Chapter 6: Learning

Vocabulary:

1. Conditioning: The process of learning associations between environmental stimuli and behavioral responses

2.
Classical Conditioning: Learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus (NS) becomes paired (associated) with an unconditional stimulus (UCS) to elicit a conditioned response

3.
Unconditional Stimulus (UCS): Stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response (UCR) without previous conditioning

4.
Unconditional Response (UCR): Unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) that occurs without previous conditioning

5.
Neutral Stimulus (NS): A stimulus that, before conditioning, does not naturally bring about the response of interest

6.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS): Previously neutral stimulus that, through repeated pairings with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), now causes a conditioned response (CR)

7.
Conditional Response (CR): Learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus (CS) that occurs because of previous repeated pairings with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS)

8.
Conditional Emotional Response (CER): A classically conditioned emotional response to a previously neutral stimulus (NS)

9.
Stimulus Generalization: Learned response to stimuli that are like the original conditioned stimulus

10.
Stimulus Discrimination: Learned response to a specific stimulus but not to other, similar stimuli

11.
Extinction: Gradual weakening or suppression of a previously conditioned response (CR)

12.
Spontaneous Recovery: Reappearance of a previously extinguished conditioned response (CR)

13.
Higher-Order Conditioning: A neutral stimulus (NS) becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) through repeated pairings with a previously conditioned stimulus (CS)

14.
Operant Conditioning: Learning in which voluntary responses are controlled by their consequences (also known as instrumental or Skinnerian conditioning)

15.
Reinforcement: Strengthens a response and makes it more likely to recur

16.
Punishment: Weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur

17.
Law of Effect: Thorndike’s rule that the probability of an action being repeated is strengthened when it is followed by a pleasant or satisfying consequence

18.
Primary Reinforcers: Stimuli that increase the probability of a response because they satisfy a biological need, such as food, water, and sex

19.
Secondary Reinforcers: Stimuli that increase the probability of a response because of their learned value, such as money and material possessions

20.
Positive Reinforcement: Adding (or presenting) a stimulus, which strengthens a response and makes it more likely to recur

21.
Negative Reinforcement: Taking away (or removing) a stimulus, which strengthens a response and makes it more likely to recur

22.
Premack Principle: Using a naturally occurring high-frequency response to reinforce and increase low-frequency responses

23.
Continuous Reinforcement: Every correct response is reinforced

24.
Partial (Intermittent) Reinforcement: Some, but not all, correct responses are reinforced

25.
Fixed Ratio (FR) Schedule: Reinforcement occurs after a predetermined set of responses; the ratio is fixed

26.
Variable Ratio (VR) Schedule: Reinforcement occurs unpredictably; the ratio (number or amount) varies

27.
Fixed Interval (FI) Schedule: Reinforcement occurs after a predetermined time has elapsed; the interval (time) if fixed

28.
Variable Interval (VI) Schedule: Reinforcement occurs unpredictably; the interval (time) varies

29.
Shaping: Reinforcement delivered for successive approximations of the desired response

30.
Positive Punishment: Adding (or presenting) a stimulus that weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur

31.
Negative Punishment: Taking away (or removing) a stimulus that weakens a response and makes it less likely to recur

32.
Discriminative Stimulus: A cue that signals when a specific response will lead to the expected reinforcement

33.
Cognitive Social Theory: Emphasizes the roles of thinking and social learning on behavior

34.
Insight: Sudden understanding of a problem that implies the solution

35.
Cognitive Map: A mental image of a three-dimensional space that an organism has navigated

36.
Latent Learning: Hidden learning that exists without behavioral signs

37.
Observational Learning: Learning new behavior or information by watching others (also known as social learning or modeling)

38.
Taste Aversion: a classically conditioned negative reaction to a particular taste that has been associated with nausea or other illness

39.
Biological Preparedness: Built-in (innate) readiness to form associations between certain stimuli and responses

40.
Instinctive Drift: Conditioned responses shift (or drift) back toward innate response patterns

41.
Biofeedback: An involuntary bodily process (such as blood pressure or heart rate) is recorded, and the information is fed back to an organism to increase voluntary control over that bodily function

42.
Positive Reinforcement: Feedback that is added that increases the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated.

43.
Learning: A relatively permanent change in behavior or mental processes resulting from practice or experience

44.
Aversion therapy: Pairing an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus with a maladaptive behavior

45.
Systematic Desensitization: A gradual process of extinguishing a learned fear (or phobia) by working through a hierarchy of fear-evoking stimuli while staying deeply relaxed

46.
Successive Approximation: A way to evaluate an unknown quantity by comparison of a sequence of known qualities

47.
Skinner Box: Trained an animal to get a pellet each time it pushed a lever, recording the number of responses made

48.
Continuous vs. Partial Reinforcement: Continuous- every correct response is reinforced; partial- some, but not all, correct responses are reinforced

49.
Modeling: Watching and imitating models that demonstrate desirable behaviors


Chapter Outline:

Learning
- Learning: a relatively permanent change in behavior or mental processes that results from practice or experience
-
relative permanence: all learned behaviors or mental processes (e.g. playing catch)
- will be able to use relative permanence for the rest of your life
-
developmental psychology: how children learn cognitive and motor skills
-
clinical psychology: how previous experiences help explain problems people face today
-
social psychology: how attitudes, behaviors, and prejudices are learned
- What a person learns can be suppressed or unlearned.

- conditioning: process of learning associations between environmental stimuli and behavioral responses


- 2 most common types of learning: classical and operant

Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)


Discovery of Classical Conditioning
- He won Nobel Prize for studies on what role saliva plays in digestion.
- He tested salivary responses with dogs (see image below).
- To do this, he attached funnel to salivary glands to measure saliva levels.
- He questioned whether dogs had more saliva with dry food vs. wet food and if nonfood items required different saliva amounts.
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- The outcome of his experiment is that many dogs salivated at the sight of food, the smell of food, or the sight of the person who delivered the food.


- This showed that salavation is a reflex response (it it largely involuntary, not acquired by learning).


- This type of learning is called classical conditioning (learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned one to create a conditioned response).
- It is the most basic way that all animals learn most responses, emotions, and attitudes


- unconditioned stimulus: stimulus that causes an unconditioned response without first having any previous conditioning


- unconditioned response: unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus with no previous conditioning


- neutral stimulus: before conditioning, a stimulus that doesn’t naturally bring about the necessary response

- conditioned stimulus: previously neutral stimulus that causes a conditioned response

- conditioned response: learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs due to repeated pairings with an unconditioned stimulus


- When a neutral stimulus becomes linked to the unconditioned stimulus, it is called acquisition.


Watson and Classical Conditioning
- John Watson and Rosalie Rayner showed how fear can be classically conditioned.
- Tested on Albert, an 11- month-old healthy baby.
- Albert reached for a rat they used to see whether he was afraid of rats. He was not.


- They then banged a steel bar with a hammer and he began to cry.

- Then, he would cry when he saw the rat with no noise.

- This is a conditioned emotional response: classically conditioned response to a once neutral stimulus.


- This method has been criticised for ethical reasons.
- Watson emphasized observable behaviors over the idea of the scientific study of the mind.
- He founded
behaviorism: behavior is a result of stimuli within the environment and observable responses
- The experiment showed us that many likes and dislikes are conditioned emotional responses


Fine-Tuning Classical Conditioning
- stimulus generalization: a learned response to stimuli that are similar to the beginning conditioned stimulus
-
stimulus discrimination: a learned response to a specific stimuli
- Classical conditioning is relatively permanent.
-
extinction: gradual weakening of a previously conditioned response
*extinction is not unlearning. The stimulus can be conditioned faster the second time it is introduced.


-spontaneous recovery: the reappearance of a one extinguished conditioned response


-higher-order conditioning: a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus via continuous pairings with a previously conditioned stimulus


Temporal Relationships between CS and UCS
- Delayed conditioning: present CS first and then introduce the UCS while the CS is still evident
-
Trace conditioning: present the CS, then a short break, then present the UCS.
-
Simultaneous conditioning: present the CS and UCS at the same time.
-
Backward conditioning: The CS is presented after the UCS.

Operant Conditioning

- operant conditioning: learning that has voluntary responses controlled by their consequences
- organisms prefer behavior that produces an effect on the environment
-
reinforcement: strengthens a response and makes it apt to occur
-
punishment: weakens a response and makes it less inclined to occur
- In classical conditioning, the organism’s response is involuntary, whereas in operant conditioning, the response is voluntary.
- Both forms interact to produce and maintain behavior.



Thorndike and Skinner
- Edward Thorndike was among the first people to examine how voluntary behaviors are affected by the consequences they produce.
- He put a cat inside a puzzle box, and the only way the cat could get out was to pull a rope or step on a peddle.
- The cat eventually figured out what to do through trial and error.
-
law of effect: the probability of an action being repeated it strengthened when it received a positive response
- This was the first step to understand how voluntary behaviors are modified by the responses they receive
- Skinner extended on this. He believed that behavior is due to conscious choice.He thought that to understand behavior, we need to consider observable, external stimuli
-To test this, he used the Skinner Box.
- He trained an animal to push a lever in order to get food.
- This proved that reinforcement occurs after the fact.


- Skinner urges us to check the respondent’s behavior to see if it has changed.

Understanding Operant Conditioning


- Reinforcement can be grouped into primary or secondary or positive or negative.


- primary reinforcers: stimuli that increase the probability of a response because they satisfy biological needs (e.g. sex, food, water)


- secondary reinforcers: stimuli that increase the probability of a response because they have a learned value (e.g. money, clothing)


- positive reinforcement: adding a stimulus to strengthen a response and make it more likely to occur (e.g. tickling your baby to get the baby to smile at you)


- negative reinforcement: taking away a stimulus to strengthen a response that will make it more likely to occur (e.g.hugging your baby so that it’s crying stops)


- Premack Principle: using a naturally occurring high-frequency response to increase a low-frequency response (e.g. making yourself do your homework before you watch television)

Schedules of Reinforcement
- This refers to the rate at which responses are reinforced.


- continuous reinforcement: every correct response is followed by reinforcement

- partial reinforcement: some correct responses are reinforced (e.g.receiving a good grade on a test for which you studied)

- Continuous reinforcement leads to faster learning.
- Behavior is more resistant to extinction under partial schedules.

- Sometimes we use a process called shaping, where you reinforce small steps on the way to the desired behavior.

Four Partial (Intermittent) Schedules of Reinforcement


- There are four partial schedules of reinforcement: fixed ratio (occurs after a predetermined set of responses), variable ratio (occurs

unpredictably, amount varies), fixed interval (occurs after a certain amount of time has passed), variable interval (occurs unpredictably, time
varies).
- One way to teach complex behaviors that will most likely not occur on their own is by shaping; reinforces a series of successively improving steps
leading to the final goal response.

Punishment
- Unlike reinforcement, punishment is used to decrease the strength of a response.
- There are two types of punishment; positive punishment (addition of some variable that will prevent the undesired response from occurring

again) (e.g. a student is given an extra essay to write if she does not pay attention in class) and negative punishment (removal of a variable that
will prevent the undesired response from occurring again) (e.g. a student cannot participate in a sport because she has too many absences).
- In order to be effective, punishment must be both immediate and consistent.
- Side effects of punishment
-
increased aggression: builds tensions between the punisher and the recipient.
-
passive aggressiveness: punishment can lead to retaliation which often leads to frustration and then aggression.
-
avoidance behavior: punishment is not enjoyable, so if one knows that they are going to get punished they will avoid that person or environment

entirely (e.g. a girl will delay going to see a friend if she knows she will be yelled at)
- modeling: sometimes by punishing such as spanking or hitting, the parent can serve as a model which may increase the undesired behavior instead of decreasing it.
-
temporary suppression: punishment only temporarily stops the behavior (e.g. not copying homework from the back of the book when a teacher walks by).
-
learned helplessness: after a period of time where you try and fail to control your environment, you acquire learned helplessness which may lead

you to give up and make no more attempts (e.g. why a person stays in an abusive relationship).

Comparing Classical and Operant Conditioning
(Classical)
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- emphasizes the roles of thinking and social learning in behavior. ( Beliefs, expectations, motivations, and emotions affect learning
Kohler’s Study of Insight


- German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler was interested in studying how people learned and more importantly how they figured out complex problems.
- He conducted several experiments with caged chimpanzees where he observed them trying to reach a banana that is out of reach.
- He observed that they would sit and think and then have a flash of insight and figure out how to reach the banana.
- He called this type of learning
insight learning.

Tolman’s Study of Latent Learning
- Edward C. Tolman conducted experiments with rats in mazes. He came up with the idea that as the rats wandered through the maze aimlessly,

without rewards, they developed a cognitive map, or a mental representation of a maze.
- To test this he had three groups: the first group wandered around with no reinforcement, the second group was always reinforced, and the third

group began reinforcement on day 11.- The third group learned quickly and caught up to speed with those rats in the second group who had
been reinforced the entire time, thus proving the theory of the latent learning (hidden learning that occurs without external signs).

Observational Learning
- Learning through observing or by imitating what those around us are doing.
- Watching others helps us avoid dangerous stimuli, and shows us how to act in social situations.
- 4 seperate processes


  1. attention
  2. retention
  3. motor reproductionexternal image aG-hQH7PLHheVub_NGAOwlvEiN3Ja2xeyMNd78AE_P9-5z4F9OLdRg2jmuzu9ZNYeNlj427hkVp4MQQQE5OMizg_FF2FSS4isY9b94qI2BD431fZTB0
  4. reinforcement
The Adaptive Brain- Our brains develop better when exposed to a stimulating environment-thicker cortex, more branching of dendrites, myelin sheathing
*Think of babies who have intricate mobiles above their beds compared to babies who are never exposed to anything but blank walls and ceiling. The babies who have the enriched environments will havemore fully developed synapses and will have learned much more than those in

deprived environments.




Evolution and Learning
-Humans and animals have some inborn biological inclinations that help to guarantee survival
-reflexes are involuntary responses to a stimuli
- instincts are innate behaviors of a particular species
*No birds are ever given directions to fly south in the winter, but they have an instinct for which way to travel.
-The evolutionary perspective states that these innate tendencies are not sufficient for survival and that is why learning takes place.

Classical Conditioning and Taste Aversion
- Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and gotten food poisoning? After such an experience, did you ever want to eat there again? Probably not.

This is due to an involuntary, classically conditioned response called taste aversion (negative reaction to a particular taste that is associated with

nausea or illness).
-Evolutionary perspective: this helps the human species to survive by teaching us to avoid foods that cause us to feel sick
-biological preparedness: built-in readiness to form associations between certain stimuli and responses
*Evolutionary phobias of snakes, darkness, etc.
-Garcia’s Taste Aversion Experiment
-gave lab rats flavored water and a drug that induced nausea
-the rats then refused to drink the flavored water
-however, a shock or stunning noise paired with the drug did not produce taste aversion


Operant Conditioning and Instinctive Drift
-Breland’s Chicken/Baseball Experiment
-taught chicken to pull a loop that swung a bat
-later, the chicken learned to hit the ball with the bat
-however, chicken would never run to first base, but always chased the ball as if it were food

-the learned task of hitting the ball and running to first base will not overpower the chicken’s biological instinct

- instinctive drift: conditioned responses drift back toward innate response patterns


Using Conditioning and Learning Principles
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-Covergirl makeup foundation (neutral stimulus) is paired with Taylor Swift
-attractive and talented Taylor Swift = the conditioned stimulus
-because of conditioning, we have a positive response to the image of Taylor Swift
-we then associate Covergirl makeup
with the positive response = conditioned response
-Prejudice
-Clark Study in 1939
-showed that given the option between white or black dolls, both white and black children preferred the white dolls
-Clark deduced that the children had learned to associate negative, inferior qualities with darker skin
-negative effects of classical conditioning
-Medical Treatments
-principle of classical conditioning used to help alcoholics
-patients gargle alcohol before taking a nausea producing drug
-ideally, the patient then develops taste aversion
-Phobias (Behavior Therapy)
-Example: cockroach (neutral stimulus)
-we develop fear after pairing it with an unconditioned stimulus (parent screaming at sight of the cockroach)
-over time we develop the conditioned response (being afraid at the mere sight of the roach)



Operant Conditioning

-Also known as: Instrumental learning or Skinnerian Conditioning
-biofeedback: an involuntary bodily process is recorded, and the information is fed back to an organism to increase voluntary control over that

bodily function
*Think of a man who is constantly hooked up to a machine that reads his heart rate. Over time and with continual exposure to the feedback of the machine, this man will be able to control his own heart rate. (Biofeedback)

-positive reinforcement: something added that increases the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated

-the learned value of the relief from the discomfort of increased heart rate is the primary reinforcer
-the biofeedback is the secondary reinforcer


-Accidental Reinforcement and Superstition
-Skinner’s Experiment
-eight pigeons separately caged with a food dispenser that released food every 15 seconds no matter what the birds did
-6 of the 8 birds developed repeated behaviors, even though they were not necessary to receive food
-the birds associated the food with the behavior they had whenever the food was dispensed
*Apparent in humans with superstitions such as ‘knocking on wood’ or wearing the same pair of lucky socks for every track meet


Token Economy
- Every time a desired behavior is performed, a token is given.
- Used in homes, prisons, mental institutions, and schools
- Example: Gold trophy on AP Psych tests for an A. Can trade in trophy for a small prize.


Cognitive-Social Learning
-observational learning from media




*Jared Jewelers commercials that portray a woman beaming at her boyfriend after receiving a necklace, and the boyfriend then wrapping his arm around his girlfriend as they live happily ever after

-observation of violent behavior is correlated to, and has been shown to lead to, desensitization and aggression






Important People:

  1. Ivan Pavlov- Russian psychologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on the role of saliva in digestion. He observed that dogs would salivate before they were given food. He came to the conclusion that they must have learned to salivate. Discovered that this was due to classical conditioning (learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus becomes paired with an unconditioned stimulus to elicit a conditioned response).
  2. John Watson and Rosalie Rayner- Conducted experiments to demonstrate how fear could be classically conditioned. They observed an 11-month old named Albert as he played with a rat, and saw that he was not afraid. Since infants are naturally frightened by loud noises, they paired loud noises with Albert playing with the rat. Now, when Albert saw the rat, he immediately started crying, which became known as a conditioned emotional response. Criticism include: violation of many ethical guidelines for research, for they did not extinguish Albert’s fear.
  3. Edward Thorndike- First to examine how voluntary behaviors are influenced by their consequences. He called this the law of effect (rewarded behavior is more likely to reoccur). To test this he created a crate for cats in which they had to operate latches in order to get out. He found that is the action leads to rewards, that action is imprinted in the brain.
  4. B.F. Skinner- Strict behaviorist who used the Skinner Box to demonstrate operant conditioning. He emphasized that reinforcement and punishment are defined after the fact
  5. David Premack- Formed the Premack principle which says that a naturally occurring, high frequency response can be used to reinforce and increase low-frequency response
  6. Wolfgang Kohler- Posed different types of problems to chimps and apes decided that animals had insight, which is sudden understanding of a problem that implies a solution
  7. Tolman- Studied rats wandering within a maze, and developed the terms “cognitive map” and “latent learning.” Realized that learning was taking place even though the rats were not being reinforced or conditioned.
  8. Bandura- A proponent of modeling, he researched observational learning through experiments with children, aggression and a Bobo doll. The children reacted to the Bobo doll in ways similar to those of the adult models they watched. He discovered that we often learn by watching others.


Interesting Facts:
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP5lCleK-PM_
This is a video that explains classical conditioning.
2.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt0ucxOrPQE_

This is a video that focuses on the “Little Albert” experiment and explains the purpose of the test.
3. Before Ivan Pavlov began a career in psychology, he planned on pursuing a religious career. He abandoned his religious career, deciding to focus on physiology. His study of the physiology of digestion led him to study conditioned responses, which eventually led to his experiment on the salivation of dogs (Ivan).
4. During one stay in New York, Skinner stumbled across the works of Watson and Pavlov, sparking his interest in the subject (Bauer).
5. Studies have shown that taste aversion does not occur immediately after eating food. It can be acquired after time lapses of hours in between the food and the onset of illness (Gorn).


Works Cited:


Bauer, Amy, and Christine Maracich. “B.F. Skinner” Fun Facts. 31 March 2011. http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/2003/Skinnerweb.htm

Gorn, Gerald J., W.J. Jacobs, and Michael Mana. “Observations on Awareness and Conditioning.” 31 March 2011. http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=6729

Huffman, Karen.
Psychology in Action, Eighth Edition. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2007.


"Ivan Pavlov - Biography". Nobelprize.org. 31 Mar 2011 http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1904/pavlov-bio.html