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psych ch. 8


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our capacity to learn new behaviors that enable us to cope with changing circumstances
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
How do we learn?
by association and experience. our minds naturally connect events that occur in sequence (we associate them)
associative learning
learning that certain events occur together. events may be 2 stimuli (classical cond.) or response and its consequence (operant cond.)
successful adaptation requires both:
nature (the needed genes) and nurture (a history of appropriate learning)
the process of learning associations
3 types of associative learning
classical conditioning (pavlov), operant conditioning (skinner), observational learning (bandura)
ivan pavlov (1849-1936)
trained in animal physiology, focused his work on 3 problems during career: nerve functions of the heart, primary digestive gland fuction (earned him 1904 nobel prize), and conditioning reflexes
why is pavlov's work important?
psych at the time was made up of highly subjective theories and was not considered credible to others, his theories helped to make psych more mainstream as a whole, his research influenced more objectivity in subject matter and methods
pavlov's work provided the foundation for:
John B. Watson's theory on human behavior (believed that human behavior is mostly influenced by conditioned respones)
the view that psych should be a subjective science that studies behavior without reference to mental processes
classical conditioning
a type of learning where an organism comes to associate stimuli. (dog and drooling with bell&food)
unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
a stimulus that automatically triggers a response (the food in mouth causes the dog to salivate)
unconditioned response (UCR)
the unlearned naturally occuring response to the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) (the dog salivating as a response to the food in the mood)
conditioned stimulus (CS)
an originially irrelevant stimulus that, after association with a UCS comes to trigger a conditioned response; not natural, the response we made (bell causes the dog to salivate)
conditioned response (CR)
the learned response to a previously netural conditioned stimulus (CS) (the dog salivating to the tone)
Pavlov's 5 process that influence classical conditioning:
acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination
initial learning of the stimulus - response relationship. the timing of the neutral stimulus to the unconditioned stimulus is very important. (if time delay between stimuli, then association will not occur)
diminished responding that occurs when the CS no longer signals an impending UCS. associations can be unlearned. (you ring the bell but you don't give the dog food so he stops thinking that the bell gives food)
spontaneous recovery
reappearances of weakend CR after a rest period. suggests that extinction sometimes only suppresses instead of eliminates
once a response has been conditioned for a stimulus, similar stimuli elicit the same response. shows that classical conditioning is adaptive in nature. (kid is scared of one dog so is scared of all dogs)
learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other irrelevant stimuli. (survival value)
an animal's capacity for conditioning is constrained by its
biology (genes are important for helping an animal to learn to enhance its survival)
B.F. Skinner 1904-1990
Never took a university psych course before enrolling in Harvard's grad psych school. Behavioral psychologist. famous for operant conditioning
operant conditioning
type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punishment
Skinner used ____ as a basis for his work
Edward Thorndike's Law of effect (rewarded behavior is likely to occur)
Skinner developed this to conduct his work in
operant chamber/skinner box = soundproof box that had a bar or key that an animal presses to release a reward of food or water
differences in classical conditioning and operant conditioning
c.c. forms associations between stimuli, involvs respondent behavior. o.c. involves operant behavior
respondent behavior
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to a stimulus (dog salivating to the smell of food)
operant behavior
the act operates on the environment to produce rewarding or punishing stimuli
in his experiments, Skinner used shaping, which is:
a procedure in which reinforcers (food) gradually guide an animal's actions toward a desired behavior. psychologists can use this to see what an animal percieves
successive approximations
you reward responses that are ever-closer to the final desired behavior
any event that increases the behavior (food)
an event that decreases the behavior. don't want the behavior to happen anymore
negative reinforcement
a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its removal of something unpleasant. make the behavior happen by taking away something bad (ex: if you clean the house you won' have to babysit your brother (brother is the something bad that's taken awa
positive reinforcement
strengthens response by presenting a typically pleasuring stimulus after a response
primary reinforcer
an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need. (getting food when hungry or being relieved of electric shock - innately satisfying)
conditioned reinforcer (secondary reinforcer)
learned, through association with a primary reinforcer (getting good grades at school = working hard. secondary reinforcement: if parents pay you to get good grades. primary rein. is getting good grades)
continuous reinforcement
desired response happens every time. [learning happens quickly but when reinforcement stops, extinction occurs rapdily.]
partial (intermittent) reinforcement
responses are only sometimes reinforced. produces greater resistance to extinction. 4 types: fixed-ratio, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and variable-interval
fixed-ratio schedules
reinforce behavior after a set number of responses (every 6 times..)
variable-ratio schedules
unpredictable number of responses (gambling)
fixed-interval schedules
response after a fixed time period (only a 9:00, 12:00, and 4:00)
variable-interval schedules
varying time intervals for responses. (email response) it's going to happen but you don't know when
punishment tells you what not to do, reinforcement tells you what to do
cognitive map
a mental representation (of the maze that rats developed when rats explore the maze)
latent learning
learning that becomes apparent only when there is some incentive to demonstrate it (learning CAN occur without reinorcement or punishment)
overjustification effect
an already justifiable activity becomes overjustified by the promise of an added reward (people who are promised a reward as their motivation for an activity may lose their intrinsic interest in it)
intrinsic motivation
the desire to perform a behavior effectively and for its own sake
extrinsic motivation
seeking external rewards and avoiding threatened punishment
observational learning
(learning doesn't have to occur through direct experience) where we observe and imitate others
the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior
mirror neurons
frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so
Bobo doll experiments (Bandura)
changed ideas about behaviorism, aggression, and tv&violence
S-O-R (stimulus-observation-response)
behavior can be learned not by reinforcement but by observing others
observational (social) learning proposed 2 primary modes of learning:
modeling, limitation
agression is a ___ behavior, not __
a learned behavior, not an in-built instinct
prosocial behavior
positive, constructive, helpful behavior. opposite of antisocial behavior

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