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Chapter 6


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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

CHAPTER 6: LEARNING - Phobias: Irrational fears of specific objects or situations. o Usually the result of classical conditioning - Learning: Refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience - Conditioning: Involves learning associations between events that occur in an organisms environment CLASSICAL CONDITIONIG - Classical Conditioning: A type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus o First described around 1900 by Ivan Pavlov o Conditioning comes from Pavlovs determination to discover the conditions that produce this kind of learning. Pavlovs Demonstration: Psychic Reflexes - While investigating the role of saliva in the digestive process in dogs, he stumbled upon psychic reflexes (now known as classical conditioning) o While presenting the dogs with food to measure the saliva, he found that some would start salivating before the food in response to the device that presented the food. o He testing this theory with other things, such as a tone, and he got the same results eventually the dogs would start salivating to the tone alone. The tone started out as a neutral stimulus; it did not originally produce the response of salivation, however he managed to change that by pairing it with a stimulus (meat) that did produce the salivation response Terminology and Procedures - Unconditioned Stimulus: (UCS) Is a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning. o Meat Powder - Unconditioned Response: (UCR) An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning. o Causing the dog to salivate - Conditioned Stimulus: (CS) A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response o The tone - Conditioned Response: (CR) A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning o Salivating to the tone - Important to note that the unconditioned response and the conditioned response often consist of the same behaviour, although there may be subtle differences between them. - Conditioned Reflex: Pavlovs psychic reflex became known as a conditioned reflex. o Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because most of them are relatively autonomic or involuntary - A trial in Classical Conditioning: Involves any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli o Classical Conditioning can occur quite rapidly, sometimes in just one pairing of the CS and UCS Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life - Classical conditioning plays a key role in shaping emotional responses such as fears. Conditioning and Physiological Responses - Research has revealed that classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression a decrease in the production of antibodies. - Studies suggest that classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions and also contributes to the growth of drug tolerance, and the experience of withdrawal symptoms. 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 o In many instances, the conditioned responses are physiological reactions that are just the opposite of the normal effects of the drugs. o These responses are called compensatory CRs because they partially compensate for the drugs effects. Acquisition: Forming New Responses - Acquisition: Refers to the initial stage of learning something. o Acquisition of a conditioned response depends on stimulus contiguity. Stimuli are contiguous if they occur together in time and space Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses - Extinction: The gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency o The consistent presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone without the unconditioned stimulus leads to extinction Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses - Spontaneous Recovery: The reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of non-exposure to the conditioned stimulus. o Research has shown that 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 acquisition took place. o Extinction does not appear to lead unlearning Even if you manage to rid yourself of an unwanted conditioned response, there is an excellent change that it may make a surprise reappearance later Stimulus Generalization - 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 o The likelihood and amount of generalization to a new stimulus depend on the similarity between the new stimulus and the original conditioned stimulus o The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS the greater the generalization
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