Learning and Memory Flashcards Preview

MCAT Behavioural Sciences > Learning and Memory > Flashcards

Flashcards in Learning and Memory Deck (86):
1

Learning Definition

the way in which we acquire new behaviours

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Stimulus

anything an organism can respond to
-includes all the sensory inputs

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Habituation

Decrease in response following repeated exposure to a stimulus

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Dishabituation

Recovery of a response to a stimulus after habituation has occurred due to the presentation of a second stimulus that "interrups" habituation
-temporary
-refers to change in response to the original stimulus

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Associative learning

creation of pairing between two stimuli of between a behaviour and a response

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Classical conditioning

Uses instinctual responses to create associations between two unrelated stimuli
-Ivan Pavlov and his puppers

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Unconditioned stimulus

any stimulus that brings about a reflexive response

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Unconditioned response

innate or reflexive response to certain stimuli

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Neutral stimuli

stimuli that do not produce reflexive responses

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Pavlovs experiment (stimuli)

Neutral stimulus: bell ringing
Unconditioned stimulus: meat

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Conditioned stimulus

normally neutral stimulus that is made to cause a reflexive response through association
-causes a conditioned response

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Acquisition

taking advantage of a reflexive, unconditioned stimulus to turn a neutral stimulus into a conditioned stimulus

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Extinction

Habituation to the conditioned stimulus
-occurs if the conditioned stimulus is presented without the unconditioned stimulus too many times

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Spontaneous recovery

Some time after extinction occurs, presenting the extinct conditioned stimulus again will sometimes result in a weak conditioned response

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Generalization

Stimulus similar enough to the conditioned stimulus can produce the conditioned response

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Discrimination

Organism learns to distinguish between 2 similar stimuli

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Operant conditioning

Links voluntary behaviours with consequences in an effort to alter the frequency of certain behaviours
-B.F. Skinner & Behaviourism
= theory that all behaviours are conditioned

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Positive reinforcement

Increases behaviour by adding a stimulus
-ex getting money for working

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Negative reinforcement

Increases a behaviour by removing a stimulus
-ex: getting rid of a headache by taking advil

Subdivided into escape leaning and avoidance learning

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Positive punishment

Adds an unpleasant stimulus in order to reduce a behaviour
-ex: arrested for stealing

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Reinforcement

Process of increasing the likelihood of a behaviour

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Escape learning

role of behaviour is to reduce the unpleasantness of an existing stimulus
-advil example

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Avoidance learning

behaviour to prevent the unpleasantness of something that has yet to happen
-studying to avoid failing an exam

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Negative punishment

Removing a stimulus in order to reduce a behaviour
-ex: taking away toys from kids for bad behaviour

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Fixed ratio schedules (FR)

reinforce a behaviour after a specific number of performances of the behaviour

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Continuous reinforcement

A type of FR schedule where the behaviour is rewarded every time

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Variable ratio schedules (VR)

reinforce a behaviour after a varying number of performances
-average # of performances is usually constant
-have the fastest response rate
-most resistant to extinguishing

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Fixed interval schedules (FI)

reinforce the first instance of a behaviour after a specific time period has elapsed

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Variable interval schedules (VI)

reinforce the first instance of a behaviour after a variable interval of time

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Shaping

Process of rewarding increasingly specific behaviours

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Latent learning

learning that occurs without reward but that is spontaneously demonstrated when a reward is introduced

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Problem-solving

Trial and error approach, testing behaviours until they yield a rewards
-humans and chimps tend to avoid this and analyze the situation first

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Prepardness

animals are most able to learn behaviours that coincide with their natural behaviours

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Instinctive drift

Difficulty in overcoming instinctual behaviours
-animals don't tend to do well with behaviours that counteract their natural instincts

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Observational learning

Learning a new behaviour/gaining info by watching others
-ex: Alberto Bandura and the Bobo doll

*not just imitation, can be used to teach individuals to avoid behaviour as well

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Mirror neurons

Located in the frontal and parietal lobes
-fire when an individual performs an action and when they observe someone else performing that action
-largely involved in motor processes
-related to empathy and vicarious emotions

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Modeling

Observational learning by watching others perform actions
-children tend to model actions more than what people say

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Encoding

Process of putting new information into memory

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Automatic processing

form of encoding that happens spontaneously, information is gained without effort

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Controlled (effortful) processing

Actively working to gain information

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Visual encoding

visualizing the meaning of information
-weakest form of encoding

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Acoustic encoding

storing the way information sounds

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Semantic encoding

Putting the information into a meaningful context
-strongest

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Self-reference effect

Tend to recall information best when we put it into the context of our own lives

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Maintenance rehearsal

repetition of a piece of information to keep it in your working memory or to store it in short or long term memory

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Mnemonics

acronyms or rhyming phrases that provide organization for the information

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Method of loci

Associating each item in the list with a location along a previously memorized route (through a building or down a street)

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Peg-word system

associated numbers with items that rhyme or resemble the numbers
-eg. one and sun

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Chunking/clustering

Involves taking individual elements of a large list and lumping them into groups with related meaning

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Sensory memory

First and most fleeting form of memory
-consists of iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory) memory
-only lasts 1 second, will fade unless attended to
-memory is maintained by the major projection area of each sensory system

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Whole report vs. partial report experiment

If a 3x3 list of letters is flashed on a screen, participants can correctly identify 3-4 letters when asked to list all the letters (whole report) but can very accurately list any of the rows of letters immediately after (partial report)

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Short term memory

Fades quickly, usually after 30 seconds unless rehearsed
-limited to ~7 items (7+/- 2 rule)
*space can be increased by clustering and time extended by maintenance rehearsal

Housed primarily in the hippocampus

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Working memory

Enables retention of a few pieces of information and manipulation of that information
-need to integrate short term memory, attention, and executive function
-supported by the hippocampus
-frontal and parietal lobes are also involved

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Long-Term Memory

Limitless storage for the information moved here from short term memory
-done through elaborative rehearsal = association of the information to knowledge already stored in long term memory (tied to the self reference effect)

Controlled by the hippocampus but some very long term memories are moved to the cerebral cortex

2 types
-Implicit (nondeclarative or procedural)
-Explicit (declarative)

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Implicit memory

Also called non-declarative or procedural
-consists of skills/tasks and conditioned responses
-"unconscious memory"

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Explicit memory

Also called declarative memory
-consists for memory that require conscious recall
-further divided into:
1. semantic memory (known facts)
2. episodic memory (experiences)

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Retrieval

process of demonstrating that something has been learned and retained
-not simply recall
-applies to the recognition or quick relearning of info

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Recall

retrieval + statement of previously learned information

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Recognition

Process of identifying a piece of info that was learned

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Relearning experiment

Hermann Ebbinghaus and the list memorization
-found that the more times he studied a list of words the better he could remember them AND the longer the time between study sessions, the better the recall

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Spacing effect

Longer time between sessions of relearning equates better retention of the information later on

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Semantic network

Concepts/memories are linked together in the brain based on similar meaning

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Spreading activation

When one node of a semantic network is activated, the other linked concepts are also subconsciously activated
-linked to priming

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Priming

Recall is aided by presenting someone with a word/phrase that is close to the desired semantic memory

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Context effects

Memory is aided by being in the physical location where the encoding took place

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State-dependent memory

Mental state can alter recall
-being drunk means you will recall tasks/facts better when you're drunk
-bad mood primes negative memories (helping the mood persist)

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Serial position effect

In learning lists, people have a higher recall for the first few items and the last few items on the list
-early items = primacy effect
-later items = recency effect

*when asked to remember the list later, show strong recall for first items but recall of later ones fade

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Alzheimer's disease

Degenerative brain disorder thought to be linked to a loss of acetylcholine in neurons that links to the hippocampus
-dementia
-memory loss
-brain atrophy

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Dementia

progressive loss of cognitive function

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Memory loss in alzheimer's tends to proceed in _____?

Retrograde fashion
-loss of recent memories before distant memories

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5 brain pathologies of alzheimer's

1. Neurofibrillary tangles
2. ß-amyloid plaques (incorrectly folded precursor proteins)
3. Shrunken hippocampus
4. Shrunken cerebral cortex
5. Enlarged ventricles

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Sundowning

Increase in dysfunction in the late afternoon/evening in Alzheimer's patients

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Korsakoff's Syndrome

Memory loss caused by thiamine deficiency in the brain
-causes both retrograde and anterograde amnesia
-also causes confabulation (creation of vivid but false memories)

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Agnosia

loss of ability to recognize objects, people, or sounds
-usually only one of the 3
-caused by physical damage to the brain like stroke or MS

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Decay

Loss of memories naturally over time due to fading of neurochemical trace

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Ebbinghaus's curve of forgetting

For a day or 2 after learning a list, the recall falls down sharply but then levels out

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Interference

Retrieval error caused by the existence of other, similar information
-proactive and retroactive

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Proactive interference

Old information prevents the learning of new, similar information
-ex: new address after moving

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Retroactive interference

New information causes the forgetting of old information
-can be reduced by minimizing the # of interfering events

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Memory change with age

-Recognition & skill based memory does not decline

-Semantically meaningful recall does not decline

-Prospective memory (remembering to perform a task in the future) remains intact when event based (primed by a trigger event)

*time based prospective memory (ie. pills) does tend to decline with age

81

Misinformation effect

People will remember being shown things a certain way if misleading information is provided (ie cat being in a picture if they were told it was)

applies to recall as well. People will remember something as more intense than it was if they are asked about it using more descriptive and intense language

82

Source monitoring effect

Confusion between episodic and semantic memory
-can remember the details of an event but confusion about the source

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Neuroplasticity

Ability of our brain to form rapid neural connections in response to stimuli

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Synaptic pruning

Weak neural connections are broken while strong ones re bolstered as we grow older
-increases the brain's efficiency in processing info

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Long term potentiation

*Neurophysiological basis of long term memory*
Neural activity forms a memory trace by repeated or rehearsal of a stimulus
-stimulated neurons become more efficient at releasing their neurotransmitters
-receptor neuron density is increased

86

Memory pathway

1. Sensory memory in the projection area of a sensory modality
2. Sensory memory is maintained and moved as a short term memory into the hippocampus (temporal lobe)
3. Can be manipulated via working memory while in the hippocampus (in tandem with the frontal and parietal lobes) AND/OR stored for later recall
4. Over very long times memories are gradually moved from the hippocampus to the cerebral cortex