Chapter 6: Conditioning and Learning

Learning: Some Key Terms

Learning: Relatively permanent change in behavior due to experience – Does NOT include temporary changes due to disease, injury, maturation, injury, or drugs, since these do NOT qualify as learning

Learning: Some More Key Terms

Response: Any identifiable behavior – Internal: Faster heartbeat – Observable: Eating, scratching

Learning: Two More Key Terms

• •

Antecedents: Events that precede a response Consequences: Effects that follow a response

• •

Antecendents happen Ahead of response, Consequences Can follow. Response equals BEHAVIOR (internal, observable).

• •

Reinforcement: Any event that increases the probability that a response will recur – Lack of response is a response also (opposite) Reflex: Automatic, non-learned response

Classical Conditioning

• • •

Ivan Pavlov: Russian physiologist who initially was studying digestion Used dogs to study salivation when dogs were presented with meat powder Also known as Pavlovian or Respondent Conditioning

Figure 7.3

Table 7.1

Classical Conditioning

• • • • • • • •

Stimulus causes Response Neutral, Unconditioned, Conditioned Something that causes no response (at first) is Neutral NS Unconditioned Stimulus causes Unconditioned Response US/UR Conditioned Stimulus causes Conditioned Response CS/CR Conditioning takes a NS and turns it into CS/CR by using the NS with US/UR first. Bell…Meat…Drool…Bell…Drool NS…US…UR…CS…CR

Principles of Classical Conditioning

• Acquisition: Training period when a response • • •
is strengthened Higher Order Conditioning: A conditioned stimulus is used to reinforce further learning ( Expectancy: Anticipation concerning future events or relationships

More Classical Conditioning Terms

• Extinction: Weakening of a conditioned •

response through removal of reinforcement Spontaneous Recovery: Reappearance of a learned response following apparent extinction

Figure 7.4

More Principles of Classical Conditioning

Stimulus Generalization: A tendency to respond to stimuli that are similar, but not identical to, a conditioned stimulus (e.g., responding to a buzzer or a hammer banging when the conditioning stimulus was a bell) Stimulus Discrimination: The learned ability to respond differently to similar stimuli (e.g., Anya will respond differently to various bells: alarms, school, timer)

Classical Conditioning in Humans

• Conditioned

Emotional Response (CER): Learned emotional reaction to a previously neutral stimulus

Stimulus Generalization

Phobia: Intense, unrealistic, irrational fear of a specific situation or object (e.g., fear of spiders, fear of dark, etc.)

Classical Conditioning in Humans, Cont.

• Desensitization:

Exposing phobic people gradually to feared stimuli while they stay calm and relaxed
Gradually, comfort level increases. Good strategy for “real life”… “Feel the fear and do it anyway”…

Vicarious Classical Conditioning: Learning to respond emotionally to a stimulus by observing another’s emotional reactions

It can be true that “Children learn what they live.” l

Learning based on the consequences of responding; we associate responses with their consequences Law of Effect (Thorndike): The probability of a response is altered by the effect it has; responses that lead to desired effects are repeated; those that lead to undesired effects are not

Operant Conditioning (Instrumental Learning)

More Operant Conditioning Terms

• Operant Reinforcer: Any event that follows a • •
response and increases its likelihood of recurring Conditioning Chamber (Skinner Box): Apparatus designed to study operant conditioning in animals Response-Contingent Reinforcement: Reinforcement given only when a particular response occurs

Skinner Box

Figure 7.9

Timing of Reinforcement

• Operant reinforcement most effective when • •

given immediately after a correct response Effectiveness of reinforcement is inversely related to time elapsed after correct response occurs Response Chain: A linked series of actions that leads to reinforcement

Timing of Reinforcement (cont.)

• Superstitious Behavior: Behavior that is • •

repeated to produce reinforcement, even though it is not necessary Shaping: Molding responses gradually in a step-by-step fashion to a desired pattern Successive Approximations: Ever-closer matches

Operant Extinction

• Definition: When learned responses that are •
NOT reinforced gradually fade away Negative Attention Seeking: Using misbehavior to gain attention

Figure 7.10

Figure 7.12

More Operant Conditioning Terms

Positive Reinforcement: When a response is followed by a reward or other positive event + something

Negative Reinforcement is not Punishment

Negative Reinforcement: When a response is followed by the removal of an unpleasant event (e.g., the bells in Fannie’s car stop when she puts the seatbelt on, a loud, unpleasant alarm is silenced); ends discomfort- something


Any event that follows a response and decreases the likelihood of it recurring (e.g., a spanking)

Response Cost-Loss of something positive

Response Cost: Reinforcer or positive thing is removed (e.g., losing Xbox™ privileges)

Figure 7.1

Types of Reinforcers

Primary Reinforcer: Nonlearned and natural; satisfies physiological needs (e.g., food, water, sex)

More Reinforcer Types

Secondary Reinforcer: Learned reinforcer (e.g., money, grades, approval, praise)

Token Reinforcer: Tangible secondary reinforcer (e.g., money, gold stars, poker chips)

Social Reinforcer: Provided by other people (e.g., learned desires for attention and approval)

Intracranial Stimulation (ICS): Natural primary reinforcer; involves direct electrical activation of brain’s “pleasure centers”.

Figure 7.16

Feedback and Knowledge of Results

• Information about the effect a response had • Knowledge of Results (KR): Increased
feedback; informational

Las Vegas-a study in the power of partial reinforcement:

• •

• • •

Slots: a human “Skinner Box” Imagine two scenarioscontinuous reinforcement, partial reinforcement. Missing is incorporated into part of the response chain, so people don’t know when to quit, when the reward is unlikely Lever, reward…primary reinforcer Stimulation…secondary reinforcers (esp. “near misses”) Hard to quit for some due to the partial reinforcement effect

Programmed Instruction

• Information is presented in small amounts,
gives immediate practice, and provides continuous feedback-example:

Figure 7.17

Programmed Instruction, cont.

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI): Learning is aided by computer-presented information and exercises – Drill and practice – Instructional games (interest, motivation) – Educational simulations

Drill and Practice

• Example•

Instructional Games Many primary and secondary schools use these now. Examples

Educational Simulations

• Example•

Figure 7.18

Virtual curriculum-exciting possibilities! Learners are ready, shaped by video games, computer use…

Reinforcement and Stimulus Control

• •

Again, discoveries “by accident” (so the story goes)…the value of being mindful of that which presents itself vs. that which is planned, expected, sought… Schedules of Reinforcement – Continuous Reinforcement – Partial Reinforcement • Highly resistant to extinction –the “partial reinforcement effect”

Las Vegas-a study in the power of partial reinforcement:

• •

• • •

Slots: a human “Skinner Box” Imagine two scenarioscontinuous reinforcement, partial reinforcement. Missing is incorporated into part of the response chain, so people don’t know when to quit, when the reward is unlikely Lever, reward…primary reinforcer Stimulation…secondary reinforcers (esp. “near misses”) Hard to quit for some due to the partial reinforcement effect

Partial Reinforcement

• Reinforcers do NOT follow every response • Schedules of Reinforcement: Plans for • •

determining which responses will be reinforced Continuous Reinforcement: A reinforcer follows every correct response Partial Reinforcement Effect: Responses acquired with partial reinforcement are very resistant to extinction

Schedules of Partial Reinforcement

• Fixed Ratio Schedule (FR): A set number of •

correct responses must be made to obtain a reinforcer very high/resist ex: kids asking? Variable Ratio Schedule (VR): Varied number of correct responses must be made to get a reinforcer very high/greater resist ex: kids asking?

Schedules of Partial Reinforcement (cont.)

• Fixed Interval Schedule (FI): The first correct •

response made after a certain amount of time has elapsed is reinforced-mod/resist ex: turkey, exams? Variable Interval Schedule (VI): Reinforcement is given for the first correct response made after a varied amount of time slow, steady/very resist ex: busy signal?

Figure 7.19

Stimulus Control

Stimuli that consistently precede a rewarded response tend to influence when and where the response will occur “Notice something, do something, get something.”

Stimulus Control (cont.)

• Operant Stimulus Discrimination: Occurs •

when one learns to differentiate between antecedent stimuli that signal either a reward or a nonreward Discriminative Stimuli: Stimuli that precede reinforced and nonreinforced responses


Punisher: Any consequence that reduces the frequency of a target behavior

Keys to Punishment and Responses

• Timing • Consistency • Intensity

Punishment Concepts

• Aversive Stimulus:

Stimulus that is painful or uncomfortable (e.g., a shock)

• Escape Learning: Learning to make a

response to end an aversive stimulus ex: conversation w/disliked person

• Avoidance Learning: Learning to make a

response in order to postpone or prevent discomfort

Escape/Avoid Punishment-Supresses Responses

Figure 7.22

If you must punish, here’s how:

1. Don’t use punishment if

you can discourage misbehavior in other waysLiberal use of positive reinforcement Praise positive behavior Ignore negative behavior (Extinction)

2. Punish during or
immediately after misbehavior -older kids, adults, you can bridge time by clearly stating what you are punishing for -young kids, animals-don’t bother, wait til next time

Use the minimum punishment necessary to supress misbehavior-make the punishment fit the “crime”

4. Be consistent.

Be very clear. Don’t punish something one day and not the next. Caregivers should try to punish kids for the same things in the same way. Children remember the “one time” you do or don’t…

5. Expect anger from the
punished person. Briefly acknowledge this anger, but don’t reinforce it. Be willing to admit your mistake if you wrongfully punish. Examples?

6. Punish with patience and
respect, with kindness if possible. Allow the person to retain self-respect-don’t punish in front of others, for example. A good relationship minimizes behavior problems.

7. Be sure to reinforce
positive behaviors!

Consequences of Physical Punishment: Effective but HABIT FORMING…and it creates NEW Behavior Problems: Fear, Sadness, Aggression…

Cognitive Learning

• Higher-level learning involving thinking, • • •

knowing, understanding, and anticipating Latent Learning: Occurs without obvious reinforcement and is not demonstrated until reinforcement is provided Rote Learning: Takes place mechanically, through repetition and memorization, or by learning a set of rules Discovery Learning: Based on insight and understanding

Figure 7.23

Figure 7.24

Modeling or Observational Learning (Albert Bandura) • Occurs by watching and imitating actions of another person or by noting consequences of a person’s actions – Occurs before direct practice is allowed • Model: Someone who serves as an example

Steps to Successful Modeling

• Pay attention to model and remember what • • • •

was done Reproduce modeled behavior If a model is successful or his/her behavior is rewarded, behavior more likely to recur Once response is tried, normal reinforcement determines whether it will be repeated Bandura created modeling theory with classic Bo-Bo Doll (inflatable clown) experiments

AGGRESSION: Do TV/Video Games promote it?

Figure 7.26

Effects of TV

• Reading development declined-cc • Children’s scores on tests of creativity • •

dropped Perceptions of sex roles more stereotyped Significant increase in verbal and physical aggression

• Should the US regulate TV/Video violence

Self-Managed Behavior: Freedom from responses, habits…new possibilities!

Self-Managed Behavior

Premack Principle: Any high frequency response used to reinforce a low frequency response (e.g., no Halo or GTA until you finish your homework) Self-Recording: Selfmanagement based on keeping records of response frequencies

A Rewarding Project-Change A Behavior!

• • • • • • •

Choose a target behavior Record a baseline Establish goals Choose reinforcers Record your progress Reward successes Adjust your plan as your learn more about your behavior

How to Break Bad Habits

• • • •

Alternate Responses: Try to get the same reinforcement with a new response Extinction: Try to discover what is reinforcing an unwanted response and remove, avoid, or delay the reinforcement Response Chains: Break up the chain of events that leads to an undesired response Cues and Antecedents: Try to avoid, narrow down, or remove stimuli that elicit the bad habit

Behavioral Contracting-Get Help

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Behavioral Contract: Formal agreement stating behaviors to be changed and consequences that apply; written contract State a specific problem behavior you wish to control or a goal you wish to achieve State the rewards you will get, privileges you will forfeit, or punishments you will get Type the contract, sign it, and get a person you trust to sign it