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Chapter 7

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Psychology 1000

Psychology: Chapter 7 Review Notes: Learning and Adaptation: The Role of Experience  Learning is a process by which experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviour or capabilities.  Measure learning by actual changes in performance Adapting to the Environment How do We Learn? The Search for Mechanisms  Cognitive and biological factors play important roles in learning  Significant impact of culture on learning o Norms and beliefs  Learning involves adapting to the environment. Historically, behaviourists focused on the processes by which organisms learn, and ethologists focused on the adaptive significance of learning. Today, these two perspectives have crossed paths, and more attention is paid also to how mental processes and cultural environments influence learning Habituation and Sensitization  Habituation is a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus o Habituation serves a key role in adaptive function, without it we’ll be overwhelmed and exhausted by all the stimulus that’s constantly present o E.g. humming of ventilation decreases its sound and we can tune it out after awhile  Sensitization is an increase in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus o With repeated exposure of stimulus, the strength of the response increase every time, opposite of habituation o Tends to occur to strong or noxious stimuli, purpose is to increase response to a potentially dangerous stimulus Classical Conditioning: Associating One Stimulus with Another  Classical conditioning: in which an organism learns to associate two stimuli such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that originally was produced only by the other stimulus Pavlov’s Pioneering Research  Pavlov’s dog, that he found that dogs will salivate to food but not to tunes. Tune was presented before food, with repeated exposure, the dog will salivate to the tunes  Classical conditioning alerts organisms to stimuli that signal the impending arrival of an important event Basic Principles Acquisition  Acquisition refers to the period during which a response is being learned  Neutral stimulus: does not do anything, does not elicit (trigger) any response  Dog salivate to tones o Unconditioned stimulus (UCS): a stimulus that innately elects a response (food) o Unconditioned response (UCR): a stimulus that gains value through learning (salivate) o Conditioned stimulus (CS): a reflexive, unlearned response to an innately important stimulus (tone) o Conditioned response (CR): a response elicited by a stimulus whose importance depends on past learning (salivation)  If UCS is intense it might only need one CS-UCS pairing  Forward short-delay pairing: the CS (tone) appears first and is still present when the UCS (food) appears. Appear no more than 2-3 seconds before UCS. CR is acquired the quickest  Simultaneous pairing: CS and UCS are presented at the same time, produces less rapid conditioning  Backward pairing: CS is presented after UCS, learning is slowest, or does not occur at all  Strongest when where are repeated CS-UCS pairing, the UCS is more intense, the sequence involves forward pairing, and the time interval between the CS and UCS is short Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery  Extinction when CR weakens and eventually disappears, when present of CS without UCS  Each presentation of CS without UCS is called a extinction trail, CR is weakened  Spontaneous recovery: which is defined as the reappearance of a previously extinguished CR after a rest period and without new learning trials Generalization and Discrimination  Stimulus generalization: stimuli similar to the initial CS elicit a CR  This is an evolutionary adaptation that helps animals to survive by linking similar situations together. i.e. being attack by a predator after sound of bushes moving  Discrimination is demonstrated when a CR occurs to one stimulus but not to others o Can be learned by presenting tone 1 with UCS and tone 2 without UCS, the organism will distinguish between the two tones to generate a narrow response to tones Higher-Order Conditioning  Higher-order conditioning: a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after being paired with an already established CS  With already established CS, we use another neutral stimulus pair it with CS, until it produces CR, like CS-UCS  The produced CR is weaker than the established CR, it is more prone to extinction Applications of Classical Conditioning: Acquiring and Overcoming Fear  Snakes have become a fear-triggering CS because of pairing with an aversive UCS (such as injury) and stimulus generalization  With the CS-UCS pairing, this can strengthen the CR with in this case is fear  Classical conditioning principles are among the most effective psychotherapies for phobias. Assume that phobias are learned and can be unlearned  Exposure therapies: goal is to expose the phobic patient to the feared stimulus (CS) without any UCS, allowing extinction to occur  Flooding: immediately exposes the person to the phobic stimulus Conditioned Attraction and Aversion  Pairing a neutral odour with pleasing physical massage increases people’s attraction to that smell and that people become more sexually aroused to various stimuli after those CSs have been paired with sexually arousing UCSs  Aversion therapy: which attempts to condition an aversion (a repulsion) to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS  Classically condition favourable consumer attitudes to products by associating products with other positive stimuli such as physically attractive models  Our body can also experience classical conditioning where a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with a natural allergen, it may become a CS that triggers an allergic CR Operant Conditioning: Learning Through Consequences Thorndike’s Law of Effect  Thorndike built a puzzle box, to open it the subject has to step on the lever. He puts a hungry cat inside and food is outside, with repeated exposure, the cat learned to press the lever soon after the door was shut  Instrumental learning: an organism’s behaviour is instrumental in bringing about certain outcomes  Law of effect: which stated that in a given situation, a response followed by a “satisfying” consequence will become more likely to occur, and a response followed by an unsatisfying outcome will become less likely to occur Skinner’s Analysis of Operant Conditioning  Operant behaviour: meaning that an organism operates on its environment in some way  Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences o Responses that produce favourable consequences tend to be repeated, response that produce unfavourable consequences become less likely to occur  Skinner box: to study operant conditioning experimentally, a lever releases a food pellet into a cup whenever a rat presses the lever  Reinforcement: a response is strengthened by an outcome that follows it o Strengthened is operationally defined as increase in the frequency of response o The outcome that increases the frequency of a response is called reinforce  Punishment is the opposite of reinforcement; it occurs when a response is weakened by outcomes that follow it o Punisher: a consequence that wakens the behaviour ABCs of Operant Conditioning  Antecedents (A): which are stimuli that are present before a behaviour occurs  Behaviours (B): that the organism emits  Consequences (C): that follows the behaviours  The relationship between A, B, and B, C are called contingencies  Differences between classical and operant conditioning: o In classical conditioning, the organism learns an association between two stimuli – CS and UCS (e.g. tone and food) – that occurs before the behaviour (e.g. salivation). In operant conditioning, the organism learns an association between behaviour and its consequences. Behaviour changes because of events that occur after it o Classical conditioning focuses on elicited behaviours. The conditioned response is triggered involuntarily, almost like a reflex, by a stimulus that precedes it. operant conditioning focuses on emitted behaviours: in a given situation, the organism generates response (e.g. pressing a lever) that are under its physical control  One stimulus can produce both classical and operant responses Antecedent Conditions: Identifying When to Respond  Discriminative stimulus: a signal that a particular response will now produce certain consequences o E.g. place a light above the lever in Skinner box, when light is on, food comes out, when no light no food, so the rat will soon learn only to press lever when light is on o E.g. if one is hungry, food on plate is a discriminative stimulus to start eating Consequences: Determining How to Respond  Two types of reinforcement strengthens response  Two types of punishment weakens response Positive Reinforcement  Positive reinforcement: a response is strengthened by the subsequent presentation of a stimulus  Stimulus that follows and strengthens the response is called a positive reinforcer o E.g. food, money etc. Negative Reinforcement  Negative reinforcement: a response is strengthened by the subsequent removal or avoidance of a stimulus  Stimulus that is removed or avoided is called a negative reinforce o E.g. headache, pain Operant Extinction  Operant extinction is the weakening and eventual disappearance of a response because it is no longer reinforced  Resistance to extinction: the degree to which non-reinforced responses persists  Look at page 249 figure 7.12  No reinforcement, no response Positive Punishment  Positive punishment also called aversive punishment: involves actively applying aversive stimuli, such as painful slaps, electric shock and verbal reprimands  Positive punishment often produces rapid results  Sometime electric shocks are given to correct some very bad and dangerous habits  Punishment suppresses behaviour but does not cause the organism to forget how to make the response o Sometime children only say “thank you” when parents are present, without parents children will not say it  Physical punishment or any type of punishment can result in anger and aggression  Not to use for behaviour control unless other alternatives are not feasible Negative Punishment  Negative punishment: a response is weakened by the subsequent removal of a stimulus o E.g. cost of money, taking away something  Depriving the individual of something they desire  Two distinct advantage over positive punishment o Less likely to create strong fear or even hatred of the punishing agent o Punishing agent is not modelling physical aggression, so there is less opportunity for learning of aggression through imitation  Punishment teaches the recipien
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