PSYCHOLOGY ch 7 - PSYCHOLOGY: Chapter 7 - Learning: a...

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PSYCHOLOGY: Chapter 7 - Learning: a process by which an experience produces a relatively enduring change in an organism’s behaviour or capabilities o There is a distinction made by many theorists between learning and performance Adapting to the Environment - View learning as a process of personal adaption to the ever changing circumstances of our lives How Do We Learn? The Search for Mechanisms - For a long time, the study of learning proceeded along two largely separate paths: Behaviourism and ethology - Behaviourists assume that there are laws of learning that apply to all organisms o Treat organisms as a blank tablet upon which learning experiences were inscribed Why Do We Learn? The Search for Functions - Ethology focused on animal behaviour within the natural environment - Viewed organisms as anything but a blank tablet - Ethologists argue that, because of evolution, every species comes into the world biologically prepared to act in certain ways - Learning has adaptive significance - Fixed action pattern: an unlearned response automatically triggered by a particular stimulus - Some fixed actions can be modified by experience - In many cases, what appears to be instinctive behaviour actually involved learning Crossroads of Learning: Biology, Cognition, and Culture - Environment shapes behaviour in 2 fundamental ways: o Personal adaptation: occurs through the laws of learning that behaviourists examined, and it results from our interactions with immediate and past environments o Species adaptation: through the process of evolution, environmental conditions faced by each species help shape its biology - Species that can learn have the potential to adapt to changing environments or expand into new and different environments - The brain structure and function that allows learning is under biological control Habituation - A decrease in the strength of response to a particular stimulus - If an organism responded to every stimulus in its environment, it would rapidly become overwhelmed and exhausted - Different from sensory adaptation in that you may habituate to a stimulus, but that sensory information is still available if it becomes relevant Classical Conditioning: Associating one stimulus with another - An organism learns to associate 2 stimuli, such that one stimulus comes to produce a response that was originally only produced by the other stimulus - Classical conditioning alerts organisms to stimuli that signal the impending arrival of an important event Basic Principles
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- Acquisition: Refers to the period during which a response is being learned o Neutral stimulus: a stimulus before it is associated with the second stimulus o Unconditioned stimulus (UCS), through association becomes the conditioned stimulus o Unconditioned response (UCR), through association becomes the conditioned response o Learning trial: each pairing o During acquisition, a conditioned stimulus must be paired with an unconditioned stimulus multiple times o Forward short-delay pairing: The conditioned stimulus appears first and is
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PSYCHOLOGY ch 7 - PSYCHOLOGY: Chapter 7 - Learning: a...

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