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Chapter 11

Intro to Learning - Chapter 11

7 Pages

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Anneke Olthof

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Learning – Chapter 11  What is comparative cognition? o Thinking is regarded as voluntary, deliberate and conscious reflection on some topic  In regards to comparative cognition, can lead to actions that cannot be explained on basis of external stimuli an individual experiences at the time o Comparative ethology  Claim animals are capable of conscious thought and intentionality  Should encompass full range of issues included in considerations of human cognition  Nonhuman animals capable of consciousness and intentionality based on the complexity, flexibility and cleverness of various examples of animal behaviour o Conscious intent is likely source of such clever/flexible behaviour  If conscious intent can’t explain human behaviour, why can it explain nonanimal behaviour o Comparative cognition  Objective evidence cannot explain existence or non-existence of consciousness, for it is something that cannot be perceived objectively  Refers to theoretical constructs and models used to explain aspects of behaviour that cannot be readily characterized in terms of simple S-R or reflex mechanisms  Employs simplest possible explanations consistent with the data o Cognitive mechanisms involve internal representation or “mental” record of something and rules for manipulating that mental record  Internal representation  May encode various types of info  Cannot be investigated directly by looking into brain  Theoretical construct inferred from behaviour  Presentation of CS activates representation of US and conditioned responding reflects status of this representation  Animal Memory Paradigms o Largest area of comparative cognition – study of memory  Memory – used to refer to the ability to respond on the basis of information that was acquired earlier o Existence of memory in animals identified by fact that current behaviour is based on some aspect of their earlier experiences  Any time animals behaviour determined by past events, can conclude some type of memory is involved o Evidence of learning also indentified on basis of changes in behaviour due to earlier experiences  Not possible without memory o Three basic phases  Acquisition – first thing that happens is the exposure to certain kinds of stimuli or information  Retention interval – the period of time information is retained for  Retrieval – tested for memory of the original experience o Learning experiments involve manipulations of the conditions of acquisition  Short-term changes in behaviour not considered to be instances of learning o Studies of memory focus on retention and retrieval phases  Retention interval used to determine how availability of the acquired information changes with time  Focus on circumstances of retrieval o Procedural memory  Reflects knowledge bout relationships among features of the environment And mediates learning of behavioural and cognitive skills performed automatically o Episodic memory  Memory for specific events o Working and reference memory 1 Learning – Chapter 11  Working memory  Operative when information has to be retained for small amounts of time, enough to complete a task o Then discarded because it becomes irrelevant  Often short lasting, illustrates retention of recently acquired information  Reference memory  Long-term retention of information necessary for successful use of incoming and recently acquired information  All successful uses of working memory require appropriate reference memories o Delayed matching to sample  Most versatile technique available for study of working memory  Procedure  Subject exposed to cue that identifies correct response on particular trial, stimulus then removed before behaviour can be performed  Correct choice alternative appears on left or right, location cannot be used as basis for making correct choice  First phase o Once subjects learn to make matching choice alternative more than 80% of the time, delay was introduced as a test of memory  Developed for use with pigeons  Now includes larger sample of animals  Adapted to investigate how animals remember variety of stimuli  Useful to address questions that extend beyond memory mechanisms  Izumi and Kojima used to test whether chimps can read lips  Procedural determinants of delayed matching to sample  Several aspects critical in determining accuracy of performance o Nature of stimulus o Duration of exposure to sample stimulus o Delay interval after sample  Better-than-choice performance indicates use of working meory o Accuracy of matching decreased as longer delays were introduced between exposure and making a choice  Trade decay hypothesis o Oldest and simplest account of memory o Assumes presentation of stimulus produces changes in nervous system that gradually dissipate or decay after stimulus is turned off  Longer or more intense stimuli presumed to produce stronger stimulus traces o Extent to which memory of event controls behaviour depends on strength of stimulus trace at that moment o Stronger the trace – stronger the effect o Performance depends great deal on conditions of training  Typically begin training with no delay between sample and choice stimuli o After task is mastered with no delay, various delays are introduced  Forgetting functions do not directly reflect the decay or fading of memory for sample stimulus as function of time o Common finding is that memory gets worse with passage of time as it reflects the fact that participants have no practice with longer delay intervals  Delay interval is just one training variable that influences delayed matching  Response strategies in matching to sample 2 Learning – Chapter 11  Analogous to discrimination problem in that participant has to respond to correct stimulus and refrain from responding to incorrect one to get reinforced  Participant can make correct choice by focusing on correct stimulus, by inhibiting behaviour to the incorrect stimulus or by using both these response strategies  Discrimination learning o Participants appear to use combined response strategy  Matching to sample appear to focus primarily on correct choice  General versus specific rule learning  Evidence indicates animals focus on correct choice in matching to sample  Two options on how they identify correct stimulus o Same-as rule  Choose choice stimulus same as sample o Animals learn specific rules or stimulus-response relations  Most matching-to-sample procedures can be solved by learning general same-as rule or by learning series of specific S-R relations  Two alternative strategies can be evaluated testing transfer of matching performance to new stimuli  Specific S-R response learning should not facilitate performance with new stimuli o Required S-R associations not yet learned  General rule learning predicts same-as rule can be used to solve any matching-to- sample problem  Trials-unique procedure o Different stimulus serves as sample on each trial and paired with another stimulus during choice phase o Accurate performance only possible if participants responds on basis of general same-as rule o Spatial memory in mazes  Matching-to-sample can be adapted to investigate how animals and people remember variety of stimuli  Morris Water Maze  Typically used with lab rats or mice  Circular tank 1-2m diameter o Water high enough to force them to swim o Platform is placed/submerged  Rats do not like swimming, motivated to find platform o Platform is not visible as water is coloured  First time o Rats swim around until they find platform, then remain on for 15-20 seconds o Spatial cues of room to learn where platform is  Subsequent trials o Starting position varies, if unsuccessful after 60 seconds, then guided gently to end trial  Radial Arm Maze  Useful technique for study of neural basis of spatial memory  Takes advantage of evolved strategies for finding food in animal’s environment o Animals have to remember where they last obtained food and avoid that location until it’s replenished  Typically has 8 arms, with food cups at the end of each, no refills o Logical way would be for rats to go from one food cup to the next as none can be repeated 3 Learning – Chapter 11  With continued practice, mean number of correct choice consistently above seven  Rats do not require much training as evolution has provided them with the necessary skills  Multiple ways for them to remember which ones they’ve been to o Marking each arm as they visit it o Select arms in a fixed sequence o Do not appear to use either of these tactics  Appear to use distinctiv
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