1 Unit VI Learning Overview How we learn is one of humanity s most enduring questions and Unit VI defines and identifies four basic forms of learning: operant, classical, observational, and cognitive learning. This unit explores the early work and research of behaviorists Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner, along with the more recent contributions of Edward Tolman and John Garcia. Significant time is spent comparing the applications of operant and classical conditioning to our real life of work, school and home. Alternate methods of learning, such as latent learning and cognitive maps, are examined and compared to classical and operant conditioning. Albert Bandura s research on modeling behavior and the research into mirror neurons and empathy are also reviewed. Modules 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning 27 Operant Conditoning 28 Operant Conditioning s Applications, and Comparison to Classical Conditioning 29 Biology, Cognition, and Learning 30 Learning by Observation Tip #6 Reinforce Yourself! How perfect to study about learning while you are striving to be a better learner! Now is the time to put operant conditioning principles into play. This unit teaches positive reinforcement methods that can be used to increase repetition of desired behavior. You will find it simple to set up reinforcements to develop good study habits, and become a life-long learner. First, as we discussed in Tip #4, break your studying into small, 30 minute chunks. After each chunk of study time, reward yourself with some positive reinforcement. Rewards are relative (that is known as the Premack Principle) so make sure the reward works for you. It might be a food treat, an internet or texting break, a run around the block, or some quiet reflection outdoors. Whatever works to motivate you is great! Then, when you receive your desired score on a quiz or test, give yourself another positive reinforcement: perhaps a movie night, time with friends, or time to read a book you enjoy. Over time, you will find that you have developed stronger study habits and you won t need to reward yourself every time (remember this when you reach reinforcement schedules later in this unit!)
2 Module 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning Module Summary Before You Read Module 26 defines learning and identifies some basic forms of learning. The components of classical conditioning and behaviorism s view of learning are presented alongside a discussion of the specific processes of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination. The module concludes with an explanation of the applications and evidence of the importance of Ivan Pavlov s and John B. Watson s work. Before beginning the module, take a moment to read each of the following terms and names you will encounter. You may wish to make vocabulary cards for each. Key Terms learning habituation associative learning stimulus cognitive learning classical conditioning behaviorism neutral stimulus (NS) unconditioned response (UR) unconditioned stimulus (US) conditioned response (CR) conditioned stimulus (CS) acquisition higher-order conditioning extinction spontaneous recovery generalization discrimination Key Names Ivan Pavlov John B. Watson 144
3 While You Read 145 Answer the following questions/prompts While You Read 1. Your text defines learning as the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviors. Why would a behavior or information have to endure in order to be considered learned? A possible sample answer: Learning allows us to adapt to our environment; if a learned behavior or information did not endure, we would not be able to adapt and survive. 2. List three behaviors you have learned since middle school. (Remember... : enduring behaviors = learned.) 3. The text states that we learn by association or linking two sequential events. Refer to two of the learned behaviors you listed in #2 and detail the process of how you associated the events leading to each. Behavior #1: Answers will vary but should demonstrate an understanding of how the behavior came to be associated with the accompanying event. Behavior #2: 4. List and include a brief explanation of each of the three types of learning described in your textbook. a. classical conditioning learning to expect and prepare for significant events such as food or pain b. operant conditioning learning to repeat acts that bring rewards and to avoid acts that bring unwanted results c. cognitive learning (Observational learning, one form of cognitive learning, lets us learn from others experiences.) 145
4 146 Module 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning 5. A circus lion repeatedly receives a smack on the nose just after the trainer walks into the cage. The lion shrinks from the trainer s slap each time and eventually cowers in the corner of the cage when the trainer enters. What would a behaviorist call this increased withdrawal response? Explain your answer. This response is associative learning: The lion has associated the trainer with the pain experienced by the trainer s slap Define and give an example from your own life of classical learning. 2. Why were Pavlov s findings so important to behaviorism? He laid the groundwork for Watson and others by discarding references to inner thoughts, feelings, and motives. He suggested that psychology instead should study how organisms respond to stimuli in their environments. 3. Complete the table below with the term, definition, and example from Pavlov s classic experiment. One has been filled in for you. Component Full Term Definition Pavlovian Example US unconditioned a stimulus that naturally food stimulus (unconditionally) triggers a response UR unconditioned an unlearned, naturally salivation to the food response occurring response to in the mouth an unconditioned response NS CS CR neutral stimulus a stimulus that elicits no things the dog could see and hear but response before conditioning didn t associate with food conditioned an originally irrelevant stimulus tone stimulus that, after association with a US, comes to trigger a conditioned response conditoned a learned response to a salivation in response to the tone response previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus
5 While You Read Using Figure 26.4 and the chart in #3, properly label the two associative learning examples below. a. A young man and woman who are in love listen to Beyoncé s love songs when they drive around together. Later, when the young man is alone in the car, he hears Beyoncé on the radio and thinks lovingly of his girlfriend and the great times they have together. US: young woman UR: love NS: Beyonce song CS: Beyonce song CR: loving thoughts b. Look at Figure 26.1 and correctly label the components of the classically conditioned relationship between thunder and lightning. US: thunder boom UR: fear/startled reaction/wincing NS: lightning CS: lightning CR: fear/startled reaction/wincing How does higher-order conditioning differ from the initial acquisition of the stimulus-response relationship? In higher-order conditioning, a new NS can be added onto an existing CS and become a new CS, separate from the original existing CS. This is also called second-order conditioning.
6 148 Module 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning 2. Write two examples that demonstrate how higher-order conditioning can be applied to example #4a (Beyoncé tunes) and #4b (thunder and lightning) above. Answers will vary but should show association of the new stimulus to the previously conditioned stimulus. 3. Give an example from your life of higher-order conditioning. 4. How did Ivan Pavlov extinguish the conditioned response (CR) in his dogs? Use classical conditioning terms in your response. Pavlov sounded the tone (the CS) over and over again without providing the food (the US) again. 5. Give an example from your school life of how generalization can be adaptive. 6. How can generalization be maladaptive? If we generalize a response to multiple stimuli that didn t originally provoke that response, we may limit our experiences. If we were conditioned to dislike a particular teacher but generalized that dislike to all teachers, we would create an environment that doesn t predict success in school. 7. Define discrimination in classical conditioning. Then, describe how a researcher would teach an animal to discriminate between relevant and irrelevant stimuli. Use classical conditioning terms in your response. Discrimination is the ability to respond to one stimulus but not to another, perhaps similar stimulus. For instance, Pavlov could have conditioned his dogs to salivate to a tone, but not to a bell by providing food when the tone (CS) sounds, but not when the bell rings.
7 After You Read Complete the chart below to apply the principles of classical conditioning to the three examples discussed in the text. Example #1 Example #2 Example #3 Component Former Drug User Body s Immune System Little Albert US drug particular drug hammer on steel bar UR craving influence on immune response fear/startled reaction/tears NS people or places where they used the drug taste white rat CS people or places where taste white rat they used the drug CR craving influence on immune response fear After You Read Module 26 Review Label the five basic components of classical conditioning in each of the scenarios below. 1. Ahmed is a mediocre student in school and over the years has received many lectures from his parents about his poor study habits. He received another report card full of Cs and Ds today, and he knows that once his parents come home from work they will want to lecture him again. To distract himself from his nervousness, he plays his video games for several hours but later, as he hears the garage door open, Ahmed s heart begins to race. US: parents lecture UR: NS: CS: CR: heart racing garage door opening garage door opening heart racing
8 150 Module 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning 2. As a child, Charlotte was an avid reader who spent hours buried deep in classic and exciting literature. Her favorite reading spot was in the back yard in her swing under a strong oak tree. Years later, as an adult, Charlotte is looking through a magazine selling tree swings and feels the rush of good memories. US: reading UR: NS: CS: CR: enjoyment swing swing enjoyment 3. Your history instructor enjoys incorporating student projects into the class. You, however, typically do poorly on projects and prefer to learn from lectures. When your instructor creates a project, she produces the guidelines on colored paper to make it stand out. Today, as she enters the class, you see that she has a stack of colored paper in her hands and immediately you become agitated and upset. US: doing projets UR: NS: CS: CR: agitation and upset colored paper colored paper agitation and upset In the following two scenarios, label the five basic components of classical conditioning and then respond to the prompt that follows it. 4. a. Each time you come home from school, you head to the kitchen to fill up your dog Lassie s food bowl. Lassie excitedly devours her food with her tail swinging. You notice after a few weeks that Lassie has conditioned your arrival home from school with a filled food bowl and eagerly comes running to the door to greet you when you come in. US: feeding Lassie filling up her bowl UR: Lassie running to you/experiencing hunger NS: CS: CR: coming in the door coming in the door Lassie running to you/experiencing hunger b. After learning about higher-order classical conditioning, you become interested in teaching Lassie to respond to additional cues. Describe how you will teach Lassie to associate two new neutral stimuli with being fed. Any two stimuli (doorbell, hand clapping, special phrase, for example) will be attached to the already established CS of the backpack drop and trials will occur to cement learning. For example: Hand clap + backpack drop + feeding Lassie = Lassie comes running.
9 After You Read a. Your 2-year-old cousin AnnaBeth giggles delightedly every time her father picks her up and tosses her into the air. Now each time she sees her father, she feels great love and enjoyment at being with him. US: tossing up in the air UR: NS: CS: CR: giggles and feelings of love father father feelings of love and enjoyment b. Using the principle of generalization explain why AnnaBeth now runs up to her friends fathers with the same delight and excitement with which she approaches her father. AnnaBeth sees in her friends fathers the qualities that exist in her father (bright smile, warm response, kind voice, and so on) and has generalized her love/hugging response to them. c. Using the principle of discrimination, explain how you can teach AnnaBeth only to respond this way to her father. In order to teach her to discriminate and only respond to HER father, she will need to be rewarded (hugged back, greeted fondly, thrown up into the air, and such) only by HER father and the other fathers will not reward her hugging behavior. Choose the best answers to the following questions. 6. The repeated presenting of the conditioned stimulus without being followed by the unconditioned stimulus will result in a. discrimination of the unconditioned response. b. generalization of the conditioned response. c. extinction of the neutral stimulus. d. extinction of the conditioned response. e. generalization of the unconditioned response. 7. Which of the following best defines spontaneous recovery? a. The reappearance of a weakened conditioned response. b. The reappearance of the original unconditioned stimulus. c. The recovery of the generalized response. d. The extinction of the original neutral stimulus. e. The immediate resurgence of the unconditioned stimulus. 8. A pigeon pecking at an orange oval and not a red circle in order to receive a food reward is an example of a. shaping. b. extinction. c. stimulus generalization. d. stimulus discrimination. e. acquisition.
10 152 Module 26 How We Learn and Classical Conditioning 9. A behaviorist would most likely explain the pigeon s behavior above as a result of a. being reinforced for desired behaviors. b. brain structures that detect color variations. c. unconscious avian instincts for color. d. a free choice the pigeon made to prefer orange to red. e. a deficit of cones along the retina for color detection. 10. Grandpa and Grandma Jackson s 4-year-old grandson Chandler frequently has temper tantrums to get his way when he comes to visit. Tired of giving into him, Chandler s grandparents choose to ignore his outbursts and not give in to his demands, and after a while they notice that Chandler is no longer misbehaving. Grandma and Grandpa Jackson succeeded by applying the behaviorist principles of a. stimulus discrimination. b. stimulus generalization. c. cognitive learning. d. positive punishment. e. extinction.
11 Module 27 Operant Conditioning Module Summary Before You Read Module 27 defines and describes operant conditioning and presents the difference between positive and negative reinforcement. B. F. Skinner s experiments and their importance to behavioral psychology are disscussed. The basic types of reinforcers and the schedules in which those reinforcers most affect behavior are reviewed. This module also includes a detailed discussion of punishment and its effect on behavior as well as how it differs from negative reinforcement. The module wraps up with a discussion of the controversy surrounding B.F. Skinner s views of human behavior. Before beginning the module, take a moment to read each of the following terms and names you will encounter. You may wish to make vocabulary cards for each. Key Terms Key Names operant conditioning conditioned reinforcer Edward Thorndike law of effect reinforcement schedule B. F. Skinner operant chamber reinforcement shaping discriminative stimulus positive reinforcement negative reinforcement primary reinforcer continuous reinforcement partial (intermittent) reinforcement fixed-ratio schedule variable-ratio schedule fixed-interval schedule variable-interval schedule punishment Answer the following questions/prompts. While You Read How is operant conditioning different from classical conditioning? Describe these differences in your own words. Answers will vary but strong answers will cite that classical conditioning forms associations between stimuli and respondent behavior, while operant conditioning reinforces associations based on reward and punishment. 153 Please do not duplicate or post answers online 153
12 154 Module 27 Operant Conditioning 2. Give an example from your own life of operant conditioning. 3. What is another way to state Thorndike s law of effect? Organisms will repeat behavior that is rewarded if I get something good for my actions, I ll do those actions again. 4. What is a Skinner box and what is its purpose? A Skinner box is an operant chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer. Attached devices record the animal s rate of bar pressing or key pecking. It is used to test Skinner s concept of reinforcement. 5. List two specific behaviors you have learned (remember: enduring = learned) and the type of reinforcement (negative or positive) you received for each of them in the following four situations:. a. as a student (1) (2) b. as a member of your family (1) (2) c. as a friend (1) (2)
13 While You Read How does the process of shaping work? Describe how one of your behaviors has been shaped. In shaping, behaviors are actions are gradually guided by reinforcers toward closer and closer approximations until the desired behavior is reached. 7. Design an experiment that would use the principles of shaping to teach a particular behavior to a person or animal in your life How does positive reinforcement differ from negative reinforcement? With positive enforcement, a desirable stimulus is added (for example, giving a treat to your dog when you call it). With negative reinforcement, an aversive stimulus is removed (for example, taking painkillers to end a headache). 2. Give an example (that is not mentioned in the text) of negative reinforcement. 3. Give an example from your life in school of a situation where positive and negative reinforcement both work to strengthen a particular behavior. 4. How do primary and conditioned (secondary) reinforcers differ? Innately satisfying, primary reinforcers are unlearned. Conditioned or secondary reinforcers get their power through learned associations with primary reinforcers. 5. Give an example of a conditioned (secondary) reinforcer in your life. 155
14 156 Module 27 Operant Conditioning 6. In what ways is a human s response to immediate and delayed reinforcers different from that of a rat? Humans respond to delayed reinforcers (paycheck at the end of the week), rats do not. 7. Are there circumstances in which people are drawn to immediate reinforcers even though they know it might not be to their benefit? Explain. Yes, people can be drawn to immediate reinforcers even though they know it might not benefit them. Example from the textbook: Watching television late at night gratifies the need for entertainment but causes one to be more tired and less alert the next day Explain why an animal trainer would prefer using intermittent reinforcement schedules to continuous reinforcement schedules when teaching a lion to perform in a circus act. Are there times the trainer would prefer using continuous reinforcement? Explain. Intermittent, or partial, reinforcement schedules result in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction. Continuous reinforcement is good for introducing new responses to an organism and working to have them rapidly conditioned. 2. Complete the chart below. Reinforcement Schedule Definition Example From Text Original Example Continuous a reinforcement schedule a candy machine that that reinforces a desired always delivers a response every time it chocolate bar when money occurs is put in Fixed-ratio a reinforcement schedule coffee shops rewarding a that reinforces a response free drink after every 10 only after a specified purchased number of respones Fixed-interval a reinforcement schedule checking for mail more that reinforces a response frequently as the delivery only after a specified time time approaches
15 While You Read 157 Reinforcement Schedule Definition Example From Text Original Example Variable-ratio a reinforcement schedule winning when gambling that reinforces a response on a slot machine after an unpredictable number of respones Variable-interval a reinforcement schedule receiving responses in, that reinforces a response say, or Facebook at unpredictable time intervals 3. If the intent of conditioning is to create an enduring response, which of the five methods in your chart above is the best schedule to follow to reinforce desired behavior? Why? Which method of partial reinforcement would lead to the quickest extinction of desired behavior? Explain. 4. Describe the typical patterns of response under fixed-interval, fixed-ratio, variable-interval, and variable-ratio schedules of reinforcement. In general, response rates are higher when reinforcement is linked to the number of responses (a ratio schedule) rather than to time (an interval schedule). Responding is more consistent when reinforcement is unpredictable (a variable schedule) than when it is predictable (a fixed schedule) How does a punisher differ from a reinforcer? A punisher decreases the behavior that it follows. A reinforcer increases the behavior that it follows. 2. Explain, using examples to illustrate your response, how punishment differs from negative reinforcement? Answers will vary but strong answers cite examples to illustrate that negative reinforcement aims to strengthen a behavior, while punishment aims to decrease a behavior.
16 158 Module 27 Operant Conditioning 3. How is positive punishment different from negative punishment? Give an example of each in your response. Positive punishment is adding (+) a negative ( ) stimulus: such as a fine or a slap. Negative punishment is taking away ( ) a positive (+) stimulus: such as taking a teen s car or cell phone. 4. Sometimes what seems to be punishment is actually reinforcement. (Consider the misbehaving child who is sent to his room to calm down and now has access to all of his favorite toys.) How can you determine if a behavior has been reinforced or punished? Check the increase or decrease in the behavior being targeted: If it is increasing, it is likely being reinforced; if it is decreasing, it is likely being punished. 5. What are four drawbacks of physical punishment? a. Punished behavior is suppressed, not forgotten. This temporary state may negatively reinforce parents punishing behavior. b. Punishment teaches discrimination among situations. c. Punishment can teach fear. d. Physical punishment may increase aggression by modeling aggression as a way to cope with problems. 6. As the author notes at the end of 27-4, many threats of punishment can be more effective when rephrased positively. Therefore, complete the author s prompt from the text here: If you don t get your homework done, I m not giving you money for a movie! would be better phrased as... After you finish your homework, come see me and I ll give you money for a movie.? Note to remember: Punishment tells you what not to do; reinforcement tells you what to do.
17 While You Read Why did Skinner s ideas provoke controversy? Some thought he dehumanized people by neglecting their personal freedom and by seeking to control their actions. 2. Now that you have studied B. F. Skinner s operant principles, how would you attempt to a. influence your classmate to study more thoroughly for tests? For example, you might offer to take your friend to a movie if she gets a higher grade on the next test (positive reinforcement). Or perhaps you offer to occupy her annoying younger brother for a few hours if she ll use the time to study (negative reinforcement). b. shape your teacher s treatment of you? c. increase the likelihood of having your stepmother say Yes more frequently to your requests to drive her car? 3. Use the chart below to give an example of how you would use each of the following four types of operant conditioning techniques to train your dog to pick up the newspaper off of the driveway. Positive Reinforcement For example, reward the dog with a treat when she brings the paper to you. Punishment For example, you could add a swat with a rolled-up newspaper when your dog does not bring the paper to you. Negative For instance, you could blow a loud dog whistle that annoys your dog and stop blowing it only when she bring the paper to you. For example, you might remove a favorite play toy if your dog does not bring the paper to you.
18 160 Module 27 Operant Conditioning After You Read Module 27 Review Complete the following questions by identifying which response is being applied to shape the behavior of the subject in each example. Positive reinforcement Negative reinforcement Positive punishment Negative punishment 1. Juanita asks a useful and timely question in class and her teacher responds, I am glad you asked that, Juanita. Juanita soon regularly raises her hand to contribute in class. positive reinforcement 2. Dante cannot sit still in his kindergarten class and his teacher tells him he will have to remain inside while the other students go out for recess. Dante learns to sit still. How is Dante s behavior being reinforced? negative punishment How is the teacher s behavior being reinforced? negative reinforcement 3. Finnegan, your cat, has begun to bite more frequently. You read that if you squirt him with water from a spray bottle, he will learn not to repeat that behavior. positive punishment 4. After promising your parents that you will follow the school rules and not use your cell phone in class, you check your text messages during Algebra and have your phone confiscated by the teacher. When your parents find out, they take your cell phone from you for 2 weeks. When you finally get your phone back, you do not check your texts in class any longer. negative punishment 5. You are hoping that if you take a different route to your 5th period class each day, you can avoid the kid who has been bullying you. When you do not see them in the new hall, you feel relieved and take that route from now on. negative reinforcement
19 After You Read 161 Complete the following questions by identifying which intermittent reinforcement schedule is being applied to shape behavior Variable-ratio Variable-interval Fixed-ratio Fixed-interval 6. The local pet store offers a discount for buying dog food by the case, and if you save ten UPC bar codes on each case, you can receive a free case from the supplier. How is your dog food buying behavior being reinforced? fixed-ratio 7. Your neighbors just had a new baby and are learning to be parents for the first time. They decide not to respond to every cry their new infant makes but instead allow the baby to fuss and cry for a while before they go to see what is wrong. From the baby s perspective, on what schedule is her crying behavior being reinforced by her parents attention? variable-interval 8. Tien has been unsuccessfully trying for years to perfect his golf game. Each time he decides to give up the game for good, he makes a beautiful shot that lands precisely where he wants it to and finds that he wants to continue perfecting his game. variable-ratio 9. Sasha works for a shoe store that pays her weekly and likes that she doesn t have to make a quota or sell a certain number of shoes in order to get paid. Her check comes every week regardless of how many customers come in and this gives her time to text on her phone, or finish homework in the back of the store. fixed-interval 10. On the other hand, Sasha s friend Monty works next door at the suit shop and receives a bonus for every 3 suits he sells. As he is trying to save for college, the bonus could really come in handy and this compels Monty to work hard to learn about suits and perfect his sales techniques so that he can sell more of them. fixed-ratio
20 Module 28 Operant Conditioning s Applications, and Comparison to Classical Conditioning Module Summary Before You Read Module 28 offers an application of the theories presented in Modules 26 and 27 and identifies key areas in home, work, and school where operant principles can be used. In addition, the module presents an easy-to-understand chart of the characteristics that distinguish operant from classical conditioning. Before beginning the module, take a moment to read each of the following terms you will encounter. You may wish to make vocabulary cards for each. Key Terms biofeedback respondent behavior operant behavior While You Read Answer the following prompts, and complete the diagram below Give an example (that is not mentioned in the text) of how operant principles can be applied a. in school b. in sports c. at work 162
21 While You Read 163 d. at home e. for self-improvement 2. How does biofeedback work to reduce tension headaches? Biofeedback electronically records, amplifies, and feeds back information regarding a physiological state. In this way, a person can learn techniques for controlling the particular physiological response. 3. In what way are the principles of operant conditioning illustrated in the use of biofeedback to train people to reduce stress? Biofeedback instruments mirror the results of a person s own efforts. So, if a person is making an effort to calm their heart rate or slow their breathing, for example, the tone or signal from the biofeedback machine will lower and calm. This is a reward to the person, indicating they are performing the correct behavior, which will increase the likelihood that they will try to perform that behavior again Using the information in Table 28.1 and the material in Modules 26 and 27, complete the Venn diagram below on the similarities and differences between operant and classical conditioning. Use your own words when possible. events are associated response is involuntary association behavior is associated with results spontaneous recovery response is voluntary extinction occurs when CS generalization extinction occurs when is presented alone reinforcement stops Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
22 164 Module 28 Operant Conditioning s Applications, and Comparison to Classical Conditioning Module 28 Review After You Read Answer the prompt to see if you have mastered the basics. 1. Shereen suffers from high levels of anxiety regarding academics and sports. As a psychology student, you know she can use operant conditioning principles to reduce her anxiety and increase her performance in both school and sports. Describe how Shereen can utilize a type of punishment, a type of reinforcement, and a specific schedule of reinforcement to modify her anxious behaviors. Punishment: When Shereen experiences anxiety about her academics or sports, she can self-limit her time with an enjoyable activity such as a movie or time with social media. Positive reinforcement: Each time Shereen successfully goes out onto the field or passes a test, she can treat herself to an enjoyable activity such as a movie or a new CD. Schedule of reinforcement: A variable-ratio schedule would most ensure a tough-to-extinguish behavior, so Shereen should reinforce herself only after a varying number of successful behaviors. 2. Specify how you would apply the three operant principles listed in the previous question to a behavior in your own life that you would like to change. Students should indicate understanding of punishment (either removing a positive stimulus or adding a negative stimulus) in order to decrease the likelihood they will continue that behavior Students should also show an understanding of positive reinforcement (adding a positive stimulus) to encourage the new behavior. Students should also exhibit an understanding of reinforcement schedules by appropriately choosing, labeling, and explaining one of the four mentioned in the text.
23 Module 29 Biology, Cognition, and Learning Module Summary Before You Read Module 29 explains how biological constraints and cognitive processes affect classical and operant conditioning. A detailed discussion of how different methods of coping with personal problems and feeling control over your life can impact people s health and behavior concludes the module. Before beginning the module, take a moment to read each of the following terms and names you will encounter. You may wish to make vocabulary cards for each. Key Terms Key Names cognitive map problem-focused coping John Garcia latent learning emotion-focused coping Robert Rescorla insight learned helplessness Edward Tolman intrinsic motivation extrinsic motivation coping external locus of control internal locus of control self-control Answer the following questions/prompts. While You Read Summarize and explain the importance of John Garcia s work with taste aversion in rats. He exposed rats to a taste/sound/sight and then later to radiation/drugs that caused nausea. He found that even if hours passed between the two exposures (to taste and then to drugs, for example), the rats still associated the two and avoided the first stimulus. That meant the US might not have to directly follow the CS in conditioning trials. He also found that the rats developed aversions to the tastes but not the sights or sounds. This challenged the behaviorists idea that any stimulus, if perceivable, could function as a CS. For rats, they taste food to identify if it is tainted, so it makes sense
24 166 Module 29 Biology, Cognition, and Learning 2. Complete the chart below with components from Pavlov s work with dogs, Garcia s work with rats, and the work on sheep-eating coyotes. Example #1 Example #2 Example #3 Component Pavlov s Dogs John Garcia s Rats Sheep-eating coyotes US food radiation or drugs poison UR drooling nausea/vomiting sickening NS tone flavored water sheep CS tone flavored water sheep CR drooling nausea/vomiting sickening avoid the sheep 3. What is an evolutionary explanation for the development of taste aversions in both humans and animals? Our ancestors were unlikely to eat the same toxic food more than once and were more likely to survive and leave descendents.
25 While You Read What does it mean when psychologists say that there are biological constraints on classical conditioning? There are simply certain physical behaviors organisms are incapable of performing, despite the most appropriate reinforcers. 5. What are the biological constraints on operant conditioning? These biological constraints predispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive so, using food to reinforce a hamster s behavior that has nothing to do with food or hunger won t work. 6. Shayna wants to put operant principles to use to train her pet gerbil to stand on its hind legs and raise its right paw in order to get food. Based on your knowledge of biological constraints on learning, how would you advise her? What are the limitations of classical conditioning in addressing the cognitive processes of humans? Humans thoughts, perceptions, and expectations impact the success of associating. Humans take into account the predictability of an event as well. 2. Summarize and discuss the importance of Robert Rescorla s work with rats responses to tones and shocks. Relate this to the idea of a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement and explain why this schedule is the best to prevent extinction. If a shock is preceded by a tone, the rat learns to respond to the tone. If it then is preceded by a light that accompanies the tone, the rat will react with fear to the tone, but not the light. Although the light is always followed by a shock, it adds no new information. A variable-ratio schedule, not knowing how many responses would be required before reinforcement, is the best way to prevent extinction because organisms cannot predict how many more responses they will need before a reward and thus keep responding. They have an expectancy that a reward will occur, as Rescorla s rats had an expectancy that the shock would occur. 3. How do cognitive processes impact operant conditioning? Why is this important to understand when training humans or animals? There does seem to be an expectancy working here as well: Animals reinforced on a fixed-interval schedule actually responded more and more frequently as the time approached when a response would produce a reinforcer. 167
26 168 Module 29 Biology, Cognition, and Learning 4. Summarize Edward Tolman s work with rats in a maze. What does this research teach us about learning? Tolman put rats in a maze with no obvious rewards. The rats formed cognitive maps, which they demonstrated only once a reward was placed in the goal box. There is more to learning than associating a response with a consequence, there is also cognition. 5. Give an example from your own life of latent learning. 6. How does insight learning differ from latent learning? Insight learning is an abrupt, true-seeming, and often satisfying solution. Latent learning occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it. 7. How does intrinsic motivation differ from extrinsic motivation? Give examples (that are not mentioned in the text) of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is a desire to perform a behavior effectively for its own sake. With extrinsic motivation, a behavior is performed to either receive rewards or avoid punishment How does problem-focused coping differ from emotion-focused coping? Provide a specific example and explain how each can impact individuals in different ways. Problem-focused coping is directly addressing the stressor the friend or family member, for example. Emotion-focused coping is perhaps avoiding the stressor by exercising or focusing on hobbies, for example. Specific examples will vary, but the impacts of the two coping methods on individuals should be explained. The adaptive and maladaptive results of emotion-focused coping and the sense of control we feel when engaging in problem-focused coping should be part of the strong answer Summarize and discuss the importance of Martin Seligman s work with harnessed dogs. How does the issue of control impact the behavior of the dogs? Seligman strapped dogs in harnesses and gave them repeated shocks with no opportunity to avoid them. Later, when placed in another situation where they could avoid the shock by leaping a hurdle, the dogs cowered as if without hope; he called this learned helplessness. The dogs felt unable to control their situation and began to feel hopeless and depressed.
27 While You Read How can humans learn helplessness? In the same way that Seligman s dogs developed learned helplessness, humans who are repeatedly faced with traumatic events over which they have no control will feel helpless, depressed, and hopeless. 3. Describe how a student in high school might develop learned helplessness in one or more of her classes. 4. What is the relationship between learned helplessness and stress and health problems? When a person perceives a loss of control, they become more vulnerable to stress and health issues because losing control provokes an outpouring of stress hormones. Experiencing more control often improves health and morale. 5. How does an internal locus of control differ from an external locus of control? How do each of these impact stress and health levels? People with an internal locus of control believe they control their own destiny, and this leads to more success in school and work, better health, and less depression. People with an external locus of control believe that outside forces determine their fate. They have higher rates of depression, ill health, increased obesity and hypertension, and are less independent. 6. As defined by the text, what is self-control? How can high levels of self-control impact the outcome of a situation? Provide a specific example. Self-control is the ability to control impulses and delay short-term gratification for greater long-term rewards. High levels of self-control lead to good adjustment, better grades and social success, as well as lower rates of depression. 7. How is self-control depleted? Strengthened? Self-control is weakened after an exertion, replenishes with rest, and becomes stronger after exercise. However, exercising self-control temporarily depletes the mental energy needed for self-control on other tasks.
28 170 Module 29 Biology, Cognition, and Learning After You Read Module 29 Review Complete the Matching Questions below to see if you have mastered the basics. Terms or Names I 1. John Garcia H 2. insight E 3. problem-focused coping G 4. emotion-focused coping A 5. learned helplessness C 6. external locus of control J 7. internal locus of control B 8. self-control D 9. Robert Rescorla F 10. Edward Tolman Definitions or Associations A. the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events B. the ability to control impulses and delay shortterm gratification for greater long-term rewards C. the perception that chance or outside forces beyond our personal control determine our fate D. showed that an animal can learn the predictability of an event E. attempting to alleviate stress directly-by changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor F. tested cognitive maps in rats G. attempting to alleviate stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to one s stress reaction H. a sudden realization of a problem s solution I. tested taste aversion in rats J. the perception that you control your own Answer the following questions. 11. When a well-learned route in a maze is blocked, rats sometimes choose an alternative route, acting as if they were consulting a cognitive map. 12. Animals may learn from experience even when reinforcement is not available. When learning is not apparent until reinforcement has been provided, latent learning is said to have occurred. 13. The desire to perform a behavior for its own sake is called intrinsic motivation, while motivation to seek external rewards and avoid punishments is called extrinsic motivation. 14. The researcher(s) most likely to challenge Ivan Pavlov s concept of the simplistic and mechanistic associations dogs seem to make between two stimuli would be a. Robert Rescorla through his work on the cognitive component of associative learning. b. Charles Tolman through his research on latent learning. c. B. F. Skinner because of his work on shaping pigeons. d. John Garcia with his studies on taste aversion in rats. e. John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner based on their work with Little Albert. 15. As a soon-to-be college student you have decided that although you feel education is important, it does not make much sense to overemphasize it. You have heard from students who graduated before you and you believe that getting into college is more a matter of luck than a reflection of hard work and study. Your beliefs most illustrate a. latent learning. b. learned helplessness. c. an external locus of control. d. an internal locus of control. e. self-control.
29 While You Read 171 Module 30 Learning by Observation Module Summary Before You Read Module 30 describes the process of observational learning and the impact of mirror neurons. A discussion of modeling, both prosocial and antisocial, and its impacts on human behavior concludes the module. Before beginning the module, take a moment to read each of the following terms and names you will encounter. You may wish to make vocabulary cards for each. Key Terms observational learning modeling mirror neurons prosocial behavior Key Name Albert Bandura Answer the following questions/prompts. While You Read Summarize and explain the implications of Albert Bandura s work with the Bobo doll and the modeling of aggression. Bandura had adults interact with a Bobo doll by pushing, hitting, and kicking it while children watched. When children had their opportunity to interact with Bobo, they imitated the actions of the adults they had viewed. Children who had not viewed an adult model prior to interacting with Bobo were less likely to lash out at the doll. It appears that by watching a model, we experience vicarious reinforcement or punishment and learn how to interact. 2. How does vicarious reinforcement or punishment differ from modeling? Modeling is a process by which we learn by imitating and observing others, whereas vicarious reinforcement or punishment involves anticipating the consequences of the behavior we are observing and then basing our learning on the consequences. When we observe someone similar to ourselves receiving a reward, our own brain reward systems activate much as if we ourselves had won the award. 171
30 172 Module 30 Learning by Observation 3. What are mirror neurons and how do they work? What is their significance in life? The idea behind mirror neurons is that they fire when performing certain actions OR when watching someone else doing so. This may be how we experience empathy. 4. How does the work with mirror neurons explain children s theory of mind? The child s brain enables empathy and the ability to infer another s mental state, an ability known as theory of mind. This may be due to mirror neurons that allow them to imitate the actions of adults What are some outcomes of prosocial modeling? Provide an example from your life. Prosocial modeling leads to prosocial positive, humanitarian behavior. 2. What are some outcomes of antisocial modeling? Provide an example from your life. Antisocial modeling leads to antisocial negative, aggressive behavior. 3. Connect the work of Bandura to the question of media violence. a. How would his research support the view that media violence triggers violent behavior? If people watch an aggressive model, they are more likely to imitate the model s actions. Research has shown a correlation between the amount of violent media viewed and the prevalence of fights at school. b. Suggest two alternative explanations for the existence of this violent behavior.
31 After You Read 173 After You Read Module 30 Review Select the best answers below to see if you have mastered the basics. 1. After viewing adults kick and throw an inflatable Bobo doll around a room, children who are purposely frustrated and then placed in a room with the same Bobo will be most likely to a. attempt to make up for the poor adult treatment of Bobo by playing nicely with it. b. invent new and unique ways to treat Bobo. c. kick and throw Bobo as the adults did. d. ignore Bobo and choose other more appropriate toys. e. fear that the adults will treat them as they treated Bobo. 2. According to Bandura s research on vicarious reinforcement and punishment, we are especially likely to learn from people we perceive to be a. similar to ourselves. b. successful. c. admirable. d. likable. e. all of the above. 3. Mirror neurons are believed to play a role in a. everyday imitation and observational learning. b. facial recognition. c. personal self-esteem. d. occipital lobe visual processing. e. language. 4. When Jennie was trying to learn to play baseball, her mother noticed that she was holding the bat wrong. Jennie s mom said, Here, Jennie, let me show you how you hold it. This method of teaching is best explained by a. cognitive maps. b. observational learning. c. vicarious learning. d. classical condtioning. e. latent learning. 5. Which of the following is an example of a prosocial behavior that might be learned through modeling? a. Justin acts like a bully to the kids at school after watching his favorite TV character bully on a TV show. b. Manahil learns to lie by watching her older brother get away with it. c. Emma learns to tease her cousin James by watching her aunt tease him as well. d. Ahad learns to care for his younger brother by watching his father feed and change him. e. Melissa thinks women are incapable of a career in business because all the important women in her life are stay-at-home mothers.
32 174 Unit VI Learning 3 Check Yourself Now that you have mastered the basics, work through the problems below to see if you can synthesize, evaluate, and analyze what you have learned. 1. Apply the principles of operant, classical, and observational learning, and your knowledge of psychological vocabulary, to explain Taste aversion: Classical conditioning: violently sick (US) = unpleasant and avoidance (UR) food item (NS) + violently sick (US) = unpleasant and avoidance food item (CS) = unpleasant and avoidance Operant conditioning: eating a food item(behavior) = violently sick (positive punishment) decreased likelihood that you will eat that food item again Observational learning: watch someone eat food item and become sick (vicarious learning) decreased likelihood of eating same food item Superstitious behavior: Operant conditioning: A randomly timed reward can produce superstitious behaviors. If a behavior occurs before a random, unplanned reward, it can reinforce the behavior. For instance, if a family makes a joke of doing a traffic dance before heading out on a long road trip and then finds no traffic and easy commuting, they may decide the dance worked and repeat the behavior in the future. Observational learning: If a young softball player watches an Olympic athlete dust off her bat three times, spit on her hands and salute the spectators, before hitting a grand slam, the little girl may mimic those behaviors as well, thinking they will bring her luck at bat! Learned helplessness: Classical conditioning: Unavoidable electric shock(us) = cower and shake (UR); pen (NS) + unavoidable electric shock (US) = cower and shake (UR); pen (CS) = cower and shake (CR); dog generalizes fear of electrified pen to all pens, even those that would allow for avoidance of electric shock (such as with a hurdle to jump) Operant conditioning: Dog in harness leaps hurdle (behavior) when shocked eliminate shock (negative reinforcement); increase likelihood dog will jump hurdle in future; dog in harness, shocked, no opportunity for release behavior dog stops trying; bad event + no sense of behavior that could eliminate event = no behavior Observational learning: Watching others try to no avail increases likelihood that you will not try either 2. Austin is a teenager who has been suspended from school for possessing illegal substances. He has a long history of acting out, enraged resistance to adult authority and other antisocial behaviors. Suggest how the following can be used to address Austin s behavioral problems: biofeedback, coping strategies, self-control Biofeedback: utilizes electronic recordings that amplify and give information regarding a physiological state, such as blood pressure or muscle tension. Austin may become enraged or experience increased SNS activity leading to his rage and acting out that could be measured using biofeedback techniques. Austin may be able to learn when his body is reacting physiologically in this manner and practice techniques to control anger, for example. Coping strategies: Austin may use problem-focused coping skills and address the stressors or problems in his life (such as a family fight or disagreement with an adult) by going directly to that person to work things out. If Austin feels a sense of control over the situation, or actually thinks he can change the circumstances, this may be a successful approach. Austin may also use emotion-focused coping if he believes he cannot change the situation. If Austin simply cannot get along with the adults he is resistant to, he could reach out to friends for support or exercise or keep busy with a hobby to avoid thinking about it. Self-control: self-control weakens after exertion and exercising willpower may temporarily deplete mental energy needed for self-control on other tasks. Studies have shown that giving people a sweetened drink when their self-control is depleted strengthened effortful thinking and reduced financial impulsiveness. Austin may benefit from training on developing his self-control, just as he develops his muscles. He may also benefit from sugar.
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