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Pyschology Chapter 6

Notes Chapter 6 Section 1:  Classical Conditioning

  • Overview:
    • Stimulus: Something that produces a reaction.
    • Response:  An observable reaction to a stimulus.
    • Think of a cake.
      • Imagine eating the cake right now.
      • Is your mouth watering?
      • If it is you are experiencing the results of conditioning.
    • Conditioning:  Learning that involves stimulus-response connections.
      • The response is conditional of the stimulus.
    • Classical Conditioning:  A type of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to elicit an unconditioned response when the neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with a stimulus that normally causes an unconditional response.
      • A simple form of learning in which one stimulus (the cake)
      • Calls forth a response (mouthwatering)
      • That is usually called forth by another stimulus (the actual food)
      • This occurs when the two stimuli have been associated with each other.
  • Ivan Pavlov Rings a Bell
    • Early research on classical conditioning was done by psychologist Ivan Pavlov.
    • Pavlov discovered that dogs, too, learn to associate one thing with another when food is involved.
    • Pavlov was actually doing research on the nervous system and digestion, in particular salivation.
      • Pavlov knew that dogs would salivate if meat was placed on their tongues because saliva aides in the eating and digestion of meat.
        • Meat on the tongue is a stimulus for the production of saliva.
    • Pavlov discovered that the dogs did not always wait until they had received meat to start salivating.
      • They started salivating when the heard the food trays, or saw research assistance come in with the food.
        • Why?  The dogs had learned from experience that these things meant that food was coming.
    • At first Pavlov found the dogs salivation to be annoying because it was getting in the way of his research.
      • However, he decided to look further into this “problem”
        • He knew the dogs would salivate to the clinking of food trays, but could they learn to salivate in response to any stimulus that signaled food was coming?
          • Pavlov thought they could, and he chose a bell.
            • He strapped the dogs into harnesses and rang a bell.
            • About ½ a second after the bell rang meat powder was placed on the dogs tongue.
            • The dogs responded by salivating.
        • After several pairings of the meat and the bell, Pavlov changed the procedure.
          • He would sound the bell, but did not give the dogs any meat powder.
          • What do you think happened?
            • The dogs salivated anyway – they had learned to salivate in response to the bell alone.
              • The dogs’ salivation in response to the bell demonstrates classical conditioning.
  • US, UR, CR, and CS:  Letters of Learning
    • NS – Neutral Stimulus
    • US – Unconditioned Stimulus:  A stimulus that has an automatic unlearned response.
      • Example:  The meat powder for dogs.
    • UR – Unconditioned Response:  An unlearned response.
      • Example. The dogs did not learn to salivate in response to the meat – they did so naturally because of biology.
    • CR – Conditioned Response:  A learned response to a previously neutral stimulus.
      • Example:  The dogs salivation in response to the bell.
    • CS – Conditioned Stimulus:  A previously neutral stimulus, now causes a conditioned response.
      • Example:  The bell itself.
    • Classical Conditioning
      • Before Conditioning:
        • NS (Bell) à No response
        • US (Food) à UR (Salivation)
      • During Conditioning: 
        • NS (Bell) / US Food -- Salivation
      • After Conditioning
        • CS (Bell) à Salivation
  • Practice US, UR, CR, CS
  • VIDEO CLIP – The Office and Classical Conditioning
    • Watch the clip then identify the US, UR, CR, and CS
    • US – Unconditioned Stimulus:  A stimulus that has an automatic unlearned response.
      • The mint for Dwight.
    • UR – Unconditioned Response:  An unlearned response.
      • -Example. Dwight did not learn to salivate in response to the mint – he did so naturally because of biology.
    • CR – Conditioned Response:  A learned response to a previously neutral stimulus.
      • Example:  Dwight’s response to the computer error sound.
    • CS – Conditioned Stimulus:  A previously neutral stimulus, now causes a conditioned response.
      • Example:  The computer error noise.
  • Another Example:
    • Angel was looking forward to dinner because his mom was making his favorite, brinner (breakfast for dinner).  Unfortunately Angel’s mom did not check the expiration date on the eggs and they had gone bad.  Without knowing it, Angel’s family ate the brinner, bad eggs and all.  The next day Angel and his family were all sick with a stomachache.  Angel no longer looks forward to brinner and has trouble eating eggs.  Sometimes just thinking about eggs gives him a stomachache.
    • What is the US?
      • Rotten eggs
    • What is the UR:
      • Getting a stomachache
    • What is the NS/CS?
      • Eggs
    • What is the CS?
      • Getting a stomachache
  • Adapting to the environment
    • True or false?
      • Eating certain food be a genuine learning experience.
        • TRUE – Avoidance of food that once caused illness is called taste aversion.
    • Taste Aversion:  a learned avoidance of a particular food.
      • If you have ever eaten a food that has made you ill (for example it was spoiled) you probably avoided it for a long time.  This was a taste aversion.
      • Why do we develop taste aversions?
        • Often when a food makes us sick it is because it is unhealthy or poisonous.
          • A taste aversion helps us avoid these foods by keeping us away from them.
      • Many time with classical conditioning it can take several pairings before the conditioned response occurs.
        • With taste aversions just one pairing of food with illness can cause the aversion.
    • Extinction:  When a CS is no longer followed by an US and no longer brings about a CR.
      • Example:  Pavlovfound that with repeated ringing of the bell (CS) not followed by the meat (US) the dogs eventually stopped salivating (CR) when they heard the bell (CS)
      • When the CS no longer brings about a CR it is said to be extinguished
        • An extinguished response is not necessarily gone forever.
    • Spontaneous Recovery:  The reappearance of an extinguished CR after some time has passed.
      • Example:  After the response of salivating at the sound of the bell had been extinguished in Pavlov’s dogs, a few days passed where the dogs did not hear the bell at all.
        • After this rest period the bell was rung again.  Even though the salivation response had earlier been extinguished it was now back, just a little weaker (the dogs produced less saliva)
      • Can an extinguished response ever return?
        • Yes, but the CR will be weaker then before.
    • Generalization and Discrimination
      • Generalization:  The tendency to respond in the same way to stimuli that have similar characteristics.
        • Example: Ice cream
          • If you eat too much ice cream and get brain freeze you may proclaim you will never eat ice cream again.  You may have gotten brain freeze from just chocolate ice cream, but you have generalized to include all ice cream.
        • Example:  Pavlov
          • Pavlov conditioned a dog to salivate when it saw a circle.
            • Pavlov demonstrated that the dog would also salivate to ellipses, pentagons, and squares.
              • The more closely a shape resembled a circle, the greater the strength of the response. (more saliva flowing)
      • Discrimination:  The ability to distinguish a CS from other stimuli that are similar.
        • Example: Fear of dogs
          • A child who has been frightened by a dog may generalize to stay away from all dogs, but because of discrimination the child can still play with stuffed animals that look like dogs.
        • Example: Pavlov
          •  The dogs weaker response to the other shapes.
        •  
  • Applications of Classical Conditioning
    • Common Fears
      • Bugs, Mice, Snakes, and Bats. They're unpredictable, creepy-crawly, and possibly poisonous – who wouldn't be afraid? Spiders are the most common phobia.
      • Heights. We're afraid of them because we can't fly and we could fall. These are reasonable reasons for being anxious at the top of cliffs!
      • Water. Fear of water can be innate or learned due to a near-drowning experience. Water is a common phobia.
      • Public Transportation. We feel more vulnerable in public crowded places because we have less control over other people or situations. Fleeing is much more difficult, making crowded places a source of anxiety.
      • Storms. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and even thunderstorms can cause irrational anxiety – because we know the damage they can cause.
      • Closed Spaces. Feeling trapped (imagine being in a coffin!) feels horrible. Evolutionary roots involve animals and traps or cages – our need to be free makes this a common phobia.
      • Tunnels and Bridges. Going through a tunnel is similar to being in a closed space, which makes you feel vulnerable. The fear of small spaces is a common phobia.
      • Crowds. Similar to being on crowded public transportation, huge groups of people can make us feel trapped and vulnerable. This common phobia is related to the fear of public speaking.
      • Speaking in Public. We feel like we'll be judged, we worry what we look and sound like, and some of us have anxiety attacks. We don't want to embarrass ourselves, especially in front of peers.
    • Flooding and Systematic Desensitization
      • Many fears are out of proportion with the harm that could happen.
      • Two methods of reducing such fears are based on the principle of extinction.
      • Flooding:  a fear-reducing technique that involves exposing an individual to harmless stimulus until fear has been extinguished.
        • This method is effective, but can be quite unpleasant for the person trying to overcome their fear.
        • Example: a person with a fear of heights might look out from a window in a tall building until he or she is no longer upset by it.
        • Example:  A person with a fear of snakes might be put in a room with lots of harmless snakes crawling around the room.
      • Systematic Desensitization:  a pleasant relaxed state is associated with gradually increasing anxiety-triggering stimuli.
        • This procedure takes longer, but is more pleasant then flooding
          • It is often preferred by psychologists.
        • Example:  People who fear snakes are shown pictures of snakes while they are relaxed.  Once they can look at the pictures without losig the feeling of relaxation they may be shown some real snakes at a distance.  Eventually the snakes would be brought closer, and the person may no longer fear snakes.
    • Counterconditioning:  a  pleasant stimulus is paired repeatedly with a fearful one, counteracting the fear.
      • Example:  Fear of rabbits
        • There was a small boy who feared rabbits.  Counterconditioning was used to help him overcome this fear.
          • The boy was exposed to the rabbit which was gradually brought closer to him.  While this was happening, he was given cookies.  At first the boy was still nervous about the rabbit, but the experimenters continued to bring the rabbit closer while still feeding the boy cookies.  Eventually the boy was able to eat his cookie and pet the rabbit.
            • Apparently the pleasure of eating the sweets canceled out his fear of the rabbits.
      • Could there be a problem with counterconditioning with food?
        • Yes, it may help children overcome fears, but it may cause other issues (cavities, obesity, etc.)
  • Classical Conditioning and Advertising.
    • what do they have to do with each other? Well, classical conditioning is seen as, in marketing, a valid way to promote products. However, there is little research on whether preferences for certain things can be classically conditioned. The way that advertisers try to use classical conditioning is to pair their product with other positive stimuli, such as sex, pleasant music, humor, and attractive colors. Pairing a popular music together with the products in advertisements to generate positive feelings and liking towards the products.

Chapter 6 Section 2:  Operant Conditioning

  • Overview:
    • Operant Conditioning:  Learning from consequences of actions.
      • It is strengthened when behavior is followed with positive reinforcement.
        • Example:  If you study then you will get good grades.
          • Studying – behavior
          • Consequence – good grades
    • In classical conditioning, the conditioned responses are often involuntary behaviors like salivations or eye blinks.
    • In operant conditioning voluntary behaviors (behaviors that people and animals have more control over) are conditioned.
  • B.F. Skinner’s Idea for the Birds
    • B.F. Skinnner and Project Pigeon
      • Skinner proposed training pigeons to guide missiles to targets.
      • The pigeons would be given food for pecking at targets on a screen.
      • Once they learned how to peck at the targets, the pigeons would be placed in missiles where they would peck on targets on the screen to adjust the missiles flight path to hit a real target.
      • This never happened because the pigeon equipment was too heavy.
    • Although Project Pigeon never happened, the principles of learning are similar to operant conditioning.
      • In operant conditioning, an organism learns to do something because of its effects or consequences.
      • Skinner reasoned that if pigeons were rewarded with food for pecking targets that they would continue to peck the targets.
  • Reinforcement
    • To study operant behavior, Skinner devised a cage called the “Skinner Box”
      • In the box:
        • Lab experiments are carried out.
        • Treatments can be introduced and removed.
        • The results can be carefully observed.
      • In a classic experiment, a rat in a Skinner Box was not given food.
        • The box was designed so that when a lever inside was pressed, some food pellets would drop into the box.
        • At first the rat sniffed around the box and engaged in random behavior.
        • The rat’s first pressing of the lever was accidental.
        • Soon the rat began to press the lever more and more.
          • It had learned that pressing the lever would make food appear.
          • The pellets had reinforced the lever pressing behavior.
    • Reinforcement:  the process by which a stimulus increases the chances that the preceding behavior will occur again.
      • A stimulus that follows a response that increases the frequency of that response.
      • In operant conditioning it matters little why the person or animal makes the first response that is reinforced.
        • In order for the behavior to be reinforced, people need to know whether they made the correct response.
          • Example:  People can learn to turn on a computer by having someone tell them how to do it.
            • If the computer does not turn on, the learner will probably think they have made a mistake and will not repeat the response. 
            • If the computer turnS on like it is supposed to, the learner will repeat the same process next Time.
          • Knowledge of results is often all the reinforcement that people need to learn new skills.
  • Types of Reinforcers
    • Primary and Secondary Reinforcers
      • Primary Reinforcers:  Stimuli that have reinforcement value without learning.
        • Examples:  food, water, warmth.
          • People do not need to be taught to value food, water, and warmth.
      • Secondary Reinforcers:  Stimuli that increase the probability of a response because of their association with a primary reinforcer.
        • Examples: money, attention, social approval.
          • Money can be exchanged for primary reinforcers like food and shelter.

 

  • Positive and Negative Reinfrocers
    • Positive Reinforcers:  Encouraging stimuli that increase the frequency of a behavior when they are presented.
      • A behavior is reinforced because the subject receives something he or she wants following the behaviors
      • Notecard Example:  I was encouraging positive behavior by giving multiple stamps to people who were on-task
      • Other examples of positive reinforcements:
        • Food
        • Fun activities
        • Social approval
      • Different reinforcers work with different people.
        • Example:  Sports
          • For people who enjoy sports, receiving an opportunity to play sports would be a positive reinforcement.
          • For people who do not enjoy sports, receiving the opportunity to participate in a sport would not be an reinforcement.
    • Negative Reinforcers:  An unpleasant stimulus that increases the frequency of a behavior when it is removed.
      • A behavior is reinforced because something unwanted STOPS happening.
      • Negative reinforcers are usually unpleasant in some way.
      • Common examples:
        • Discomfort
        • Fear
        • Social disapproval.
      • Other Examples: We attempt to remove the uncomfortable stimulus and act on it to make it disappear.
        • When we are too warm in the sun we move to the shade.
        • When we have an itch, we scratch it.
      • When a specific behavior reduces or removes the discomfort, that behavior is reinforced, or strengthened.
  • Rewards and Punishments
    • Rewards – increase the frequency of behavior
      • Most psychologists believe it is better to reward children for desirable behavior then to punish them for unwanted behavior.
        • If good behavior is taken for granted and only misbehavior receives attention, misbehavior may be reinforced.
    • Punishments – decrease the frequency of behavior.
      • Problems with the use of punishment:
        • Punishment does not teach an alternate acceptable behavior.
          • A child may learn what not to do in a situation, but does not learn what to do instead.
        • Punishment only works if it is guaranteed.
          • If a behavior is punished some of the time, but goes unnoticed the rest of the time, the behavior will probably continue.
        • Punishment can create anger and hostility.
          • A child who is punished may take out such anger on other children.
        • Punishment may have additional negative effects.
          • This can occur when people do not know why they are being punished and what is wanted of them.
        • Punishment may be imitated as a way of solving problems.
          • People learn by observing others.
          • Psychologists warn that when children are hit by angry parents, the children may learn not only have they done something wrong, but also that people hit other people when they are upset.
        • Punishment is sometimes accompanied by unseen benefits that make the behavior more likely to be repeated.
          • Some children may learn that the most effective way of getting attention from their parents is to misbehave.
  • Schedules of Reinforcement:  when and how the reinforcement occurs.
    • Continuous and Partial Reinforcement
      • Continuous Reinforcement:  The reinforcement of a behavior every time it occurs.
        • Examples:
          • The rats in the Skinner box received food every time they pressed the lever.
          • If you walk to a friend’s house, and the friend is there every time, you will probably continue to go that same location each time you want to visit your friend.
        • New behaviors are learned more quickly through continuous reinforcement.
      • Problems with continuous reinforcement:
        • It is not practical or possible to reinforce a person or an animal of a behavior every single time it occurs.
        • A person or animal who is continuously reinforced for a behavior tends to repeat the behavior if it is being reinforced.
        • If the reinforcement stops occurring, the behavior may stop.
      • Partial Reinforcement:  A type of learning where only some of the responses are reinforced.
        • Behaviors learned through partial reinforcement tend to last longer after they are no longer being reinforced.
    • Interval Schedules:  Fixed and Variable
      • Fixed-interval schedule:  a fixed amount of time must occur between reinforcements.
        • Example:  Having a quiz every Friday.
      • Variable-interval schedule: varying amounts of time occur between reinforcements.
        • Example:  Having random pop quizzes.
    • Ratio Schedules
  • Extinction in Operant Conditioning
    • Occurs because the events that had previously followed a stimulus no longer occur.
  • Applications of Operant Conditioning
    • Shaping:  Reinforcement guides behavior to a desired goal.
      • It is a way of teaching complex behaviors in which one first reinforces small steps in the right direction.
      • Example:  Riding a bike
        • Learning to ride a bike involves learning a complex set of behaviors.
          • First people must learn to move the bike forward by pushing the pedals.
          • Then they must learn to balance the bicycle and then to steer it.
          • After many repetitions (and praise from someone helping) riding a bike becomes second nature.
      • Psychologists use shaping to teach animals complex behavior patterns.
        • They have taught rats to pedal toy cars by first reinforcing the behavior of looking at the car.
        • Next they wait until the rats approach the cars before providing reinforcement.
        • Then they wait until the rats touch the cars, and so on.
        • In this way rats have been trained to do many things.
  • Programed learning
    • Developed by Skinner it is an educational method this is based on shaping.
    • Programed learning assumes that any task, not matter how complex, can be broken down into smaller steps.
    • Programed learning does not punish students for making errors, it only reinforces correct responses.
      • Eventually all learners will receive a 100%, but at their own pace.

Chapter 6 Section 3:  Cognitive Factors in Learning

  • Overview
    • Cognitive psychologists want to know what people and animals know because of learning.
    • Cognitive psychologists see learning as purposeful.
    • Cognitive psychologists believe that a person can learn something simply by thinking about it or watching others.
  • Latent Learning:  learning that occurs, but remains hidden until there is a need to use it.
    • In the past psychologists believed that we learned only through reinforcement.
    • However, most psychologists today believe learning can occur without reinforcement.
    • Example:  Tolman and his rats
      • Psychologist Tolman showed that rats will learn about their environment even without reinforcement.
        • He trained some rats to run through mazes to reach food (reinforcement)
        • Other rats were simply allowed to explore the mazes. (They received no reinforcement)
          • After the exploring rats had been allowed to run around the maze for 10 days, food was placed at the end of the maze.
            • These rats reached the food as quickly as the rewarded rats.
      • Tolman concluded that the rats had learned the layout of the maze even without reinforcement.
      • The rats had no reason to run efficient routs to the far ends of the maze until they were rewarded.  They must have learned the best routes along the maze during their exploring.  They used this information to help them find the food when it was finally placed at the end of the maze.
  • Observational Learning
    • Social learning psychologist Albert Bandura has shown that we acquire knowledge and skills by observing others.
      • Observational Learning:  learning by observing and imitating the behavior of others.
      • Observational learning accounts for much human learning.
        • Example:  Children learn to speak, eat, and play by watching their parents.
      • Bobo doll experiment
        • Children watched an adult “beat” up a inflatable toy.
        • They then copied it.
    • The Effects of Media Violence – True or False?:  People who watch a lot of violence on TV are more likely to be violent themselves?
      • TRUE – People sometimes imitate the behavior they observe in real life and the media.
        • This is part of observational learning.
      • TV is a major source of informal observational learning.
        • Children are routinely exposed to scenes of violence just by turning on the TV.
        • Most health care professionals agree that media violence contributes to agreesion.
          • Media violence supplies models of aggressive “skills” which children may learn by watching media violence.
          • Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts and see violence as acceptable behavior.
          • Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization to violence in real life.
            • It can decrease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of the victim when violence occurs.
          • Viewing violence may lead to real life violence.
            • Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life then children who are not exposed.
        • TV can also be used to prevent violent behavior.
          • TV networks have recently made some attempts to limit violence in programs intended for children.
          • It is not practical to hope to shield all violence.
          • Most people resolve conflicts without violence.
          • Children can also be told that the violence they see on TV is not real.
    • A person who observed a behavior in others does not necessarily begin to display that behavior.
      • There is a difference between what people learn and what they do.
      • Of all the children who are exposed to violence, only a few of them become violent.
      • People who CHOOSE to watch violent TV may be more violent in the first place.
      • If young people consider violence wrong for them, they will probably not be violent even if they know how.
        • This applies to other behaviors as well.

 

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