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Chapter 6 Part 2 - Learning(part 2 Today's topics...

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Today’s topics Instrumental Conditioning Learning (part 2)
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E.L. Thorndike Chapter 6: Instrumental Conditioning Thorndike looked at trial-and-error learning across animal species Puzzle Box small box with latched gate, mechanism to open gate placed hungry cat inside, food outside cat tries to get to food cat tries clawing, biting parts of box, pushing paws through openings Eventually, cat would accidentally stumble across solution Important finding : it took progressively less time to escape on each trial
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Thorndike’s Findings Chapter 6: Instrumental Conditioning Possible explanations cat “figured out” that pulling on wire opened door (probably not, judging by data) cat merely learned that consequences of certain actions are associated with desirable outcome Law of Effect Behaviors that are followed by satisfying effects are strengthened and are therefore more likely to occur again Behaviors that are followed by unsatisfying effects are weakened and are therefore less likely to occur again Parallels with Darwin: things that are effective carry on!
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B.F. Skinner Chapter 6: Instrumental Conditioning Skinner defined how instrumental conditioning would be studied Skinner Box small bar protruding from wall rat received food, continuous record made of rat’s response Improvement over Thorndike’s puzzle box : when animal behaves, it remains inside box animal can continually behave
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Reinforcers Chapter 6: Instrumental Conditioning Clear distinction between classical and operant conditioning respondent behavior (classical conditioning) – automatic responses to stimuli operant behavior (instrumental conditioning) – operates on the environment Reinforcer causes behavior to be performed more frequently positive reinforcer – increase in behavior caused by presenting (adding) something “good” to animal negative reinforcer – increase in behavior caused by removing (subtracting) or preventing something “bad”
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Discrimination Chapter 6: Instrumental Conditioning Environmental stimuli DO play a role in when behaviors will be performed discriminative stimuli inform animal when behavior will be rewarded and when it won’t Example: pecking in pigeons • reinforce when green light is on, NOT when red light is on
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