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- our capacity to learn new behaviors that help us cope with changing circumstances
- may be nature's most important give to us
a relatively permanent behavior change due to experience
three types of learning
- classical conditioning
- operant conditioning
- observational learning
how do we learn?
- by association
- This was Aristotle's conclusion, of which John Locke and David Hume echo in agreement
- learning that certain events occur together
- The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and it's consequences (as in operant conditioning)
successful adaptation requires:
Both nature (the needed genetic predispositions) and nurture (a history of appropriate learning)
the process of learning associations
- a type of learning in which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events
- Involves respondent behavior
- Ex: a flash of lightning signals an impending crack of thunder, fo when lightning flashes nearby, we start to brace ourselves
we learn to associate a response (our behavior) and it's consequences and thus to repeat acts followed by good results and avoid acts followed by bad results
to learn by watching others... learning from others' experiences
- a psychologist, explored the phenomenon we call classical conditioning
- earned Russia's first Nobel Prize in 1904
- his work provided a basis for later behaviorists like John Watson
- the view that psychology:
- (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior w/out reference to mental processes.
- Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not (2)
- influenced by John B. Watson's ideas ~ psychology should be an objective science based on observable behavior
Watson and Pavlov shared both a disdain for
- "mentalistic" concepts (such as consciousness)
- a belief that laws of learning were the same for all animals, whether dogs or human
(NS) in classical conditioning, a stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning
Ex: for Pavlov's dogs, the originally neutral tone. the event the dog could see or hear but didn't associate w anything
- (UR) in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth
- Ex: Food in the mouth automatically, unconditionally, triggers a dog's salivary reflex
- Thus, Pavlov called the food stimulus an unconditioned stimulus
(US) in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally - naturally and automatically - triggers a response
(CR) in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS)
(CS) in classical conditioning, a previously neutral stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to trigger a conditioned response
Conditioned = ? / unconditioned = ?
- Conditioned = learned
- unconditioned = unlearned
five major conditioning processes
- spontaneous recovery
- "Act excited so Gina disappears"
showed how CS can signal another important biological event by conditioning the sexual arousal of male quail
- in classical conditioning, the initial learning
- the initial stage when one links a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus begins triggering the conditioned response.
- In operant conditioning, the strengthening of a reinforced response
- a procedure in which the conditioned stimulus in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus.
- Ex: an animal that has leaned that a tone predicts food might then learn that a light predicts the tone and begin responding to the light alone.
- (Also called second-order conditioning)
another name for higher-order conditioning
- the diminished responding that occurs when the CS (ex: tone) no longer signals an impending US (ex: food, in dog experiment)
- occurs in classical condition when an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS)
- ovvurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced
- the reappearance, after a pause, of an extinguished conditioned response
- suggested to Pavlov that extinction was suppressing the CR rather than eliminating it
the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses
in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish btwn a conditioned stimulus (which predicts the US) and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus
thoughts, perceptions, expectations
an awareness of how likely it is that the US will occur
Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner
- explained why an animal can learn the predictability of an event.
- The more predictable the association, the stronger the conditioned response.
learning enables organism to
adapt to their environment
Why was Pavlov's work so important?
- 1 - classical conditioning is one way that virtually all organisms learn to adapt to their environment
- 2 - He showed us how a process such as learning can be studied objectively
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus
behavior that operates on the environment to produce rewarding or punishing stimuli
to help distinguish slassical from operant conditioning we can ask:
- Classical: is the organism learning associations btwn events it does not control
- Operant: is the organism learning associations btwn it's behavior and resulting events
B. F. Skinner
- modern behaviorism's most influential and controversial figure
- his work elaborated what psychologist Edward L. Thorndike called "law of effect"; developed behavioral technology
- designed an operant chamber
law of effect
Thorndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely
- popularly know as a Skinner box
- in operant conditioning research, a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer
- attached devices record the animal's rate of bar pressing or key pecking
- an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward a desired behavior
- Ex: using food (as the reinforcers) to gradually guide an animals actions toward a desired behavior
A way of teaching a desired behavior. In example w rat... each time the rat would come a littler closer to the bar (closer than the time before), it would be rewarded.
signals that a response will be reinforced.
two kinds of reinforcement
positive and negative
any consequence that strengthens behavior
- concept of Skinner's
- in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows
- Ex: a reward (money, food, praise, activity)
- strengthens a response by presenting a typically pleasurable stimulus after a response
- A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response
- increasing behaviors by stipping or reducing negative stimuli.
- A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response.
- *negative reinforcement is not punishment
- Ex: taking aspirin get rid of headache, pushing snooze to silence alarm
- an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satifies a biological need.
- Ex: getting food when hungry or having a painful headache go away
- *unlearned, innately satisfying
- also called secondary reinforcers
- a stimulus that gains it's reinforcing power through it's learned association with a primary reinforcer
- Ex: if a rat learns a light reliably signals food is coming, rat will work to turn light on. Light has become conditioned reinforcers associated w food
- reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs
- under these conditions, learning occurs rapidly
partial (intermittent) reinforcement
- reinforcing a response only part of the time; responses are sometimes reinforced, sometimes not
- results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement
- Ex: salepeople don't make sale w every pitch, anglers dont get a bite w every cast
- The very best procedure for making a behavior persist
Skinner's four schedules of partial reinforcement
- Fixed-ratio schedules
- variable-ratio schedules
- fixed-interval schedules
- variable-interval schedules
- in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses
- once conditioned, the animal will pause only briefly after a reinforcer and will then return to a high rate of responding
- in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses
- Ex: slot machines and fly-casting anglers
- Like the fixed-ratio schedule, produces high rates of responding, because reinforcers increase as the number of responses increases.
- in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed
- Ex: Like people checking more frequently for the mail as the delivery time approaches, produces a choppy stop-start pattern rather than a steady rate of response
- in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals
- tend to produce slow, steady responding; no knowing when the waiting will be over.
Although animal behaviors differ, Skinner contended that
the reinforcement principles of operant conditioning are universal
- an event that decreases the behavior it follows
- A punisher is any consequence that decreases the frequency of a preceding behavior
drawbacks of physically punishing children
- 1. Punished behavior is suppressed, not forgotten. (child swears, parents swat, parent hears no more swearing, assumed punishment stopped behavior)
- 2. Punishment teaches discrimination (did punishment really end child from swearing, or did child simply learn not ok to swear at home but ok elsewhere?)
- 3. Punishment can teach fear ~ children may generalize, associating fear not only w undesired behavior but also w person delivering punishment or place it occured)
- 4. Physical punishment may increase aggressiveness by modeling aggression as a way to cope with problems
In operant conditioning, discrimination occurs when
an organism learns that certain responses, but not others, will be reinforced.
In operant conditioning, gerneralization occurs when
an organism's response to similar stimuli is also reinforced
Punishment tells you _____________; as reinforcement tells you ____________
Punishment tells you what not to do, reinforcement tell you what to do.
Skinner said that punishment...
teaches how to avoid it.
- a mental representation of the layout of one's environment.
- Ex: after exploring a maze, rats act as if they learned a cognitive map of it.
learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it.
There is more to learning than associating a reponse with a consequence; there's also
predispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive
- w animal training, occurs when animals revert to their biologically predisposed patters.
- Operant training works best when it builds on an animal's natural behavior tendencies
B.F. Skinners Legacy
- instisted that external influences (not internal thoughts and feelings) shape behavior
- urged people to use operant principles to influence other's behavior at work, school and home
- knowing behavior is shaped by results, said we should use rewards to evoke more desirable behavior
Recommended steps to reinforce your own behaviors and extinguish the undesired ones
- 1. state your goal - in measurable ters, and announce it
- 2. monitor how often you engage in your desired behavior - keep a log or record
- 3. Reinforce the desired behavior - reward yourself only after you achieve a success
- 4. Reduce the rewards gradually - as new behaviors become more habitual, "give urself pat on back instead of cookie"
learning by observing others
the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior
- frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so.
- The brains mirroring of another's action may enable imitation and empathy
- found by Giacomo Rizzolatti w monkey experiment
- Our brain's mirror neurons underlie our intensely social nature
theory of mind
the ability to infer another's mental state
- what many businesses use to train communications, sales and customer service skills.
- Trainees gain skills faster when they not only are told the needed skills but can also observe the skills being modeled effectively by experienced workers
- positive, constructive, helpful behavior
- opposite of antisocial behavior
the violence-viewing effect, stems from two factors:
- 1. imitation
- 2. desensitization