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Understanding Psychology

Charles G. Morris, Albert A. Maisto

Chapter 5
of Psychology
Problems and how we solve them
Problem Solving
What’s wrong with this picture?
Enduring Issues in
Enduring Issues

Person-Situation How is learning

influenced by an
organism’s inborn


Enduring Issues

Person-Situation To what extent do

organisms change
Nature-Nurture over the course
of their lives?


Enduring Issues

In what ways do the events
that shape learning vary among
different individuals?


Enduring Issues

How does learning
influence how our body
responds to disease?


LO 5.1 Define learning. Describe the elements of classical conditioning,
distinguishing among unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned
response, conditioned stimulus and conditioned response.

change in earning
brought about
by experience
or practice
Three Types of Learning


Classical Learning
Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning
LO 5.2 Describe the process of establishing a classically conditioned response, including the
effect of intermittent pairing.

• Type of learning in which

a response naturally
elicited by one stimulus
comes to be elicited by a
different, formerly neutral,
• Discovered by Pavlov
while studying digestion
in dogs
Establishing a Classically
Elements of Classical Conditioning
Conditioned Response
Unconditioned Stimulus (US)
• Stimulus automatically elicits a response.
Unconditioned Response (UR)
• Unlearned response that occurs whenever unconditioned stimulus
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
• Originally neutral stimulus paired with unconditioned stimulus and
eventually produces the desired response in organism when
presented alone.
Conditioned response (CR)
• After conditioning, the response organism produces when
conditioned stimulus is presented.
Putting It Together

Conditioned Unconditioned Unconditioned
Stimulus Stimulus Response
Establishing a Classically Conditioned

Number It takes repeated pairings of

of Pairings
a US and a cue before the
Spacing UR becomes a conditioned
of Pairings
of Pairings
Establishing a Classically
Conditioned Response

Number Moderate spacing

of Pairings
of pairings means
Spacing quicker learning.
of Pairings

of Pairings
Establishing a Classically
Conditioned Response

Number Pairing the CS and US on

of Pairings
only some of the learning
Spacing trials (intermittent pairing)
of Pairings
reduces rate of learning
Consistency and final strength of the
of Pairings
learned response.
Classical Conditioning in Humans
LO 5.3 Provide examples of classical conditioning in humans, including desensitization therapy.

Fear Fear
• Learned through Unlearned through
classical conditioning classical conditioning
• Little Albert • Desensitization therapy
• Peter
Classical Conditioning and the Immune System
“Researchers discovered that they could use formerly neutral stimuli
either to increase or to suppress the activity of the immune system…As
US, the researchers use immune-suppressing drugs and pair them with
a specific CS, such as a distinctive smell or taste. After only a few
pairings of the drug (US) with the smell or taste (CS), the CS alone
suppresses the immune system (the CR) without any dangerous side
effects! …additional research is still necessary to validate its
effectiveness and evaluate its potential application as a therapy to treat
these disorders” (Daruna, 2012; Schedlowski & Pacheco-López, 2010).
– Learning Objective 5.3 (Morris and Maisto)
Classical Conditioning Is Selective
LO 5.4 Explain the statement that “classical conditioning is selective” and illustrate with examples
of conditioned taste aversions.
Operant Conditioning
Operant Conditioning
LO 5.5 Explain how operant conditioning differs from classical conditioning.

The cat can escape Type of learning in which

and be rewarded with
food by tripping the bolt
behaviors are emitted (in the
on the door. presence of specific stimuli)
to earn rewards or avoid
• Thorndike’s puzzle box
Elements of Operant Conditioning
LO 5.6 Describe operant behaviors, the law of effect
(the principle of reinforcement), and the role of
reinforcers and punishers.

Emitted (Operant) Behavior:

Designed to operate on the

environment to gain something
desired, avoid something
• Stimulus that follows an emitted or
operant behavior.
• Reinforcers
• Punishers
• Law of effect
Establishing an Operantly Conditioned
LO 5.7 Explain the role of shaping in establishing an operantly conditioned response.

Skinner box
• Limits the available
responses, increasing
likelihood that desired
response will occur

• Reinforces successive
approximations to a
desired behavior
Applying Psychology

1. Identify “target” behavior.

2. Define target behavior precisely.
3. Monitor present behavior.
4. Select positive reinforcer that is
contingent upon improvements
in the target behavior.
A stimulus
that follows
a behavior
the einforcer
that the
will be
A Closer Look at Reinforcement
LO 5.8 Discuss the types of reinforcers and possible unintentional effects of reinforcement.

Positive reinforcers:
Events whose presence
increases the likelihood
that ongoing behavior
will recur.
Negative reinforcers:
Events whose reduction
or termination increases
the likelihood that
ongoing behavior
will recur.
Any event
whose presence unishment
decreases the
likelihood that
an ongoing
behavior will
Differences Between Punishment
and Negative Reinforcement

Punishment Negative
• Adds something reinforcement
unpleasant to the • Removes something

environment. unpleasant from the
• Weakens the environment.
behavior that • Strengthens the
preceded it. behavior that
preceded it.
LO 5.9 Explain the circumstances under which punishment can be effective and the
drawbacks to using punishment.

In order for punishment

to be effective it must be:
• Swift
• Sufficient without being cruel
• Consistent
Punishment also has drawbacks because it:
• Only suppresses behavior, doesn’t teach more
desirable one.
• Can backfire by stirring up negative feelings.
• Can teach aggression.
Learned Helplessness
LO 5.10 Explain what is meant by learned helplessness.

Learned helplessness:
Failure to take steps to
avoid or escape from
an unpleasant or
aversive stimulus that
occurs as a result of
previous exposure to
unavoidable painful
Shaping Behavioral Change
Through Biofeedback
LO 5.11 Describe how biofeedback and neurofeedback can be used to change behavior.

Biofeedback: Neurofeedback:
technique using biofeedback technique
monitoring devices that monitors brain
to provide precise waves with the use of an
information about EEG to teach people to
internal physiological
processes (i.e. heart gain voluntary
rate, blood pressure), control over their brain
to teach people to wave activity.
gain voluntary control
over these functions
Factors Shared
by Classical and
Operant Conditioning
Factors Shared by Classical
and Operant Conditioning

1 They involve learned associations.

Responses are under control of stimuli

2 in the environment.

Responses will gradually disappear

3 if not periodically renewed.

New behaviors can build upon

4 previously established ones.
The Importance of Contingencies
LO 5.12 Describe the importance of contingencies in both operant and classical conditioning.
Differentiate between the four schedules of reinforcement in operant conditioning and
their effect on learned behavior.

Classical Conditioning
• Contingency between CS and US;
CS signals that US is about to happen
– CS must come before US
– CS must occur in close proximity to US
The Importance of Contingencies

Operant Conditioning
• Contingency between
responses and
– Schedules of reinforcement:
contingencies between
responses and rewards.
• Partial reinforcement =
longer-lasting behavior.
• Continuous reinforcement =
behavior does not last as
Schedules of Reinforcement: FR

Fixed Ratio FR: Correct response is

reinforced after a fixed number of
Variable Ratio
correct responses.

Rapid, steady response

Fixed Interval
rate with short pauses

Variable Interval
Schedules of Reinforcement: VR

Fixed Ratio VR: Varying number of correct

responses must occur before
Variable Ratio

Fixed Interval Rapid rate

without pauses

Variable Interval
Schedules of Reinforcement: FI

Fixed Ratio FI: Correct response is reinforced

after a fixed length of time has
Variable Ratio

Fixed Interval Increase in

response before
Variable Interval long pauses after
Schedules of Reinforcement: VI

Fixed Ratio VI: Correct response is reinforced

after varying amounts of time.
Variable Ratio

Fixed Interval Slower, steady


Variable Interval
Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery
LO 5.13 Describe the processes of extinction and spontaneous recovery.

Extinction: Decrease in the Spontaneous

strength or frequency, or recovery:
stopping, of a learned Learned response
response because of: suddenly reappears
• failure to continue pairing on its own.
the US and CS (classical
• withholding of
reinforcement (operant
Extinction & Spontaneous Recovery
in Classical Conditioning

CS-US paired CS alone Rest CS alone

Amount of

Extinction in Operant Conditioning
Extinguishing operantly conditioned responses
depends on a number of factors:

1 Strength of the original learning.

Pattern of reinforcement.
Variety of settings in which the original
3 learning took place.

Complexity of the behavior.

Learning through punishment vs.
Stimulus Control

• Control of conditioned responses by cues or stimuli

in the environment.
Occurs in classical conditioning?
• YES ___ NO ___

Occurs in operant conditioning?

• YES ___ NO ___
Stimulus Generalization
LO 5.14 Describe the processes of generalization and discrimination in classical and
operant conditioning.

Stimulus Response
generalization: generalization:
Transfer of a learned Giving a response that
response to different is somewhat different from
but similar stimuli. the response originally
Occurs in classical learned to that stimulus.
Occurs in classical
• YES ___ NO ___ conditioning?
Occurs in operant • YES ___ NO ___
Occurs in operant
• YES ___ NO ___ conditioning?
• YES ___ NO ___
Stimulus Discrimination

• Learning to respond to only one stimulus and to

inhibit the response to all other stimuli
Occurs in classical conditioning?
• YES ___ NO ___

Occurs in operant conditioning?

• YES ___ NO ___
New Learning Based on Original Learning
LO 5.15 Explain what is meant by higher order conditioning and differentiate between primary
and secondary reinforcers.

Higher order conditioning:

Conditioning based on previous learning
• Conditioned stimulus serves as an
unconditioned stimulus for further training.

Conditioned Unconditioned Unconditioned
Stimulus Stimulus Response
New Learning Based on Original Learning

Primary Secondary
reinforcers: reinforcers:
Reinforcers that Reinforcers whose
are rewarding in value is acquired
themselves through association
with other primary
or secondary
Summing Up
“The main difference between…(classical and operant conditioning) is
that in classical conditioning, the learner is passive and the behavior
involved is usually involuntary, whereas in operant conditioning, the
learner is active and the behavior involved is usually voluntary.”
– Learning Objective 5.15 (Morris and Maisto)
Cognitive Learning
Cognitive Learning
LO 5.16 Define cognitive learning and how it can be inferred from evidence of latent learning
and cognitive maps.

Learning that depends on mental

processes that are not directly
• Latent learning: Learning that
is not immediately reflected
in a behavior change.
• Cognitive map: A learned
mental image of a spatial
environment that may be
called on to solve problems
when stimuli in the
environment change.
Latent Learning and Cognitive Maps
Insight and Learning Sets
LO 5.17 Explain what is meant by insight and its relation to learning sets.

Learning that occurs rapidly as a
result of understanding all the
elements of a problem
Learning set:
The ability to become increasingly
more effective in solving problems
as more problems are solved
Learning by Observing
LO 5.18 Explain the process of observational (vicarious) learning and
the conditions under which it is most likely to be reflected in

Observational (vicarious) learning:

Learning by observing other people’s
behavior based on the punishment and
rewards others receive.
Vicarious reinforcement (punishment):
Reinforcement or punishment
experienced by models that affects the
willingness of others to perform the
behaviors they learned by observing
those models.
Learning and Performance

Learning can
occur without
Albert Bandura: Social Cognitive Theory

• The Bobo doll experiment

(1965) illustrated the influence
of modeled aggression on
preschool children.
• Children imitated aggressive
behaviors they observed.
• This had important
implications regarding
unintentionally teaching
aggression to children.
Results of Bandura’s Study
Cognitive Learning in Nonhumans
LO 5.19 Give examples of cognitive learning in nonhumans.

Experiments have revealed

that animals are capable
of various forms of
cognitive learning through:
• observing others
• experiencing pairing of
stimuli and responses
• acquiring behaviors in
response to rewards and
Basis and Focus
• Basis: Principles of cognitive psychology

• Focus: Role of cognitive processes in

• The mental processes involved in

– Observing, categorizing, forming

generalizations to make sense of the
information provided
Main Assumptions

• Learning results from internal mental

activity and not from externally imposed
• The learner comes with knowledge, skills
and related experiences to the learning
Role of the Learner

• Active participant in the learning process,

using various strategies to process and
construct their personal understanding of
the content to which they are exposed
Piaget, Bloom, Bruner, Ausubel

• Each of these psychologists focused on

different cognitive conditions that impact
on learning
Jean Piaget
• Constructed models of child development
and the learning process

• Identified 4 developmental stages and the

cognitive processes associated with each
of them
Developmental Stages
• Sensory-motor - understands his
environment through the basic senses

• Intuitive /Pre-operational - Thoughts

more flexible, memory and imagination
begin to play a part in learning, capable of
more creativity
• Concrete Operational – Can go beyond
the basic information given, but still
dependent on concrete material and
examples to support reasoning

• Formal Operational – Abstract reasoning

becomes increasingly possible

• Accommodation – The process by which

we modify what we already know to take
into account the new information

• The process by which new knowledge is

changed / modified / merged in our minds
to fit into what we already know

• The balance between what is known and

what is currently being processed,
mastery of the new material
Implications for the Classroom

• Learning is the process of relating new

information with what was previously

• Learning is cumulative

• Learners should be assigned tasks that

are age and stage appropriate
Bloom’s Taxonomy

• Identifies and describes, in hierarchical

order, the cognitive processes involved in
Implication for Teaching

• Use verbs aligned to the taxonomy to plan

lessons that would ensure that learners’
cognitive skills develop from LOTS to
Revised Taxonomy

• The original taxonomy has now been

revised to make provision for the new
knowledge and skills that now exist as a
result of the integration of web 2.0 tools in
Original and Revised Taxonomies
Bloom (Rev.) and Web 2.0
Jerome Bruner - Focus
Development of conceptual understanding,
cognitive skills and learning strategies rather
than the acquisition of knowledge
Bruner’s Focus

• Teaching Approach - Learners should be

encouraged to discover solutions via
appropriate tasks which require the
application of relevant critical thinking
Bruner – Modes of Thinking

• Extended aspects of Piaget’s theory. He

identified three ways in which learners
process information
• Enactive Level – learning takes place via
direct manipulation of objects and
• Iconic Level – Objects are represented by
visual images and are recognized for what
they represent
• Symbolic Level – Learning can take
place using symbols, objects and mental
images. Language is used to represent
thoughts and experiences
Implications for Teaching

• Providing opportunities for learners to be

actively engaged in making sense of the
language input, through meaningful tasks
• Providing opportunities for learners to
develop the ability to analyze the
language, make generalizations about
rules, take risks in trying out the language,
and to learn from errors
• Catering for interaction of learner with
curriculum material and the learning

• Catering for the three modes of thinking

• The Spiral Process: The cumulative
nature of learning requires frequent
opportunities for reviewing previously
learnt material even as new material is
David Ausubel - Focus

• Stressed the importance of active mental

participation in meaningful learning tasks

• Learning must be meaningful to be

effective and permanent
• Made a distinction between meaningful
learning and rote learning

• Meaningful Learning – relatable to what

one already knows so it can be easily
integrated in one’s existing cognitive
• Rote Learning – the material to be learnt
is not integrated / subsumed into an
existing cognitive structure but learnt as
isolated pieces of information
Implications for Classroom

• Teacher has to enhance the

meaningfulness of new material to
increase the chances of its being
anchored to what is already known
• New material must be organized to be
easily relatable to what is already known

• New material must be appropriately

sequenced to facilitate integration
• Use of advance organizers. These
facilitate the learning process by providing
ideas to which the new knowledge can be
Advance Organizers
• Introductory material presented in
advance of the new material

• Information that activates relevant

background knowledge
Advance Organizers
• Material that orients learners to the subject
matter and relates new learning to what is
already known

• Can take the form of textual material,

pictures, titles, topic summaries, questions
Attention should be given to:
• The need to organize and structure
meaningful learning activities.

• The requirements of the task must be

appropriate to the developmental stage
(Piaget, Bruner) and allow for the
development of HOTS (Bloom)
Moving from LOTS to HOTS
Lecture Activities
Classical Conditioning in the Classroom
Let’s see if we can set up and test a scenario for
classically conditioning a simple reflex, right here
in the classroom.
Pair up!
What shape would you like?

Using strict behavioral principles, let’s

see if we can shape someone into
performing a very simple behavior here
in class. We’ll need a victim…
Tony is 6 years old, with a father who is usually busy with work, and
who leaves most parental decisions to Tony’s mother. Recently, Tony
has begun to disobey his mother’s instructions, which causes Tony’s
father to spank him and lecture him about obedience. Afterwards,
Tony disobeys his mother even more than before. What conclusion(s)
can we reach?

A.The Law of Effect is not really a law, because it does not explain Tony’s
behavior – Tony is doing the behavior more even though the behavior is being
B.The Law of Effect does explain Tony’s behavior – Tony is being rewarded for
his behavior, so it happens more often.
C.Tony likely has a psychological disorder that leads to this behavior.
D.Tony’s parents are relying on classical conditioning instead of operant
Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment
In small groups, decide which of the following illustrates
negative reinforcement or punishment. Discuss your
1. Playing less aggressively in a soccer game to avoid a red card.
2. Being thrown out of a soccer game for playing too
3. Mailing your income tax in on time to avoid a late penalty.
4. Losing some of your money to pay a late penalty for filing your
taxes after April 15th.
5. Obeying your parent, before she reaches the “count of three,”
to avoid punishment.
Do we repeat the past?
What was your experience with punishment
and reward growing up? Were you rewarded
for good grades? How about spankings for
misbehavior? How did your parents encourage
and discourage your behaviors? Will you
punish and reward like your parents?
How strongly do you agree or disagree
with the following statements? Why?
1. My behavior is affected by what I see on
television and at the movies.
2. My emotions are affected by what I see on
television and at the movies.
3. My thoughts are affected by what I see on
television and at the movies.