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Unit 6: Learning

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on 31 August 2017

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Transcript of Unit 6: Learning

Module 27
Operant Conditioning

Skinner's Experiments
Module 28
Module 29
Biological Constraints on Conditioning

Cognition's Influence on Conditioning

Learning and Personal Control
Module 30
Mirrors and Imitation in the Brain

Applications of Observational Learning
Myers' Psychology for AP, 2nd Edition
Unit 6: Learning (7-9% of AP Exam)
Module 26
How do we learn?

Classical Conditioning
learning: the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviors.
Types of learning
Associative Learning - learning that certain events occur together
- Classical conditioning - we learn to associate two stimuli and thus to anticipate events
- Operant conditioning - we learn to associate a response and its consequence

Cognitive Learning - the acquisition of mental information, whether by observing events, by watching others, or through language.
NS = Neutral Stimulus
a stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning

US = Unconditioned Stimulus
a stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response

UR = Unconditioned Response
an unlearned, naturally occurring response

CS = Conditioned Stimulus
an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a conditioned response

CR = Conditioned Response
a learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS)

The Office Clip

What was the NS?

What was the US?

What was the UR?

What was the CS?

What was the CR?
discrimination: (1) in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. (p. 270) (2) in social psychology, unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group and its members.
operant conditioning: a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.
shaping: an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior.
Positive and negative, in this context, don't mean good or bad. Think of them in math terms like adding or subtracting.
Two main types of reinforcement schedules
Continuous reinforcement - reinforcing desired response every time -fast acquisition, fast extinction
Partial (intermittent) reinforcement - reinforcing only part of the time - slow acquisition, slow extinction

At school, teachers can use shaping techniques to guide students’ behaviors, and they can use electronic adaptive quizzing to provide immediate feedback.

In sports, coaches can build players’ skills and self-confidence by rewarding small improvements.

At work, managers can boost productivity and morale by rewarding well-defined and achievable behaviors.

At home, parents can reward desired behaviors but not undesirable ones.

We can shape our own behaviors by stating our goals, monitoring the frequency of desired behaviors, reinforcing desired behaviors, and gradually reducing rewards as behaviors become habitual.

Applications of Operant Conditioning

Contrasting Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical conditioning principles, we now know, are constrained by biological predispositions, so that learning some associations is easier than learning others.

Humans, too, seem biologically prepared to learn some associations rather than others. If you become violently ill four hours after eating contaminated seafood, you will probably develop an aversion to the taste of seafood but usually not to the sight of the associated restaurant, its plates, the people you were with, or the music you heard there. (In contrast, birds, which hunt by sight, appear biologically primed to develop aversions to the sight of tainted food [Nicolaus et al., 1983].)
Biological constraints also place limits on operant conditioning. Training that attempts to override biological constraints will probably not endure because animals will revert to predisposed patterns.
We most easily learn and retain behaviors that reflect our biological predispositions. Thus, using food as a reinforcer, you could easily condition a hamster to dig or to rear up, because these are among the animal’s natural food-searching behaviors. But you won’t be so successful if you use food as a reinforcer to shape face washing and other hamster behaviors that aren’t normally associated with food or hunger (Shettleworth, 1973).
In classical conditioning, animals may learn when to expect a US and may be aware of the link between stimuli and responses.

In operant conditioning, cognitive mapping and latent learning research demonstrate the importance of cognitive processes in learning.

Other research shows that excessive rewards (driving extrinsic motivation) can undermine intrinsic motivation.
We use problem-focused coping to change the stressor or the way we interact with it.

We use emotion-focused coping to avoid or ignore stressors and attend to emotional needs related to stress reactions.

Being unable to avoid repeated aversive events can lead to learned helplessness.

People who perceive an internal locus of control achieve more, enjoy better health, and are happier than those who perceive an external locus of control.

Self-control requires attention and energy, but it predicts good adjustment, better grades, and social success.

A perceived lack of control provokes an outpouring of hormones that put people’s health at risk.
observational learning: learning by observing others. (Also called social learning.)
modeling: the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior.
mirror neurons: frontal lobe neurons that some scientists believe fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain’s mirroring of another’s action may enable imitation and empathy.
Prosocial (Positive, Helpful) Effects
of Observational Learning
Businesses using modeling to help train new employees
Trainees learn faster when they are able to observe the skills of more experienced employees
People who exemplify non-violent or helpful behavior can prompt that behavior in others (Gandhi or MLK Jr.)
Models are most effective when their actions and words are consistent.


Parents that want to encourage their kids to read should read to them, surround them with books and people who read.

"Do as I say, not as I do"
The parent that tells their children not to smoke because it's bad for them, yet smokes themselves
Antisocial (Harmful) Effects of Observational Learning
This helps us understand why abusive parents might have aggressive children, and why many men who beat their wives had wife-battering fathers (Stith et al., 2000).
TV shows and Internet videos are a powerful source of observational learning. While watching TV and videos, children may “learn” that bullying is an effective way to control others, that free and easy sex brings pleasure without later misery or disease, or that men should be tough and women gentle. And they have ample time to learn such lessons. During their first 18 years, most children in developed countries spend more time watching TV shows than they spend in school. The average teen watches TV shows more than 4 hours a day; the average adult, 3 hours (Robinson & Martin, 2009; Strasburger et al., 2010).
Heavy exposure to media violence predicts future aggressive behavior
Positive & Negative Reinforcement Demonstration
- Two volunteers - One male, One female

- Positive - Claps

-Negative - Boos
Full transcript