Week 10 - Learning Flashcards Preview

PSY112 - Brain & Behaviour > Week 10 - Learning > Flashcards

Flashcards in Week 10 - Learning Deck (48):

What is learning?

A relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience


What is memory?

The capacity to store and retrieve information


What is neural plasticity?

The set of physiological mechanisms that allow the modification of behavioural responses based on previous experiences
- Plasticity sustains learning


Learning depends on what in regards to plasticity?

Depends on the plasticity of the circuits within the brain - the ability of neurons to make lasting changes in the efficacy of their synaptic transmission


If two neurons are active at the same time, the synapses between them are



What are the 2 forms of non-associative learning?



Describe Habituation

Occurs when we learn not to respond to a stimulus that is presented repeatedly without change, punishment or reward.

During habituation, fewer neurotransmitters are released into the synapse


Describe Sensitisation

Occurs when a reaction to a stimulus causes an increased reaction to a second stimulus

For example, a child who is verbally bullied on a regular basis might, through constant fear of attack, develop a sensitisation toward other children and become more withdrawn.


What are the 4 types of learning that Carlson differentiates?

Perceptual Learning
Motor Learning
Relational Learning
Stimulus-Response Learning


Describe Perceptual Learning

The capacity to learn to recognise and learn about stimuli perceived previously and differentiate them from other stimuli

The main function is to identify and categorise stimuli eg objects

Developing an ability to distinguish between different odours or musical pitches and an ability to discriminate between different shades of colours.


Describe Motor Learning

Learning that requires both exteroceptive sensory stimulation and proprioceptive sensory stimulation

It requires feedback between the environment and the actions performed

eg riding a bike


Describe Relational Learning

Learning that is required to establish specific associations between stimuli

For example, spatial learning involves the association between different stimuli present in a given context and allows the organism to respond adequately


Describe-Response Learning (S-R)

Refers to the capacity to perform a learned behaviour in response to a specific stimulus with which the behaviour has been associated previously

The responses can be reflexes or complex sequences of actions


What are the main forms of S-R learning?

Classical Conditioning
Operant Conditioning


Who developed Classical Conditioning?

Ivan Pavlov


What is the UCS, NS, UCR, CS, CR in the classical conditioning technique used by Pavlov

UCS = Meat
NS = Agent that initially has no effect = Bell
UCR = Automatic response to UCS = Salivation
CS = A former NS that comes to elicit a given response after pairing it with a UCS = Bell
CR = A learned response to a CS = Salivation


What is one key point regarding the UCS in Pavlov's experiment ? And one regarding consciousness?

The animal does not need to learn to respond to it
- dogs naturally drool in response to food
- product of nature, not nurture

Classical conditioning does not require consciousness


The CR is similar to the UCR but typically it is what?

Of a lesser response


The target behaviour is
Reward is
Behaviour depends primarily on

elicited automatically
provided unconditionally
autonomic nervous system


What is Acquisition?

Learning phase during which a conditioned response is established.

When the previously neutral stimulus becomes associated with the unconditioned stimulus and comes to evoke a response when presented.

At this point, the unconditioned stimulus becomes known as the conditioned stimulus.

During acquisition, the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are repeatedly paired to create an association.


What is Extinction?

A gradual reduction and eventual elimination of the conditioned response after the conditioned stimulus is presented repeatedly without the unconditioned stimulus


What is Spontaneous Recovery?

A phenomenon whereby a seemingly extinct CR appears (often in a weaker form) if the CS is presented again


What is the Renewal Effect?

Occurs when we extinguish a response in a setting different from the one in which the animal acquired it.

The renewal effect is when a conditioned response (CR) behaviour returns when a change of context or environment occurs after extinction.


What is Stimulus Generalisation?

Process by which conditioned stimuli similar to the original CS elicit a conditioned response


What is Stimulus Discrimination?

The ability to differentiate between a CS and other stimuli that have not been paired with a UCS


What is Conditioned Fear?

When a neutral stimulus (something that doesn't cause fear) is associated with an unconditioned aversive stimulus (something that causes fear) the process can lead to the response of fear towards the previously neutral stimulus


What is the key concept of Operant Conditioning?

We learn through the consequences of our actions


Target behaviour is
Reward is
Behaviour depends primarily on

emitted voluntarily
contingent on behaviour
skeletal muscles


Explain the Law of Effect by Thorndike

Any behaviour that is followed by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behaviour followed by unpleasant consequences is likely to be stopped.

If a response, in the presence of a stimulus is followed by a satisfying state of affairs, the bond between the stimulus and response will be strengthened


What is Reinforcement? How does it differ from reward

Reinforcement is any outcome that strengthens the possibility of a response
A reward reflects the subjective experience of pleasure


What is Discriminative Stimulus?

A type of environmental stimulus that is used consistently to gain a specific response and that increases the probability that the desired response will occur

It effectively sets the occasion for a response to occur which will then be followed by reinforcement

For example, if a hungry lab rat receives a pellet (reinforcement) for pressing a bar only when a red light is on, the red light is probably functioning as a discriminative stimulus.


What is continuous reinforcement?

Reinforcing behaviour every time it occurs


What is partial reinforcement?

Responses are reinforced only some of the time


What is a Fixed Ratio?

Completion of a constant number of responses

Delivering a food pellet to a rat after it presses a bar five times.


What is a Variable Ratio?

Completion of a changing number of responses

Gambling and lottery games are good examples of a reward based on a variable ratio schedule.


What is a Fixed Interval?

Reinforces the first response after a constant amount of time

A weekly paycheck is a good example of a fixed-interval schedule.


What is a Variable Interval?

Reinforces the first response after a changing amount of time

Checking Your Email: Typically, you check your email at random times throughout the day instead of checking every time a single message is delivered.
The thing about email is that in most cases, you never know when you are going to receive a message.


Which schedule of reinforcement is the most effective and resistance to extinction?

Variable ratio


What is shaping?

Reinforcing behaviours that are not exactly the target behaviour but are progressively closer versions of it


What is chaining?

Link a number of interrelated behaviours to form a longer series
- each behaviour in the chain becomes a cue for the next behaviour in the chain

It involves reinforcing individual responses occurring in a sequence to form a complex behaviour.

Chaining breaks a task down into small steps and then teaches each step within the sequence by itself. For example, a child learning to wash her hands independently may start with learning to turn on the tap


Behaviourist Models only study what?

Observable and external behaviour


Cognitive Models can study what?

Internal behaviour


Skinner believed what 3 things governed by the same laws of learning?

observable behaviour, thinking and emotion


What does Cognitive Conditioning suggest?

Our interpretation of the situation affects conditioning, suggesting that conditioning is more than an automatic process


What is Latent Learning?

Latent learning is a form of learning that occurs without any obvious reinforcement of the behaviour or associations that are learned.

Latent learning refers to knowledge that only becomes clear when a person has an incentive to display it.

A student is taught how to perform a special type of addition, but does not demonstrate the knowledge until an important test is administered.


A behaviourist believes that we learn what?
A cognitivist believes we learn what?

Cognitive representations of actions and consequences


What is Observational Learning?

What was found in Bandura's study?

Learning by watching others - allows us to learn without direct reinforcement

Children who watched adults be aggressive, were more aggressive themselves


What is Insight Learning?

A sudden understanding (aha moment) of how to solve a problem without overt trial and error