Psychology of Learning

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1 Classical Conditioning Pavlov and the Dogs Little Albert UCS UCR Neutral stimulus CS CR Stimulus discrimination Stimulus generalization Extinction Spontaneous recovery Conditioned compensatory response Taste aversion Biological preparedness Psychology of Learning Operant Conditioning B.F. Skinner Operant conditioning Reinforcement (+ and -) Punishment (+ and -) Dangers of punishments Alternatives to punishments Primary reinforcer Conditioned reinforcer Discriminative stimulus Continuous reinforcer Partial reinforcement (FR, VR, FI, VI) Extinction Shaping Behavior modification Instinctive drift Latent learning Learned Helplessness Observational Learning Cognitive factors to determine if imitation occurs Factors that increase the likelihood of imitation Does Reel violence

2 Description of the Schedules of Reinforcement Schedule of reinforcement: The delivery of a reinforcer according to a preset pattern based on the number of responses (a ratio) or the time interval (interval) between responses. FIXED VARIABLE RATIO (#) fixed ratio (FR): which a reinforcer is delivered after a fixed number of responses has occurred. A food dispenser drops one food pellet after a pigeon pecks at a bar 25 times. variable ratio (VR): which a reinforcer is randomly delivered on a preset ratio. A pigeon has a 1/25 chance of receiving a food pellet for every peck on the bar. INTERVAL (time) fixed interval (FI): which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response after a fixed time interval has elapsed. A pigeon received a food pellet after the first press of the bar after a two minute interval. variable interval (VI): which a reinforcer is randomly delivered for each time interval. A pigeon has a 1/120 chance every second to receive a food pellet after every press of the bar.

3 Examples of each Schedule of Reinforcement FIXED VARIABLE RATIO (# of responses) INTERVAL (time) A food dispenser drops one food pellet after a pigeon pecks at a bar 25 times. A fictitious lottery that pays $1000 for the 2000th ticket bought. You win for every six rolls on a six-sided die. A traveling salesman gets a bonus for every fourth set of encyclopedias he sells. Phil, a real estate broker gets a bonus for every ten houses sold. Getting paid $30 for every 3 lawns you mow. A pigeon received a food pellet after the first press of the bar after a two-minute interval. A fictitious lottery that pays $1000 for the first purchase after the 14th day of each month. Health inspects that occur in January and July. Scheduled drug testing Levar, an employee at McDonalds gets paid every two weeks. Receiving $40 for every day spent collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment. A pigeon gets a food pellet, on the average every 25 pecks on the bar. A pigeon has a 1/25 chance of receiving a food pellet for every peck on the bar. The lottery gives out $1000 for every 2,000 tickets printed. You win for every roll of a six on a six-sided die. A baseball player with a batting average of.333 will get a hit about 1/3 of the time. Baseball cards packs have four "premium card" per box. Slot machines payouts. A pigeon receives a food pellet after the first press of the bar at about 2 minutes. A pigeon has a 1/120 chance every second to receive a food pellet after every press of the bar. A fictitious lottery that has a 12/365 chance to pay $1000 each day. Random health inspections that occur twice a year. Random drug testing.

4 The likely effect of a schedule of reinforcement on behavior FIXED VARIABLE RATIO Produces a high rate of responding that follows a burst-pause-burst pattern. A pause after each reinforcer is obtained is usually occurs. Produces a high rate of response with hardly any pauses between trials or reinforcement. Learning is more permanent and difficult to extinguish or eliminate. Depending on the behavior, this can be good or bad. If you get paid $20 for mowing 2 lawns, you tend to take a break after mowing 2 lawns. Imagine having a 50% chance of getting paid $20 for mowing a lawn. There is no break in behavior. INTERVAL Produces a pattern of responses where very few responses are obtained until the fixed interval of time approaches. The rate of response dramatically increases at this interval. Employee performance increases when they know their annual review draws near and decreases just as soon as it is over. A health inspection every January and July. Produces a pattern of moderate and steady responses. It is not a good schedule for initial learning, but produces a highly stable performance. Random and/or surprise inspections by the health department.

5 (1) Reference: /savingspoll html, Spenders and Savers. (2) Summary: According to a Consumer Federation of American and the financial services firm Primamerica, about _ of Americans believe that their best chance to build wealth for retirement is to win the lottery, not patiently saving. People with incomes less than $35K, this number jumps to 40%. In addition, 47% of all those surveyed said that saving and investing their income was the most reliable route to wealth. However, the odds of winning a big lottery jackpot is 10 to 20 million to one (you are more likely to be struck by lightning). Despite these statistics, people continue to gamble for the future. Unknown to many people is the power of compound interest. This is especially true for younger and lower-income Americans, along with women. If you put away $50 a week ($200/month) at a 9% annual rate for 40 years, you would get $1,026,853. Very few people have any savings (over $1000) for the future. (3) Relation to one of the topics in psychology 202 This article is mostly about people s misconceptions about preparing for the future. In Chapter 5, the psychology of learning, we learned about schedules of reinforcements such as the variable ratio schedule. The variable ratio schedule is one where reinforcements (winning a lottery) is delivered after an average number of responses. This makes gambling a very persistent behavior that is hard to extinguish.

6 (4) Dangers of not recognizing the variable ratio schedule The variable ratio schedule of reinforcement make it much more likely that one s behavior will be quite persistent and difficult to extinguish. Without realizing this, a person may overestimate one s ability to stop their gambling behavior. (5) Describe how this issue relates to a second psychological concept Another psychological concept that is related to this issue the availability heuristic. The availability heuristic is the tendency to overestimate the frequency of an event based on the ease to recall examples of that event. We tend to remember and recall winners. They are talked about and heard. What is not heard is the enormous number of losers. (6) Relate this main point of this issue to a different issue or context. Another issue that is involves is the public education of finances. We need to educate the public about managing their finances. Many people do not know about the power of compound interest, the dangers of relying on gambling for the future. In addition, this relates to economics. Many people in this country do not make a sustainable wage. While overall wealth has increased, it is limited to a few. The average income for CEOs increased over 500%, while for the working class, it has increased on an average of 17%. Working class citizens have a difficult time making ends meet with wages do no increase with the cost of living (eg. rent and utilities). In addition, this can tie into the debate of social security reform (which I won t go into).

7 (7) Additional information that would provide some depth or context I would like to know how the lives of those who have won the lottery are faring now. I have heard that some of them have squandered their money already and are in fact worse off. Likewise, I would like to know what the financial burden is on the American government or the children of parents who have not adequately prepared for the future, or those who don t have children to take care of them who are not adequately prepared for retirement. Whose responsibility is it to prepare people for retirement? Whose responsibility is it to teach people for retirement, and what is being done about it? In addition, what is the distribution of wealth and the real costs of living in America, especially in urban areas? Can people making minimum wage afford $200. A large number of working individuals in Los Angeles (and many other cities) find that their citizens are hungry and need food assistance.

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