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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 - Learning.docx

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PSYC 1010
Jennifer Steeves

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Chapter 6 – Learning • Evolution – The changes in behaviour that accumulates across generations are stored in the genes • Learning – The changes in behaviour that accumulate over a lifetime are stored in the central nervous system • 2 Types of Learning:  Classical conditioning (i.e. Pavlovian Conditioning)  Operant conditioning (i.e. Instrumental/Skinnerian Conditioning) Classical Conditioning • Pioneered by Ivan Pavlov • A type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response originally evoked by another stimulus • Mainly Regulates involuntary, reflexive responses; responses are said to be elicited • Unconditioned Stimulus – The stimulus that produces a reflexive response naturally • Unconditioned Response – The response to the UCS. Does not include learning (happens naturally) • Neutral Stimulus – A stimulus that does not cause any response • Before Learning – Use of a Neutral Stimulus will not cause any response in the subject • During Learning – Repeated pairing the UCS and the Neutral Stimulus causes a response in the subject • After Learning – The Neutral Stimulus becomes the Conditioned Stimulus, and causes a Conditioned Response/Reflex in the subject Example: • Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate when a tone was presented • Ivan Pavlov called this psychic secretion  Eventually replaced with the term conditioning  Became known as Classical Conditioning/Pavlovian Conditioning John B. Watson and Behaviourism • “Psychology should be purely a objective, experimental branch of Natural Science” • Believed that psychology had failed as a science • Disliked introspection and hypothetical concepts  I.e. decisions, knowledge, perception, consciousness, etc… • Took the idea of classical conditioning and observed that it could be done on humans in order to induce a physical response (i.e. fear…) Example: • Little Albert and the rat  Little Albert’s fear of the white rat generalized to the furry rabbit. • Believed that one could use conditioning to affect humans in drastic ways. Classical Conditioning Concepts 1. Acquisition 2. Generalization and discrimination 3. Higher-order conditioning 4. Extinction 5. Spontaneous Recovery 6. Practical Applications Acquisition • Occurs when a CS and UCS are paired, gradually resulting in a CR • Depends on stimulus contiguity; a temporal association between events Generalization • Occurs when a CR is elicited by a new stimulus that resembles the original CS Discrimination • A CR is not elicited by a new stimulus that resembles the original CS; subject can discriminate Higher-Order Conditioning • Using the conditioned stimulus in order to transform a neutral stimulus into a new conditioned stimulus; a CS functions as if it were a UCS Extinction – A CS is repeatedly presented alone until it no longer elicits a CR Spontaneous Recovery –Reappearance of extinguished response after a period non- exposure to the CS Counterconditioning • The conditioning of an unwanted behavior or response to a stimulus into a wanted behavior or response by the association of positive actions with the stimulus Compensatory-Reaction Hypothesis • The response to the stimulus lessens and decreases in its effect due to a tolerance being developed in a subject. (i.e. they become a Habitual User) Renewal Effect • Occurs when a response that has been extinguished in a context different from that in which it was acquired reappears in the original context Operant Conditioning • A method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior • Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior • Mainly regulates voluntary, spontaneous responses; responses are said to be emitted Thorndike and his Puzzle Box • Began with Edward Thorndike – Thorndike’s Puzzle Box  How can you condition subjects to solve problems?  Used cats as his study species • Came up with, and used the term “Trial and Error Learning” • Law of Effect  Responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation.  Responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation B.F. Skinner and the Skinner box - Shaping • Reward Animal for successive approximations of desired behaviour • Animal reinforcements are controlled • Believed that almost any behaviour could be shaped by operant methods • Key Dependant Variable – Animal’s response rate as monitored by a cumulative recorder  Results portrayed in graphs; steeper slopes indicate faster responses • E.g. – Pigeons could be trained to walk in circle, play Ping-Pong, or even play a tune on a small piano if successive approximations to the desired behaviour were reinforced • Skinner believed that the same idea could be used to explain how children learned to talk • Problems:  Reward must promptly follow behaviour  Possible to get superstitious behaviour if not careful Reinforcement – An outcome that affects the likelihood of an operant response re-occurring Acquisition – Occurs when a response gradually increases due to contingent reinforcement • May involve Shaping – the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of the desired response Extinction – Occurs when operant responding gradually slows & stops after reinforcement is terminated • Resistance to Extinction – Occurs when an organism continues to make a response a
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