Learning: Classical and Operant Conditioning Chapter 5
•Learning is a lasting change in behavior or mental process as the result of an experience.
•There are two important parts:
–a lasting change…a simple reflexive reaction is not learning
–learning regarding mental process is much harder to observe and study.
Life without Learning
•Learning is more than school, books and tests. Without learning our lives would simply be a series of reflexes and instincts.
–We would not be able to communicate, we would have no memory of our past or goals for the future.
Learning’s Effects on Behavior
•In humans, learning has a much larger influence on behavior than instincts.
–Learning represents an evolutionary advance over instincts.
Types of Learning
SIMPLE AND COMPLEX LEARNING
•Habituation: Learning not to respond to the repeated presentation of a stimulus.
–Ex-Emergency sirens in the city
How often do you look when a car alarm goes off?
•Mere Exposure Effect: A learned preference for stimuli to which we have been previously exposed.
–Ex-A coach/parent’s voice
Which do you prefer? Which did your parents drink when you were a little kid?
•Behavioral Learning: Forms of learning, such as classical and operant conditioning which can be described in terms of stimuli and responses.
–Classical conditioning is more simple learning, operant conditioning is more complex learning.
Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning
•One of most famous people in the study of learning is Ivan Pavlov.
•Originally studying salivation and digestion, Pavlov stumbled upon classical conditioning while he was experimenting on his dog.
–Classical Conditioning: A form of learning in which a previously neutral stimulus (stimuli w/o reflex provoking power) acquires the power to elicit the same innate reflex produced by another stimulus.
Pavlov’s Findings Explained
•Pavlov discovered that a neutral stimulus, when paired with a natural reflex-producing stimulus, will begin to produce a learned response, even when it is presented by itself.
•Neutral Stimulus: Any stimulus that produces no conditioned response prior to learning.
Watch Pavlov’s Experiment Video
Components of Conditioning
•There are 5 main components of conditioning. Classical Conditioning always involves these parts. They are:
–Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
–Unconditioned Response (UCR)
–Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
–Conditioned Response (CR)
Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
•UCS: A stimulus that automatically-without conditioning or learning- provokes a reflexive response.
•In Pavlov’s experiment, food was used as the UCS because it produced a salivation reflex.
–Classical conditioning cannot happen without UCS. The only behaviors that can be classically conditioned are those that are produced by unconditioned stimulus.
Unconditioned Response (UCR)
•UCR: A response resulting from an unconditioned stimulus without prior learning.
•In Pavlov’s experiment, the UCR was the dog salivating when its tongue touched food.
–Realize that the UCS-UCR connection involves no learning or acquisition.
From Unconditioned to Conditioned
•During acquisition, a neutral stimulus is paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
–After several trials the neutral stimulus will gradually begin to elicit the same response as the UCS.
•Acquisition: The learning stage during which a conditioned response comes to be elicited by the conditioned stimulus.
•A CS is the originally neutral stimulus that gains the power to cause the response.
•In Pavlov’s experiment, the bell/tone began to produce the same response that the food once did.
•A CR is a response elicited by a previously neutral stimulus that has become associated with the unconditioned stimulus.
•Although the response to the CS is essentially the same as the response originally produced by the UCS, we now call it a conditioned response.
Another example of classical conditioning and another story from Mr. Tusow!
•Extinction: The diminishing (or lessening) of a learned response, when an unconditioned stimulus does not follow a conditioned stimulus.
–To acquire a CR, we repeatedly pair a neutral stimulus with the UCS. But, if we want to reverse this learning, we must weaken the strength of the connection between the two stimuli.
–It is important to realize that extinction does not mean complete elimination of a response.
•Extinction merely suppresses the conditioned response, and the CR can reappear during spontaneous recovery.
•Spontaneous Recovery: The response after a rest period of an extinguished conditioned response.
–Spontaneous recovery is weaker than the original CR.
Strength of CR
•What if we could not distinguish between stimuli that were similar?
–The bell ending class vs. fire alarm
–The door bell vs. our cell phones
•Discrimination: The ability to distinguish between two similar signals stimulus.
EXAMPLES OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
Classical vs. Operant Conditioning
•With classical conditioning you can teach a dog to salivate, but you cannot teach it to sit up or roll over. Why?
•Salivation is an involuntary reflex, while sitting up and rolling over are far more complex responses that we think of as voluntary.
•An operant is an observable behavior that an organism uses to “operate” in the environment.
•Operant Conditioning: A form of learning in which the probability of a response is changed by its consequences…that is, by the stimuli that follows the response.
•B.F. Skinner became famous for his ideas in behaviorism and his work with rats.
•Law of Effect: The idea that responses that produced desirable results would be learned, or “stamped” into the organism.
B.F. Skinner and The Skinner Box
•A reinforcer is a condition in which the presentation or removal of a stimulus, that occurs after a response (behavior), strengthens that response or makes it more likely to happen again in the future.
•Positive Reinforcement: A stimulus presented after a response that increases the probability of that response happening again.
–Ex: Getting paid for good grades
•Negative Reinforcement: The removal of an unpleasant or averse stimulus that increases the probability of that response happening again.
–Ex: Taking Advil to get rid of a headache.
–Ex: Putting on a seatbelt to make the annoying seatbelt buzzer stop.
•The word “positive” means add or apply; “negative” is used to mean subtract or remove.
•A punishment is an averse/disliked stimulus which occurs after a behavior, and decreases the probability it will occur again.
•Positive Punishment: An undesirable event that follows a behavior: getting spanked after telling a lie.
•Negative Punishment: When a desirable event ends or is taken away after a behavior.
–Example: getting grounded from your cell phone after failing your progress report.
–Think of a time-out (taking away time from a fun activity with the hope that it will stop the unwanted behavior in the future.)
The consequence provides something ($, a spanking…)
The consequence takes something away (removes headache, timeout)
The consequence makes the behavior more likely to happen in the future.
The consequence makes the behavior less likely to happen in the future.
Reinforcement vs. Punishment
•Unlike reinforcement, punishment must be administered consistently. Intermittent punishment is far less effective than punishment delivered after every undesired behavior.
–In fact, not punishing every misbehavior can have the effect of rewarding the behavior.
•It is important to remember that the learner, not the teacher, decides if something is reinforcing or punishing.
–Redi Whip vs. Easy Cheese
Punishment vs. Negative Reinforcement
•Punishment and negative reinforcement are used to produce opposite effects on behavior.
–Punishment is used to decrease a behavior or reduce its probability of reoccurring.
–Negative reinforcement always increases a behavior’s probability of happening in the future (by taking away an unwanted stimuli).
•Remember, “positive” means adding something and “negative means removing something.
Uses and Abuses of Punishment
?Punishment often produces an immediate change in behavior, which ironically reinforces the punisher.
?However, punishment rarely works in the long run for four reasons:
1.The power of punishment to suppress behavior usually disappears when the threat of punishment is gone.
2.Punishment triggers escape or aggression.
3.Punishment makes the learner apprehensive: inhibits learning.
4. Punishment is often applied unequally.
Making Punishment Work
•To make punishment work:
–Punishment should be swift.
–Punishment should be certain-every time.
–Punishment should be limited in time and intensity.
–Punishment should clearly target the behavior, not the person.
–Punishment should not give mixed messages.
–The most effective punishment is often omission training-negative punishment.
•Continuous Reinforcement: A reinforcement schedule under which all correct responses are reinforced.
–This is a useful tactic early in the learning process. It also helps when “shaping” new behavior.
•Shaping: A technique where new behavior is produced by reinforcing responses that are similar to the desired response.
Dog training requires continuous reinforcement
A schedule of reinforcement that rewards every correct response given.
–Example: A vending machine.
•What are other examples?
•Intermittent Reinforcement: A type of reinforcement schedule by which some, but not all, correct responses are reinforced.
–Intermittent reinforcement is the most effective way to maintain a desired behavior that has already been learned.
Schedules of Intermittent Reinforcement
•Interval schedule: rewards subjects after a certain time interval.
•Ratio schedule: rewards subjects after a certain number of responses.
–There are 4 types of intermittent reinforcement:
•Fixed Interval Schedule (FI)
•Variable Interval Schedule (VI)
•Fixed Ratio Schedule (FR)
•Variable Ratio Schedule (VR)
•Fixed Interval Schedule (FI):
–A schedule that a rewards a learner only for the first correct response after some defined period of time.
–Example: B.F. Skinner put rats in a box with a lever connected to a feeder. It only provided a reinforcement after 60 seconds. The rats quickly learned that it didn’t matter how early or often it pushed the lever, it had to wait a set amount of time. As the set amount of time came to an end, the rats became more active in hitting the lever.
•Variable Interval Schedule (VI):
A reinforcement system that rewards a correct response after an unpredictable amount of time.
–Example: A pop-quiz
•Fixed Ratio Schedule (FR):
A reinforcement schedule that rewards a response only after a defined number of correct answers.
–Example: At Safeway, if you use your Club Card to buy 7 Starbucks coffees, you get the 8th one for free.
•Variable Ratio Schedule (VR):
A reinforcement schedule that rewards an unpredictable number of correct responses.
–Example: Buying lottery tickets
Schedules of Reinforcement
Number of responses
Rapid responding near time for reinforcement
Intermittent Reinforcement Schedules-
Skinner’s laboratory pigeons produced these responses patterns to each of four reinforcement schedules
For people, as for pigeons, research linked to number of responses (ratio) produces a higher response rate than reinforcement linked to time elapsed (interval).
Operant and Classical Conditioning
Behavior is controlled by the stimuli that precede the response (by the CS and the UCS).
Behavior is controlled by consequences (rewards, punishments) that follow the response.
No reward or punishment is involved (although pleasant and averse stimuli may be used).
Often involves rewards (reinforcement) and punishments.
Through conditioning, a new stimulus (CS) comes to produce the old (reflexive) behavior.
Through conditioning, a new stimulus (reinforcer) produces a new behavior.
Extinction is produced by withholding the UCS.
Extinction is produced by withholding reinforcement.
Learner is passive (acts reflexively): Responses are involuntary. That is behavior is elicited by stimulation.
Learner is active: Responses are voluntary. That is behavior is emitted by the organism.
1/8/14 Objective: You will be able to explain the concept of cognitive learning
A rat in a cage presses a green lever and receives a treat. When placed in another cage the rat presses a red lever and gets a shock. When the rat is placed in a third cage with both a green and red lever the rat only presses the green lever. Explain the learning that has occurred in terms of reinforcement, punishment, stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination.
Primary and Secondary reinforcement
•Primary reinforcement: something that is naturally reinforcing: food, warmth, water…
•Secondary reinforcement: something you have learned is a reward because it is paired with a primary reinforcement in the long run: good grades.
Two Important Theories
•Token Economy: A therapeutic method based on operant conditioning that where individuals are rewarded with tokens, which act as a secondary reinforcer. The tokens can be redeemed for a variety of rewards.
•Premack Principle: The idea that a more preferred activity can be used to reinforce a less-preferred activity.
A Third Type of Learning
•Sometimes we have “flashes of insight” when dealing with a problem where we have been experiencing trial and error.
•This type of learning is called cognitive learning, which is explained as changes in mental processes, rather than as changes in behavior alone.
Wolfgang Kohler and Sultan
•Kohler believed that chimps could solve complex problems by combining simpler behaviors they had previously learned separately.
•Kohler taught Sultan the chimp how to stack boxes to obtain bananas that were over his head and how to use a stick to obtain something that was out of his reach. He taught Sultan these skills in separate situations.
•When Sultan was put in a situation where the bananas were still out of his reach after stacking the boxes, Sultan became frustrated. He threw the stick and kicked the wall before sitting down.
•Suddenly, he jumped up and dragged the boxes and stick under the bananas. He then climbed up the boxes and whacked the fruit down with the stick.
•This suggested to Kohler that the animals were not mindlessly using conditioned behavior, but were learning by reorganizing their perceptions of problems.
Sultan the Chimp
•Sultan was not the only animal to demonstrate cognitive learning. When rats were put into a maze with multiple routes to the reinforcer, the rats would repeatedly attempt the shortest route.
•If their preferred route was blocked, they would chose the next shortest route to the reward.
•Cognition Map: A mental representation of a place.
•In a similar study, rats were allowed to wander around a maze, without reinforcements, for several hours. It formerly was thought that reinforcements were essential for learning.
•However, the rats later were able to negotiate the maze for food more quickly than rats that had never seen the maze before.
–Latent learning: Learning that occurs but is not apparent until the learner has an incentive to demonstrate it.
•VICARIOUS LEARNING- learning by watching others behave and the consequences of their behavior are observed.
Bobo the Clown study in modeled aggression
Video of the Bobo doll.
Media and Violence
•Does violence on tv/movies/video games have an impact on the learning of children?
•Correlation evidence from over 50 studies shows that observing violence is associated with violent behavior.