Psychology Outline Chapter 5

Psychology Outline Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: Learning...

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Chapter 5: Learning Introduction: John Garcia: Fed a wolf a mutton-burger (made of the finest sheep flesh) laced with odorless, tasteless capsules of lithium chloride, a chemical that induces nausea. Displaying a natural preference for mutton, the animal wolfed it down but ½ hour later become sick and vomited. Several years later researchers introduced a sheep into the wolf’s compound. At the sight of one of its favorite delicacies, wolf went straight for sheep’s throat. But on contact wolf abruptly drew back. Slowly circled sheep—soon attacked from another angle, going for the hamstring. Attack was as short lived as the first. Hour in the compound together, the wolf still had not attacked the sheep—and in fact the sheep had made a few short charges at the WORLF! Lithium chloride seems to have been the REAL WOLF in the sheep’s clothing. Effects of single dose of toxic chemical do not last forever, Garcia’s research illustrates powerful impact of learning. Learning —any relatively permanent change in the way an organism responds based on its experience. Humans as well as other animals learning is central to adaptation. How to distinguish edible from inedible foods, or friends from enemies or predators, is essential for survival. Range of possible foods/threats is simply too great be prewired into the brain. Learning is essentially about prediction —the future from past experience, and using these predictions to guide behavior. Simplest organism responds to environment w/reflexes. Reflex —a behavior that is elicited automatically by an environmental stimulus. EX: knee-jerk reflex elicited by a doctor’s rubber hammer. Stimulus— an object or event in the environment that elicits a response in an organism. Simplest form of learning—habituation, organisms essentially learn what they can ignore. Habituation —refers to the decreasing strength of a response after repeated presentation of the stimulus. EX: RMK used to live very close to an airport and at 1 st notice every plane as it approached the runway. Within a month, however, with repeated exposures to the sounds of the plane, I hardly
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Psychology Outline Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: Learning...

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