Ch 3 - Learning and Memory Flashcards Preview

MCAT Psych/soc > Ch 3 - Learning and Memory > Flashcards

Flashcards in Ch 3 - Learning and Memory Deck (34):


  • way in which we acquire new behaviors
  • stimulus - anything an organism can respond to
  • stimuli and responses result in behavioral learning



  • repeated exposure to the same stimulus can cause decrease response
  • dishabituation - recovery of response to a stimulus after habituation has occured
    • may occur due to sudden change in environment


Classical conditioning

  • type of associative learning
  • instinctual response to create association between 2 unrelated stimuli
  • Pavlov dog
    • unconditioned stimulus - causes a natural, reflexive response (unconditioned response)
    • neutral stimuli - does not produce natural reaction
    • conditioned stimulus - a previously neutral stimulus that now triggers a conditioned response
  • acquisition - turning a neutral stimulus into a conditioned stimulus



  • conditioned stimulus is presented too many times without the unconditioned stimulus
    • conditioned response may stop
  • spontaneous recovery - weak conditioned response after extinction has occured



  • broadening effect where stimulus similar to conditioned stimlus produces the conditioned response
  • little albert
  • discrimination - opposite of generalization
    • can distinguish between similar stimuli


operant conditioning

  • link voluntary behaviors to consequences
  • BF Skinner
  • behaviorism - all behaviors are conditioned
  • reinforcement - increase likelihood of behavior
    • positive reinforcer - add positive consequence
    • negative reinforcer - remove negative consequence
  • punishment - decrease occurence of behavior
    • positive punishment - add unpleasant
    • negative punishment - remove pleasant


operant conditioning - Reinforcers

  • negative reinforcers
    • escape learning - reduce unpleasantness of something that already exists
    • avoidance learning - prevent unpleasant thing from happening
  • classical + operant conditioning
    • primary reinforcer - a positive reinforcement due to natural response. ex. fish for a dolphin
    • conditioned reinforer (secondary reinforcer) - a positive reinforcer due to classical conditioning. ex. clicker for a dolphin that has conditioned to mean fish
    • discriminative stimulus - reward is potentially available. ex. dolphin trainer


Operant conditioning - reinforcement schedule

  • Fixed ratio (FR) - reinforce behavior after specific number of performances of behavior
    • continuous reinforcement - reinforce everytime behavior occurs
  • Variable ratio (VR) - reinforce after variable number of performances (average to the same number of behaviors)
  • Fixed interval (FI) - reinforce first time then a specified time after that
  • Variable Interval (VI) - first time then varying intervals after
    • most resistant to extinction



  • reward increasingly specific behaviors
  • allow to train complex behaviors


latent learning

  • learning without a reward but is spontaneously demonstrated when a reward is introduced
  • ex. rats in maze experiment
  • some rats ran the maze even without food reward


problem solving

  • trial and error until a reward is reached
  • outside of behavioralist approach
  • older people will avoid this and observe situation and make decisive action instead



  • predisposed to learn behavior based on natural ability and instinct
  • reward birds with food for when they peck ... this is natural anyway
  • instinctive drift - difficult to teach animals against their instinct


Observational learning

  • learning a new behavior or gaining information by watching others
  • not simply imitation
  • can also be used to avoid behaviors


mirror neurons

  • part of observational learning
  • frontal and parietal lobes
  • fire when an individual performs an action AND when they observe someone else performing the action
  • motor processes, empathy, vicarious emotions
  • imitative learning in primates


Associative learning

  • creation of pairing or association
  • between 2 stimuli or between a behavior and response
  • classical conditioning
  • operant conditioning




  • observational learning by seeing what are acceptable behaviors performed by others
  • model what people do more than what the model says



  • putting new info into memory
  • automatic processing - information gained without effort
    • observations during daily routines
  • controlled (effortful) processing - active memorization
    • studying
  • controlled can become automatic after extensive practice


types of encoding

  • visual - visualize info
  • acoustic - how it sounds
  • semantic - meaningful context
  • semantic >> acoustic >> visual
  • self reference effect - semantic encoding that is in the context of our own lives


maintenance rehearsal

  • repetition of information to keep it in working memory and eventually move it to long term memory


memorization techniques

  • mnemonics - acronyms or rhyming phrases
  • method of loci - associate items with locations
  • peg word - associate numbers with items that rhyme or resemble numbers
  • method of loci and peg word are serial and can be used for long lists
  • chunking (clustering) - group together with related meaning


sensory memory

  • iconic - visual
  • echoic - auditory
  • lasts for very short time - take in lots of detail
  • maintained by occipital and temporal lobes
  • lost easily if not used
  • whole report - ask for entire scene. Participant unable to answer
  • partial report - ask for only specific part. Participant answers correctly
    • whole memory exists, but dimishes in the time it takes to answer the first part of the whole report


short term memory

  • fades over course of 30 seconds
  • 7 + - 2 rule : capacity of about 7 items
    • increased by clustering info
  • extend duration by maintenance rehearsal
  • hippocampus - also consolidates to long term memory


working memory

  • related to short term memory
  • hippocampus
  • few pieces of info used to manipulate and consciously think about
    • mental math
  • frontal and parietal lobes


elaborative rehearsal

  • association of information to knowledge that is already in long term memory
  • linked to self reference effect
  • long term memories moved to cortex instead of hippocampus


Long term memory

  • implicit (nondeclarative/procedural) - skills/tasks and conditioned responses
  • explicit (declarative) - require conscious recall
    • semantic - facts we know
    • episodic - experiences



  • retrieval - process of demonstrating that something that has been learned has been retained
    • recall - retrieval and statement of previously learned info
  • recognition - identifying information that was previously learned
    • multiple choice
  • relearning - information stored but not available for recall
    • spacing effect - longer amount of time between relearning led to more retention


Organization of memories

  • semantic network - concepts are linked together based on similar meaning
  • spreading activation - seeing one part of the network will unconsciously activate a linked concept
    • priming - recall aided by word or phrase linked to the concept
  • context effect - retreival cue
    • memory aided by being in physical location of encoding
  • state dependent effect/memory - mental state as cue to recall
  • serial position effect - learning lists
    • primacy/recency effect - recall first and last few items on list better than middle items
    • during later recall last items fade and first items still recalled, due to last items in short term memory


Alzeimers disease

  • loss of acetylcholine in neurons linked to hippocampus
  • progressive dementia - loss of cognitive function, memory loss, atrophy of brain
  • loss recent memories first
  • neurofibrillay tangles
  • Beta-amyloid plaques
  • sundowning - increase dysfunction in evening


Memory disorders

  • Korsakoff's syndrome - thiamine deficiency
    • retrograde amnesia - loss previous memories)
    • anterograde amnesia - inability to form new memories
    • confabulation - vivid but fabricated memories
  • agnosia - loss ability to recognize objects, people, sounds
    •  loss one of three
    • caused by physical damage to brain (stroke)
  • decay - recall falls sharply after a day or 2 then levels off



  • proactive interference - old info interfere with new learning
  • retroactive interference - new info causes forgetting of old info
    • reduce interfering events


Aging and Memory

  • old people most vividly remember their 20s
    • sign of intense encoding during teens and 20s
  • limited loss of recognitiona dn skill based memory
  • semantic memory easily recalled
  • prospetctive memory - remember to perform a task at some point in the future. Remains strong
    • ex. buy  milk when walk by it at the store
  • time based prospective memory - dimishes
    • remember to take medication at 7am everyday


memory construction

  • memory influenced by thoughts and feelings
  • false memories
    • confabulation
    • misinformation effect - wording of a question can effect the recall of a memory. suggestion of memory can cause false confirmation of that information
    • sourfce monitoring error - confuse semantic and episodic memory
      • remember details but confuse the context



  • neural connnections form rapidly at a young age
  • greater plasticity at a young age
    • synapses can reorganize in the event of injury


long term potentiation

  • neurophysiological basis of long term memory
  • stimulus is repeated and the neurons become more efficient at releasing NT, receptor sites increase and strengthen