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LEARNING

Long lasting change in


behavior due to
experience.
AP EXAM
Learning (7–9%)
This section of the course introduces students to differences between learned and unlearned behavior. The primary focus
is exploration of different kinds of learning, including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational
learning. The biological bases of behavior illustrate predispositions for learning.

AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:


• Distinguish general differences between principles of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational
learning (e.g., contingencies).
• Describe basic classical conditioning phenomena, such as acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization,
discrimination, and higher-order learning.
• Predict the effects of operant conditioning (e.g., positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment).
• Predict how practice, schedules of reinforcement, and motivation will influence quality of learning.
• Interpret graphs that exhibit the results of learning experiments.
• Provide examples of how biological constraints create learning predispositions.
• Describe the essential characteristics of insight learning, latent learning, and social learning.
• Apply learning principles to explain emotional learning, taste aversion, superstitious behavior, and learned helplessness.
• Suggest how behavior modification, biofeedback, coping strategies, and self-control can be used to address behavioral
problems.
• Identify key contributors in the psychology of learning (e.g., Albert Bandura, John Garcia, Ivan Pavlov, Robert Rescorla, B.
F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike, Edward Tolman, John B. Watson).
LEARNING
 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.

In humans, learning has a much larger influence on behavior than


instincts. Learning represents an evolutionary advance over instincts.
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.


SIMPLE LEARNING
 Habituation: Learning not to respond to the repeated
presentation of a stimulus.
 E.g.-Emergency sirens in the city

How often do
you look when
a car alarm
goes off?
LEARNING
COMPLEX LEARNING
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 & 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.
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING

 Ivan Pavlov
 Studied Digestion of Dogs.
 Dogs would salivate before
they were given food
(triggered by sounds, lights
etc…)
 Dogs must have LEARNED to
salivate.

Click above to see Pavlov


PAVLOV’S EXPERIMENT
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.
COMPONENTS OF CONDITIONING
 There are 5 main components of conditioning. Classical Conditioning
always involves these parts. They are:
 Neutral Stimulus
 Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
 Unconditioned Response (UCR)
 Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
 Conditioned Response (CR)
NEUTRAL STIMULUS
 Next you find a neutral stimulus (something that by itself
elicits no response).
 You present the stimulus with the UCS a whole bunch of
times.
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 Pavlovs 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.

=
CONDITIONED STIMULUS
 A CS is the originally neutral stimulus that gains the
power to cause the response.

 In Pavlovs experiment, the bell/tone began to produce


the same response that the food once did.
CONDITIONED RESPONSE
 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.
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING

• TRICKY FACT: We know learning exists because the CS is


linked to the UCS.

• This is called ACQUISITION but acquisition does not last


forever.

• The moment the CS is no longer associated with the UCS,


we have EXTINCTION.
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
 Sometimes, after extinction, the CR still
randomly appears after the CS is
presented.

 The response after a rest period of an


extinguished conditioned response.
 Spontaneous recovery is weaker than
the original CR.
TIMING MATTERS
• Delayed Conditioning: present CS, while CS is still there, present UCS.
• Trace Conditioning: present CS, short break, then present UCS.
• Simultaneous Conditioning: CS and UCS are presented at the same
time.
• Backward Conditioning: UCS is presented, then CS is presented.
FIRST-ORDER AND SECOND-ORDER CONDITIONING

First Order Conditioning.

•Bell + meat = salivation.

•Bell = Salivation.

Second Order Conditioning


(After first order
conditioning has
occurred)

•Light + Bell = Salivation.

•Light = Salivation.
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING AND HUMANS
• John Watson brought Classical Conditioning to psychology
with his Baby Albert experiment.

Click to see Baby Albert

This type of Classical Conditioning is also known as


Aversive Conditioning.
REINFORCEMENT PROCEDURES

Generalization
 Something is so similar to the CS that you get a CR.
LEARNED TASTE AVERSIONS
• When it comes to food
being paired with sickness,
the conditioning is
incredibley strong.

• Even when food and


sickness are hours apart.

• Food must be salient


(noticeable.)
GARCIA AND KOELLING STUDY

 Studied rats and how they make associations.


 Some associations seem to be adaptive.
 Video
CS UCS Learned
Response
Loud Noise Shock Fear
Loud Noise Radiation (nausea) Nothing
Sweet Water Shock Nothing
Sweet Water Radiation (nausea) Avoid Water
REINFORCEMENT PROCEDURES
 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.
 Something so different to the CS so you do not get a CR.
OPERANT CONDITIONING

The Learner is NOT passive.


Learning based on consequence!!!
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.
OPERANT CONDITIONING
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
• The Mac Daddy of Operant
Conditioning.
• Nurture guy through and
through.
• Used a Skinner Box (Operant
Conditioning Chamber) to
prove his concepts.
SKINNER BOX
THE LAW OF EFFECT

• Edward Thorndike
• Locked cats in a cage
• Behavior changes because of its
consequences.
• Rewards strengthen behavior.
• If consequences are unpleasant, the
Stimulus-Reward connection will
weaken.
• Called the whole process
instrumental learning.
REINFORCERS
• A reinforcer is anything that INCREASES a behavior.
• The word “positive” means add or apply; “negative” is used to mean
subtract or remove.
Positive Reinforcement:
• The addition of something pleasant.
 Occurs when a stimulus is presented as a result of operant
behavior and that behavior increases.
 Example: If a dog "sits" on command and this behavior is followed by the
reward of a dog treat, then the dog treat serves to positively reinforce the
behavior of "sitting.“
 Example: A father gives candy to his daughter when she picks up her toys. If
the frequency of picking up the toys increases, the candy is a positive
reinforcer (to reinforce the behavior of cleaning up).
REINFORCERS
Negative Reinforcement:
 The removal of something unpleasant.
 Occurs when an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus is removed as a
result of operant behavior and the rate of the behavior
increases.
 Example: A child cleans his or her room, and this behavior is followed by
the parent stopping "nagging" or asking the child repeatedly to do so.
Here, the nagging serves to negatively reinforce the behavior of cleaning
because the child wants to remove that aversive stimulus of nagging.

 Example: A person puts ointment on a bug bite to soothe an itch. If the


ointment works, the person will likely increase the usage of the ointment
because it resulted in removing the itch, which is the negative reinforcer.
REINFORCERS
Two types of NR
Escape Learning
• Escape learning occurs to terminate an unpleasant stimulus such as
annoyance or pain, thereby negatively reinforcing the behavior.
• For example, to persuade a rat to jump from a platform into a pool of water, you
might electrify the platform to mildly shock the rat. The rat jumps due to escape
learning, since it jumps into the water to escape the electric shock.
Avoidance Learning
 You can transform escape learning into avoidance learning if you
give a signal, such as a tone, before the unwanted stimulus.
 If the rat receives a cue before the shock, after a few trials, it will jump before it gets
shocked. The rat will continue to jump when it gets the signal, even if the platform is
no longer electrified.
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?

Studying for a test.


Putting your seatbelt on. Having a headache and
taking an aspirin.

Faking sick Breaking out


to avoid of jail.
AP Psych
class. Getting a kiss
for doing the
dishes.
PUNISHMENT
A punishment is an averse/disliked stimulus which occurs after a
behavior,
and decreases the probability it will occur again (Meant to decrease a
behavior).
There are two types of punishment in operant conditioning:

Positive Punishment
• An undesirable event that follows a behavior: getting spanked after
telling a lie. This is the addition of something unpleasant.
• Example: An experimenter punishes a response by presenting an aversive stimulus into the
animal's surroundings (a brief electric shock, for example).
PUNISHMENT
Negative Punishment (Omission Training)
When a desirable event ends or is taken
away after a behavior. Removal of
something pleasant.
 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.)
PUNISHMENT
 Punishment works best when it is immediately done after behavior and if it
is harsh!

 Punishment is not a mirror effect of reinforcement.

 Punishment is considered by some behavioral psychologists to be a "primary


process" – a completely independent phenomenon of learning, distinct from
reinforcement.

 Others see it as a category of negative reinforcement creating a situation in


which any punishment-avoiding behavior (even standing still) is reinforced
Reinforcement/Punishment Matrix

The consequence The consequence


provides something takes something away
($, a spanking…) (removes headache,
timeout)

The consequence
Positive Negative makes the behavior
Reinforcement Reinforcement more likely to happen
in the future.

Positive The consequence


Negative makes the behavior
Punishment Punishment 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
PREMACK PRINCIPLE
 You have to take into consideration
the reinforcers used.
 Is the reinforcer wanted….or at
least is it more preferable than the
targeted behavior.

McDonalds might be a great positive


reinforcer for some, but it would
not work well on a vegetarian.
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).

 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.
HOW DO WE ACTUALLY USE OPERANT CONDITIONING?

To train a dog to get your


Do we wait for the subject to slippers, you would have to
reinforce him in small steps.
deliver the desired behavior? First, to find the slippers.
Then to put them in his
mouth. Then to bring them
 Sometimes, we use a process to you and so on…this is
shaping behavior.
called shaping.
 Shaping is reinforcing small
steps on the way to the desired
behavior.

To get Barry to become a better student, you need to


do more than give him a massage when he gets good
grades. You have to give him massages when he
studies for ten minutes, or for when he completes his
homework. Small steps to get to the desired behavior.
CHAINING BEHAVIORS
 It involves reinforcing individual responses
occurring in a sequence to form a complex
behavior.

Click picture to see a rat


 It is frequently used for training behavioral chaining behaviors.
sequences (or "chains") that are beyond
the current repertoire of the learner.

 The term is often credited to the work of


B.F. Skinner
Click to see a cool example of
chaining behaviors.
OPERANT CONDITIONING

 Click to see operant conditioning


for Big Bang Theory
PRIMARY V. SECONDARY REINFORCERS
Secondary Reinforcer
Primary Reinforcer
 Things that are in themselves  Things we have learned to
rewarding. value.
 Money is a special secondary
reinforcer called a
generalized reinforcer
(because it can be traded for
just about anything)
TOKEN ECONOMY

 Every time a desired behavior is


performed, a token is given.

 They can trade tokens in for a


variety of prizes (reinforcers).

 Used in homes, prisons, mental


institutions and schools.
REINFORCEMENT SCHEDULES

How often do you give


the reinforcer?
Every time or just
sometimes you see
the behavior.
CONTINUOUS VS. PARTIAL REINFORCEMENT

Continuous Partial
 Reinforce the behavior • Reinforce the behavior only
EVERYTIME the behavior is SOME of the times it is
exhibited. exhibited.
 Usually done when the subject • Acquisition comes more
is first learning to make the slowly.
association.
• But is more resistant to
 Acquisition comes really fast. extinction.
 But so does extinction. • FOUR types of Partial
Reinforcement schedules.
RATIO SCHEDULES

Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio


 Provides a reinforcement  Provides a reinforcement
after a SET number of after a RANDOM number
responses. of responses.
 Very hard to get
acquisition but also very
resistant to extinction.

Fixed Ration- She gets a manicure


for every 5 pounds she loses.
INTERVAL SCHEDULES
Fixed Interval Variable Interval
 Requires a SET amount of  Requires a RANDOM
time to elapse before amount of time to elapse
giving the reinforcement. before giving the
reinforcement.
 Very hard to get
acquisition but also very
resistant to extinction.

Fixed Interval: She gets a manicure for


every 7 days she stays on her diet.
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING
You can think of observational learning as an extension
of operant conditioning, in which we observe someone
else getting rewarded but act as thought we had also
received the reward.

 Observational learning: Learning in which new responses are


acquired after other’s behavior and the consequences of their
behavior are observed.
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING

 Albert Bandura and his BoBo


Doll

 We learn through modeling


behavior from others.

 Observational learning +
Operant Conditioning =
Social Learning Theory
Click to see some observational learning.
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING- BOBO DOLL

After observing adults seeming to enjoy punching, hitting


and kicking an inflated doll called Bobo, the children later
showed similar aggressive behavior toward the doll.

Significantly, these children were more aggressive than


those in a control condition who did not witness the
adult’s violence.
LEARNING BY OBSERVATION

Higher animals,
especially humans, learn
through observing and

© Herb Terrace
imitating others.

The monkey on the right


imitates the monkey on

©Herb Terrace
the left in touching the
pictures in a certain order
to obtain a reward.

63
MIRROR NEURONS

during observational learning.

Reprinted with permission from the American


Association for the Advancement of Science,
Subiaul et al., Science 305: 407-410 (2004)
brains of animals and humans that are active

© 2004 AAAS.
64
Neuroscientists discovered mirror neurons in the
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.

 In addition, experiment evidence shows that viewers of


media violence show a reduction in emotional arousal and
distress when they subsequently observe violent acts-a
condition known as psychic numbing.
INSIGHT
 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.
SULTAN’S SITUATION
 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

VIDEO OF INSIGHT LEARNING


COGNITIVE LEARNING
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.


LATENT LEARNING

 Toleman’s study, rats were allowed to wander around a maze,


without reinforcements, for several hours. It was formerly
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.
TOLEMAN’S EXPERIMENT

• Edward Toleman studied latent learning by using rats and showing us that learning can
occur but may not be immediately evident.

• Toleman had three groups of rats run through a maze on a series of trials.
• One group (Group A) got a reward each time it completed the maze, and the
performance of these rats improved steadily over time.

• Another group of rats (Group B) never got a reward, and their performance
improved only slightly over the course of the experiment.

• A third group of rats (Group C) was not rewarded during the first half of the
experiment, but was given a reward during the second half of the experiment.

• Not surprisingly, during the first half of the trials, Group C was very similar to the
group that never received a reward (Group B).

• The interesting finding, however, was that Group C's performance improved
dramatically and suddenly once it began to be rewarded for finishing the
maze. In fact, Group C's performance almost caught up to Group A's performance
even though Group A was rewarded through the whole experiment.
TOLEMAN’S EXPERIMENT
 Toleman came to the conclusion that these rats must have learned
their way around the maze during the first half of the experiment.

 Their performance did not improve because they had no reason to


run the maze quickly.

 Toleman believed that their dramatic improvement in maze-running


time was due to latent learning.

 He suggested they made a mental representation, or cognitive map,


of the maze during the first half of the experiment and displayed
this knowledge once they were rewarded.
8. A MENTAL REPRESENTATION OF THE
LAYOUT OF ONE’S ENVIRONMENT IS
CALLED A/AN ____.

A. intrinsic map
B. imagery
C. latent map
D. cognitive map
8. A MENTAL REPRESENTATION OF THE
LAYOUT OF ONE’S ENVIRONMENT IS
CALLED A/AN ____. ANSWER

A. intrinsic map
B. imagery
C. latent map
D. cognitive map (Correct answer)
9. THE DESIRE TO PERFORM A BEHAVIOR
EFFECTIVELY FOR ITS OWN SAKE IS CALLED
_____.

A. environmental motivation
B. extrinsic motivation
C. internal motivation
D. intrinsic motivation
9. THE DESIRE TO PERFORM A BEHAVIOR
EFFECTIVELY FOR ITS OWN SAKE IS CALLED
_____. ANSWER

A. environmental motivation
B. extrinsic motivation
C. internal motivation
D. intrinsic motivation (Correct answer)
10. WHICH NEURAL STRUCTURES PROVIDE A
BASIS FOR EVERYDAY IMITATION AND
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING?

A. Copy neurons
B. Mirror neurons
C. Reflecting neurons
D. Imaging neurons
10. WHICH NEURAL STRUCTURES PROVIDE A
BASIS FOR EVERYDAY IMITATION AND
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING?
ANSWER

A. Copy neurons
B. Mirror neurons (Correct answer)
C. Reflecting neurons
D. Imaging neurons
RECAP: CRASH COURSE

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG2SwE_6uVM

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=128Ts5r9NRE