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Psychology Unit 4: Brain, behaviour and experience

Reference: Grivas, J., Letch, N., Down, R., & Carter, L. (2010). Psychology: VCE Units 3 & 4, (4th Ed.) Melbourne: MacMillian Education. Produced for Mallacoota P-12 College V.C.E Unit 3 & 4 students who have purchased the above book

Simon Berry

on 29 March 2017

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Transcript of Psychology Unit 4: Brain, behaviour and experience

Psychology Unit 4: Brain, behaviour and experience AoS1: Learning
Reference: Grivas, J., Letch, N., 2015)). Psychology: VCE Units 3 & 4, (5th Ed.) Melbourne: MacMillian Education. Produced for Mallacoota P-12 College V.C.E Unit 3 & 4 students who have purchased the above book
What did we learn last lesson?
What are we learning today?
What are we learning this week?
Home learning discussion. Lesson Goals.

Mechanisms of Learning
Theories of Learning
Fixed action pattern of a python
The adolescent brain: Maturation
Is a developmental process leading towards maturity, bassed on the orderly sequence of changes that occurs in the nervous system and other bodily structures controled by genetic inheritence.

Eg. Crawling at 8-10 mths, walking at 11-16mths, talking, puberty.

Behaviour while innate
(not learnt) cannot occur until NS reaches maturity

The same order for all members of species (times may differ)

Most children begin walking at approx. 12-14 months
(based on physical growth NOT learning)
...& are toilet trained between 18-30 months.
Can’t learn it before this no matter how much practice.

Puberty voice change

What are some examples?
Aan innate (inborn) presdisposition to behave in a certian way in response to a specific enviornmental stimulus that is observable within a particular species (or subgroup of species...males)

Eg. salmon swim up stream, spiders spin webs, birds sing and dance to their mates

Called species-specific behavior. Genetically programmed into animal NS, unable to change with learning

Like a reflex but far more complex (sequence of responses,reflex is usually a single response)

Humans are generally thought to not have any....unless you count facial expressions are thought by some to be a fixed action pattern

The higher the order of animal the fewer the inborn/instinctive behavior....more learning influences behavior.

What are some examples....use book if necessary?
Behaviours that are not learned
In class L.A. 10.1 pg 376,

Notebooks L.A. 10.2 Q1,2,Ext 3
“A relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience.”

Change - something must be different in the organism after learning
- Biologically, cognitivelly, socially ect.

Relatively permanent - it must continue for some amount of time (not gone in a second.)
- So is the information in our sensory memory learning? What about STM/Working?

Experience - Intentional or Unintentional
What is an example of intentional/unintentional learning:?

Plasticity and effcts of experience on the brain

Adaptive plasticity refers to changes occurring in the brain’s neural structure to enable adjustment to experience, to compensate for lost function and/or to maximise remaining functions in the event of brain damage.

At what stages of the lifespan is adaptive plasticity quicker, more substantial and extensive?
Key terms relating to developmental plasticity:
synaptogenesis—the process of forming new synapses.
When does synaptogenesis occur most rapidly?

synaptic pruning—the process of eliminating synaptic connections.

What determines which connections will be retained and which ones will be pruned?
Developmental plasticity refers to changes in the brain’s neural structure in response to experience during its growth and development.

Developmental plasticity is influenced by the genes we inherit but is also subject to influence by experience.
Which one of these
people would most easily
learn another language and
Apparent in recovery
from trauma due to
brain injury.
Occurs as brain development proceeds according to its
maturational blueprint or plan.
Plasticity is the ability of the brain’s neural
structure or function
be changed by experience throughout the lifespan.

Two Types: Developmental / Adaptive
(not clear cut where one starts and the other ends)
What is plasticity?
Differences were largest in the occipital lobes and smallest in the somatosensory cortex
Also showed new synapse formation
Thicker bushier dendrites
More neurotransmitter acetylcholine

Later studies showed changes in adult rat brains also placed into different environments
The brain is adaptive
It changes as a result of experience (learning)

Remember LTP?
New connections
New neural networks
Genes govern overall brain structure (architecture) but experience guides and maintains details

Plastic through out your whole life.
-But the younger you are the more plastic (changable) your brain is.
- So younger you are the more quickly you will recover from brain damage
Neural Plasticity (Flexibility)
When a particular brain area is damaged e.g. stroke other brain areas can ‘take up the slack’

This is what happens when people ‘recover’ from brain damage

Nerve cells do not regrow, rather other neurons take over the functions of the damaged cell
...and its bloody hard!

The brain reorganises the way neurons in different regions operate in response to a deficit

Deficits can occur from birth or as a result of brain damage

Congenital – E.g. People who are blind from birth may have occipital lobes that are used for senses other than vision

this may explain why people who are blind from birth have very good hearing or tactile sensitivity
Damage from birth - congenital
Sensitive period – time an organism more responsive to certain stimulation
Lack of stimulation can lead to long term deficit
E.g. closed eye from birth leads to later blindness even when eye eventually opened
Language acquisition has a sensitive period (0 – 12) remember genie!

Learning a new language in teen years can lead to the development of a second broca’s area!
The brains of university graduates have approx 40% more neural connections than those who leave school early!

Intellectual stimulation can protect against dementia!
This is even true for twins who have identical genetic make up
All rats stayed in their cages for 80 days

When their brains were dissected the rats with enriched experience had thicker, heavier cerebral cortex
Lab rats placed in 3 different environments after birth with different opportunities for learning
1 – standard environment – simple communal cage with food and water
2 – impoverished environment – simple small cage housed alone
3 – enriched environment – large, social, with lots of stimulus objects
Rozenweig studies
Babies born with all 100 billion nerve cells
Each cell at birth synapses with around 2500 other neurons
By late childhood the number of connections increases to around 15,000 per neuron
By adulthood this number decreases to around 8,000 as unused connections are destroyed

Children’s brains show greater plasticity than adults, this might explain why children learn languages faster than adults
Developmental plasticity
Adaptive plasticity does not only take place due to damage. It can also occur as a consequence of everyday experience.

Eg. Musicians motor and sensory areas
Taxi drivers parietal lobes
Dancers motor areas
Adaptive plasticity and experience
Adaptive plasticity
Dramatic example of brains reassignment of functions is evident when a hemisphere is damaged and the other hemisphere takes over.

Ppl with pralised arm due to brain injury can regain full movement...moves over to the other motor cortex
Psychologists have developed a number of different theories to explain learning.
These are not mutually exclusive, and often complement each other.
The ones we are studying are:
- Classical Conditioning
- Trial and Error Learning
- Three phase Operant Conditioning
- Observational Learning (modeling)

We will also be investigative application of these theories, famous research, and ethical issues.
Observational Learning (modeling)
Classical Conditioning
Trial and Error Learning
Three phase Operant Conditioning
Applications of Classical Conditioning
It has been successfully used
to eliminate a range of
problems involving fear
and anxiety responses such
as a fear of flying.

Graduated exposure involves gradually presenting successive approximations of the CS until the CS itself does not produce the CR.

It is a process that involves the extinction of the association between the CS and the CR.

It is also known as
‘systematic desensitisation’.

Treatment method for fears/phobias by extinguishing the


The inhibition or discouragement of
undesirable behaviour
by pairing it with an
aversive stimulus.

Presenting successive approximations of the CS until the CS
itself does not produce the CR.

Aversion therapy
Graduated exposure
Applications of classical conditioning

Classical conditioning has a number of ‘real-life’ applications.

Conditioned reflex: automatic response that occurs as a result of previous experience

e.g. Automatically putting your foot on a brake when brake lights on vehicle in front illuminate.

- Now described as anticipatory behavior
- Although CC is involuntary reflexes or responses, they may not necessary be thoughtless.

Conditioned Emotional Response: emotional reaction that usually occurs when the autonomic nervous system produces a response to a stimulus that did not previously trigger that response

e.g. Sound of the dentist drill can produce fear

Stimulus discrimination occurs when an organism responds only to the CS and not other stimuli that is similar to the CS.

E.g. Pavlovs dog. When hearing the door bell (similar to the CS) it does not salivate (original CR). Dog only salivates (CR) in response to bell (CS)

If a person has been bitten by a specific dog, they may only be afraid of that dog not all dogs.

pg 462 read box 10.2

Class example....
Stimulus Generalisation is the tendency for another stimulus that is similar to the CS to produce a response that is similar (not necessary identical) to the CR.

the greater the similarity between stimuli, the more likely it is that a generalisation will occur

Conditioned response will tend to be weaker in response to similar stimuli than the original stimulus

E.g. Pavlov - If the door bell rang, (similar to the CS) it may produce some saliva (partial CR)

Evolutionary purpose. First time be get burnt by heat...we generalise that all heat is dangerous.

Class example....
Extinction is the gradual decrease in the strength or rate of a CR that occurs when the UCS is no longer present

Said to have occured when the CR no longer follows the presentation of the CS.

Eg. Pavlovs - dogs eventually ceased salivating (CR) in response to the bell (CS) presented alone (without food UCS) after a number of trials.

Simple behaviour can be extinguished relatively quickly - blinking

Complex behaviour tends to take longer to extinguish - fear of spiders

Class example....
Each paired presentation of the CS with the UCS is refered to as a trial.

Acquisition is the process during which an organism learns to associate the two events - UCS and CS.

a short time between presentation of CS & UCS will maximise speed at which CR is acquired

CS must be present before, 1/2 of a second is optimal

Aqusition more rapid if the CS remains until the UCS is presented

End of this stage is when CS alone produces CR

Eg. Palovs - When Pavlov was originally pairing the bell (CS) (just before) the food (UCS)

Class example....
Key processes in classical conditioning
Nature of response: UCR must initially be automatic or involuntary

Association of stimuli: 2 stimuli must be associated they become linked usually because the events occur close in time

Frequency of stimulus presentation: need to be linked often

Timing of stimulus presentation: CS should occur before UCS (ideally no more than half a second)
Factors that influence classical conditioning

UCS: Unconditioned Stimulus: any stimuli that produces a naturally occurring automatic response
eg. Pavlov's - The dog food.
Other Examples...?

UCR: Unconditioned Response: Occurs automatically when the UCS is presented. It is reflexive, automatic, involuntary response.
eg. Pavlov's - The salivation from the dog (organism)
Other examples...?

NS: Neutral stimulus - The stimulus you are trying to pair. Becomes the CS
eg. Pavlov's - The bell
Other examples...?

CS: Conditioned Stimulus: neutral stimuli at start of conditioning (does not produce the UCR) but through repeated association with UCS will trigger the Conditioned Response.
eg. eg. Pavlov's - The bell - now produces the CR.
Other examples...?

CR: Conditioned response: Learned response which is produced by the CS alone.

Not usually as powerful as the UCR

eg. The salivation from the dog (organism)
Other examples...?

When the dog responds to the CS (bell) with the CR (saliva) conditioning is said to have taken place.
Key elements in classical conditioning
Spontaneous Recovery is the reappearance of a CR when the CS is presented, following a rest period (when no CS is presented) after the CR was thought to be extinguished.

Doesn’t always occur and is often short-lived

If it occurs, it is a weaker response than that exhibited in the acquisition stage

Eg. Pavlovs - After extinction, a day later the bell (CS) is presented and it produces saliva (CR) - not as strong and short lived.

Class example....
Annotated Folio
Folio 2 - Puff and Blink Experiment pog 402
Annotated Folio
Annotated Folio
- One of the most basic forms of learning

- Conditioning is the processes of learning associations b/w a stimulus in environment (one event) and a behavioral response (another event, usually a reflex response).

- Process of learning that 2 events go together

- First described by Ivan Pavlov (1899). Russian.

- Conducting research into digestive system of dogs

- Noticed that flow of saliva occurred naturally whenever food was placed into dogs mouths - involuntary reflex response.

- He found that after the dog salivated not only at the sight of food, but at the sight or sound of the laboratory technician.
- Pavlov then decided to do further study into this 'learning'

- Pavlov's subsequent exps provided clear expedience of a type of learning that was based on the repeated association of two different stimuli.

A stimulus is any event that elicits a response from an organism.

A response is a reaction by an organism to a stimulus.

The sound/sight of the technition (stimulus) produced the salivation (response) in the dog.
Classical conditioning refers to a type of learning that occurs though the repeated association (pairing) of two (or more) different stimuli.

- Learning is said to of occurred when a particular stimulus consistently produced a response that it did not previously produce.

- eg. Seeing Pavlov now makes the dog salivate (..he did not before)

- Learning results from linking a newstimulus (CS), over a number of trails, with a stimulus (CS) that normally produced the automatic response.

What are some example of CC in everyday lives?
Pavlov varied the stimulus (bell, whistle, tug of hiund leg, sight of circle)

- found that the salivation
could be brought on after repeated association from a range of different
There are 5 elements used to describe the process of classical conditioning.
These are:
- UCS: Unconditioned Stimulis
- UCR: Unconditioned Response
- NS: Neutral Stimulis (which becomes the...)
..-CS: Conditioned stimulis
UCR: Conditioned Response
Learning Activities pg 404/5
As class L.A. 11.3
In Notebooks L.A. 11.2 Q 2,4ab, Ext 3, 6
Researchers have identified (through testing Pavlov findings) several key proceses invovled in Classical Conditioning.
These are:
- Acquisition
- Extinction
- Spontaneous recovery
- Stimulus generalisation
- Stimulus discrimination
Spontaneous Recovery
Stimulus Generalisation
Stimulus Discrimination:
Classical Conditioning and behaviour
Stimulus Gereralisation or Discrimination
Graduated Exposure
"Little Albert"
Describe to your partner the process by which someone:
a. with a fear of enclosed spaces could use flooding therapy
b. with a fear of flying could use flooding therapy
Describe to your partner the process by which someone with a fear of
a. enclosed spaces (e.g. using a lift) could overcome it using graduated exposure.
b. afraid of flying could overcome it using graduated exposure.
The steps in graduated exposure are:

teach the person a relaxation strategy

break down the CS into a sequence arranged from least to most
anxiety-producing (a fear hierarchy)

gradually begin to extinguish the CR by pairing items in the hierarchy with relaxation by working upward through items in the hierarchy.

Flooding involves bringing the client into direct contact with the CS and keeping them in contact with it until the CR is extinguished.

The principle underlying this technique is that
anxiety will be experienced at a very high level and then gradually diminish,
thereby enabling the
client to experience the CS in the absence of the CR. - Extinction

- Contact may be for 2 hrs or more.

- Higher level thinking - client realises that the stimulus is actually quite harmless.

pg 473 Read "In a study by...."
What kinds of aversive
stimuli could be used in
aversion therapy? List three.

Aversion therapy inhibits (blocks) or discourages undesirable behaviour by pairing it with an aversive stimulus.

It has been used successfully to treat many different behaviours such as alcoholism, drug dependence, nail biting, gambling, inappropriate sexual behaviours.
The best results appear to occur using in vivo graduated exposures.

Graduated exposure can be done by using:

visual imagery (imaginal exposure)

real-life exposure (in vivo exposure)

virtual reality technology.


Phobic stimulus











Before conditioning

The process of graduated exposure


Relaxation training
of the

Aversion Therapy
Aversion therapy was used in Anthony Burgess‘s book A Clockwork Orange (1962), which was adapted as a film by
Stanley Kubrick in 1971.

Alex de Large is offered freedom from a long jail sentence if he is prepared to undergo aversion therapy for his violence:

- de Large is given a drug that induces extreme nausea and anxiety

- he is strapped into a seat before a large screen and his eyes are clamped open (so that he cannot close them)

- he is forced to watch an unrelenting series of graphically violent films whilst feeling increasingly sick and panicky.
Not present!








Before extinction
During extinction

Describe to your partner the process by which someone:
a. with an alcoholism problem could use aversion therapy
b.with addiction to pokie machies could use aversion therapy
One of the most controversial and best know CC studies

John B Watson's 1920 experiment on participant know as 'Little Albert' (11th month old son of a woman who worked at the clinic)

Elements of Classical Conditioning in the Little Albert Experiment

The Little Albert experiment presents and example of how classical conditioning can be used to condition an emotional response.

Neutral Stimulus: The white rat
Unconditioned Stimulus: The loud noise
Unconditioned Response: Fear
Conditioned Stimulus: The white rat
Conditioned Response: Fear

- Informed consent was not obtained from the mother
(some report she did not know anything that was going on - however this has been recently debunked.)
it is also reasonable to believe that she felt pressured by a number of factors to agree to let Albert participate in the experiment even if she did have reservations. She was a wet nurse - low status.

Harm to the participant. The baby was deliberately and systematically frightened.
It is now measured immoral to evoke reactions of fear in humans under laboratory circumstances,

Experiments should not cause the human participants to suffer unnecessary distress or to be in any way physically harmed. The welfare of the human participants must always be the paramount consideration in any form of research, and this is especially true with specially protected groups such as children.

Annotated Folio
Folio 1 – Model of a neuron

Much of our learning occurs by trial and error. It is a simplified form of Operant conditioning.

When we do something that works, for example popping on a surf board correctly. It is likely we will do it again (due to the positive experience)

Trial and Error learning involves learning by trying alternatively possibilities until the desired outcome is achieved.

Once learned, behavior is preformed quickly with little errors.
It is a simple way of interacting with our environment and deal with challenges.

As well as invovling a number of trials and a number of errors, it invovles:
- Motivation (to attain a goal)
- Exploration (random or purposeful increase in activity)
- Responses (correct or incorrect)
- Reward (when correct response is made)

Major Theorist was Edward Thorndike.
Experimented with Cats using Trial and Error Learning.
5 stages of developmental plasticity
Write in notebooks (might be on SAC)
• Proliferation: where the unborn baby’s cells that will become neurons divide and multiply.
• Migration: newly formed neurons move outward to their destined location.
• Circuit formation: when the axons of new neurons grow out to target cells and form synapses with them.
• Circuit pruning: involves the elimination of excess neurons and synapses.
• Myelination: where the axons of the neurons in the child’s brain become covered in myelin.
Comparisons of CC and OC can be made on:
Spontaneous Recovery
Role of the Learner
Timing of Stimulus/Response
Nature of Response
And also......
Operant conditioning was a term coined by American psychologist B.F. Skinner.

- Theory deveoped from trial and error learning
- Skinner termed the responses in T&E learning as operants

An operant is a response (or set of responses) that occurs and acts (or operates) on the environment to produce some kind of effect. It generates a consequence.

Operant conditioning is based on Thorndikes law of effect that an organism will tend to repeat a behavior (operants) that has desirable consequences (such as a treat), or will enable it to avoid undesirable consequences (such as a being given a detention), furthermore an organism will tend not to repeat a behavior that has an undesirable consequence (such as a fine)

Operant conditioning investigates the influence of consequences on subsequent behavior.

Operant conditioning investigates the learning of voluntary responses.
Also termed D.B.C.
Discriminative Stimulus --> Behavior -->Consequence.
Skinner and his Rats…
Skinner placed a hungry animal (a rat or a pigeon) into a SKINNER BOX. The box contained a lever and a food tray.

A Skinner box is a small chamber in which an experimental animal learns to make a particular response for which the consequence can be controled by the researcher.

The animal would move around the cage and at some stage it would accidentally press the lever – releasing a food pellet.

Skinner took note of how many trials it took for the rat to learn to press the level straight away.


Meaning, that what happens directly after a behaviour will determine if that behaviour will be repeated (strengthened) or will stop (weakened).
Elements of Operant Conditioning - all about the consequence
Is said to occur when a stimulus (object or event) that strengthens or increases the likelihood of a response that it follows.

Can either involve 'receiving' (positive reinforcement) a pleasant stimulus or ‘escaping’ (negative reinforcement) an unpleasant one.

Is any stimulus (object or event) that provides reinforcement, often referred to as a reward.

Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcer:
Is a stimulus (object or event) that strengthens or increases the frequency or liklihood of a desired response by providing a satifsying consequence.

Positive reinforcement - occurs from giving or applying a positive reinforcer after the desired responce has been made.

E.g. The food pellet.
We wash the dishes for mum, receive praise (positive reinforcement) and then are more likely to do it again.

What are some others you have experienced?
Negative Reinforcement
Negative reinforcer:
Is any unpleasent or aversive stimulus (object or event) that when removed or avoided strengthens or increases the frequency or liklihood of a desired response.

Negative reinforcement - is the removal or avoidance of an unpleasent stimulus.

Eg. The electric shock
On a rainy day we use an umbrella to remove the unpleasant experience of having wet clothes.

What are some others you have experienced?
Invovles the presentation (or introduction) of a stimulus and thereby decreasing (or weakening) the liklihood of a respose occuring again.

Eg A child who has drawn on the walls with a crayon receives a smack from their parents.
E.g. Hitting Adele on the head, Harper has to go to time out (put her in the corner)

What are some others you have experienced?
Invovles the removal or loss of a stimulus and thereby decreasing (or weakening) the likelihood of a response occuring again.

Eg. Recieving a fine for speeding. (money is taken away from motorist)
E.g. Not allowed to join in the VCE PY class because you were late.

What are some others you have experienced?
Pg 427 L.A. 11.12
In class 1a,b and 3
Factors that Influence the effectiveness of Reinforcement and Punishment
Comparing reinforcement and punishment
There are four basic schedules of PARTIAL reinforcement.
Each produces a different effect on the response acquisition rate and the strength of the response.

Fixed-Ratio Schedule
Variable-Ratio Schedule
Fixed-Interval Schedule
Variable-Interval Schedule
Positive reinforcers are given and negative reinforcers are removed.=

+ reinforcer = adding something pleasaent.
- reinforcer = subtracting something unpleasent
Each strengthens the desired behaviour...so termed reinforcement

In OC 'positive' and 'negative' meant 'added' and 'subtracting'
Key Processes of Operant Conditioning
Very dependent on Reinforcement Schedual
Pg 441 L.A. 11.19
In Class Q3,4,5
Applications of Operant Conditioning
Token Ecomomies
OC has been applied to people in every day situations
Skinner trained a pigeon to turn a full circle
- Not a naturally occurring behavior
- He did this by shaping

Shaping is a procedure in which reinforcer is given for any responcse that successively approximates and leads to the final desired response or target behaviour

Also known as the method of succesive approximations

Skinner reinforced every time the pigeon turned slightly left
When it had learnt that he reinforced it every time it turned a quarter to the left. ....ects

Read world applications
-Teaching dogs example
- Teaching children writing example (reinforcement with praise)

Can you think of some examples?
Form of behavior modification using reinforcement tokens to influence behavior change

Token economy is a setting in which an individual receives tokens (reinforces) for desired behavior. Tokens can be collected and exchanged for real rewards.

Has been shown to work well in prisons, schools, familys

Tokens can also be withdrawn as a consequence (negative punishment)

Reinforcement is APPROPIATE and satisfying to all individuals (as they can choose their own major reinforcement.

Has been shown to sometimes go wrong.

Lets experience one for the rest of this week....on board.
Pg 446
In class L.A. 11.21 (Think, pair share)
L.A. 11.20
Q1abc, 2a
Role of the learner
CC: Passive participant in conditioning process (response made by learner is automatic)

OC: Active participant in the learning process (learner must operate thier enviornment)
Timing of Stimulus and Response
CC: the response (salivation - UCR) depends on the presentation of the stimulus (meat - UCS)
-timing produces an association (anticipate the UCS)

OC: the presentation of the reinforcer/punisher depends on the response occuring FIRST.
- response is strengthened/weakened by consequence
The Nature of the response
CC: the response (salivation) is usually a reflexive/invoulntary one.
- usually the ANS (autonomic nervous systen)

OC: the response is usually a voluntary one.
- usually the CNS (higher order thinking)
At home revision
pg 504 L.A. 10.24

In class
pg 505 L.A. 10.25, L.A. 10.26
Exam Questions
To be written in your note book!
(Practice for exam)

Question 5
With reference to the three-phase model of operant conditioning, explain how a parent may reduce the frequency of a child’s tantrums.
3 marks
Observational Learning occurs when someone uses observations of a model (another person's) actions and thier consequences (OC) to guide their future actions

- Also called modelling or social learning
- A model is who or what is being observed.
- Model cane be live (real life) or symbolic (fictional - eg movie)
Vicarious conditioning: Individual watches another person displaying behavior that is either rewarded or punished and then behaves in the same way/modified way/or refrains as a result from what they have learnt.
Vicarious Reinforcement: increases the likelihood of the observer behaving in a similar way to the model whose behaviour is reinforced.

An example?
Vicarious Punishment: decreased the likelihood of the observer behaving in a similar way to the model whose behaviour is punished.

An example?
Elements of Observational Learning
EXAM Question
Explain how a rat would use trial and error learning to get to the cheese at the end of the mase? (3 marks)
Bandura found from his experiments with children that 4 elements account for Observational Learning:
- Attention
- Retention
- Reproduction
- Motivation - Reinforcement
In order to learn through observation, we must pay attention or closely watch the models behaviour. If we do not attend to the models behaviour, we will not recognise it's distinctive features.

May be influenced by sensory capabilities of observer, interest level, the situation, distracters present and characteristics of model.

Characteristics that increase likelihood of Observational Learning:
- similarity between the model and the learner (gender, age etc)
- attractive or successful model
- model is know to learner
- models b'hav is unique and stands out
- model is percieved positively and has high status
- model is demonstrating the b'hav the model thinks they can imitate

In example with Bandura’s experiment with the BoBo Doll (1965): The children paid attention (watched) the models aggressive behaviour.

Give an example of attention in an observational learning example?
Having observed the model
we must be able to remember the models behaviour.

We need to be able to store in memory a mental representation of hwat we have observed, more meaningful more accurate.

Essentially its being able to remember it. Retention=Rememeber

Learner mentally represent and retains what has been observed.
The more meaningful we make the mental images, the more accurately we will be able to replicate behaviour.

In example with Bandura’s experiment with the BoBo Doll (1965): The children had retained in memory with what they had seen.

Give an example of retention in an observational learning example?
When the models behaviour has been closely attended to and retained in memory, we can now attempt to imitate (reproduce) what has been observed.

Depending on physical capabilities, the learner converts the symbolic mental representations into actions.

Learner must have the ability to put into practice what they have learnt

In example with Bandura’s experiment with the BoBo Doll (1965): The reproduced (physically performed) the modelled behaviours.

Give an example of reproduction in an observational learning example?
The learner must also be motivated to perform the behaviour.

Motivational processes relate to the greater likelihood of observers exhibiting modelled behaviour if it results in valued outcomes (reinforcement) than if it has unrewarding effects (punishment).

Unless we have an incentive, it is unlikely we will want to learn it in the first place, let alone perform it.

In example with Bandura’s experiment with the BoBo Doll (1965): When offered positive reinforcement (reward) many of the children were more motivated to imitate the observed behaviour.

Give an example of motivation in an Observation leanring learning example?
With Motivation- Reinforcement, Bandura suggests that there are three aspects to it; external reinforcement, vicarious reinforcement and self-reinforcement.

External reinforcement: Obtain a reinforcer, we are more likely to engage in behaviour (learning by consequences).

Vicarious reinforcement: Observed a modelled behaviour being reinforced, we are more likely to model behaviour.

Self-reinforcement: We are reinforced by meeting certain standards or goals of performance we set for ourselves.
Pg 461 L.A. 11.28
Q1,2 Ext 3
Question 6
What is the key difference between Operant Conditioning, as informed by Skinner, and Observational Learning, as informed by Bundura?
2 marks
Folio 4 - Operant Conditioning: Shaping
Human Rats!!

Folio 5 - Observational Learning Origami!
Automatic or involuntary behaviour that does not require prior experience and occurs the same way each time.

- Occur in response to an environmental cue
Eg.Withdrawing hand from hot object, blinking when smoke enters eyes, sneezing, vomiting etc

- Usually have a survival purose
Eg. Sucking reflex that occurs after birth

- Humans born with large number that generally dissapear after birth

What are some examples (human and animal)?
Neural Process of Learning
The basic structure/architecture of the brain (cortex's/lobes/hind brain are set at birth)

The brain is not a solid fixed organ, it is constantly changeing within that structure/architecture due to the enviornement

Neurons are soft, flexible living cells.

Changes occur at any time (most efficient early on)

As we learn neurotransmitters are realised and our brain modifys its pathways thereby changing the structure and function, literally rewiring itself.

Neurons can reorganise and new pathways can form /strengthen during learning maknig the connection along the pathway easier next time.
Development of neural pathways
There is a close realtionsip b/w learning and memoery (this is evident in thier being infludenced by many of teh same neural processes.

Most prominant is the Synapse.

Learning strengthens connections b/w the neurons at the synapse

Learning creates new connections b/w the neurons at the synapse

Bio PYs explain learning in terms of synapse formation and building of neural pathways in the brain.

There are other explinations (but they all include this)

Most PYs believe the ability of the brain to rewire itself my modifying existing neural connections and pathways (or form new ones) provides the biological basisor foundation of learning.
Role of Synapses
Donald Hebb (1949) studied role of synapese in learning piano

Proposed that learning results in the creation of cell assembleys (or neurons that form networks or pathways)

When neurotransmitters are related from the pre synaptic neuron that activates the post synaptic neuron it strengthens the connection and makes then more likey to fire together again.
- opposite is true too...if you done use a pathway it doesnt fire and connection fades

Hebbian Learning states: Neurons that fire together, wire together!.

What do you think that means?

This was the innitial development of Long Term Potentiation
- now widely believed to be an essential part of learning
- LTP makes learning possible

What is LTP?
Neurotransmitters invovled in learning
Glutamate has a crutial role in learning
- when released (during learning) glutamate initiates activity in post synaptic neurons
-its repeated release is thought to contribute to synaptic formation and strengthening (during learning)

Dopamine also contributes to the strengthening of synaptic connections during learning
- Role has been studied in rewards based learning eg. eating food, scoring high on comp game
- Release of dopamine provides pleasurable experience, if occuring after a behaviour, that behaviour becomes more likely.

What is LTP?
Pg 380 Learning Activity 10.4
In class Q5,6
In books Q1, 2, ext 3, 4
Brain weight increase as much as 10%

Neural connections increase as much as 20%

Being raised in enriched environment can increase problem solving ability

Humans raised in isolation from proper stimulation can become severely retarded
genie & victor – the wild children
Timing of experience
The way the brain responds depends on the location, degree, extent of damage and the age at which it is experienced.

When is adaptive plasticity more effective?

At the neuronal level, the two processes for recovery are re-routing and sprouting.

Both of these processes involve forming new connections between undamaged neurons, however they do so in different ways.
Rerouting is where the undamaged neuron has lost its connection with the damaged one and may seek an active one.

Sprouting is the growth of new bushier nerve fibers with more branches to make new connections.
-...so sprouting also invovles rerouting.

Sprouting and rerouting enable the formation of entirely new connections to compensate for the loss of function (due to damaged pathways)

‘Relearning’ tasks like walking, eating etc. helps these new connections form
Rerouting or Sprouting?
Damage from Injury
Plasticity and Learning
Experience-Expectant Learning
Experience-Dependant Learning
Takes place when the brain encounters the experience that is expected, ideally in the sensative period b/c its the best time for it to be learnt.

- If experience does not occur brain development may not occur as it should.
- Most occurs during infancy and early childhood
- Species wide

Eg. Language. If you dont learn by 12 years...it is very difficult.

What examples can you come up with?
Refers to learning that 'depends' upon exposure to a specific experience at 'any' time during an individuals development.

- learning theses skills depends on exposure
- we all have different experiences, hence why no two brains are the same

Eg. Psychological knowledge. You all have it but others done.

What examples can you come up with?
Pg 393 Leanring activity 10.6
Q1, 3, 5a,
ect 4, 5b, c, 7
Exam Question
Critical Period
Is a specific period in the development during which an organism is most vuneravle to deprivation or absense of a certian enviornmental stimuli or experience.

- start and end quickly

Eg. If eye is manually shut for first year the visual cortex never developes and that person will be blind forever even though thier eye works fine.

What examples can you come up with?
T/F - pg 393
Chapter 10 test score due in 1 week.


Andrew Scott
Annotated Folio
Folio 3 - Trail and Error Learning
Exam Revision
Learning Activities pg 408/9
In class 11.5 (self then class)
Notebooks L.A. 11.4 Q1a, 2ab,3ab,5
Ext 1cd,4
Homework L.A. 11.6 pg 410
Alcohol Example
Pg 420 Learning Activity 11.9
In class 2b,3b, 5b
Notebooks Q1, 2a, 3a, 5a Ext 4, 5c

- Debriefing: Albert's fear was not extinguished because he moved away before systematic desensitization could be administered. It is presumed that, although he still must have had fear conditioned to many various stimuli after moving, he would likely have been desensitized by his natural environments later in life.

It is believed that the baby used for the experiment suffered from some illness and Watson knew about this illness, but chose to use the child anyway

Since this experiment, and others that pushed the boundaries of experimental ethics, legislation was passed to prevent unethical and potentially harmful experiments.
Ethical Issues Raised
pg 416 Learning Activity 11.8
Q1, 3 ext 2
Learning Activities pg 422
In class 3
LA 11.10 Q1, 2, ext5

Three-Phase Operant conditioning. Expressed as (S*) --> (R) --> (C)

1. The discriminative stimulus (S*) that occurs before a particular response.
- Object or event that preceeds the response.
-This signals the consequence and influences the occurance of the response.
e.g. Work (event)
e.g. Class room

2. The response (R) that occurs due to the discriminative stimulus.
- It is a voluntary behaviour that occurs in the presence of the discriminative stimulus.
- May be an action or set of actions
e.g. Turn up at work (behaviour)
e.g. Yell out swear words(behavior)

3. The consequence (C) to the response.
- The enviornmental event that occurs immediately after teh response and determines whether or not the response will occur again.
- Response (b'hav) will change in strenght and frew depending on the consequence
- Rewarded = more likely/often
- Punished = less likely/often
e.g. Get paid (reward)
e.g. Get detention (punishment0

Expressed as (S*) --> (R) --> (C)
Pg 425 L.A. 11.11
In class Q6,7
Notebooks 1,4, Ext 5a
Answer the following in note books
1. Answer S,R,C, for when the rat tapped the lever and recieved a pellet?
2. Answer SRC for when the rat tapped teh lever and recieved a shock?
3. In both cases above would the behaviour be more likely or less likely to occur again?

What was the discriminative stimulis (S*)?
What was the response (R)?
What was the consequence (C)?
Is the delivery of an unpleasant consequence following a response OR the removal of a pleasant consequence following a response.

Punishment has the same unpleasent quality as negative reinforcement, but different.
- Punishment is something given
- Negative reinforcement something is taken away.
Positive punishment is given and negative punishment something is removed.=

+ punishment = adding something unpleasaent.
- punishment= taking something (of value) away)

Eachweakens the undesirable behaviour...so termed punishment

In OC 'positive' and 'negative' meant 'added' and 'subtracting'
Positive Punishment
Negative Punishment
Response Cost
Negative punishment invovles taking a stimulus away as a consequence of a particular response (/ behaviour)
- seen as the cost of responding

Response cost is described as invovling the removal of any valued stimulus, whether or not it causes the behaviour. (thers is a cost for that behaviour)

What was the response cost of the above examples?
Pg 430 L.A.11.13
In class Q4b
Notebooks Q1,2,Ext 4a, 4c
Pg 434 L.A.11.14
In class Q7a,b
Notebooks Q1ab, 2, 3a ext 3bc, 4
E.G. No point giving lollies to dog before sitting
E.G. No point hitting a dog for weeing inside 30 minutes after its happened

If delay might be hard for learning to occur.
E.G. Positive reinforcement of high VCE ATAR
E.G. Jail time as punishment

Useless giving a dog a treat that they are not interested in.

Or giving a students attention for misbehaviour as punishment as it may work as reinforcement.
Pg 434
LA 11.15 - Think, pair, share
In class 6

Ext 11.16
A schedual of reinforcement is a program for giving reinforcement (specifically the frequency and manner in which a desired response is reinfored)

Reinforcement can be provided on a 'continuous schedule'
(that is, after each correct response)
on a 'partial reinforcement' schedule
(only on SOME occasions after the correct response).
Fixed-Ratio Schedule
Is when reinforcer is given after a set (fixed), unvarying number (ratio) of desired responses have been made.

Ratio of 1:10 means for every 10 correct responses they recive one reinforcer.

How many times would the rat need to press the lever to get 3 pellets?

- If sequenced close together this has a fast aqusition rate
-After learning the ratio can be set further apart.

E.g. Real world
Ppl employed on piece work, $20 for every 100 papers sold or $5 per bucket of apples.

What are some other real world examples?
Variable-Ratio Schedule
Is when the reinforcer is given after an unpredicitable (variable) number (ratio) of correct responces.

Note: there is a mean number of correct responses set.
Eg an avg of 10:100 might mean they recieve a reinforcer (after the correct response) on 1, 5, 13, 26 ect.

How many times would the rat need to press the lever to get 3 pellets?

- Effective in the time it takes to aquire and very hard to extinguish.
- Creates a constant response rate as the organism doenst know when the next reinforcement is coming.

E.g. Real world
Poker machines. Player is guessing when the payout will come.

What are some other real world examples?
Fixed-Interval Schedule
invovles the delivery of the reinforcer after a specific (fixed) amount of time (interval) has passed since the preious reinforcer (provided a correct response has been made)

Eg Set a response time of 1 minute. As long as the organism has responded correctly the will recieve a reinforcer at 1 minute.
Rat may hit the leaver at 10sec, 30 sec, 50 sec..but wont be rewarded till 1 minute.

How much time would the rat need to wait (providing they pressed the lever) to get 3 pellets?

- In lab provides a moderate response rate, slows down after recieving a reward, quickens up closer to the response time

E.g. Real world
Monthly reviews in employment.
What work habits would that create?

What are some other real world examples?
Variable-Interval Schedule
is when the reinforcement is given after an irregular (variable) amount of time (interval) has passed (provided the correct response as been made)

Note: there is a mean period for the availibility of reinforcement
Eg an avg of once every minute might mean they recieve a reinforcer (after the correct response) on 0,5 min, 2 min, 2.2 min.
Correct responses made before the varied time are not reinforced.

How much time would the rat need to wait (providing they pressed the lever) to get 3 pellets?

- In lab provides a low but steady rate of responding.
- Weakening of this response is much slower than variable-interval

E.g. Real world

What are some other real world examples?
Pg 439
As class LA. 11.18

LA 11.17
As class Q7ab,8
In books Q1,2ab,ext 2cd, 4,5
What are some examples of Stimulus Generalisation in OC?
What are some examples of Stimulus Discrimination on OC?
Exam Revision
Learning Activities
Pg 451 L.A. 11.23 (in book)
Pg 452
L.A. 11.24 (in class verbal then at home)
L.A. 11.25 Q1,2,3 (in class)
Does not occur if you just observe someone. You need to be motivated to learn.
- This can be due to the model (someone famous in advertising)
- Or due to motivation (want to learn a new skill)

- Major researcher was Albert Bundoora (1960s)
Social learning theory emphasises the importance of the enviornement (or social context)in which learning occurs.
Modeling is NOT totally seperate form of learning from conditioning.

His experiments demonstrated that both classical and operant conditioning can occur vicariously (observation) through Observational Leraning.

When have you learnt through Observational Learning?
Vicarious Conditioning / Reinforcement / Punishment
Vicarious Definition experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person
Pg 455
L.A. 11.26
In Class Q6,7
Books Q1,2, Ext3
Banduras exp's with Children - BoBo Doll
Bandura (1965)
Participants: 4 year old pre-schoolers

3 groups - all saw video being aggressive towards the Bobo doll
Condition 1: Aggressive model rewarded
Condtion 2: Aggressive model punished
Condition 3: No consequences

Child then allowed to pay in the room, Bundoura recorded what happened.
This finding supports the argument that observational learning is not totally seperate from conditioning.

Results also indicated that all children regardless of the model being rewarded/punished/no consequence probably learnt the behaviour.
Pg 457. Research Methods revision
Complete L.A. 11.27
Exam Revision
T/F - pg 463
Chapter 11 test score due in 1 week.


Andrew Scott

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