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Three components of learning

Three components
1. Relatively permanent change in behavior, stable pattern (not just by chance)
Example: dog fetches frisbee, doesn't happen all the time so it's not learning
2. Change in behavior: objectively observable
3. Due to experience: not due to influence if genes or biological changes
Example: normal person, schizophrenic break down so thee is a relatively permanent change but it's because of genes not learning!

All have to be present for it to be learning


What is learning?

Relatively permanent change in behavior due to experience


1st to have a learning theory



Name arisotles theory of learning

Familiarity: Passively recognizing a previously experienced object or event
Recollection: Actively reconstructing an experience as a sequence of events
Example: recollect a persons name from being from an old class, no need for a clue (persons face)


2nd theorist of learning

Maine de Biran
Representative memory: Conscious recollection of prior experience (cognitive learning)

Sensitive memory: Unconscious retrieval of emotional info
(Classical conditioning) ex: phobias..any type of emotional connection (implicit memory)

Mechanical memory: Unconscious retrieval of learned motor movement
(Reinforced or operant learning) implicit
Operant: operator actively manipulating environment


3rd theorist for learning

William James
Distinguished between unconscious info (habits) and conscious info (memories)
Habits: classical and operant conditioning
The idea of bad habits (biting nails) all these behaviors are learned through operant or classical conditioning
Memories: cognitive learning
Primary (working memory)
Secondary (long term Relationship between what we learn and the brain
Memories and habits form reflex arcs (neural pathways) which are used repeatedly
Repeated use (reflex arcs) form stronger neural pathways


When and by whom did introspection become introduced?

Things started going wrong in 1800s because introspection was introduced to psychology by Wundt. Took it from Socrates
Introspection: self examining using own experiences
Pro: in depth
Con: subjective, no consistency
Around same time there was the introduction of Eugenics
Eugenics: self evolution of the human race (good characteristics thrive while bad due off through selective breeding) biological determinism
Darwin: theory of human revolution through natural selection
This involved forced sterilization of mentally ill, physically disabled, mass murder of Jews, gypsies


What emerged after introspection and by which theorists? Why?

Behaviorism emerged as a rebellion against introspection and eugenics
(Late 1800s to mid 1900s)
John Watson, Pavlov, Thorndike,Skinner
Behaviorism: measuring objective and observable behavior
John Watson: used ideas by Pavlov
Pavlovs research was published in English in 1800s
Replication, objective, observable behavior
Only thing you can study is behavior
Watson and Pavlov focused on classical conditions
Thorndike and skinner: operant learning

Cognitive learning pushed to the side because it was internal, subjective


What was introduced after behaviorism and by who? When?

Cognitive theories emerge as a rebellion against behaviorism
Mid 1900s
Even though behaviorism took over they reemerged in mid 1900s
Tolman used to be a behaviorist but his rats could be explained completely though behaviorism
Used latent learning experiment (maze)


What did Tolman demonstrate?

Latent Learning (hidden underneath the surface)
No reinforcement at goal box: no change in behavior (no learning)
Compared to group with goal box, steady decline in # if mistakes (learning)
3rd and most important group: started like G1, then day 11 change to set up of G2, if behaviorism is wrong we would see something different than G2. Immediate improvement shows learning was happening all along (latent learning)

Those who were starved for 11 days declined the least


Black box

Behaviorist believed that external events effect an individual by producing an observable behavior. The individual was not believed to have any internal mental processes. Cognitive theories believed that the individual had internal mental processes



Unites field of psych, BRENDA MILNER is one of the most important figures
Used H.M. He had epilepsy (uncontrolled electrical (excitatory) activity in brain spreading out to medial temporal lobe causes seizures)
Surgeons would cut out part of brain, HM medial temporal lobe got cut out
Medial Temporal Brain: builds memories
HM could no longer form new memories
Brenda Milner worked with him for numerous decades, every time she came in he had no memory of her


Those with temporal lobe damage can learn what type of info?

Brenda Milner showed they could perform certain. Activities
Mirror drawing task: it's a mirror so everything is reversed so your brain has to relearn how to perform these simple motor tasks
HM and those with damage learned then just as well as those without brain damage
Basal Ganglia part of brain (independent if medial temporal lobe)
Perceptual Learning: picture completion task or flip books
Recognize what object is sooner as times increase
HM and those with damage could learn task just as well
Visual cortex (independent of medial temporal lobe)
Both behaviorism and cognitive are true!


Basic types of learning/memory

Non-Assiciative: simple learning
Habituation: decreasing automatic response to stimulus
Response at first but goes away
Ex:Smell in a room, you get used to it and dint notice it
Sensitization: increase response to stimulus
Increase response to aversive (bad) stimulus
Ex: Dougie hit him over head he learned to move it


Associate environment with something
Classical condition: associate environmental stimulus with something good or bad
Produces involuntary behavior
Fear of spider because you got screamed at as a baby for going near a spider, next time you see a spider it evokes thus response
Operant conditioning: associating environmental stimulus with a voluntary behavior that results in a particular outcome
Ex: voluntary taking notes and come to class because you want a good grade (good outcome)
Cognitive learning:associating two or more environmental stimuli with eachother association is used to guide a voluntary behavior
Ex: conscious memory, spatial learning of where classes are
Episodic memory: memory from life


Basics of neural communication

Our neurons are different from what you learned 4 hours ago

Saw pic of brad Pitt: passed through optic eye
Stuff from right gets sent to left visual cortex
Vice versa

Fusoform gurus: evolved to recognize human faces

Fusoform sends to motor cortex to have you say BRAD PITT


Structure of neuron

Soma- cell body contains neucleus
Nucleus: tells what to do
Axon: transmits to other neurons
Organelles: take care of neuron take old neurotransmitters and recycles them
Terminal buttons: talks to next neuron


Neuron membrane

Fat + water =repel eachother
Don't let outside of neuron get into neuron
Can't pass layer of fat!
Protein molecules which act as tunnels
Neurotransmitter gated ion channels: Opens up whenever neurotransmitter binds to them
Voltage gated ion channels: Opens up whenever area around it reaches a voltage of -40mV (becomes more positive)
Ion channels: ions pass through here
Ion: magnesium Mg++, chloride Cl- , sodium Na+ , calcium Ca++, potassium K+
Cramp in muscles: neurons communicating to muscles don't have all of the ions needed
Fatty acid: a lot of neuron is fat
If your starving your body starts digesting your brain, these parts!
Fluid around neuron: cerebrospinal fluid, main component is water
Water has certIn things floating in it: ions



short little spike of positive charge...go back to rest potential



1/3 of our base energy (energy needed to be alive) of the calories you consume goes to fuel our sodium potassium pumps


Propagation of action potential down to synapse

Get to +30 sodium (positive Spike) sodium channel closes and potassium channel will open up and allow potassium to go out
Potassium with positive charge leaves so sodium goes negative
Refractory period: impossible for neuron to fire again (have another action potential) because ions arnt where they are supposed to be
Molecule: sodium potassium pump (another protein sitting in membrane works to move sodium back outside and potassium inside so they are back to where they should be)Action potential has to be passed down the axon, finger tips,
Propagation: continuation of action potential
It is dependent on voltage gated ion potential
Each rectangle (voltage gated ion channels so when positive charge is passed down
Inside if cell gets positive
Because it's voltage gated it realizes the charge has been reached and it opens up
Activates next one: like dominos
Happens all down membrane


Process of synapse

Calcium ion smashes vesicles, they attach to other neurotransmitter, restart process


Neuron signal transmission in seven steps

1. A neuron receives chemical input from another neuron (neurontransmitter binds to receptor)
2. As receptor is activated, it's neurotransmitter-gated ion channel opens up and Na+ ions flow into the neuron
3. If enough receptors are activated and enough Na+ ions flow into the neuron! it will reach an activation threshold (-40mV)
4. When this happens, all the nearby voltage gated Na+ ion channels open up and many Na+ ions flow into the neuron changing its charge to +30 mV
^action potential started

5. This positive charge passes along the neuron membrane, down the axon because voltage gated ion channels open up after another and allow Na+ ions into the neuron
6. When the positive charge reaches the terminal buttons, voltage gated Ca++ ion channels open! and Ca++ ions enter the neuron
7. Calcium activated proteins grab vesicles and move them to the edge of the terminal buttons, and they release their neurotransmitter into the next synapse

Whole process starts again to the next neuron

Quick process!


Learning occurs in

Cell assemblies


Learning info is done by

processing of certain neurons together
The better the neurons are at communicating the more I learn


Synaptic plasticity

Can change the neurons connection
Plasticity: changeable


Hebbian rule for synaptic plasticity in neuron assemblies

If the firing of one neuron causes another neuron to fire as well, and this happens repeatedly, then the strength of synapses between the two neurons will be increased


The strengthening (Long Term Potential) is the learning


Created map of scalp, larger bump for stronger personality traits

Franz Joseph Gall Phrenology: Different parts brain has different functions
What your good at will be a bigger bump on your scalp


Modern equipment that allows us to see what's going on inside


Modern phrenology
Big advantage: not only do you get an MRI (pic of brain) but you can also map the blood flow (higher oxygen yes when using that part)


Frontal lobe:

processing executive functioning, cortex and ore cortex


Parietal lobe:

association cortex spatial learning, tactical processing


Occipital lobe:

proximal info is processed
Sensory info is important because they all combine to learn



biggest sensory organ we have



Not just a relay station for sending and receiving sensory info it also filters out weaker signals and boosts stronger signals


After you process

you can respond (Motor)


Basal ganglia (striatum):

where motor movement gets generated
Initiate motor movement


Emotional reaction:

the Amygdala is going to be involved
Unlearned or learned emotions the Amygdala processes both


Conscious memory is based on

neuro activity


Emotion aids

memory retrieval



Central structures for classical conditioning


Striatum (Basal Ganglia)

Central structures for operant learning



The elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain

Thought to be the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system


Morris et al. 1986

Disrupting LTP = Disrupted learning

Rat had drug that made NMDA receptors to stop working (Stop Learning)
Also mutations (knock out mice) don't have NMDA receptors (Stop Learning)



Long Term Potential


Neuron A causes neuron B to fire seven times:

then there's a change


MDMA receptors and neuron B

gludomate ( most common excitatory receptor in your brain)

Only partially activated because magnesium ion is preventing anything to come in through that ion channel
+30 mV
Magnesium ion shoots out and calcium is allowed in

Once calcium is inside a neuron it activates proteins


1st step of LTM

Neuron transmitters binds, allow sodium into the neuron through that membrane

Raise from negative 70 to negative 40

Once -40 is reached sodium voltage gated ion channels open up


End of LTM

1. Proteins create a retrograde messenger
Nitric oxide and carbon monoxide fuse in liquid
They are retrograde (move backwards) from neuron B to neuron A
It then delivers a message "make and release more neuron transmitters"
2. The second thing that these proteins do is travel up the dendrite to the cell body (soma) grab hold of extra Ampa receptors, drag them back to the dendrite and insert them into the membrane
3. Travel up to the soma
In that cell body there is a nucleus, tell nucleus "start building a new dendrite"

1. Stronger signal sent out
2-3. Greater ability to receive signal


Motor neuron:

output neuron



processing neuron



Big response, habituate, reencounter same stimulus but response is shorter until you rehabituate


Is stimulus potentially dangerous?

Really loud, painful, stimulus are potentially dangerous
If so intense you don't want to get used to it but rather you go through the process of sensitization which is increasing your response
If stimulus is not dangerous and you want to learn to ignore it (HABITUATION) which means you decrease your response


Infant speech development

Useful for other types of learning
Do infants recognize sounds?
After tenth time of hearing ba they habituate and stop responding
If baby can differentiate between sounds they start looking around again
They dishabituate
Recognize as different sound meNs they are forming the basis if speech


Recognition memory in animals

Can animals recognize objects
Open field: top down view
Two objects: exactly the same
Explores both
Gets to a point where it habituates
Then after a certain delay you out then back into the open field with a new and old object if it recognize the old object it would not respond to it
It would spend most of its time exploring the new object


Discovered mechanism if why we habituate
Used sea snail
Sea snails can be huge but have few neurons

Eric Kandel


Repeatedly causing gill withdraw

If you do this continuously they gill withdraw less


Psychological mechanism of snail

If we were to take a look at the snails neurons
See that first tine you applied light pressure that that tactile It will be picked up by the sensory neuron to the interneurons to the motor neuron and then the behavior occurs
Big behavior first time!
If we do it continuously the snail habituates
Weak signal to motor neuron so response will be much less
Signal being sent out is in the form of dopamine
So decreasing the amount of dopamine

Any neuron functions the same way
Axon, terminal button, dendrite if next neuron, ventricles full of transmitter (in this case dopamine)
Calcium comes in it creates proteins
Those proteins grab hold of vessel and pop it to release RPGs proteins
Stop release of proteins by decreasing amount of calcium
Fewer proteins created so fewer popping

Decrease in calcium ion entry into the interneurons (presynaptic; motor neuron is post synaptic neuron)


Why do we have the decrease of dopamine release?




The flip side of habituation....
Punches to face, stub toe
Stronger reaction to stimulus
Increase in involuntary response to a noxious (highly irritating) stimulus


Snail and electrical shock

Instead of a gentle touch there us an electrical shock
That shock is going to be so irritating that they will keep increasing reflex


Physiological mechanism of sensitization

Increase in release of serotonin from interneuron onto motor neuron
Sensitization: serotonin
Why the increase in serotonin release?
More calcium
Habituation is less calcium coming in
Sensitization is an increase influx of calcium ions into the interneuron (presynaptic neuron)


Examples if perceptual learning

Detect, discrimate, categorize
All it takes is practice
More exposure=better
Can be seen in chick sorters


Cause of perceptual skill learning

Changes in neural communication in the sensory cortical area specific to the learning


Perceptual learning does not require

conscious memory of the learning

Mirror reading: more exposure the better
Memory problem vs those who don't
They perform just as well as those with conscious memory of task