Chapter 7 - Learning

our capacity to learn new behaviors that help us cope with changing circumstances
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
Associative learning
learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (classical conditioning) or a response and its consequence (operant conditioning)
the process of learning associations
Classical conditioning
a type of learning in which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events
Unconditioned response (UR)
in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus, such as salivation when food is in the mouth
Unconditioned stimulus (US)
in classical conditioning, a stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response, such as food in the mouth
Conditioned response (CR)
in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral stimulus
Conditioned stimulus (CS)
in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with a US comes to trigger a conditioned response
the initial stage in classical conditioning when one links a neutral stimulus with a US so that the neutral stimulus triggers the conditioned response
Higher-order conditioning (second-order conditioning)
a procedure where the conditioned stimulus from one experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus. This creates a second, and often weaker, conditioned stimulus.
the diminishing of a conditioned response that happens when an unconditioned stimulus doesn't follow a conditioned stimulus or when a response is no longer enforced
Spontaneous recovery
the reappearance of a weakened conditioned response after a pause
the tendency with a conditioned response for stimuli similar to the CS to elicit similar responses
the learned ability to distinguish between a CS and a stimuli that don't signal a US
John Garcia
a psychologist that challenged the idea that all associations can be learned equally well. They disproved that the US must immediately follow the CS as well as disproving the idea that any perceivable stimulus could act as a conditioned stimulus, instead, the conditioned stimulus had to be one that was adaptive to the organism
Respondent behavior
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus
Operant conditioning
a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher
Operant behavior
behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences
Law of effect
Edward L Thorndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely
Operant chamber (Skinner box)
a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer. An attached device records the animals rate of bar or key manipulation
a procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior
any event that strengthens or increases the frequency of a preceding response.
Positive reinforcement
increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. It is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response.
Negative reinforcement
increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as a shock. This is any stimulus that when removed after a response, strengthens the response, like putting on a seatbelt to stop beeping. THIS IS NOT PUNISHMENT
Primary reinforcers
An innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need
Conditioned reinforcers
a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer, also known as a secondary reinforcer
Continuous reinforcement
reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs. This practice makes learning quick, but extinction quick as well
Partial (intermittent) reinforcement
reinforcing a response only part of the time. This results in slower acquisition of a response, but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement
Fixed-ratio schedules
a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses, i.e. getting a free coffee after buying ten.
Variable-ratio schedule
a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses, i.e. playing slot machines over and over
Fixed-interval schedule
a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed, i.e. people checking the mail more frequently as the delivery time approaches
Variable-interval schedule
a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals, i.e. checking email often
an event that decreases the behavior that it follows. Positive punishment administers an aversive stimulus while negative punishment withdraws a desirable stimulus.
Cognitive map
a mental representation of the layout of one's environment
Latent learning
learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it
Intrinsic motivation
a desire to perform a behavior effectively for its own sake
Extrinsic motivation
the desire to perform a behavior to receive promised rewards or avoid threatened punishment
Observational learning
learning by observing others
the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior
Mirror neurons
frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation and empathy
Albert Bandura
a pioneer researcher of observational learning who used the Bobo doll to show that children are more apt to imitate an action after seeing an adult do it
Prosocial behavior
positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of antisocial