
- Once CR is acquired organism responds to original CS and stimuli similar to it
- Stimulus generalization (stimulus similar to initial CS elicit CR) serves critical
adaptive functions
- Organisms have to be able to discriminate between differences of stimuli
- Discrimination is when CR occurs to one stimulus but not to others
High Order Conditioning
- Neutral stimulus becomes CS after paired with an already established CS
- High order CS produces weaker CR and extinguishes more rapidly than CR
- Greatly expands the influence conditioned stimuli and affects what we value
Applications of Classical Conditioning
Acquiring and Overcoming Fear
- Little Albert Experiment
o Played in a room and was presented with a mouse, initially showed no
fear but every time the mouse was shown to him after that a loud
noise was made behind him
o Associated mouse with fear of loud noise feared mice
- Fears are conditioned
o Humans/mammals become afraid of neutral stimuli when it’s paired
with shock
o Behavioural treatments partly based on classical conditioning
principles are among most effective phobia psychotherapies
- Phobia’s can be unlearned
o Exposure therapy
- Systematic desensitization is when patient learns relaxation techniques and
is then gradually exposed to fear-provoking stimulus
Chapter 7
The Role of Experience
Conditioned Attraction and Aversion
- Much of what attracts and pleasurably arouses us is influenced by classical
- Classical conditioning can decrease our arousal and attraction to stimuli
- Aversion therapy attempts to condition an aversion to a stimulus that
triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS
- Plays a role in attitude formation
o Neutral stimuli with no reaction acquires favourable/unfavourable
meaning by being paired with other stimuli that have
positive/negative attitudes
- Allergic responses occur when immune system overreacts and releases to
many antibodies
o When neutral stimulus is paired with natural allergen it can become a
CS that triggers an allergic reaction
Operant Conditioning: Learning through Consequences
Thorndike’s Law of Effect
- Animals don’t attain automatic insight to a solution
- Through trial and error they gradually eliminate responses that don’t work
until they figure out the solution
- Law of Effect
o Response followed by satisfying consequence will become more likely
to occur
Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning
- Operant behaviour is when organism operates on it’s environment some way
- Responses that produce favourable consequences tend to be repeated
- Skinner Box
o Study operant conditioning experimentally
- Reinforcement is a response strengthened by a good outcome
- Whereas punishment is the opposite due to a bad outcome
ABC’s of Operant Conditioning
- Antecedents (A) are stimuli present before a behaviour occurs
- Behaviours (B) stimuli that an organism omits
- Consequences (C) stimuli that follows the behaviours
- Relationships between ABC are called contingencies
- Classical Conditioning
o Organism learns association between two stimuli that occurs before
the behaviour
o Focuses on elicited behaviour
- Operant Conditioning
o Organism learns association between behaviour and its consequences
o Changes because of events that occur after it (emitted behaviours)