Module 20-Classical Conditioning

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Associative learning is learning that certain events (two stimuli in classical conditioning) occur together Classical conditioning (Pavlovian conditioning) is a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) beings to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus Learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience Behaviorism is the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2)

Pavlov's Experiments

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Pavlov won the first Nobel Prize for Russia when he in 1904 when he studied the digestive system Pavlov saw that when he worked with a dog repeatedly it would salivate just by the sound of his footsteps Just before placing food into the dog's mouth, Pavlov played a tone, and eventually the dog began salivating just from the tone An unconditioned response (UCR) is, in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), such as salivation when food is in the mouth A unconditioned stimulus (UCS) is, in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) Conditioned response (CR) is, in classical conditioning, the learned response to previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) Conditioned stimulus (CS) is, in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), comes to trigger a conditioned response

Acquisition • • Acquisition is the initial stage in classical conditioning; the phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditional stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditional response The time between the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus should be about half a second

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In almost all cases, the unconditioned stimulus has to come before the conditioned stimulus Conditioned stimuli also happen in nature and help animals survive, and it can also condition humans for sexual arousal People can form attitudes about things without realizing it through acquisition

Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery • • Extinction is the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS) Spontaneous recovery is the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response

Generalization • • • Generalization is the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses Generalization can be adaptive to events in our lives (ex. People who were involved in 9/11 are still scared of planes) People’s emotional reactions to one stimulus generalize to similar stimuli

Discrimination • • Discrimination is in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus Discrimination is a survival trait, as slightly different stimuli may have very different consequences

Updating Pavlov’s Understanding

Pavlov’s studies underestimated the importance of cognitive processes (thoughts, perceptions) and biological constraints on an organisms learning capacity

Cognitive Processes

 The more predictable the association between two stimuli, the stronger the conditioned response (a tone predicts a shock, and is sometimes accompanied by a light; the light does not predict the shock)  Conditioning occurs best when the CS and UCS have a relationship  Classical conditioning has limited success because it ignores cognition (spiked alcohol causes nausea à the drug can cause nausea, not necessarily the alcohol)

Biological Predispositions • • • • Biological predispositions of an organism can cause it to have particular associations with different stimuli which would best lead to its survival Different species react differently to stimuli (rats to taste, birds to sight), and the CR can even come hours later after the CS This idea supports Darwin’s ideas about natural selection that favors traits necessary for survival Learning enables animals to adapt to their environments, and aids in their survival

Pavlov’s Legacy

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Pavlov’s studies were so important because they showed us that many different organisms can be taught with classical conditioning They also showed us that processes such as learning can be studied objectively

Applications of Classical Conditioning • • There are many areas of psychology that have applied Pavlov’s principles of classical conditioning such as motivation, emotion, psychological disorders, therapy, and health Watson proposed an idea that human emotions and behavior, though biologically influenced, are a bunch of conditioned responses

Module 21-Operant Conditioning

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Associative learning is learning that certain events (a response and its consequences in operant conditioning) occur together Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforce or diminished if followed by a punisher Both classical and operant conditioning involve acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination Respondent behavior is behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner’s term for behavior learned through classical conditioning Operant behavior is behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences

Skinner’s Experiments

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B.F. Skinner’s work elaborated on the law of effect which is Thorndike’s principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely Skinner was able to do things like teach pigeons to play ping-pong with these basic principles Skinner designed an operant chamber (Skinner box) which is a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforce, with attached devices to record the animal’s rate of bar pressing or key pecking. Used in operant conditioning research. Skinner’s experiments showed us what conditions that cause learning, a relatively permanent change in an organism’s behavior due to experience.

Shaping Behavior • • • In his experiments, Skinner used shaping which is an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of a desired goal You can shape behavior by gradually rewarding behavior that is closer and closer to the target behavior, while ignoring other behaviors In everyday life we continually reward and shape the behavior of others

Principles of Reinforcement • • • • In Skinner’s idea of reinforcement, a reinforce is, in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it followed The two kinds of reinforcement are positive and negative Positive reinforcement strengthens a response by presenting a typically pleasurable stimulus after a response Negative reinforcement strengthens a response by removing a bad stimulus

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Primary reinforcers are innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need A conditioned reinforcer is a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforce; also known as a secondary reinforce Secondary reinforcers get their power by being associated with primary reinforcers Unlike rats, humans can respond to reinforcers that are delayed, and many times will respond to delayed reinforcement if the reward is bigger rather than a smaller reward immediate reinforcement Sometimes however, small immediate rewards can overcome larger delayed ones such as when you are addicted to a drug Continuous reinforcement is reinforcing the desired response every time is occurs Under continuous reinforcement, learning occurs quickly but when the reinforcement stops the extinction occurs rapidly as well Partial (intermittent) reinforcement is reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement Fixed-ratio schedules are, in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses Variable-ratio schedules are, in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses Fixed-interval schedules are, in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed Variable-interval schedules are, in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals


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The effect of punishment (an event that decreases the behavior it follows) is the opposite of reinforcement Fast and strong punishment can restrain unwanted behaviors The problem with punishment is that it can sometimes causes undesired responses, such as anger, fear, or resistance Physical punishment can cause people to see aggression as the answer to their problems and be more violent Even though punishment suppresses unwanted behavior, it does not guide you toward wanted behaviors Punished behavior can also reappear if the threatened punishment can be avoided

Updating Skinner’s Understanding

Cognition and Operant Conditioning • • • • Skinner did not believe that cognitive processes (thoughts, perceptions, expectations) mattered in psychology or conditioning Several things have shown that cognition may play a role after all A cognitive map is a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it Rats that have explored a maze of their own free will and have formed cognitive maps have done just as well as rats reinforced with food

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During their exploration the rat's experienced latent learning which is learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it Unnecessary rewards often times carry hidden costs; overjustification is the effect of promising a reward for doing what one already likes to do. The person may now see the reward, rather than intrinsic interest, as the motivation for performing the task Intrinsic motivation is a desire to perform a behavior for its own sake and to be effective Extrinsic motivation is a desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment A person's interest in something survives when a reward is used to show a job well done instead of to bribe or control the person

Biological Predispositions • • Just like in classical conditioning, an animal's natural predispositions constrain its capacity for operant conditioning Biological predispositions are important because it makes it much easier to reinforce an animal to learn the behavior they are predisposed to

Skinner's Legacy

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B.F. Skinner was one of the most controversial intellectual figures of the late 20 century because he insisted that external influence, not internal thoughts and feelings shape behavior Skinner said that we should worry less about freedom, and reward people for desirable behavior

Applications of Operant Conditioning

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Operant conditioning is applied in various fields from high blood pressure, to social withdrawal, to drug use and abuse Skinner wanted people to use teaching machines and text books that would teach people in small steps and provide immediate reinforcement Reinforcement principles are being used in the classroom and in athletics Many companies allow their employees to share profits and participate more in the company to make them more productive At home, operant conditioning can be used to help kids behave better The last 4 decades have shown us much new information about both kinds of conditioning (operant and classical), such biological predispositions making learning easier, but animals having cognitive processes

Module 22- Learning by Observation
• • • • • • Among higher species such as humans, learning does not have to happen through direct experience Observational learning is learning by observing others Modeling is the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior Imitation is very common in humans (ex. Meme's in culture) since ideas and trends spread by people copying others Mirror neurons are frontal lobe neurons that f ire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation, language learning, and empathy Imitation of models helps shape a child's development

Bandura's Experiments • • After viewing an adult beat up a Bobo doll, a frustrated child will do the same By watching others, children may learn that behaviors such as violence are OK to do to others

Applications of Observational Learning • Behavior that we learn as children cannot be as easily unlearned when we are adults

Positive Observational Learning • • Prosocial behavior is positive, constructive, helpful behavior; the opposite of antisocial behavior Models can have prosocial effects (ex. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi)

Parents are strong models, and models are most effect when their actions and words are consistent

Television and Observational Learning • • • • • • Television is a big source of observational learning, and is now all over the world Violence is very common in television, and can cause people to act much more violently than they would otherwise However, correlation does not imply causation and these studies do not prove that T.V. has violent effects The violence comes from a variety of factors, including imitation of the characters on T.V. Also prolonged viewing of television desensitizes views as they become more indifferent to violence on T.V. Bandura's work is important since it helps us understand learning more

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