Test 2 notes part 2 - Section 2: Learning and Behavior /...

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Section 2: Learning and Behavior / Memory I. Definitions It may seem that learning and memory would be an easy thing to talk about since they're such universal phenomena. But because they're so universal many people often use different words to refer to the same thing and sometimes the same words to refer to different things. That can lead to a wealth of confusion, so we're going to start by carefully defining our terms so that we're all on the same page, at least as much as possible, as we cover this chapter. A. Learning At its most general, we can define learning as a durable change in behavior or knowledge due to experience . This actually covers a lot of ground. So, a baby beginning to walk, a guy taking guitar lessons so he play well enough to impress girls, a single mom taking real estate classes to get her real estate license and switch careers, a kid figuring out how to advance to the next level on a video game without resorting to cheat codes, a grandfather regaining lost function in a hand after a stroke, all of these reflect types of learning. These types of learning aren't all the same, don't all use the same psychological processes or require the same parts of the brain, but they're still learning according to our definition. B. Memory Using the same broad parameters we can define memory as the means by which past experience is drawn on to guide or direct behavior or thoughts in the present . Like our previous definition of learning, this also covers a lot of ground. A guitar player effortlessly plays a song that he learned years ago, a student picking an answer on a multiple-choice test, a smell of a particular type of pie baking generating a vivid recollection of a childhood Christmas at your grandmother's house, an adult getting on a skateboard and riding it like he did when he was a kid 20 years ago. All of these are forms of memory, though they're all different, some involving conscious effortful recall of things you can put into words and other not. But they're still all forms of memory by our definition. I I. Some Types of Learning We're going to focus on three types of learning. Each of them will induce a "durable change in behavior," but they differ in how they accomplish that change, what brain areas are involved, and even in what is learned and how that learning is applied. A. Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning (involuntary responses) Classical conditioning was first formally described by the Nobel Prize winning Russian digestive physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, in the 1920's hence its other interchangeably commonly used name, Pavlovian conditioning . The simplest description of this type of learning is that the organism (animal or person ) learns a predictive relationship between two external stimuli; the presentation of the first specific stimulus predicts the imminent following presentation of the second specific stimulus . In a sense, the world is "happening" to the organism. The organism may have little to no control over its circumstances. But sometimes one thing always reliable
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predicts a second thing is about to occur. The first event then allows the organism to predict the
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Test 2 notes part 2 - Section 2: Learning and Behavior /...

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