Models to Explain Learning (Classical Conditioning A simple form of…
Models to Explain Learning
A simple form of learning, which occurs through repeated association of two (or more) different stimuli.
Simply put, we learn to associate two events (or stimuli); eventually, one stands for the other in our minds.
First described by Russian physiologist
in 1899 while he was conducting research into the digestive system of dogs.
does not naturally produce a response.
produces a naturally occurring response
is a naturally occurring response to the UCS. Reflexive and involuntary in nature.
was previously the neutral stimulus; now it elicits a learned response.
is a response to the CS that is produced through learning. It is now a learned response.
– the pairing of the NS with the UCS. Eventually the NS becomes the CS. The NS and UCS must be paired very closely together for conditioning to take place. Up to ½ a second is ideal, if longer than this then conditioning is unlikely to occur as the organism will not associate the NS with the UCS
- is the decrease in the strength or rate of the CR, and occurs when the UCS is no longer presented. Extinction is said to have occurred when a CR no longer occurs following the presentation of the CS.
- is the sudden reappearance of the CR when the CS is presented, following a rest period (or extinction). Spontaneous recovery does not always occur and is often short-lived. The CR is weaker now than it initially was (before extinction) and really needs to be re-learnt.
- occurs when the CR is produced when exposed to stimuli similar to the CS. For example, Pavlov’s dog may salivate to the sound of a front-door bell or buzzer. However, the CR is weaker than it is for the original CS (the bell). Stimulus generalisation is very common in everyday life, many foods make us salivate, even ones we’ve never eaten before.
- occurs when the CR is only produced by the CS. For example, Pavlov’s dog will only salivate to the sound of the bell and not anything that sounds similar to the bell like a front-door bell or buzzer. It’s similar to being afraid of a German Sheppard only and not a poodle, only that particular breed of dog scars you and no others.
Nature of the response
– for CC to occur the UCR must be an automatic or involuntary response, such as a reflex. This occurs without the need for prior learning and is often necessary for survival or protection.
For example, the smell of a cake baking (UCS) makes you salivate (UCR).
Association of stimuli
– if an organism fails to associate two stimuli together then conditioning is not going to occur. Contiguity is said to have occurred if the organism has formed a connection between two previously unrelated items (bell and food); that is, one should occur with the other in the mind of the organism. When the dog sees the food in his mind he also pictures the bell. However, this is really dependent on the frequency and timing of the stimulus presentation.
Frequency and timing of stimulus presentation
– the NS and UCS must be presented regularly together and ideally the NS should occur before the UCS by not more than ½ a second.
conditioned emotional response
is an emotional reaction that usually occurs in response to a stimulus that does not normally produce a response.
In Pavlov’s experiment, the stimulus of
produced the response of salivation.
of Pavlov became the stimulus that initiated the salivation.
learned to associate
the sound of Pavlov with food.
Pavlov’s experiments proved that a form of learning based on the repeated association of two stimuli existed.
Watson and Rayner
(1920) conducted a study to test the notion that fears can be acquired through classical conditioning.
As Little Albert played with the rat, one of the experimenters distracted him, while the other experimenter stood behind him and struck a hammer on a steel bar.
This produced a loud noise (UCS) that made Little Albert cry and scream with fear (UCR).
The experimenters repeated this procedure irregularly for 17 days.
Eventually the white rat changed from being a NS to a CS as Little Albert eventually began to scream and cry (CR) at the sight of the rat. He would even try to crawl away in fear of the rat
Watson and Rayner found that Little Albert had generalised his fear response to other items similar in nature to the white rat – a white rabbit, a dog and a sealskin coat
– the responsibility of the researcher to maximise the potential benefits of the research while minimising the risks or discomfort cause to the participants
Respect for persons
– researcher must properly regard the welfare, rights, cultural beliefs, customs and perceptions of participants
– an understanding of the experiment and an ability to decide if you don’t want to participate
– the ability to give informed consent and withdrawal as one wishes – the ability to give informed consent and withdrawal as one wishes
– where an individual is not able to given informed consent due to their age or some personal circumstance (language, disability, etc) a legal guardian must
– Never happened
– the right to not have your details or experimental results shared with the public
Bundoora's Bobo Doll
Participants exposed to aggressive models will reproduce aggressive acts resembling those of the models
The observation of non-aggressive models will have a restraining effect on the participants’
Participants will imitate the behaviour of a same-sex model to a greater degree than a model of the opposite sex
Boys will be more predisposed than girls towards imitating aggression.
Children who saw aggressive model performed more aggressive acts
Boys were more aggressive overall
Boys imitated aggression more from male models
Girls imitated physical aggression more from male models rather than female
Girls imitated verbal aggression from female models rather than male
Occurs when someone uses observation of another person's actions and their consequences to guide their future actions.
Observational learning is a more
than either classical or operant conditioning.
– viewing a model being punished can weaken a behaviour in an observer
– viewing a model being reinforced can strengthen behaviour in an observer
Pay attention in order to observe the modelled behaviour
Mentally retain what has been observed
Be capable of Reproducing the behaviour
Be motivated or have some reinforcement available
Classical conditioning cannot explain behaviour that is voluntary – behaviour we control. Much of our learning occurs through voluntary, trial and error.
For example, if we tell a joke and people laugh a lot then we will retell that joke to other people or, if no one laughed then we won’t retell that joke, we might try a new one.
We make adjustments to our behaviour according to the outcomes or consequences it produces. These adjustments usually result in an increase or decrease in the likelihood of that behaviour occurring again = Operant Conditioning
is a response (or set of responses) that occurs and acts (‘operates’) on the environment to produce some kind of effect.
refers to a learning process by which the likelihood of a particular behaviour occurring is determined by the consequences of that behaviour.
Operant conditioning is based on Thorndike’s law of effect that an organism will tend to repeat a behaviour (operants) that has desirable consequences (such as receiving a treat), or that will enable it to avoid undesirable consequences (such as being given detention). Furthermore, organisms will tend not to repeat a behaviour that has undesirable consequences (such as disapproval or a fine).
(A) that cue in the environment that precedes an operant response
(B) elicited by the operant in response to the discriminative stimulus
(C) to the operant response.
is applying a positive stimulus or removing a negative stimulus to subsequently strengthen or increase the likelihood of a particular response that follows it.
– applying a positive reinforcer when a desired response has been made.
– is the removal or avoidance of an unpleasant stimulus
– is the delivery of an unpleasant stimulus following a response OR the removal of a pleasant stimulus (response cost) following a response. The idea is to reduce undesirable behaviours.
- the delivery of a stimulus following an undesirable response
- the removal of a stimulus following an undesired response
- What is lost as a consequence (cost) of your undesirable response
Order of presentation
To use reinforcement and punishment effectively it is important that they are presented after a desired response and never before
and punishment are most effective when given immediately after the response has occurred. This timing helps the organism to associate the response with the reinforcer or punishment without interference from other factors during the time delay
For any stimulus to be a reinforcer it must provide a pleasing/satisfying consequence to that individual