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Intro to Learning - Course Website...

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Unformatted text preview: Course Website http://courses.psych.ucla.edu/ Discussion board can be used for posting any content-related questions. Textbook Can be purchased at bookstore, Amazon, or at publisher’s website: www.cengagebrain.com Cengage also offers a book rental program for up to 50% off the cost of a new book. Includes prepaid return envelope – at the end of the quarter, drop it in the mail. Can order eBooks through the website -- for iPads, laptops, etc. Why do we Learn? Dennett’s Creatures Dennett speculated on why learning might have evolved. “Darwinian” Creatures Both illustrate the shaping of behavioral traits by environment - Different organisms with different behavioral phenotypes exist - organisms with best-suited phenotype are selected for —> genotype passed thru generations - evolution of learning ACROSS organisms “Skinnerian” Creatures - Individual creature produces its own range of behaviors - Behaviors that work best in the environment are reinforced and selected for - Evolution of learning WITHIN organisms - This is what we look at in behavioral neuroscience Epigenetics To studyStudy learning,of we Behavior study animal behavior. Past experiences (learning) current stimulation (environment) genetics/epigenetics Observed behavior When did humans first become interested in animal behavior? Cultural prehistory of animal behavior Humans moved to highest trophic level • Chimps = plant based omnivore. • Humans = animal based omnivore like top carnivores • Unlike other top carnivores (cats, hyenas, etc.), we required skill, technology, and cleverness to forage effectively. Kaplan et al., (2000). Evolutionary Anthropology. Domestication of animals Dogs ~25,000 years ago Sheep & Goats ~9,000 years ago Cattle & pigs ~7,000 years ago Draught animals ~4,000 years ago Aristotle A bit of an outdated model, but we now use LIneas model • Laws of associative learning • Classification of animals • under Alexander the Great • 540 animal species ladder model to identify • scala naturae —> where humans fell into role Born 384 BC Man Primates Mammals Birds Reptiles Fish Invertebrates Mechanistic view of behavior Reflex – mediates response to a stimulus. Mechanistic view of animal and human behavior. Dualism – humans have involuntary responses and free will. Led the way for investigation of animal neurophysiology. Rene Descartes 1596-1650 animal behavior is mechanistic, or involuntary, and is guided by a series of reflexes responding to ambiguous environmental stimuli believed humans show dualistic behavior, or both involuntary (reflexes) and voluntary responses (free will) searched for physiological mechanism of behavior… nervous (electrical signals) and endocrine system (hormone secretion) Physiological basis of behavior Behavior arises as a result of physiology. Physiological level of analysis of behavior is a function of nervous and endocrine system. Nervous system: neurons process and encode stimulus input and execute response output. Endocrine system: secretes hormones into the blood stream to modulate and orchestrate important behaviors. British Empiricists Locke 17th cent Hume 18th cent Berkeley 18th cent behavior is learned or experienced thru environment —> opposite of Descartes’ mechanistic approach Empiricism – acquire ideas through experience. Association – mental link or bond between two “ideas”. Hedonism – motivation driven by pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Out of the armchair, into the lab! Ebbinghaus 19th cent nonsense syllable bik, fom, caj, pum Pavlov 20th cent Thorndike 20th cent Ebbinghaus Study list of nonsense syllables (bik, fom, caj). Test memory for list items after various delays . Hermann Ebbinghaus 1850-1909 He also invented the Learning Curve! Pavlov only PHYSIOLOGIST Documented stimulus-stimulus (S-S) associative learning Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936 Thorndike Documented stimulus-response (S-R) associative learning Edward Thorndike 1874-1949 instrumental learning —> how animals learn new responses Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle Rio de Janeiro Tahiti Galapagos Islands Charles Darwin NATURALIST Evolution by Natural Selection (On the origin of species by means of Natural Selection, 1859) Mental continuity between humans and other animals. The Descent of Man (1871) “Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.” 1809-1882 natural selection is a mechanism for evolutionary change & environment shapes phenotypes because organisms change as the envt changes **animals and humans have quantitative differences, not qualitative Comparative analysis of behavior Psychology is the study of Behavior Behavior is produced by Physiological Mechanisms These mechanisms have been selected by past environments Therefore: Evolution by natural selection explains the continuity and diversity in behavior among species. This led Darwin to the comparative analysis of behavior Allows science to use animal models to study human behavior, because many of the mechanisms of behavior are shared among a wide range of species. Why do we use animal models to study human behavior? —> Darwin suggested that there exists a mental continuity between animals and humans, allowing us to use comparative analysis techniques. —> “deep homologies”, i.e. 1) Aplysia cellular mechanism of simple learning (habituation & sensitization) and neuroplasticity is similar to humans; 2) genes that code for circadian rhythm molecular mechanism was correlated in fruit flies and invertebrates 3) Neurotransmitter active in exploratory behavior of bees are same NT’s that humans release during experiences of adventure or elevated pleasure-seeking behavior Comparative analysis of behavior Principles of learning in rats, pigeons, humans, honey bees… seem to operate via shared mechanisms and processes. Thus, studying learning mechanisms in all of these species can contribute to our understanding of human learning and the neural and genetic mechanisms of learning. (cf. study of principles of genetics, development, and physiology.) Iceberg metaphor of human behavior Awareness What is the evidence for similar mechanisms of learning and behavior across the Animal Kingdom? Unaware Attentional spotlight Intentional behavior Instrumental conditioning Episodic memory Most Cognition Pavlovian conditioning Sensitization Modal Action Patterns Habituation Kinesis Taxis Reflexes/ Homeostasis Deep homology of Circadian clock • Biochemical mechanism that oscillates with a period of 24 hours; coordinating circadian rhythms. • Basic molecular mechanisms of the circadian clock have been defined in vertebrates, fruit flies, plants, fungi, and bacteria. • Genes involved in clock are conserved in fruit flies and vertebrates. Genetics of exploratory behavior and novelty seeking: human and honey bee • Individual differences in exploratory behavior in honey bees. • These differences related to differences in patterns of neurotransmitter-gene activity in brains of honey bees. • The neurotransmitters active in exploratory bees matched those that underlie novelty seeking in humans. • Evolutionarily conserved molecular mechanisms underlying consistent differences in various behaviors among humans and honey bees. Liang et al. (2012). Science, 335, 1225-1228. Conserved cellular/molecular pathways of learning Aplysia, the California sea slug Simple forms of learning in Aplysia Habituation and Sensitization (Chapter 2) Classical conditioning in Aplysia (Chapter 3) Methodological investigation of behavior - Psychology Experimental Causes inferred from well-controlled experimental manipulations. Focus more on questions of mechanisms of behavior rather than function. General Process approach Explain the greatest variance of observable phenomena with the smallest number of general laws. c.f., chemistry, physics. Reductionist Reduce molar behavior into elemental processes. Psychology vs. Biology psychologists use general process approach, which emphasizes commonalities between observable behaviors through the least amount of explanations. They use experiments to demonstrate mechanisms and the how, not function. Reduction of all elemental processes biologists are adaptationists, which emphasizes differences between organisms. They use observational techniques to focus on function and study organisms in the natural environment, or the why. Reductionist and holistic approach —> elemental processes in context of entire ecosystem Methodological investigation of behavior - Biology Observational Ethology - The study of animals in their natural environment. Focus on function of behavior rather than mechanisms. Adaptationist approach Explain species-specific behavior in terms of unique histories of natural selection. Reductionist and holistic elemental processes to ecosystems. These two approaches are mutually informative What is Learning? What is Learning? Learning is an enduring change in the mechanisms of behavior involving specific stimuli and/or responses that results from prior experience with those or similar stimuli and responses. (p. 14 of textbook). Acquisition of new information that influences response decisions. What learning is NOT: A change in behavior due to… fatigue changing stimulus conditions physiological/motivational fluctuations maturation Learning-Performance distinction Learning Physiological activation Behavioral activation Learning Associative learning Response selection Other Processes Motivation Stimulation Short-term Affect acquisition Arousal Attention Perceptual processes Storage Long-term storage Retrieval Learning includes: Non-Associative Associative Cognitive Exteroceptive and interoceptive information Mechanistic Level Psychological Neurobiological Neurochemical Cell-molecular Example S S learning Modular Representation S S S S APPETITIVE FEAR CEREBELLUM AMYGDALA NMDA GABA Coincidence detectors Synaptic receptors Secondmessenger systems cAMP ARACHIDONIC ACID SPECIFICITY How to study learning? Science - causality is studied through controlled experimentation. • Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology -Study behavior of chemicals in test tubes. -Study behavior of organisms in laboratory apparatus. • Compare effect of a manipulation of putative cause against a control condition lacking the cause. • Groups - Experimental Group – receives critical manipulation - Control Group – receives all the same treatment as experimental group except for the manipulation. Experimental Psychology The investigation of the mechanisms of behavior. Rigorous methods and proper controls. Scientific Theory An empirically-based explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. Consists of a set of assumptions that interrelate observable variables Theories of learning • Seek to predict and explain behavior that results from a learning process. • Describe the variables of the process and how they are causally related. • Attempt to explain empirical phenomena. • Attempt to predict behavior in a lawful manner. Models of learning are formal instantiations of learning theory that provide heuristic value in the study of learning. Scientific Theory Theoretical ideas Intervening variable – a working variable, not necessarily real. Summarizes observed empirical findings (a place holder). Hypothetical construct – the essence of something that really exists. Has properties that have not yet been empirically determined. Examples hunger intelligence thirst motivation learning memory (Gravity in physics) association representation mental image expectation (Space-time curvature ideas that are not necessarily physical or objectified, but is trying in physics) to be figured out ...
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