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Flashcards in Chapter 5 - Learning Deck (44)
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What is learning?

Any relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience or practice. Any change in the way an organism behaves.


What happens to the brain when people learn something?

It is physically changed to record what was learned.


What is classical conditioning?

Classical conditioning is a type of learning where object/situations become associated or linked with other kinds of situations. More specifically it is learning to make a reflex response to a stimulus other than the original, natural stimulus that normally produces the reflex.


Who was the father of classical conditioning?

Ivan Pavlov, who was not a psychologist, he was a physiologist. He was studying the digestive tracts of dogs. He discovered, almost by accident, about classical conditioning.


What is a stimulus?

An object, event or experience that causes a response.


What is a response? What is a reflex response?

A reaction of an organism to a stimulus. A reflex response is a response that is involuntary or uncontrolled.


What did Pavlov's dog demonstrate?

In Pavlov's experiments on dogs digestive tracts he put food in front of the dog and the dog salivated. In this example food is the original natural stimulus, and the salivation is the natural reflex response. Because Pavlov wanted to control the experiment he had to keep many variables the same, so he fed the dogs at the same time everyday, and to indicate this he had a buzzer sound every time he was going to feed the dog. Pavlov soon noticed that the dog began to salivate to the buzzer, before the food even entered the picture. The buzzer became the new stimulus, that the dog associated with the reflex response, salivation.


What are the elements of classical conditioning?

Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) - Naturally occurring stimulus that leads to an involuntary stimulus. In the Pavlov's dog experiment, this was the food.
Unconditioned Response (UCR) - Involuntary response to a naturally occurring or unconditioned stimulus, which is genetically wired into the nervous system. In the Pavlov's dog experiment, this was the salivation.
Neutral Stimulus (NS) - A stimulus that has no effect on the desired outcome. In the Pavlov's dog experiment this was the buzzer, initially. At first the buzzer meant nothing to the dog, there's no reason to salivate to it.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS) - Stimulus that becomes able to produce a learned reflex response by being paired with the original unconditioned stimulus. In the Pavlov's dog experiment, this was the buzzer after the dog had been conditioned to associate the buzzer with the food.
Conditioned Response (CR) - Learned reflex response to a conditioned stimulus. In the Pavlov's dog experiment, this is the salivation in response to the buzzer. The dog has been conditioned to respond to the buzzer by salivating.


Demonstrate the relationships between the elements of Classical conditioning before, during, and after conditioning.

Unconditioned Stimulus (Food) --> Unconditioned Response (Salivation)
Neutral Stimulus (Buzzer) --> No Effect (No salivation)

Neutral Stimulus (Buzzer) & Unconditioned Stimulus (Food) --> Unconditioned Response (Salivation)

Conditioned Stimulus (Buzzer) --> Conditioned Response (Salivation)


What are some rules that must be followed before classical conditioning can occur?

-The conditioned stimulus must come before the unconditioned stimulus (buzzer then food, not food then buzzer).
-The conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus must be close together in time (seconds apart)
-Neutral stimulus must be paired with unconditioned stimulus several times before conditioning can occur.
-Conditioned stimulus is usually distinctive or stands out from other stimuli.


What is stimulus generalization?

A tendency to respond to stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus. For example if Pavlov sounded a slightly different buzzer, the dog might still salivate. However the farther and farther away it gets from the original buzzer sound, the less likely the dog will be to associate that stimulus with the conditioned response.


What is stimulus discrimination?

A tendency to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and a similar stimulus because the similar stimulus is never paired with the unconditioned stimulus. For example two tones, one that meant food, and another that didn't. When the food tone was sounded, the dog would salivate, when the other tone was sounded the dog did not salivate, it was able to discriminate between the two tones.


What is extinction?

A disappearance or weakening of a learned response following the removal or absence of the unconditioned stimulus. Not reacting to a previously powerful stimulus is extinction.


What is spontaneous recovery?

Reappearance of a learned response after extinction has occurred. Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior.


What is a conditioned emotional response?

An emotional response classically conditioned to occur to learned stimuli. Phobias, or irrational fears, are an example. This is also used in advertising.


Who was Little Albert?

Little Albert was a toddler, who was put in an experiment by John B. Watson. Watson introduced Albert to a lab rat, which he was not scared of. After a while Watson would create a loud noise right after Little Albert was shown the rat. This would of course cause Little Albert to be scared, and cry. Soon Watson removed the loud noise, and Little Albert would still cry when he was introduced to the rat, even without the noise. Little Albert was now scared of the rat, even though he wasn't initially.


How is fear associated with Classical conditioning?

A person can learn to fear almost anything if it is paired with something that causes pain, surprise or embarrassment. Humans are biologically predisposed to acquire some fears easier than others (for example heights, snakes, spiders, water). Getting shots when you are a kid can condition a fear of needles or injection in the future.


What is taste aversion?

A biological predisposition to associate sickness with taste more readily than with sights or sounds. Can develop after one pairing of food with illness even after time delay. Survival value, when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers if they found some food, and tasted a little bit of it, and then they got really sick, they needed to remember that that food was not good for eating, taste aversion is the bodies way of doing this. Rats learn to avoid poison through taste aversion.


What is operant conditioning?

Operant conditioning is a type of learning focused on forming associations between voluntary behaviors and the consequences that follow.


What was Thorndike's Experiment?

This experiment was the root of Operant Conditioning. Thorndike built as small wooden box, and put a cat in it. In order for the cat to get out of the box it had to solve a puzzle. That cat had to activate 3 mechanisms in the box in a certain order. When first put in the box it had no idea how to get out, and just through frantically moving around the cat happened to hit the mechanisms in the right order. However as Thorndike continued to put the cat in the box, slowly the average amount of time the cat took to get out of the box went down. It was learning how to solve the puzzle.


What is the law of effect?

The law of effect states that behaviors followed by positive consequences are strengthened, and those followed by negative consequences are weakened.


What were Skinner's Experiments?

Skinner was a behaviorist, so he wanted to study only observable, measurable behavior. He developed the Skinner box to study operant conditioning. In the Skinner box there was a lever, that a rat or a pigeon might have to pull when a light in the box turns on or a sound from the speaker plays. If the animal in the box did it correctly the animal could get rewarded by a food dispenser and/or a water dispenser. If the animal in the box was doing it incorrectly, the floor of the box was electrified, allowing Skinner to distribute a shock to the animal.


What is reinforcement?

A consequence to a behavior that increases the probability that the behavior will occur again.


What is positive reinforcement?

Reinforcement of a behavior by the addition or experiencing of something pleasurable, like a reward.


What is negative reinforcement?

Reinforcement of a behavior through the removal, escape from, or avoidance of something unpleasant. For example the cat getting out of Thorndike's puzzle box was negative reinforcement.


What is a primary reinforcer?

Event or stimulus that is naturally reinforcing by meeting a basic biological need (food, water, sex etc.)


What is a secondary reinforcer?

Event or stimulus that becomes reinforcing after being paired with a primary reinforcer (Everything else that is not a biological need. For example money)


What are the two categories of reinforcement schedules?

Continuous Reinforcement and partial reinforcement.


What is continuous reinforcement?

A reinforcement schedule where every response results in delivery of the reinforcer. The subject of the reinforcement will likely learn the behavior quite quickly, however this is not always feasible in the long term. One reason it may not be feasible is because of time/financial requirements to deliver a reinforcement every time a behavior occurs. Another reason is because ultimately your goal is to get the behavior to continue without the reinforcement, but with continuous reinforcement once you cease the reinforcement the behavior may stop as well.


What is partial reinforcement?

Partial reinforcement is a reinforcement schedule where a response is reinforced only some of the time. This results in a slower acquisition at first, but show greater resistance to extinction later on.