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Chapter 6


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Lawrence Murphy

CHAPTER 6: Learning Learning- refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience - one of the most fundamental aspects of psychology - acquisition of knowledge and skills - shapes personal habits and preferences, personality traits, emotional responses and much of our behaviour o Acquisition: the initial stage of learning something o Extinction: the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency o Stimulus Generalization: an organism’s responding to stimuli other than the original stimulus used in conditioning o Stimulus Discrimination: an organism’s response to stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus used in conditioning Conditioning- learning associations between events that occur in an organism’s environment. There are three main types of conditioning, they are… 1. CLASSICAL CONDITIONING …a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus - stimuli precede the response Pavlovian Conditioning- established by Ivan Pavlov  determine classical conditioning - used dogs in his experiment: o tone (CS or neutral stimulus) was given at the presence of meat powder (UCS or stimulus)  detect salivation o would eventually salivate in the presence of the tone alone - this demonstrated learned associations, were formed by events in an organism’s environment Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)- a stimulus that evokes an unconditional response without previous conditioning - unconditioned response (UCR)- an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning Conditioned Stimulus (CS)- a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response - conditioned response (CR)- a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning Physic Reflex or Conditioned Reflex- most reflexes are relatively automatic or involuntary Trial- consists of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli - psychologists are concerned for how many trials are required to establish a particular conditioned bond Emotional Response: - conditioned fears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical conditioning - pleasant  smell associations Physiological Response: - immune system  lead to immuno-suppression (a decrease in the production of antibodies) - allergic reactions - drug tolerance (pre-drug cues elicit a CCR that attenuates the drug effect)  CCR strengthens Acquisition: - depends on stimulus contiguity  stimuli are contiguous if they occur together in the same place - CS + UCS  CR Extinction: - consistent presentation of conditioned stimulus alone, without the unconditioned stimulus - spontaneous recovery- the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of non- exposure to the conditioned stimulus - renewal effect- extinction does not appear to lead to unlearning - CR (alone) until it no longer elicits CR Stimulus Generalization: - the more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization - graph form: generalization gradients - CR elicited by new stimulus that resembles original CS Stimulus Discrimination: - the original CS continue to be paired with the UCS, while similar stimuli not be paired with the UCS Higher-order Conditioning- a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus - built on the foundation of already established conditioned responses - classical conditioning- does not depend on the presence of genuine, natural UCS 2. OPERANT CONDITIONING …a form of learning in which responses come to be controlled by other consequences - stimulus events that follow the response  consequences - B.F Skinner: learning occurs because responses come to be influenced by the outcomes that follow them Law of Effect- if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened - Edward Thorndike - Instrumental Learning- a mechanical process in which successful responses are gradually “stamped in” by their favourable effects Reinforcement- occurs when an event following a response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response - B.F Skinner - Organisms repeat those responses that are followed by favourable/rewarding consequences Operant Chamber- (Skinner box) a small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response are systematically controlled - main response made available is pressing a lever mounted on the side wall - cumulative recorder- creates a graphic record of response and reinforcement as a function of time o pen moves according to pattern  response = upward movement Reinforcement Contingencies- the circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers Acquisition: - uses shaping (consists of the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response)  used for animal training
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