Learning Notes. I think this is a fun lesson! Anyone with pets or children has seen how these principles are applied to behavior.

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1 Learning Notes I think this is a fun lesson! Anyone with pets or children has seen how these principles are applied to behavior.

2 Learning is more than taking classes! It changes your behavior and how you react in certain situations. A fixed action pattern is determined by genetics, specific to each species. For example, a bee does not learn to become aggressive at the sight of blue, her genes simply turn on. Some people believe that yawning is contagious (when you see someone yawn, you do, too) this may actually be a fixed action pattern in humans.

3 Pavlov's study of the conditioned reflex provided a model of learning called classical conditioning. He paired two unrelated stimuli so many times that his subject began to relate the two together! Here s what he did: 1. In a lab setting, he rigged up a platform to put a dog. 2. He fed the dog meat powder (like crushed up dog food) which made him (the dog, not Pavlov!) salivate. 3. Pavlov rang a bell each time he fed the dog the meat powder. At first the dog ignored it. 4. He started to ring the bell slightly BEFORE he gave the meat powder. The dog started to associate the bell with the coming food, and began to salivate. 5. Eventually, the ringing of the bell ALONE was enough of a stimulus to get the dog to salivate. 6. Good dog! Salivating at the meat powder is a reflex it s an autonomic response that s hardwired into the brain (the dog can t stop himself). Salivating at the bell is a conditioned response.

4 So here s the summary of Pavlov s experiment with all the terminology In Pavlov's experiments, a neutral stimulus (a bell s tone) was presented shortly before the unconditioned stimulus (food), which naturally elicited, or brought forth, an unconditioned response (salivation). After repeated pairings, the conditioned stimulus (the tone) alone came to elicit the conditioned response (salivation). Neutral Stimulus (NS): an occurrence that does not elicit a response Unconditioned stimulus (US): a stimulus that produces a response without prior learning Unconditioned response (UR): an unlearned response that is automatically associated with the unconditioned stimulus Conditioned Stimulus (CS): elicits the conditioned response after being paired with the unconditioned stimulus. This is really the NS after the learning has occurred! Conditioned Response (CR): the learned response to the conditioned stimulus that occurs after CS-US association But does it work with people, you ask. Sure! If I always eat popcorn at the movies, eventually I will associate one with the other. The smell of popcorn makes me feel like watching a movie! Seeing a movie seems to make me hungry!

5 Extinction is the weakening of the conditioned response in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus. If you stop giving the unconditioned stimulus (the food), eventually the conditioned stimulus (the tone) won t elicit a response. Extinction occurs when the conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus. ( You re not fooling me again! ) Spontaneous Recovery sometimes occurs when, after extinction, the conditioned stimulus is presented and the conditioned response reappears. Spontaneous recovery is the process by which a conditioned response can appear again after a time delay without further conditioning. ( There s always hope! ) Generalization occurs when a stimulus, similar to the conditioned stimulus, elicits the conditioned response. You look up whenever you hear a child call, Mom! and not just from your own children! Discrimination is the process of learning to respond to certain stimuli and not to others. You block out all cell phone rings except the silly song you programmed into your own.

6 In 1919 John Watson conditioned baby Albert to fear a white rat. He made a loud, startling sound, which made Albert cry. He continued to make the sound in the presence of the rat. When he stopped the sound, Albert associated the rat with the sound and cried. Little Albert also learned to fear other things that resembled the white furry rat (generalization). Watson showed that fear could be classically conditioned. See: Poor baby! Counterconditioning is a classical conditioning procedure for weakening a conditioned response of fear by associating the fear-provoking stimulus with a new response that is incompatible with the fear. Think of it as retraining someone. Imagine that you fear spiders. If someone began to sing a song to you in the presence of spiders, you will eventually associate the song with spiders (and maybe not feel as afraid). The critical element in classical conditioning is whether the conditioned stimulus provides information that enables the organism to reliably predict the occurrence of the unconditioned stimulus. Types of responses acquired through classical conditioning include positive and negative emotional responses (including likes, dislikes, fears, and phobias), drug cravings in former drug users, and conditioned immune responses. [how many of you have the Itsy Bitsy Spider song stuck in your head?]

7 B.F. Skinner proposed the theory of operant conditioning (instrumental conditioning), a form of learning in which the consequences of behavior produce changes in behavior. A reward of some kind will increase a behavior; a punishment will reduce a behavior. The subject (person, pet, etc.) can CHOOSE to change his/her behavior to receive a reward. This is very different from classical conditioning, in which associations are formed beyond the subject s choice to react. Thorndike s Law of Effect : The consequences, or effect, of a response will determine whether the tendency to respond in the same way in the future will be strengthened or weakened. Put another way, we have a tendency to repeat responses that give us pleasure and avoid situations that have unpleasant consequences. Skinner's major contribution to psychology was his extensive and significant research on operant conditioning. Applications of operant conditioning include training animals to provide entertainment (jump, Shamu!), to help physically challenged people use biofeedback to gain control over internal physiological processes, and the use of behavior modification techniques to eliminate undesirable behavior and/or encourage desirable behavior in individuals or groups. Real world example: toilet-training a toddler by giving him/her candy whenever s/he goes into the toilet. Why do you obey the rules of the road (more or less)? Because you are avoiding punishment (ticket, higher insurance)!

8 Reinforcers are anything that follows a response that increases the likelihood that the response will occur again. Positive reinforcement (reward) = giving something GOOD to increase the behavior. If a child gets good grades in school, we can give a reward, such as money, to encourage him to try to get good grades again. Negative reinforcement (reward) = removing something BAD to increase the behavior. Many people mix up negative reinforcement with punishment! Negative reinforcement is actually a GOOD thing: If a child gets good grades in school, we can take away something he doesn t like, such as doing chores, to encourage him to try to get good grades again. Punishment = giving something BAD to decrease the behavior. If a child gets bad grades in school, we can give more study time, to make him work harder to get good grades next time. Response cost (negative punishment) = removing something GOOD to decrease the behavior. We can take away the child s television time, extracurricular activities, or Gameboy until he brings his grades up! praise, votes, etc.

9 Punishment is used to decrease the frequency of a response; negative reinforcement is used to increase the frequency of a response. Punishment generally suppresses, rather than extinguishes, behavior; it does not help people develop more appropriate behaviors. And it can cause fear, anger, hostility, and aggression in the punished person. Punishment is most effective when it is given immediately after undesirable behavior, when it is consistently applied, and when it is just intense enough to suppress the behavior. Primary reinforcers are those that fulfill a basic physical need for survival and do not depend on learning, i.e. food. These reinforcers are innately satisfying. Secondary reinforcers are acquired or learned by association with other reinforcers, i.e. money. These reinforcers acquire their positive value through experience. Internal reinforcers are also innately satisfying, but relate to an individual s motivation (not survival): self-esteem, happiness... Something you can give yourself. External reinforcers come from others: money, grades, praise, votes, etc.

10 Yes, it s science fiction. Yes, it s violent. This is a view of the future through the eyes of famous director Stanley Kubrick a view from 1971 of what the future of 1995 would look like! This film has much for this class. Social psychology? Gangs! Drugs! Raping and killing! Institutions? Check! Therapy? Check! The reason I include it here is for the therapy Alex receives, a perfect example of classical conditioning.

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