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Welcome to Learning theory -

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Welcome to Learning theory
As humans we depend on a steady, predictable world. We need for there to be answers to questions and a reason for why things happen. However, reality is messy, and in many cases there just are no clear answers to questions. In this uncertainty, we must learn how to navigate our sometimes undependable world.LearningMaturationHabituationPunishmentGeneralizationDiscrimination– When you can tell one thing apart from other “like things”Instinct– A fixed pattern ofbehvioursacross a species
Positive reinforcement– Do good, get good; do bad getnothingNegative reinforcement– Do bad get bad, do good getnothingShaping by successive approximation– You mold an organisms behaviour rewarding it each time it’s behaviour gets closer to the targetAcquisition– GettingExtinction– Forgetting (or temporarily losing)Delayed reinforcement– Reward comes some time after the behaviour (like a high school diploma)Blocking– You ARE rewarding behaviour, but the organism is not responding to you
Overshadowing– When two stimuli are presented, but the organism only responds to one (one is more predictive than the other to the organism)Primary reinforcer– One that is innately rewardingSecondary reinforcer– One that is an “acquired” taste, you have to learn to like it (like smoking perhaps)Reinforcement schedules– Fixed and VariableSpontaneous recovery– With one repetition of the conditioning the organism regains proficiencyLittle Albert(Watson) – Fear acquisition and stimulus generalizationSalient– Something that makes this item more noticeable
What theHeckness!
There are several different types of learning.Direct observationExperience“Teaching” – second hand informationModes of learningHard wired – genetics (like instincts)Cognitive - Learning through doing and seeing
A little more History….
Associationism– All knowledge comes from our senses and experience (Tabula Rasa). Things that are learned occur repeatedly and regularly. Temporal contiguity.Darwin - 1. Variation occurs within a species2. Modes of transmission are genetic3. Natural selection in which the species bestsuited to it’s environment survives.Pavlov – Classical conditioning UCS – UCR…it’s all about reflexes NS / UCS – UCRNS - UCRCS - CR
E.L. Thorndike
Thorndike had created a “cat in a box” device to see how long it would take an intelligent animal to escape (with Salman – aguynot a fish). He also experimented with baby chick, trying to teach them to navigate a maze.Law of Effect: All behaviour is random. However if a behaviour is followed by a pleasurable event, that behaviour is likely to be repeated. Only rewarded activities repeat.
B.F. Skinner
Skinner was a strict behaviourist. He practiced long after Watson. He was responsible for reinvigorating behaviourism because he made psychology Easy to understand, Easy to use, and made it apply to Everyone.Skinner said that any complex behaviour could be taught, you just had to break the complex behaviour down into simple steps. These simple steps are sometimes called “schema.” Learning is therefore defined by the rewards that are applied.
Rat Experiments
Morphine testA rat is burned (check reaction time). Injected with morphine, then burned again (slower reaction). Now the rat is injected with saline (salty water), and now the rat will react to the burnfasterthan it did the first time. Why?Conflict testA rat is given food when it taps a lever. Now that lever is electrified. Rat wont eat now. When given VALIUM, the rat will go an pad the lever and eat, even though it’s being painfully shocked each time. Why?
Agonist– Drug that mimics another drugAntagonist– Drug that blocks the action of another drugOpponent Process– That when one part of the body is activated, the other will be “off.” RichardSoloman.Colour Vision, Nervous system, Eating behaviourSteps to cognitive learning: Attention, Retention, Reproduction, and MotivationRescorla: The cognitive interpretation of whether one stimuli is more predictive of a reward than another. Rat experiment with Light and sound.
Lets define learning
Freud– Learning occurs as a child learns to cope with their own inner conflicts. They learn to deal with and suppress internal processes that help make them successful individuals in societyBehaviourism– An organism acquires behaviours randomly as it is rewarded for it’s own actions. Acquired behaviours may (or may not) be helpful..
Humanistic– A person will exercise their right to behave as they see fit and will become what they wish (good or bad).Cognitive– Learning occurs as a person gains new skills and abilities. Each ability will be kept or discarded as it applies to success in life
Kohn says that positive reinforcement has become so overused (calledoverjustification) that for all intents and purposes they do not work as they should.In some cases people wont work for external rewards at all. That is, they wont do what you want them to.In other cases, people will only work for external rewards and don’t really care about the quality of the work that they do.External rewards remove a person intrinsic motivation.The Children and Colouring Experiment.
Classical conditioning versus Operant
Classical conditioning: Uses bodily reflexes as responses, uses a “teacher,” there are only a finite number of potential responses that a person can give.Operant conditioning: Uses pseudo-chosen responses, the environment becomes the teacher (more variables), there can be an almost infinite number of possible responses.
Animal Research
Why do they use mice in medical research? (story about Saccharin). Mostly because they can, and mice don’t have lawyers.1. Most research emphasizes learning from the environment (not internal motivations).2. It has been theorized that internal mental processes are simple straight-forward commands, and that they are a reflection of external events.3. Small animals are easier to manipulate (environment and food)4. Small animals have a faster life cycle and you can experiment on several generations over a short timeThe lives of a few animals is “worth” the saving of human lives? No?
People who believe inthinkingsay that all behaviour is logical and predictable and follows certain patterns. Behaviour is based on our internalcognitive maps.People who believe inbehavioursay that all behaviour is random and based entirely on trial and error.Wolfgang Kohler:Chimps in a cage.Insight Learning: A successful behaviour can be gained more quickly if we play out in our mind what we think is going to happen, and then ACT on the one that we think is most likely to succeed.
Do violent video games, Rap music, or other things make us Violent??Albert Bandura and the Bo-Bo doll experiment.It is not what we see in abstraction that influences our real behaviour, but the actions of those that we see (for real) around us.Arson - I saw it on Beavis and Butt HeadMurder - We saw it on the SopranosMurder – The Twinkie DefenseMurder – I saw it on Grand Theft Auto
Economic interaction– Work until it’s just too “expensive”Token Economy– Where tokens are given out for good behaviour. These tokens are saved for some event or effect later on.Intrinsic motivationExtrinsic motivationLatent learningLocus of controlTemporal ContiguityEdwardTolman–Phenomenological approachMartin Seligman–LearnedHelplessness





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Welcome to Learning theory -