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Chapter 7

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Psychology 1000

Psychology 1000 Chapter 7 Notes (Learning and Adaptation: The Role of Experience)  Learning is the process by which experience produces a change in an organism’s behaviour or capabilities. o Experiences may produce immediate knowledge to use and comprehend, but in science we must measure learning by changes in performance. o There are many basic learning processes:  Habituation and Sensitization is a change in behaviour that results from repeated exposure to stimuli.  Classic Conditioning is where two stimuli become associated with each other.  Operative Conditioning is where we associate responses with specific consequences. Adapting to the Environment  Learning can be viewed as a process of personal adaptation to the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.  Behaviourists are concerned on how organisms learn. o Individuals are treated as tabula rasa, or a blank tablet where experiences can be inscribed upon. o Behaviourists explain learning in terms of observable events and try to avoid speculating about an organism’s mind set. o Learning behaviour is not always adaptive.  Habituation is the decrease of strength of response to repeated stimuli. o Habituation is different from sensory adaptation.  Sensitization is the opposite of habituation; the strength of the response increases rather than decreases. Classical Conditioning  Classical Conditioning is where an organism learns to associate two stimuli with each other; associating stimuli that was produced only by the original stimuli o It involves learning an association by stimuli.  There are some factors that affect the basic processes of conditioned responses: o Acquisition:  Acquisition is the period of time where the response is being learnt.  During acquisition, to condition, a UCS (unconditioned stimuli) must illicit a UCR (unconditioned response) before the subject can be condition with a NS (neutral stimuli).  Through association, the NS has become a CS (conditioned stimuli) invoking a CR (conditioned response)  When the UCS is intense and aversive, conditioning may only require one trial whereas others may require many.  Learning usually occurs most quickly via forward short-delay pairing, where CS appears and is still present with UCS.  In forward trace pairing, the CS would be present and disappear, and then the UCS is given. o The best interval of time between stimuli is 0.5s  In simultaneous pairing, is where CS and UCS are presented at the same time  In backward pairing, is where CS is presented after UCS o Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery  If a CS is repeated in the absence of the UCS, the CR is weakened and eventually disappears and this process is called extinction  Every time the CS is presented with the UCS it is called an extinction trial.  When a CR goes away, it does not mean it goes away completely. The sudden reappearance of the extinguished CR is called spontaneous recovery.  Spontaneous recovery is weaker than the initial CR and goes away more rapidly without the UCS. o Generalization and Discrimination  Stimuli similar to the original CS elicit a similar but not exactly the same; called stimulus generalization.  It serves several critical adaptive functions.  To prevent stimuli generalization from running amok, organisms must be able to discriminate between differences in stimuli.  Discrimination is where a CR occurs to one stimuli and not another.  Organisms can be taught to discriminate two stimuli that were treated the same way. o Higher-Order Conditioning  A neutral stimulus can become a CS if it is paired up with an already existing CS. o Acquiring and Overcoming Fear  Exposure therapy exposes the individual to patients with a phobia to the phobia, hoping to cause the stimuli to slowly ‘extinct’ itself. o Conditioned Attraction and Aversion  Classical conditioning can both cause and decrease arousal and attraction to stimuli.  Sometimes an allergic response can be triggered by CS after conditioning. o Don Byrne: Reinforcement-Affect Model  Arousing stimuli conditions a person with a stranger  May and Hamilton:  Female students listened to music o Negative o Neutral o Positive  Rated attractive ness of male photos o Listening to positive music= higher rating Operant Conditioning  Thorndike proposed a ‘law of effect’ where in given situations, a response with a good consequence will become more likely and a response with a bad consequence is less likely to occur.  Operant behaviour, termed by Skinner, is learning where behaviour is influence by its consequences. There are several types of consequences: o Reinforcement is a response that is strengthened by an outcome that follows it o Punishment is where a response is weakened by outcomes that follow it.  Reinforcement-response bonds are important; responses that get reinforced are more likely to occur  Operant behaviour involves 3 events: o Antecedent, which is stimuli that is present before a behaviour is present o Behaviours, which is a behaviour that the organism exhibits (duh…) o Consequence o The relations between A,B and C are called contingencies.  Antecedent Conditions: o Discriminative stimuli cause settings for operant Reponses.  Behaviour is governed by consequences; two types of reinforcement strengthen them and two types of punishment weaken them as well as the disappearance of a response due to no conditioning: o Positive Reinforcement:  A response is strengthened by the presentation of stimulus  Rewards are not positive reinforcement o Negative Reinforcement:  A response is strengthened by the removal or avoidance of a stimulus  Punishment is not negative reinforcement; reinforcement strengthens a response, it does not weaken a response o Operant Extinction:  A response eventually disappears due to lack of reinforcement  The effect to which the response lasts is called resistance to extinction. o Positive Punishment:  A response is weakened due to the presentation of a stimulus  Usually produces fast results  It arouses negative emotions o Negative Punishment:  A response is weakened by the removal of a stimulus  Even though negative punishment may arouse negative emotions, it does not cause fear and aggression towards the punishing agent o Primary and Secondary Consequences:  Primary reinforcers are stimuli that the subject finds reinforcing because they satisfy biological need
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