6.3—cognitive and observational learning Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 6.3—cognitive and observational learning > Flashcards

Flashcards in 6.3—cognitive and observational learning Deck (7)
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Latent Learning

  • latent learning: learning that's not immediately expressed by a response until the organism is reinforced for doing so 
  • Tolman and Honzik (1930); demonstrated latent learning in rats running a maze (figure 6.15)
    • this study illustrates that humans (and rats) acquire information in the absence of immediate reinforcement and that we can use that information when cirumstances allow


S-O-R Theory of Learning | Latent Learning

  • S-O-R theory (stimulus-organism-response theory): suggests that the individual is actively processing and analyzing information; this activity influences observable behaviours as well as our internal mental lives
  • S-R psychologists assumed that the response was a behaviour that was learned through an organism's life
  • S-O-R psychologists assumed that individual differences were based on people's cognitive interpretation of that situation


Observational Learning

  • observational learning: changes in behaviour and knowledge that result from watching others
  • e.g. cats that observe others being trained to leap over a hurdle to avoid a foot shock learn the same trick faster than cats who didn't observe this training


Four Processes Supporting Observational Learning

  1. attention to the act or behaviour
    • e.g. even though you don't live anywhere near shark-infested waters, you're probably afraid of sharks because you see documentaries or other things portraying sharks as dangerous
  2. memory for it
    • when we learn a new behaviour, there's a delay before the opportunity to perform it arises
    • we need to be able to remember how to do it within that time frame
    • seeing someone doing something and doing it yourself lights up the same areas in the basal ganglia and orbitofrontal cortex (both are areas related to reward processing)
  3. the ability to reproduce it
    • ​​observational learning is most effective when we first observe, practice immediately, and continue practicing soon after acquiring the response
  4. the motivation to do so


Imitation | Observational Learning

  • imitation: recreating someone else's motor behaviour or expression, often to accomplish a specific goal
  • it's currently unclear what imitation actually is, although there are a number of theories:
    • through imitation, children receive positive reinforcement when they properly imitate the behaviour of an adult, and this imitation is a form of operant learning
    • using imitation, children gain a better understanding of their own body parts versus the "observed" body parts of others
    • imitation is a more cognitive representation of one's own actions as well as the observed actions of someone else
    • likely that all three are involved


Linking Media Exposure to Behaviour

  • children show a consistent tendency to over-imitate the actions of adults
  • it is clear from decades of research that a positive correlation exists between exposure to violent media and aggressive behaviour in individuals, and that this correlation is stronger than those between aggression and peer influence, abusive parenting, or intelligence  
  • however, these studies cannot definitely explain why media violence affects behaviour


Mirror Neurons

  • mirror neurons: groups of neurons in parts of the frontal lobes associated with planning movements that become active both when someone performs an action and when they observe someone else perform an action
    • found in 1990s by Italian researchers observing monkeys
  • in a study where participants are asked to look at a picture of a tea setting, different groups of mirror neurons fired in response to the two images, despite the fact that the identical movement was being viewed
    • if the plates were full, and the setting is untouched, a person reaching for the cup would indicate they intended to have a sip
    • if the cookies are gone and the milk container has been knocked over, it would indicate the person is going to clean it up

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