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Transcript of Learning
Elements of Classical Conditioning
5.3 What are the important concepts in classical conditioning?
5.4 What was Pavlov's classic experiment in conditioning?
Conditioned Emotional Responses: Rats!
5.5 What is a conditioned emotional response?
5.6 How is classical conditioning related to advertising?
Advertisers often use classical conditioning to persuade you to buy something. Gorn and his UBC study found that pen selection is related to music choice. This is why advertisers associate well-liked music and famous
people with their products.
What's in it for me? Operant Conditioning
There are two kinds of behaviour that all organisms are capable of doing: involuntary (reflexive) and voluntary. If a fly lands near your eye you blink, that's a reflex and totally involuntary. If you swat the fly that's a voluntary choice. You had to blink, but you chose to swat.
B.F. Skinner: Behaviourism
Skinner assumed leadership of the field of Behaviourism after John Watson. He believed psychologists should study only measurable, observable behaviour.He gave the learning of voluntary behaviour the name operant conditioning. He believed that when people perform a voluntary action, it is to get something they want or avoid something they don't want. Operant is voluntary behaviour, and the learning of such behaviour is operant conditioning.
In Classical Conditioning learning a reflex really depends on what comes before the response. In Operant Conditioning, learning depends on what happens after the response - the consequence. "If I do this, what's in it for me?
The Concept of Reinforcement
Reinforcement defined by Skinner as any event or stimulus that, when following a response, increases the probability that the response will occur again.
- any reinforcer that is naturally reinforcing by meeting a basic
biological need, such as hunger, thirst, or touch.
- any reinforcer that becomes reinforcing after being paired with a primary reinforcer, such as praise, tokens, or gold stars.
It Makes Your Mouth Water:
5.2 What is classical conditioning, and who first studied it?
Learning is any relatively permanent change in behaviour brought about by experience or practice. "Relatively permanent" refers to the fact that when people learn anything, some part of their brain is physically changed to record what they've learned. Individuals learn and are more likely to do something that results in a pleasurable consequence rather than a negative or paintful one.
Maturation are changes such as an increase in height or the size of the brain and are controlled by a genetic blueprint (DNA). Example: children learn to walk when they are physiologically ready not by how much practice walking they have.
A Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov accidentally stumbled across the basic principles of a particular kind of learning.
Studying the digestive system of dogs, Pavlov built a device that measured the amount of saliva produced when they were fed a measured amount of food.
Food is placed in the mouth of the dog and the dog salivates.
(stimulus) ------------------------> (response)
This is a normal reflex (involuntary response).
- any object, event, or experience that causes a response.
- reaction of the organism.
- learning to make a reflex response to a stimulus other
than the original, natural stimulus that normally produces it.
Classical Conditioning - The Office Example
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
- the original, naturally occurring stimulus. The term "unconditioned" means unleared or naturally occuring. In Pavlov's example food is the UCS.
Unconditioned Response (UCR)
- the reflex response to the unconditioned stimulus. It is unlearned and occurs because of genetic "wiring" in the nervous system. In Pavlov's example food is the UCS and the salivation to that food is the UCR.
(CS) - any kind of stimulus could become associated with the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) if it is paired often enough. When a neutral stimulus, through repeated pairing with the UCS, begins to cause the same reflexive response. This neutral stimulus can now be called the CS.
Conditioned Response (CR)
- the response that is given to the CS. It is not quite as strong as the original UCR but it is the same response. Ex. salivation.
Pavlov did a classic experiment in which he paired the ringing of a bell (NS) with the presentation of food (UCS) several times to see if the dogs would eventually salivate (CR) to the sound of the bell alone (CS).
Basic principles to Classical Conditioning:
1. The CS must come before the UCS.
2. The CS and UCS must come very close together in time -ideally, only several seconds apart.
3. The NS must be paired with the UCS several times, often many times, before conditioning can take place.
4. The CS is usually some stimulus that is distinctive or stands out from other competing stimuli.
- the tendency to respond to a stimulus that is similar only to the original conditioned stimulus. Ex. dentrist drill and electric coffee grinder might produce the same anxiety.
- the tendency to stop making a generalized response to a stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus because the similar stimulus is never paired with the unconditioned stimulus. Ex. After a few uses the electric coffee grinder will not produce the same anxiety as it is not associated with dental pain.
- the disappearance or weakening of a learned response following the removal or absence of the unconditioned stimulus.
Spontaneous Recovery -
the reappearance of a learned response after extinction has occurred.
occurs when a strong conditioned stimulus is paired with a neutral stimulus, causing the neutral stimulus to become a second conditioned stimulus.
John Watson the founder of behaviourism firmly believed that all behaviour could be explained in terms of learning, including even the phobias (irrational fear responses).
His classic experiment with "Little Albert" and the white rat was a demonstration of learning a phobia. An excellent example of classical conditioning. Watson paired the presentation of the white rat to the baby with a loud, scary noise. Although the baby was not afraid of the rat, he was naturally afraid of the loud noise and started to cry. Soon, every time the baby saw the rat, he started to cry. This is called a
conditioned emotional response (CER).
Identify the UCS, UCR, CS and CR in this experiment.
is classical conditioning of a reflex response or emotion by watching the reaction of another person. Ex. children receiving a needle at school.
Conditioned taste aversion
is the development of a nausea or aversive response to a particular taste because that taste was followed by a nausea reaction, occurring after only one association.
Example. Alcoholics taking a drug to make them violently nauseated when they drink alcohol.
is the tendency of animals to learn certain associations, such as taste
and nausea, with only one or a few pairings because of the survival value of the learning.
ex. coyotes killing rancher's sheep
5.7 Why does classical conditioning work?
There are two ways to explain how one stimulus comes to stand in for another.
- original theory in which Pavlov stated that classical conditioning occurred because the conditioned stimulus became a substitute for the unconditioned stimulus by being paired closely together.
- modern theory in which classical conditioning is seen to occur because the conditioned stimulus provides information or an expectancy about the coming of the unconditioned stimulus. ex. rats (Tone/Shock) experiment
5.8 What is operant conditioning and Thorndike's Law of Effect?
is the kind of learning that occurs with reflexive, involuntary behaviour.
is the kind of learning that applies to voluntary behaviour through the effects of pleasant and unpleasant consequences to responses.
Edward L. Thorndike placed a hungry cat inside a puzzle box from which the only
escape was to press a lever located on the floor of the box.
There was a food dish placed
outside of the box, so the cat was highly motivated to get out. Through trial and error
the cat finally figured out that pushing the lever led to freedom. The lever (stimulus),
the pushing of the lever is the response, and the consequence is both escape and food.
The Law of Effect
stating that if a response is followed by a pleasurable consequence, it will tend to be repeated, and if followed by an unpleasant consequence, it will tend not to be repeated.
5.9 What was Skinner's contribution to operant conditioning?
5.10 What are the important concepts in operant conditioning?
Positive & Negative Reinforcement
is the reinforcement of a response by the
or experiencing of a pleasurable stimulus. e.g., getting money for working.
is the reinforcement of a response by the
, escape from, or avoidance of an unpleasant stimulus. e.g., avoiding a scolding by lying.
always decreases the likelihood of a behaviour happening again. Punishment weakens responses, whereas reinforcement strengthens responses.
Reinforcement does not always mean reward
Other Operant Concepts
Operant conditioning is more than just the reinforcement of simple responses.
- the reinforcement of simple steps(sucessive approximation) in behaviour that lead to a desired, more complex behaviour. e.g., training zoo/circus animals.
Extinction, Generalization, and Spontaneous Recovery in Operant Conditioning
Extinction in Operant Conditioning involves removal of the reinforcement. e.g., temper tantrum's in public. Identify +/- reinforcers.
Operant conditioned responses also can be generalized to stimuli that are only similar to the original stimulus. e.g., a baby referring to every male adult as "dada"
Discriminative stimulus is any stimulus, that provides the organism with a cue for making a certain response in order to obtain reinforcement.
Spontaneous recovery (the recurrence of a conditioned response after extinction.
e.g. dog's will display old tricks when being trained.
Schedules of Reinforcement
The timing of reinforcement can make a tremendous difference in the speed at which learning occurs and the strength of the learned response.
5.11 What are the schedules of reinforcement?
occurs when each and every correct response is followed by a reinforcer. e.g. Earning
oney every day for putting clothes in the hamper.
, occurs when only some correct responses are followed by reinforcement. e.g., Earning money at the end of the week based on if clothes were put in the hamper each night all week long. Partial reinforcement is much more resistant to extinction. This is called the
partial reinforcement effect
Partial reinforcement can be accomplished according to different patterns or schedules.
When it is the number of responses that is important, the schedule is called a
schedule. e.g., 50 raffle tickets for each prize.
When the timing of the response is more important, it is called an
schedule. e.g., an office safe that can only be opened at a certain time of day.
The other way in which schedules can differ is whether the number of responses or interval of time is
(the same in each case) or
(a different number or interval in each case).
fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement
, a certain number of responses are required before reinforcement is given. e.g., Java Moose Punch cards 10 punches earns a free coffee. Factory workers paid for piecework.
variable ratio schedule of reinforcement
, a varying number of responses is required to obtain reinforcement. e.g. slot machines, VLT's
fixed interval schedule of reinforcement
, at least one correct response must be made within a set interval of time to obtain reinforcement.
e.g., people receive a paycheck once every two weeks provided they show up to work and do their job.
variable interval schedule of reinforcement
, reinforcement follows a varying interval of time. e.g., pop quizzes
5.12 Why are VLTs and other games of chance so addictive? DIY
5.13 How does punishment affect behaviour?
Although punishment can be effective in reducing or weakening a behaviour, it has several drawbacks.
is the opposite of reinforcement. It is any event or stimulus that, when following a response, causes that response to be less likely to happen again.
The job of punishment is much harder than that of reinforcement.
Punishment by Application
- a response is followed by the application or experiencing of an unpleasant stimulus, such as a spanking, scolding, etc.
Punishment by Removal
-a response is followed by the removal of some pleasurable stimulus, such as taking away a child’s toy for misbehaviour.
Problems with Punishment
A person who uses aggressive punishment, such as spanking, can act as a model for aggressive behaviour. This will increase aggressive behaviour in the one being punished, an undesirable response.
Punishment of both kinds normally has only a temporary affect on behaviour.
Punishment can be made more effective by applying it immediately following the behaviour, applying it consistently (follow through/same intensity), and by pairing punishment of the undesirable behaviour with reinforcement of the desirable one.
Stimulus Control: Slow Down, It's the Cops.
5.14 How do operant stimuli control behaviour?
is any stimuli that provides an organism with a cue for making a certain response in order to obtain reinforcement. e.g., stop sign is a cue for stopping, to avoid getting in an accident or receiving a ticket (negative reinforcement) What do you do when you flashing lights on a police car behind you?
5.15 What is behaviour modification and how is it related to operant conditioning?
Operant conditioning can be used in many settings on both animals and people to change, or modify, behaviour. This use is termed
and includes the use of reinforcement and shaping to alter behaviour.
Example: Teacher uses behaviour modification to help a child learn to be more attentive during class.
1. Select a target behaviour. (making eye contact)
2. Choose a reinforcer. (Gold stars on a chart)
3. Put the plan in action. (Eye contact= gold star, inappropriate behaviour is not reinforced)
4. A reward at the end of the day for a certain number of gold stars. (this was discussed at the beginning of the process)
are a type of behaviour modification in which secondary reinforcers, or tokens, are used.
are a mild punishment by removal in which individuals are placed in a special area away from the attention of others.
Applied behaviour analysis (ABA)
is the modern version of behaviour modification and makes use of shaping by breaking desired behaviour down into discrete steps.
ex. Lovaas used small pieces of candy as reinforcers to teach social skills and language to children with autism. In ABA, skills are broken down to their simplest steps and then taught to the autistic child through a system of reinforcement. Prompts are given as needed and are gradually withdrawn when the child masters the skill.
Cognitive Learning Theory
5.16 What is cognitive learning theory?
Cognitive learning theory states that learning requires cognition, or the influence of an organism’s thought processes. Early scientists such as Edward Tolman in the 1960's supported this approach.
5.17 What was Tolman's classic study on latent learning?
Three groups of rats using the same maze . First group of rats rewarded with food for making it through the maze. Second group of rats rewarded with food on the tenth day only. Third group of rats was a control group that wasn't rewarded
Tolman found that rats who were allowed to wander in a maze but were not reinforced still showed evidence of having learned the maze once reinforcement became possible. He termed this hidden learning
, a form of cognitive learning.
He also suggested that the rats may have formed a mental representation or a cognitive map of the maze.
Seligman's Depressed Dogs:
5.18 What is learned helplessness?
Seligman found that dogs who had been placed in an inescapable situation failed to try to escape when it became possible to do so, remaining in the painful situation as if helpless to leave. Seligman called this phenomenon
and found parallels between learned helplessness and depression.
Kohler's Smart Chimp: Insight Learning
5.19 What is insight?
Kohler found evidence of insight, the sudden perception of the relationships among elements of a problem, in chimpanzees. Kohler's work seems to demonstrate that insight requires a sudden "coming together" of all the elements of a problem in a kind of "aha" moment.
5.20 What is observational learning?
The learning of new behaviour through the observation of a model (watching someone else who is doing that behaviour).
5.21 What was Bandura's classic Bobo doll study?
Bandura’s famous Bobo doll experiment demonstrated that young children will imitate the aggressive actions of a model even when there is no reinforcement for doing so.
Learning/performance distinction—learning can take place without actual performance (a kind of latent learning)
5.22 What are the four elements of observational learning? (Remember A.M.I.M.)
Bandura determined that four elements needed to be present for observational learning to occur:
1. Attention—learner must first pay attention to the model
e.g., searching for what fork to use at a fancy dinner party. We pay more attention to those we find attractive and similar.
2. Memory—learner must also be able to retain the memory of what was done
3. Imitation—learner must be capable of imitating the actions of the model
4. Motivation—the learner must have the desire to perform the action