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Three Kinds of Learning

Psychologists identified three principles that underlie three different kinds of learning: CLASSICAL CONDITIONING, OPERANT CONDITIONING, AND COGNITIVE LEARNING



At first Pavlov considered this sort of an

anticipatory salivation to be a bothersome problem. Later, he reasoned that the dogs salivation at the sight of food was also a reflex, but one that the dog had somehow learned.


In a well-known experiment, Pavlov rang a

bell before putting food in the dogs mouth. After a number of trials of hearing a bell paired with food, the dog salivated at the sound of the bell alone, a phenomenon that Pavlov called a conditioned reflex and today is called CLASSICAL CONDITIONING.

Classical conditioning was an important

discovery because it allowed researchers to study learning in an observable or objective way. Classical conditioning is a kind of learning in which a neutral stimulus acquires the ability to produce a response that was originally produced by a different stimulus. Behaviorist believe there were human applications in those experiments.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

How is Salivation Classically Conditioned? Your subject is a dog named Russ, who will learn to salivate to a

tone in the following three-step procedure.

Step 1. Selecting Stimulus and Response

Neutral Stimulus. You need to choose a neutral stimulus.

Your neutral stimulus will be a tone (represented by a bell), which the dog hears but which does not normally produce the reflex of salivation.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Unconditioned Stimulus. You need to choose an unconditioned stimulus or UCS.

Your unconditioned stimulus will be a food, which will elicit the reflex of salivation.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Unconditioned Response. Finally you need to select and measure an unconditioned response or UCS.

For example, salivation is an unconditioned response that is elicited by food, the unconditioned stimulus; eye blink is an unconditioned response that is elicited by an air puff to the eye.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Step 2. Establishing Classical Conditioning Neutral Stimulus. In a typical trial (the presentation of both stimuli), the neutral stimulus, the tone, is paired with the unconditioned stimulus, the food. Generally, the neutral stimulus (tone) occurs first, followed shortly after by the unconditioned stimulus (food). Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS). Some seconds (but less than a minute) after the tone begins, you present the unconditioned stimulus, a piece of food, which elicits salivation. This procedure is the one most frequently used in classical conditioning.

Unconditioned Response (UCR). The unconditioned stimulus, food, elicits the unconditioned response, salivation. Food and salivation are said to be unconditioned because they have an effect that is inborn and not dependent on prior training.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Step 3. Testing for Conditioning Conditioned Stimulus. At the presentation of the tone alone, Russ shows salivation. This indicates that the tone, originally stimulus, has now become a conditioned stimulus (CS). Conditioned Response. Russ salivation to the tone alone is called the conditioned response (CR).

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Because the conditioned response (salivation) is usually similar in appearance but smaller in amount or magnitude than the unconditioned response, Russ will salivate less (CR) to the tone (CS) than to food (UCS).

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning Why Does Reading Zoo World Make Carla Anxious?
Step 1. Identifying the Stimuli and the Response Neutral Stimulus: a copy of a Zoo World which Carla held tightly while experiencing pain in the dentists chair. Zoo World has two characteristics that make it a neutral stimulus; it affected Carla (she held it); and it did not initially produce feelings of anxiety. In fact , initially Carla greatly enjoyed reading Zoo World.

The Unconditioned Stimulus: one or more dental procedures, including injections, drillings, and fillings. The unconditioned stimulus or UCS, which is a dental procedure, elicited the unconditioned response or UCR, which was pain and anxiety. combination of physiological reflexes, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and rapid breathing, as well as emotional reactions. The unconditioned response or UCR was elicited by the unconditioned stimulus or UCS.

The Unconditioned Response: feeling of anxiety, which is a

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Step 2. Establishing Classical Conditioning
One procedure for establishing classical conditioning is to present the neutral stimulus and quickly follow it with unconditioned stimulus. Each presentation of the two stimuli is called trial.
In Carlas case, the neutral stimulus was holding a copy of Zoo World as she experienced painful dental procedures. After many trips to the dentist, Carla repeatedly experienced the neutral stimulus, which was holding Zoo Wolrd, and occurrence of the unconditioned stimulus, which involved a variety of painful dental procedures. The painful dental procedures elicited the unconditioned response, which included feelings of anxiety as well as other physiological responses, such as increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

B. Procedure: Classical Conditioning

Step 3. Testing for a Conditioning
A test for classical conditioning is to be observe whether the neutral stimulus, when presented alone, elicits the conditioned response.

When Carla sat in the dentists waiting room and held a copy of Zoo World, she felt anxious. Zoo World, formerly a neutral stimulus, had become a conditioned stimulus, which elicited anxiety, the conditioned response.

The conditioned response, feeling anxious, was elicited by holding Zoo World, the conditioned stimulus. The conditioned response is similar to, but of lesser intensity than, the unconditioned response. Thus, the anxiety elicited by Zoo World was similar to, but not as great as, the anxiety Carla felt during the painful dental procedures.

Because of classical conditioning, about 50% of

young children report being very fearful of dental procedures and approximately 6 % of adults develop an intense fear or phobia of dental procedures (Johnson et.al., 1990; Milgrom et.al., 1994). Just as classical conditioning elicit fears and phobias, it can also be used to treat them.

C. Other Conditioning Concept

Four Concepts (Carlas Case)

Generalization - is the tendency for a stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit a response that is similar to the conditioned response. Usually, the more similar the new stimulus is to the original conditioned stimulus, the larger will be the conditioned response. learns to make a particular response to some stimuli but not to others.

Discrimination occurs during classical conditioning when an organism

Extinction - refers to a procedure in which a conditioned stimulus is

repeatedly presented with out the unconditioned stimulus and, as a result, the conditioned stimulus tends to no longer elicit the conditioned response.
Spontaneous Recovery- recovery is the tendency for the conditioned

response to reappear after being extinguished even though there have been no further conditioning trials.

D. Adaptive Value
Whats the Use of Classical Conditioning?
Taste-Aversion Learning
* In areas where rats are a problem, it is very difficult to exterminate them with bait poison. Thats because some rats eat enough poison to die but others eat only enough to become sick and then learn to avoid that particular poison taste in the future. Exterminators must continually change the smell and taste of bait used to lure animals into traps. * Survival values (warns us from poisons that cause illness or death; from overeating and becoming sick; warning to predators; etc.)

Salivation and Digestion

Salivation lubricates our mouths and throats to make chewing and swallowing easier. This means that classically conditioned salivation is a help to the digestive process. Emotions, Fears, and Phobias In a conditioned emotional response, we feel some positive or negative emotion, such as happiness, fear, or anxiety, when experiencing a stimulus that initially accompanied a painful or pleasant event.

E. Two Explanations
What is Learned? Three Theories stimulus substitution, contiguity theory, and information theory that offer different explanation of what we learn.

Theory of Learning
A. Operant Conditioning (Thorndike and Skinner)
It is also called instrumental conditioning, is a kind of learning in

which the consequences that follow some behavior increase or decrease the likelihood of that behavior occurring in the future. In operant conditioning we act, or operate, on the environment in order to change the likelihood of the response occurring again. Example: The Bear (movie): The Bear Bart, learned to perform 45 behaviors on cue, such as sitting, running, standing up, roaring, and most difficult of all, cradling a teddy bear, which is not what an adult bear does in real world. Training Procedure: each time Bart performed a behavior on cue, the trainer, Doug Seus, gave Bart an affectionate back scratch, an ear rub, or a juicy apple or pear. For example the trainer raised his arms high in the air, it was the signal for Bart to sit and hold the teddy bear. After correctly performing this behavior, Doug would give Bart his reward.

Theory of Learning
A. Operant Conditioning
In operant conditioning we act, or operate, on the environment in order to change the likelihood of the response occurring again. For example, Bart acted or operated on his environment by picking up the teddy

Theory of Learning E.L. Thorndikes Law of Effect:

The Law of Effect states that behaviors followed by positive

consequences are strengthened while behaviors followed by negative consequences are weakened.
He built a series of puzzle boxes from which a cat could escape by learning t o make a specific response, such as pulling a string or pressing a lever. Outside the puzzle box was a reward for escaping a piece of fish. Thorndike place a cat in the puzzle box and record its escape time. After Thorndike graphs the data, there is a gradual improvement: on the first trial the cat needed over 240 seconds to hit the escape latch but by the 21st trial the cat hits the escape latch in about 60 seconds. To explain that, with repeated trials, the cat spends more time around the latch, which increases the chances of finding and hitting the latch and more quickly escaping to get the fish. To explain why a cats random trial and error behaviors gradually turned

into efficient goal-directed behaviors, Thorndike formulated the law of effect.

Theory of Learning E.L. Thorndikes Law of Effect:

Thorndikes (1898) findings were significant because they suggested

that the law of effect was a basic law of learning and provided an objective procedure to study it. Thorndikes emphasis on studying the consequences of goal-directed behavior was further developed and expanded by B. F. Skinner.

Skinners Theory of Learning

Conditioning stimulusresponse (S-R) associations through reinforcement Shaping behaviour through selective reinforcement

Operant conditioning

Skinners Theory of Learning

If you want to analyze ongoing behaviors, you must have an objective way to measure them. Skinners ingenious solution is a unit of behaviour he calls an
operant response (Skinner, 1938). By measuring or recording operant responses, Skinner can analyze animals ongoing behaviours during learning. He calls this kind of learning operant conditioning, which focuses on how consequences (rewards and punishments) affect behaviours.

Operant conditioning

Skinners Theory of Learning

Procedure: Skinner goes on to explain three factors involved in operantly conditioning a rat to press a lever, as follows

Operant conditioning

Procedure: Operant Conditioning

1. The rat has not been fed for hours so that it will be active and more likely to eat the food reward. A hungry rat tends to roam restlessly about, sniffing at whatever it finds.

2. The goal is to condition the rat to press the lever. By pressing the lever, the rat operates on its environment; thus, this response is called an operant response.

3. In conditioning a rat to press a lever, Skinner will use a procedure called shaping. Shaping refers a procedure in which an experiment successively reinforces behaviors that lead up to or approximate the desired behavior.

Shaping: Reinforcing Close Approximations

SHAPING: FACING LEVER At first the rat wanders around the back of the box but, when it turns and faces the lever, Skinner releases a food pellet in to the food cup. The rat hears the pellet and eats it. The rat moves away but, as soon as it again turns and faces the lever, Skinner releases another pellet.

SHAPING: TOUCHING LEVER Skinner decides to reinforce the rat only when it moves toward the lever. As soon as the rat faces and then moves toward the lever, Skinner releases another pellet. After eating the pellet, the rat wanders a bit but soon returns to the lever and actually sniffs it. A fourth pellet immediately drops into the cup and the rat eats it. When the rat places one paw on the lever, a fifth pellet drops into the cup.

SHAPING: PRESSING LEVER Now the rat rears up on its back feet, sniffs the lever, and puts its front paws on it. This downward motion presses the lever and causes release of another pellet (reinforcer). With in a period of time, the rat is putting down, and getting food pellets.

Principles of Operant Conditioning

As Skinner pointed out, operant conditioning affects many of our

behaviors: putting money into a vending machine to obtain a soda; calling our parents or friends to borrow money; studying hard to get good grades; or practicing long hours to win at sports. One reason we continue behaving to perform these behaviors is that they have been reinforced.

Principles of Operant Conditioning

Toilet Training and Operant Conditioning
Heres how operant conditioning techniques can be applied to teach

toilet training. 1. Target Behavior: The target behavior or goal is for Sheryl to urinate in the toilet.
2. Preparation: Before training begins put all of Sheryls toys away so that she will not be distracted. Then give her a large glass of apple juice, so that she will have to urinate soon.
3. Reinforcers: Select reinforcers, which can be candy, verbal praise, or a hug. Each time Sheryl performs or emits a desired behavior, you immediately reinforce her. The reinforcer increases the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated.
4. Each time Sheryl performs a behavior that leads to the target behavior (using the toilet), give her a treat, verbal praise or a hug. For instance, when Sheryl says that she has to go potty, say, Thats great. When Sheryl enters the bathroom , say, What a good girl. When she lowers her pants by herself, say, Youre doing really good. After Sheryl urinates into the toilet, give her a big hug and perhaps a treat.

Comparison Classical versus Operant Conditioning B. Reinforcers

Punishment: Positive versus Negative

E. Cognitive Learning
Three year old Dusty
The first time he got a skateboard, he imitated

what he had observed. He put one foot on the skateboard, used his other foot to propel forward, and held his arms out for balance. Dustys learning how to propel a skateboard was not due to classical or operant conditioning, but to cognitive learning. Cognitive Learning involves mental processes, such as attention and memory; may be learned through observation or imitation; and may not involve any external rewards or require the person to perform any observable behaviours.

E. Cognitive Learning
B. F. SKINNER: AGAINST - In his acceptance speech (honored by the American Psychologial Association (APA) with the first APA Citation for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology), his severe criticism of cognitive process and mental events caused many in the audience to gasp and only a few to applaud. Apparently, many in the audience, as well as throughout psychology today, believe that cognitive processes are not, as Skinner implied, a step backward in knowledge.

Three Viewpoints in Cognitive Learning

In the 1930s, Tolman was exploring hidden mental processes. The rat in his experiment selected the shortest path to the food box because it developed a cognitive map of the maze. Learning occurred while the rats were exploring. A cognitive map is a mental representation in the brain of the layout of an environment and its features. Tolman, showed that rats learned the layout of a maze without being reinforced, a position very different from Skinner. Tolmans emphasis on cognitive processes in learning is continued by Albert Bandura.


In many of his studies, Bandura (1986) has focused on how humans learn through observation. For example, Bandura would say that a child can learn to hate spiders simply by observing the behaviors of someone who exhibits a great dislike of spiders (results from watching and does not require the observable behaviour or receive any reward).

Banduras Theory of Observational Learning Four Processes Necessary for Observational Learning
1. ATTENTION Th e observer must pay attention to what the model says or does. Mary, the young girl, saw her mothers reactions of fear and disgust and hear her say that spiders were filthy, dirty things.

The observer must store or remember the information so that it can be retrieved and used later. Mary stored the image of her mothers fearful, disgusted facial expression and the mothers comments about spiders being filthy things.

The observer must be able to use the remembered information to guide his or her own actions and thus imitate the models behavior. Mary imitates the mothers facial expression of disgust and repeats her mothers comments about dirty spiders.

Banduras Theory of Observational Learning Four Processes Necessary for Observational Learning

The observer must have some reason, reinforcement, or incentive to perform the models behaviors. Mary wants to show her mother that she also thinks spiders are disgusting things.

Insight Learning