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PSYC 2120 (220)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2120
Professor
Rebecca Jubis
Semester
Winter

Description
Nov/3/2003 CHANAPS Notes From Reading C HAPTER 6: LEARNING I. Classical Conditioning A. Introduction 1. Learning – relatively durable change in behavior or knowledge that is due to experience. One of the most fundamental concepts in psych. a. Incl. acquisition of knowledge and skills, shapes personal habits, personality traits, emotional responses, personal preferences. b. Conditioning – learning associations between events that occur in an organism’s environment 2. Phobias – irrational fears of specific objects or situations 3. Classical Conditioning – type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus. a. First demonstrated by Pavlov, known as Pavlovian conditioning B. Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes” 1. Neutral Stimulus – does not provide the conditioned response initially. 2. Learned associations are formed by events in an organism’s environment C. Terminology and Procedures 1. Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) –stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning. 2. Unconditioned Response (UCR) – unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning 3. Conditioned Stimulus (CS) – previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response. 4. Conditioned Response (CR) – learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning. 5. Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes and are said to be elicited because most of them are relatively automatic or involuntary. 6. Trial – in classical conditioning, consists of any presentation of a stimulus of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli. D. Classical Conditioning In Everyday Life 1. Conditioned Fears a. Classical conditioning is responsible for a great many irrational fears. 2. Other Conditioned Emotional Responses a. Advertising campaigns try to use classical conditioning to pair products with positive images. 3. Conditioning and Physiological Responses a. Ader and Cohen – classical conditioning procedures can lead to immunosuppression – decrease in the production of antibodies. b. Classical conditioning can also elicit allergic reactions c. Classical conditioning contributes to drug tolerance. E. Basic Process in Classical Conditioning 1. Acquisition: Forming New Responses a. Acquisition refers to the initial stage of learning something. Pavlov theorized that acquisition of a conditioned response depended on stimulus contiguity (occur in the same time and space). b. Contiguity alone, however, does not produce conditioning. 1/5Nov/3/2003 CHANAPS Notes From Reading C HAPTER 6: LEARNING c. Stimulus that are novel, unusual, or especially intense have more potential to become more CS’s than routine stimuli. d. Timing of stimulus presentation is also important. i. Simultaneous conditioning – the CS and UCS begin and end together. ii. Short delayed conditioning – CS begins just before the UCS and stops at the same time as the UCS. Best Method iii. Trace conditioning – the CS begins and ends before the UCS is presented 2. Extinction: Weakening conditioned responses a. Extinction – the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency b. Consistent presentation of the CS alone without the UCS, leads to extinction 3. Spontaneous Recovery: Resurrecting Responses a. Spontaneous Recovery: the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to the CS. b. Usually weak c. Extinction somehow suppresses a conditioned response rather than erasing a learned response. 4. Stimulus Generalization and the Case of Little Albert a. Organisms often show a tendency to respond not only to the exact CS, but to other similar stimulus b. 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. c. Little Albert d. The more similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the generalization. 5. Stimulus Discrimination – occurs when an organism that has learned a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus. a. The less similar new stimuli are to the original CS, the greater the likelihood of discrimination. 6. Higher order conditioning – a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus. II. Operant Conditioning A. Thorndike’s Law of Effect 1. Operant conditioning was created by Skinner 2. Operant Conditioning – form of learning in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences. aka. Instrumental learning (Thorndike) 3. Law of Effect – if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, and the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened. B. Skinner’s Demo: It’s All a Matter of Consequences. 1. Demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favorable consequences. 2/5Nov/3/2003 CHANAPS Notes From Reading C HAPTER 6: LEARNING 2. Reinforcement – when an event following a response increases an organism’s tendency to make that response. C. Terminology and Procedures 1. Operant Chamber/Skinner Box – small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is recorded while the consequences of the response are systematically controlled. 2. Operant responses tend to be voluntary, so they are “emitted” 3. Reinforcement contingencies – the circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers. a. Experimenter changes whether positive consequences occur when the animal makes the designated response 4. Dependant Variable – subjects response rate over time. 5. Cumulative recorder – creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a skinner box as a function of time. a. Key: slope of the line – rapid response rate is steep. D. Basic Processes in Operant Conditioning 1. Acquisition and Shaping a. Acquisition - the initial stage of learning some new patter of responding b. Shaping – the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response. 2. Extinction – gradual weakening and disappearance of a response tendency because the response is no longer followed by a reinforcer
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