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Ch. 8 Learning

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Andrea Wilson

on 7 November 2016

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Transcript of Ch. 8 Learning

What is Learning?
Learning is a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
How do we Learn?
By association. Our minds naturally connect events that occur in sequence.
Law of association introduced by Aristotle
Classical Conditioning
Ivan Pavlov - Russian physiologist.
Studying salivary response in dogs
He noticed dogs associated food with the stimuli that was paired with the feeding
these associated stimuli triggered salivation even in the absence of food
set out to deliberately study these associations
Before conditioning, food (US) produces salivation (UR). However, the tone (NS) does not.

During conditioning, the neutral stimulus (tone) and the US (food) are paired, resulting in salivation (UR). After conditioning, the neutral stimulus (now Conditioned Stimulus, CS) elicits salivation (now Conditioned Response, CR)

Other Aspects of Classical Conditioning
Acquisition is the initial stage in classical conditioning in which an association between a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus takes place.

In most cases, for conditioning to occur, the neutral stimulus needs to come before the unconditioned stimulus.
The time in between the two stimuli should be about half a second.

When the US (food) does not follow the CS (tone), CR (salivation)begins to decrease and eventually causes extinction
Spontaneous Recovery
After a rest period, an extinguished CR (salivation) spontaneously recovers, but if the CS (tone) persists alone, the CR becomes extinct again
Stimulus Generalization
Tendency to respond to stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus

Stimulus Discrimination
The learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus
Extending Pavlov's Understanding
Pavlov and Watson considered consciousness, or mind, unfit for the scientific study of psychology. However, they underestimated the importance of cognitive processes and biological constraints.

Cognitive Processes
Early behaviorists underestimated the cognitive aspects of learning
Rescorla and Wagner discovered that animals learn the predictability of a stimulus
Biological Predispositions
Pavlov and Watson believed that laws of learning were similar for all animals. Therefore, a pigeon and a person do not differ in their learning.
any natural response could be paired with any neutral stimulus
This proved incorrect - an animals learning is constrained by its biology

Biological Predispositions
Garcia showed that the duration between the CS and the US may be long (hours), but yet result in conditioning. A biologically adaptive CS (taste) led to conditioning and not to others (light or sound).

Applications of Classical Conditioning
Provided a foundation for further research: John B. Watson & Little Albert
Applications in drug treatment
Fear reduction - Systematic desensitization and flooding
Operant VS Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning forms associations between stimuli (CS and US).
respondent behavior is an automatic response to stimuli
Classical Conditioning
Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning forms associations between behaviors and the resulting events
Operant behavior - operates on the environment producing reward or punishment
From Thorndike to Skinner
Edward L Thorndike
B. F. Skinner
American Psychologist at Columbia University
Studies in learning influential in Educational Psychology
Law of Effect - behavior that is rewarded is more likely to occur again
American Psychologist at Harvard
His experiments in Operant conditioning expanded on the work of Thorndike
Worked with rats and pigeons utilizing an operant chamber
Shaping is the operant conditioning process in which reinforcers guide behavior towards the desired target behavior through successive approximations
A reinforcer is any event that strengthens the behavior it follows. It INCREASES a behavior
Primary reinforcer - an innately reinforcing stimulus like food or drink
Conditioned (secondary) Reinforcer - a learned reinforcer that gets its reinforcing power through association with the primary reinforcer
Immediate & Delayed Reinforcers
Immediate Reinforcer - occurs instantly after a behavior. ex. A rat gets a food pellet for pressing a bar
Delayed Reinforcer - there is a delay between the time a behavior is performed and the reinforcer is received. Ex. Paycheck or Grades
We tend to be more motivated by immediate reinforcement
Reinforcement Schedules
Continuous Reinforcement: Reinforces the desired response each time it occurs.

Partial Reinforcement: Reinforces a response only part of the time. Though this results in slower acquisition in the beginning, it shows greater resistance to extinction later on.

Reinforcement Schedules
Interval (Time)
Ratio (Number)
Fixed-Ratio - Reinforces after a specific number of responses (Scoring a goal)
Variable-ratio: Reinforces after an unpredictable number of responses (slot machine)
Fixed-interval: reinforces after a specified time elapsed
Variable-interval: Reinforced at unpredictable time intervals
An aversive event that decreases the behavior it follows

Results in unwanted fears.
Conveys no information to the organism.
Justifies pain to others.
Causes unwanted behaviors to reappear in its absence.
Causes aggression towards the agent.
Causes one unwanted behavior to appear in place of another.

Extending Skinner's Understanding
Though he believed in inner though processes and biological underpinnings, Skinner was criticized for discounting them in his research
Edward Tolman believed that rats using cognitive processes during maze exploration
Rats seem to develop cognitive maps, or mental representations, of the layout of the maze
Latent Learning
Learning that remains hidden until an incentive is given
Intrinsic Motivation: The desire to perform a behavior for its own sake.

Extrinsic Motivation: The desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishments
Skinner's Legacy
In Schools
teaching machines
programmed learning
Reinforcement of performance
Used to improve sports
Used to increase workplace productivity
Used in parenting to foster good behavior and eliminate unwanted behavior
Learning By Observation
Higher animals, especially humans, learn through observing and imitating others
Mirror Neurons
Neuroscientists discovered mirror neurons in the brains of animals and humans that are active during observational learning
Bandura's Experiments
Bandura's Bobo doll study in 1961 indicated that individuals (children)learn through imitating others who receive rewards and punishments
Applications of Observational Learning
Bandura's studies show that antisocial models may have antisocial effects
Prosocial (positive, helpful) models may have prosocial effects
Continued research has shown that violence in the media leads to an increase in aggressive behavior (Gentile et al. 2004)
Research suggests that learning results in permanent, physical changes in the brain
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