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Flashcards in Learning Theory Deck (43):

Methods of learning include:

1. Simple forms such as habituation and sensitization.
2. More complex forms such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning.


Learning methods are the basis of what?

Behavioral treatment techniques.



DESENSITIZATION = Repeated stimulation results in a decreased response (Eg a child who receives weekly allergy injections cries less and less with each injection).



Repeated stimulation results in an increased response (eg a child who is afraid of spiders feels more anxiety each time he encounters a spider).


Classical conditioning - Principles - In classical conditioning, a natural or reflex (behavior) is elicited by ...?

A learned stimulus (a cue from an internal or external event) --> This type of learning is called associative learning.


Which brain area is particularly important in associative learning?

The hippocampus.


Which brain area participates in classical conditioning, specifically in associations involving motor skills?

The cerebellum.


The 4 elements of classical conditioning:

1. Unconditioned stimulus.
2. Unconditioned response.
3. Conditioned stimulus.
4. Conditioned response.


A conditioned stimulus is something that ...?

Produces a response following learning (eg the sound of the lunch bell).


A conditioned response is a behavior that is learned ...?

By an association made between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus (eg salivation in response to the lunch bell).


Stimulus generalization:

A new stimulus (eg a church bell) that resembles a conditioned stimulus (eg the lunch bell) causes a conditioned response (eg salivation).


Aversive conditioning:

An unwanted behavior (eg setting fires) is paired with a painful or aversive stimulus (eg a painful electric shock).
--> An association is created between the unwanted behavior (fire-setting) and the aversive stimulus (pain) and the fire-setting ceases.


Importance of learned helplessness?

May be a model system for depression (often characterized by hopelessness and apathy) in humans.


What is imprinting?

The tendency of organisms to make an association with and then follow the first thing they see birth or hatching (in birds).


Operant conditioning - Principles:

Behavior is determined by its consequences for the individual --> The consequence (reinforcement or punishment) occurs immediately following a behavior.


What can happen in operant conditioning through reinforcement?

A behavior that is not part of the individual's natural repertoire can be learned through reinforcement.


The 4 features of operant conditioning:

1. Positive reinforcement.
2. Negative reinforcement.
3. Punishment.
4. Extinction.


Positive reinforcement - Effect on behavior:

Behavior is increased by reward.


Negative reinforcement - Effect on behavior:

Behavior is increased by avoidance or escape.


Punishment - Effect on behavior:

Behavior is decreased by suppression.


Extinction - Effect on behavior:

Behavior is eliminated by non-reinforcement.


Positive reinforcement - Example:

Child increases his kind behavior towards his younger brother to get praise from his mother.


Positice reinforcement - Comments:

1. Reward or reinforcement (praise) increases desired behavior (kindness toward brother).
2. A reward can be praise or attention as well as a tangible reward like money.


Negative reinforcement - Example:

Child increases his kind behavior toward his younger brother to avoid being scolded.


Negative reinforcement - Comments:

Active avoidance of an aversive stimulus (being scolded) increases desired behavior (kindness toward brother).


Punishment - Example:

Child decreases his hitting behavior after his mother scolds him.


Punishment - Comments:

Delivery of an aversive stimulus (scolding) decreases unwanted behavior (hitting brother) repidly but NOT PERMANENTLY.


Extinction - Example:

Child stops his hitting behavior when the behavior is ignored.


Extinction - Comments:

1. Extinction is more effective than punishment for long-term reduction in unwanted behavior.
2. There may be an initial increase in hitting behavior before it disappears.


The 5 schedules of reinforcement:

1. Continuous.
2. Fixed ratio.
3. Fixed interval.
4. Variable ratio.
5. Variable interval.


Schedules of reinforcement - Continuous - Example:

A teenager receives a candy bar each time she puts a dollar into a vending machine. One time shes puts adollar in and nothing comes out. She never buys candy from the machine again.


Schedules of reinforcement - Continuous - Effect on behavior:

Behavior (putting in a dollar to receive candy) is rapidly learned but disappears rapidly (has little resistance to extinction) when not reinforced (no candy comes out).


Schedules of reinforcement - Example:

A man is paid 10 dollars for every five hats he makes. He makes as many hats as he can during his shift.


Schedules of reinforcement - Fixed ration - Effect on behavior:

Fast response rate (many hats are made quickly).


Schedules of reinforcement - Fixed interval - Example:

A student has an anatomy quiz every Friday. He studies for 10min on Wednesday nights, and for 2h on Thursday nights.


Schedules of reinforcement - Fixed interval:

1. The response rate (studying) increases toward the end of each interval (1wk).
2. When graphed, the response rate forms a scalloped curve.


Schedules of reinforcement - Variable ratio - Example:

After a slot machine pays off 5 dollars for a single quarter, a woman plays 50dollars in quarters despite the fact that she receives no further payoffs.


Schedules of reinforcement - Variable ration - Effect on behavior:

The behavior (playing the slot machine) continues (is highly resistant to extinction) despite the fact that it is only reinforced (winning money) after a large but variable number of responses.


Schedules of reinforcement - Variable interval - Example:

After 5 min of fishing in a lake, a man catches a large fish. He then spends 4h waiting for another bite.


Schedules of reinforcement - Variable interval - Effect on behavior:

The behavior (fishing) continues (is highly resistant to extinction) despite the fact that it is only reinforced (a fish is caught) after varying time intervals.


Shaping and modeling - Shaping:

Involves rewarding closer and closer approximations of the wanted behavior until the correct behavior is achieved (eg a child learing to write is praised when she makes a letter, even though it is not formed perfectly).


Shaping and modeling - Modeling:

A type of observational learning (eg, an individual behaves in a manner similar to that of someone she admires).


What is learning?

The acquisition of new behavior patterns.