110Lecture2Handout

110Lecture2Handout - Psychology 110 Lecture 2: Learning and...

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Psychology 110 Lecture 2: Learning and adaptation Defning learning The textbook ʼ s defnition The behavioral defnition The cognitive defnition Relating defnitions to observations The general process assumption Applied to variation within species Applied to variation across species The adaptive signifcance oF learning Why is learning so well conserved?
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Textbook defnition: “… learning give(s) humans and other animals a way to adapt to their changing environment. […] To be more specifc it is a way they can adapt through experience .” What is learning? BUT: In what ways do humans and other animals adapt to changing environments? 1. They can change their behavior 2. They can change the cognitive processes that give rise to behavior
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Behavioral defnition oF learning: Learning is an enduring change in behavior This produces two competing defnitions oF learning: Behavioral vs. cognitive defnition Behavioral defnitions must distinguish changes in behavior due to learning From those due to physical, physiological and developmental changes Cognitive defnition oF learning: Learning is the Formation oF a novel mental structure [ that is only indirectly manifest in behavior ]
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The story of little Albert: An experiment by Watson & Raynor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxKfpKQzow8 Albert was normally a stolid and unemotional infant who almost never cried. As the Frst step in their experiment, Watson and Raynor presented Albert with a white rat. They observed that Albert ʼ s initial reaction to the rat was approach and attempts to play with the animal along with cooing sounds. They then began conditioning trials in which every presentation of the white rat was followed by a loud noise that they had previously observed to elicit crying, wailing and distress in children. Almost immediately Albert began to show these signs of distress upon the next presentation o the white rat and these sign increased over successive trials (i.e. with each successive rat-noise pairing).
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110Lecture2Handout - Psychology 110 Lecture 2: Learning and...

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