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LECTURE 1: INTRODUCTION

Learning and Conditioning
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Ar ist o t le ( Emp iricis m)

Empiricism vs. Nativism: Nurture vs. Nature (Aristotle vs. Plato)
He believed in Empiricism: knowledge is learned

Laws of Association: ideas come to be connected with each other through certain laws
1. Law of similarity: events that are similar to each other are readily associated to each other (e.g. cars
and trucks – similar in terms of function and appearance, so easier to associate)
2. Law of contrast: also easy to associate things that are opposite of each other (e.g. high/low,
black/white)
3. Law of contiguity: events that occur in close proximity, in time or space, are readily associated (e.g.
lightning and thunder occur closely in time – one is predictive of the other)
4. Law of frequency: more frequently the two items occur together, the more strongly they are
associated (e.g. lightning and thunder occur together so they are strongly associated)

Plato was Aristotle’s teacher
o Believed that we come into this world with all the knowledge that we will ever need
o When we age, we look inwards, and bring that knowledge out
o Aristotle disagreed: believed that this knowledge we have must be acquired through experience

Des c art e s (M ind- Bo d y Dualis m)

Mind-Body Dualism: human beings have both a mind and a body
o
Mind: has free will, and produces voluntary behaviours (e.g. I will pick up my phone)
o
Body: functions like a machine, produces involuntary reflexive behaviours that respond to some kind
of external stimulus; (does not have free will (e.g. dust blows up nose – body sneezes)
Reflex: some behaviours are mechanistic – can be scientifically investigated
o
Learning: use of animal models, because animals may also have these reflexes

Br it is h Emp iric ist s : Jo hn Lo cke




John Locke: disputed the idea of being born with all knowledge
Mind as a ‘blank slate’
Conscious mind: finite set of basic elements
o
Specific colours, sounds, smells – gathered up as you move through the world, and combined through
principles of associations, into complex thoughts, etc.
Did not do experiments, came up with these logical ideas
Importance of experience and interacting with the environment

St ruct u ral is m: Wund t & Tit che ne r
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Wilhelm Wundt
Edward Titchener
Experimental study of consciousness
Determine the structure of the mind by identifying the basic elements of which it is composed
Method: Introspection (describe as much as possible what your experiences are)
o
People have different experiences of the same situation
o
The person guiding the introspection could bias it as well – may affect what the person focuses on
o
This method decreased – not very structured
Contrasting previous: proposed experiments

Funct io na lis m: Will iam Jame s



Study of the ADAPTIVE mind: idea that the mind has evolved to adapt to the world around us
o
Influenced by Darwin evolution
William James: often regarded as founder of American psychology
Learning: is an adaptive process – what allows us to adapt to our environment
Method: also used introspection (didn’t work well), but also studied animal models to try to understand
human behaviours

which is an intervening variable to observable behaviour (eating the candy) 3 ) To lm an’s Cog nit ive Be havio ur is m   Molar approach Intervening variables -> more mentalistic . abilities. Prof only eats candy when she’s hungry driving home at night. and race of his ancestors” (p. fear. You are seeing too much. merchant-chief. how many hours has it been since you last ate (instead of “how hungry are you”) Still an S-R theory: e. and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor. instead of just introspection. but would operationalize by asking. vocations.Be ha vio uris m: Wat so n       Introspection unreliable – need to find a different method “If you fail to reproduce my findings. It’s not see candy = eat candy. and rage o Everything else is learned through experience (according to Watson) 2 ) H ull’s Ne o be h avio uris m         Intervening variables Physiological processes Believed that Watson’s rejection of internal events is not right Science will make inferences about all kinds of things you can’t observe (e. because different researchers couldn’t agree Natural science approach to psychology that emphasizes the study of environmental influences on observable behaviour Principles that govern nonhuman species might also be relevant to humans: o Therefore we can use animal models to learn about behaivour and what affects behaviour – can apply to humans Law of parsimony: “Simple” explanations are better than complex explanations. penchants. o Watson said psychologists should avoid interpreting human behaviour/feelings – too complex. but it is due to the fact that your introspection is untrained…If you can’t observe 3-9 states of clearness in attention. well-formed.g. not while she’s driving to work in the morning. it is not due to some fault in your apparatus or in the control of your stimulus.104) o Babies come into the world with 3 basic emotions: love. 1913. for example. 163) o Different labs were not able to reproduce same findings – couldn’t agree Study of observable behaviour: psychology to focus on what can be observed. a feeling seems reasonably clear to you. o Behavioural psychology adheres to this law. Five Schools of Behaviourism 1 ) M et ho do lo g ica l Be hav io uris m    Watson Study only those behaviours that can be directly observed (most restricted/extreme version of behaviourism) o Most restricted/extreme version – ONLY observable behaviour is studied o Came to believe that all behaviours were reflexive o S-R: stimulus-response theory o Learning is simple connections that get made between the stimulus (environment) and response (behaviour) Watson’s beliefs became more extreme over time:“give me a dozen healthy infants. regardless of his talents. p.” (Watson. your introspection is poor. lawyer. gravity: can infer gravity by seeing something fall) Can use intervening variables to make inferences about things that cannot be “seen” or clearly observed Should specifically operationalize these internal physiological processes Agreed that we shouldn’t use introspection. candy as a stimulus. If.g. artist. Feelings are never clear. Internal event: level of hunger (how long it has been since she last ate). tendencies. on the other hand. your introspection is again faulty. even beggar-man and their. and yes.

but use as a guideline) . walk down. Grey line (NR-R): no reward. Once they had a reason to get to the end. This means that they had learned the layout of the maze during the first 10 days. they were able to use this cognitive map to find it more quickly.g. we should start with what we CAN study What are we going to study?   Behaviour: there is no single good definition “dead man test” (from Malott. they just didn’t show it until they had incentive (food).      E.) Tolman: that’s too simplistic. Seeing a big dog: o What I say to myself will change how I behave (observable behaviour) o “I am afraid of big dogs” = back away o “I am afraid of big dogs but I will try to overcome fear by getting to know them” – move toward dog Belief: Need to analyze behaviour at a broader level – not enough to look at it as a chain of stimulusresponses.g. rejects them as explanations of behaviour Believed: these internal behaviours are worthy of study. but not by a lot. E. turn. like the “R” group). and makes me feel more scared (affects internal events) 5 ) Rad ic al Be havio ur is m (Ski nne r)     Skinner: proposed return to a more “strict” method Emphasizes the influence of the environment on observable behaviour Difference between Skinner and Watson: Doesn’t reject internal behaviours  But. they learned how to get to the food faster and faster. however we don’t really know how to study them well (introspection doesn’t work. Over time.g. o 2nd group: no food at the end. see a wall (a stimulus to stop). need to look at it as a whole – the rat’s behaviour is not just stimulus response. internal variables were important (they are actual events that influence our behavoiur as strongly as an external event) Cognitive-behavioural approach Emphasizes: observational learning & cognitive variables Reciprocal determinism: all affect each other (not just linear like the previous models) E. it’s a behaviour. they just wandered through the maze. (Not 100% accurate. need to find better methodology) – in the meantime. they found the fruit loop just as fast as the “R” group. but a goal-directed behaviour à wants to exit the maze to find the food (not just looking at all the little pieces) The whole was greater than the sum to the parts L ate nt l e arni ng expe ri me nt       Had 3 groups of rats Experiment divided into 2 times First 10 ten days of experiment: had two groups of rats. Cognitive map: aimless walking around builds a structure in their mind of a map. freaking out o Makes dog bark more. dog example o Environmental event: dog o Thought: that’s a scary dog  affects observable behaviour – shaking This makes the dog bark – affects environment. then suddenly a reward on day 11. o Dog barks: and I jump. & Trojan): If a dead man can do it. with food at the end of the maze Watson would look at it as a series of stimulus responses (go down a corridor. o 1st group of rats (dashed line) got put in the maze and found the food at the end. However that’s not what they found – by day 12. Measured number of errors rat made (how many times they hit a dead end). and they just plateaued. If the dead man can’t do it. Malott. Latent learning: learning will happen even if you don’t see evidence of learning. etc. rat in a maze. 4 ) So cia l L e arning The o ry (B a ndu ra)      Bandura: felt that intervening. it’s not a behaviour. Would expect that learning would “start” on day 11 (rate of learning should be slow. Errors decreased a bit.

g. etc. such as “what if.  Can divide behaviours into internal and external External: Skinner focused on external because they’re easier to study o Talking *Exercise o Writing ­ Want to increase exercise o Sleeping ­ What is my behavioural definition of exercising? Is walking back and o Reading? forth exercising? I can count the number of steps I take. punching. o Daydreaming ­ Definition of aggression: kicking. o *Aggression *Aggression o Eating ­ Behaviour that I want to change o Crying ­ Measure instances of aggression and see whether program decreases o *Listening the kid’s aggression  Internal (difficult to study) ­ Behavioural definition: e.g. make a graph)  Measuring anxiety o Physiological arousal o Reports (e. Or is it the o Breathing? number of hours I spend at the gym? Need to make a precise and o *Exercising specific behavioural definition.. ­ What counts as verbal aggression? ­ Can take out certain factors such as intent if it makes it too complex or “cloudy” What app roach are we ­ Bottom line: it can also be difficult to define external behaviours going to take? Behavioural approach  detailed  precise  research-based Behavioural definitions:  careful. slapping. physical aggression – was there intent and o Thinking physical harm? How do we know if there was intent? This adds o Feeling anxious complexity with an internal behaviour. spitting. & objective Criteria      (for a good behavioural definition): can be… observed measured counted tabulated analyzed Example:  Tabulate and make analyses (e.”) o Behaviours (how it’s impacting on their ability to get their work done for example) o Anxiety avoidance behaviours (moving away from situations)  External Behaviour  Internal Behaviour . detailed. do you have anxious thoughts.g.