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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 PS102.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Carolyn Ensley

PS102 Chapter 6 - Learning Weeks 1 & 2 Classical Conditioning -Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus -The process was first described around 1900 by Ivan Pavlov called Pavlonian conditioning Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes” -Pavlov was one of those who was responsible for turning psychology from research focusing on subjective accounts of experience, introspection, to a more objective, rigorous, scientific approach -He de-emphasized the mind, and mentalistic accounts of behaviour and showed how learning was under the influence of experience and that “associations could be built up in consciousness” -His experiment was the one that Jim did on Dwight with the altoids in The Office -Based on his insight, he built broad theory of learning that attempted to explain aspects of emotion, temperament, neuroses, and language Terminology and Procedures -The unconditioned stimulus (UCS) is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning -The unconditioned response (UCR) is an unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning -The conditioned stimulus (CS) is a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response -The conditioned response (CR) is a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning -The unconditioned response an conditioned response often consist of the same behaviour, although there may be subtle differences between them -Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexed and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively automatic or involuntary -A trial is classical conditioning consists of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life Conditioned Fear and Anxiety -Many irrational fears can be traced back to experiences that involve classical conditioning -Ex. If you cringe when you hear the sound of a dentist’s drill – pain has been paired with the sound of the drill -Everyday conditioning effects are not restricted to negative emotions such as fear Evaluative Conditioning of Attitudes -Evaluative conditioning refers to changes in the liking of a stimulus that result from pairing that stimulus with other positive or negative stimuli -Evaluative conditioning involves the acquisition of likes and dislikes, or preferences through classical conditioning -Ex. Pairing two different brands of root beer with positive music to influence the liking of the drink -Advertising campaigns try to take advantage of evaluative conditioning -A current source of debate is whether evaluative conditioning is a special form of classical conditioning -Some studies suggest that attitudes can be shaped through evaluative conditioning without PS102 Chapter 6 - Learning Weeks 1 & 2 participants’ conscious awareness and that evaluative conditioning is remarkably durable -Evaluative conditioning can shape people’s attitudes Conditioning and Physiological Responses -Research has revealed that the functioning of the immune system can be influenced by psychological factors, including conditioning -Classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression – a decrease in the production of antibodies -Classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions and that classical conditioning contributes to the growth of drug tolerance and the experience of withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted -Continued use of drugs may lead to increased drug tolerance, in which increasing amounts of the drug are needed to produce the same effect -Classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal Conditioning and Drug Effects -Stimuli that are consistently paired with the administration of drugs can acquire the capacity to elicit conditioned responses in both humans and laboratory animals -Most drug users have routines that lead to the consistent pairing of drug administration and certain stimuli, such as syringes, cocaine bottles, and specific settings and rituals. Even the drug administration process itself can become a CS associated with drug effects -Complicated conditioning processes appear to play a role in drug tolerance, drug craving, and drug overdoses, which need to be factored into the treatment of drug addiction Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning -Most conditioned responses are reflexive and difficult to control -Most people with phobias have great difficulty suppressing their fear Acquisition: Forming New Responses -Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something -The acquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity -Stimuli are contiguous if the occur together in time and space -People are bombarded daily by countless stimuli that could be perceived as being paired, yet only some of these pairings produce classical conditioning Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses -Extinction is the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency -The consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone, without the unconditioned stimulus leads to extinction Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses -Some conditioned responses display the ultimate in tenacity by “reappearing from the dead” after having been extinguished -Spontaneous recovery is the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to the conditioned stimulus -The renewal effect is – if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it was acquired, the extinguished response will reappear if the animal is returned to the original environment where PS102 Chapter 6 - Learning Weeks 1 & 2 acquisition took place -This phenomenon, along with the evidence on spontaneous recovery, suggests that extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than erasing a learned association -Extinction does not appear to lead to unlearning -Even if you manage to rid yourself of an unwanted conditioned response, there is an excellent chance that I may make a surprise reappearance later Stimulus Generalization and the Mysterious Case of Little Albert -After conditioning has occurred, organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS used but also to other, similar stimuli -Stimulus generalization occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus -Generalization is adaptive, given that organisms rarely encounter the exact same stimulus more than once -The likelihood and amount of generalization to a new stimulus depend on the similarity between the new stimulus and the original CS -The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization -This principle can be quantified in graphs called generalization gradients -Generalization can have important implications in panic disorder Stimulus Discrimination -Stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus -Discrimination is adaptive in that an animal’s survival may hinge on its being able to distinguish friend from foe, or edible from poisonous food -Ex. Your dog will run around and wag its tail when it hears your car being pulled into the driveway – though it will do that with any car – unless your car has a distinct sound -The less similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the likelihood (and ease) of discrimination Higher-Order Conditioning -Higher-order conditioning is in which a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus -Shows that classical conditioning does not depend on the presence of a genuine, natural UCS – an already established CS will do just fine Operant Conditioning -Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences Thorndike’s Law of Effect -Another name for operant conditioning is instrumental learning, a term coined by Edward Thorndike -Thorndike wanted to emphasize that this kind of responding is often instrumental in obtaining some desired outcome -The 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 PS102 Chapter 6 - Learning Weeks 1 & 2 Skinner’s Demonstration: It’s All a Matter of Consequences -In training his pigeons, he made use of the reinforcement principles -Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favourable consequences -Reinforcement occurs when an event following a response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response -A response is strengthened because it leads to rewarding consequences Terminology and Procedures -An operant chamber or Skinner box, is a small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response are systematically controlled -Because operant responses tend to be voluntary, they are said to be emitted rather than elicited -To emit means to send forth -The Skinner box permits the experimenter to control the reinforcement contingencies that are in effect for the animal -Reinforcement contingencies are the circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers -Typically the experimenter manipulates whether positive consequences occur when the animal makes the designated response -The key dependent variable in most research on operant conditioning is the subject’s response rate over time -The cumulative recorder creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a Skinner box as a function of time – it works by means of a roll of paper that moves at a steady rate underneath a movable pen -The results are portrayed in graphs -A rapid response rate produces a steep slope, whereas a slow response rate produces a shallow slope -The line never goes down Basic Processed in Operant Conditioning Acquisition and Shaping -Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning some new pattern of responding -Operant responses are usually established through a gradual process called shaping, which consists of the reinforcement of a close and closer approximations of a desires response -Shaping is necessary when an organism does not, on its own, emit the desired response Extinction -Extinction refers to the gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by a reinforce -A key issue in operant conditioning is how much resistance to extinction an organism will display when reinforcement is halted -Resistance to extinction occurs when an organism continues to make a response after delivery of the reinforce has been terminated -The greater the resistance to extinction, the longer the responding will continue -People often want to strengthen a response in such a way that it will be relatively resistant to extinction -Renewal effect – if a response is extinguished in a different environment than it wa
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