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Terms in this set (92)
In operant conditioning, responses are followed by reinforcement or punishment that either strengthen or weaken the behaviour. Reinforcers are events that increase the probability that the response will occur again. Punishments are events that decrease the probability that the response will occur again.
Pavlov's View of the Physiology of Learning
Pavlov believed that conditioning strengthened connections between the CS centre and UCS centre in the brain.
In Search of the Engram
Karl Lashley set out to prove this by searching for such engrams, or physical representations of what
had been learned. Believed that a knife cut should abolish the newly learned response. example of types of cuts in various rats. His results- Lashley's studies attempted to see if disrupting certain connections between cortical brain areas would disrupt abilities
to learn associations. Found that learning and memory did not depend entirely on connections across the cortex. Also found that learning did not depend on a single area of the cortex.
Equipotentiality and Mass Action
Lashley proposed two key principles about the nervous system:
Equipotentiality - all parts of the cortex contribute equally to complex functioning behaviors (e.g. learning)
Mass action - the cortex works as a whole, not as solitary isolated units.
Modern Search for the Engram
Richard F. Thompson et. al. suggested that the engram for classical conditioning is located in the cerebellum, not the cortex.
During conditioning, changes occur in the lateral
interpositus nucleus (LIP) of the cerebellum Responses increase as learning proceeds necessary for learning and retention.
However, a change in a brain area does not necessarily mean that learning took place in that area.
Suppression of activity in the LIP led to a condition
in which the subject displayed no previous learning.
As suppression wore off, the animal began to learn
at the same speed as animals that had no previous
But suppression of the red nucleus also led to a
Later assumed that the learning did occur in the
LIP, as it was the last structure that needed to be
awake for learning to occur.
Types of Memory
Psychologist differentiate between learning and memory.
Hebb (1949) differentiated between two types of memory:
Short-term memory - memory of events that have just
Long-term memory - memory of events from times
STM and LTM
Differences between STM and LTM
Short-term memory has a limited capacity; long-term memory does not.
Short-term memory fades quickly without rehearsal; long-term memories persist.
Memories from long-term memory can be stimulated with a cue/ hint; retrieval of memories lost from STM do not benefit from the presence of a cue.
Researchers propose all information enters STM where the brain consolidates it into LTM.
Later research has weakened the distinction between STM and LTM. Working Memory- Proposed by Baddeley & Hitch as an alternative to shortterm memory.
Emphasis on temporary storage of information to actively attend to it and work on it for a period of time.
Components of Working Memory
There are three main components of working memory; the central executive that controls resources, and two subsystems that process specific information.
Testing Working Memory
One common test of working memory is the delayed response task. Requires responding to something you heard or saw a short while ago. Research points to the prefrontal cortex for the storage of this information. Brain may use elevated levels of calcium
to potentiate later responses
Aging and Memory
Older people often have impairments in working memory. Changes in the prefrontal cortex assumed to
be the cause. Declining activity of the prefrontal cortex in the elderly is associated with decreasing
memory. Increased activity is indicative of compensation for other regions in the brain.
Amnesia is the loss of memory. Studies on amnesia help to clarify the distinctions between and among different kinds of memories and their mechanisms.
Different areas of the hippocampus are active during memory formation and retrieval. Damage results in amnesia.
H.M. is a famous case study in psychology who had his hippocampus removed to prevent epileptic seizures.
Afterwards H.M. had great difficulty forming new long-term memories. STM or working memory remained intact.
Suggested that the hippocampus is vital for
the formation of new long-term memories.
Types of Amnesia
H.M. showed massive anterograde amnesia after the surgery.
Two major types of amnesia include:
Anterograde amnesia - the loss of the ability to form new memory after the brain damage
Retrograde amnesia - the loss of memory events prior to the occurrence of the brain damage.
Explicit vs. Implicit Memory
Patient H.M. also displayed greater "implicit" than "explicit" memory.
Explicit memory - deliberate recall of information that one recognizes as a memory.
Implicit memory - the influence of recent experience on behaviour without realizing one is using memory.
Episodic/Declarative vs. Procedural Memory
H.M. had difficulty with episodic memory and declarative memory.
Episodic memory: ability to recall single events. Declarative memory: ability to state a memory into words.
H.M.'s procedural memory remained intact.
Procedural memory: ability to develop motor skills
(remembering or learning how to do things).
Hippocampus & Memory
Research of the function of the hippocampus suggests the following:
The hippocampus is critical for declarative memory functioning (especially episodic).
The hippocampus is especially important for spatial memory.
The hippocampus is especially important for configural learning and binding.
Research in the role of the hippocampus in episodic
memory shows damage impairs abilities on two types
Delayed matching-to-sample tasks - a participant sees an object and must later choose the object that matches.
Delayed non-matching-to-sample tasks- participant sees an object and must later choose the object that is different than the sample.
Learning, Memory, Amnesia, and Brain Functioning
Damage to the hippocampus also impairs abilities on spatial tasks such as:
Radial mazes - a subject must navigate a maze that has eight or more arms with a reinforcer at the end.
Morris water maze task - a rat must swim through murky water to find a rest platform just underneath the surface.
Hippocampus and Contextual Learning
Hippocampus may also be important for contextual learning. Remembering the detail and context of an
Suggests that the hippocampus is important in the process of "consolidation".
Damage to the hippocampus impairs recent learning more than older learning.
The more consolidated a memory becomes, the less it
depends on the hippocampus.
Reverberating circuits of neuronal activity were thought to be the mechanisms of consolidation.
Consolidation is also influenced by the passage of time and emotions.
Small to moderate amounts of cortisol activate the amygdala and hippocampus where they enhance storage and consolidation of recent experiences.
Prolonged stress impairs memory.
Brain Damage & Amnesia
Different kinds of brain damage result in different types of amnesia.
Two common types of brain
Korsakoff's syndrome - brain damage caused by prolonged thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. impedes the ability of the brain to metabolize glucose. Leads to a loss of or shrinkage of neurons in the brain.
Often due to chronic alcoholism.
Symptoms include apathy, confusion, and forgetting
and confabulation (taking guesses to fill in gaps in
Alzheimer's disease is associated with a gradually progressive loss of memory often occurring in old age.
Affects 50% of people over 85. Early onset seems to be influenced by genes, but 99% of cases are late onset. About half of all patients with late onset have no known relative with the disease.
Proteins and Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease is associated with an accumulation and clumping of the following brain proteins:
Amyloid-β protein which produces widespread atrophy of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and other areas.
Also accumulate an abnormal form of the tau protein, part of the intracellular support system of neurons.
Plaques & Tangles
from Alzheimer's. Accumulation of the tau protein
Plaques - structures formed from degenerating neurons.
Tangles - structures formed from degenerating structures within a neuronal body.
Treatment of Alzheimer's
A major area of damage is the basal forebrain and treatment includes enhancing acetylcholine activity.
One experimental treatment includes the stimulation of cannabinoid receptors that limits overstimulation by glutamate.
Research with mice suggests the possibility of immunizing against Alzheimer's by stimulating the production of antibodies against amyloid beta protein.
What Amnesia Teaches Us
Lessons from studying amnesiac patients include:
There can be deficiencies of very different aspects of memory.
There are independent kinds of memory. Various kinds of memory depend on different brain areas.
What is a Memory?
Activity in the brain results in physical changes.
Patterns of activity leave a path of physical changes.
Not every change is a specific memory as was once originally believed.
Many ideas originally believed to be true have been refined.
What Do Studies of Non-Human Language Teach Us?
Studies of nonhuman language abilities:
Give insights to how best to teach language to those who do not learn it easily.
Examples: Brain damaged people or children with autism. Indicate that language evolved from a precursor found in other species Illustrate the ambiguity of our concept of language.
Creates demand for more precise definition.
Theories of Language Development
Two categories of theories attempt to explain the human ability to learn language more easily than
"Language evolved as a by-product of overall brain development."
"Language evolved as a brain specialization."
Language & Intelligence
Problems associated with the "language as a by-product of increased intelligence" theory:
People with a full-size brain and normal overall intelligence can show severe language deficits.
People with impaired intelligence can have normal language skills.
Williams syndrome characterized by metal retardation but skilful use of language.
Individuals with Williams Syndrome often show profound mental retardation yet exceptional language skills.
Rare cases of children not exposed to language indicates limited ability to learn language later.
Deaf children unable to learn spoken language and not given the opportunity to learn sign language while young reveals:
Little development of skill at any language later.
Early exposure to some language increases ability to
learn another language later.
Language Problems Following Brain Damage
Most knowledge of brain mechanisms of language come from the study of people with brain damage:
Broca's area is a part of the frontal lobe of the left cerebral cortex near the motor cortex.
Damage results in some language disability.
Aphasia refers to a condition in which there is
severe language impairment.
Broca's aphasia/nonfluent aphasia refers to serious impairment in language production, usually due to brain damage.
Also have comprehension deficits when sentence structure is complex
Omission of most pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, tense and number endings during speech production.
Difficulty understanding the same kinds of words they omit (prepositions and conjunctions).
Broca's and Grammar
Broca's aphasia is usually accompanied by comprehension deficits when:
The sentence meaning depends on prepositions, word endings or unusual word order.
Broca's area thus seems to be critical for the understanding of some, but not all, aspects of grammar.
Wernicke's area is an area of the brain located near the auditory part of the cerebral cortex.
Wernicke's/ fluent aphasia is characterized by impaired language comprehension and the impaired ability to remember the names of objects
Sometimes called "fluent aphasia" because the
person can still speak smoothly. Recognition of items is often not impaired; ability to find word is impaired.
Characteristics of Wernicke's
Typical characteristics of Wernicke's aphasia include:
Articulate speech / fluent speech except with pauses to find the right word.
Difficulty finding the right word - anomia refers to the difficulty recalling the name of objects.
Poor language comprehension - difficulty understanding spoken and written speech (especially nouns and verbs).
Dyslexia is a specific impairment of reading in a person with adequate vision and adequate skills in other academic areas.
More common in boys.
Linked to at least four genes that produce deficits in cognition or hearing Need to distinguish between developmental dyslexia and acquired dyslexia.
Brain Structures & Dyslexia
In some cases, dyslexia is associated with mild abnormality in various brain structures.
More likely to have a bilateral symmetrical cerebral cortex.
Less arousal in the parietal and temporal cortex while reading
Issues with Dyslexia
Research and literature is often
Different people have different types of reading problems
Small number have impaired control of eye movements
Most have auditory problems
Temporal Issues with Dyslexia
-Most people with dyslexia have auditory
-Brain scans show less than normal response to speech sounds
-Trouble detecting the temporal order of sounds
-But not just impaired hearing
-Perhaps connecting vision to sound or paying attention to different aspects of sound.
Attention & Dyslexia
A final hypothesis relates dyslexia to differences in attention.
Reading requires the shifting of attention.
People with dyslexia do not shift their attention in the same way.
Effective treatment may be for dyslexics to focus on one word at a time.
event that increases the future possibility of the preceding response.
where did Thompson search for the engram?
lateral interpositus nucleus (LIP)
nucleus of the cerebellum that is critical for classical conditioning of the eye-blink response.
conversion of short-term memories into long term memories and strengthening those memories
uses delayed response tasks. temporary storage of memories while we are working with them or attending to them.
prefrontal cortex activity in older people
it works harder that the PFC of young adults to compensate for impairments elsewhere.
loss of memory for events that happened after brain damage
loss of memory for events that occurred before brain damage
memories of single events
deliberate recall of information that one recognizes as a memory, detectable by direct testing such as a person to describe a past event.
influence of recent experience on memory, even if one does not recognize that influence or realize that one is using memory at all.
H.M. and similar patients with amnesia have:
-normal short-term or working memory
-severe antergrade amnesia for declarative memory- that is, difficulity forming new declarative memories
-In severe cases, a severe loss of episodic memories
- Better implicit than explicit memory
the hippocampus is very important for this. memory that a person can state in words
basal ganglia important. memory of motor skills
delayed matching to sample task
task in which an animal sees a sample object and then after a delay must choose an object that matches the sample.
delayed nonmatching to sample task
task in which an animal sees an object and then after a delay must choose an object that does not match the sample.
apparatus with many arms radiating from a central point; reinforcement is put at the ends of some or all of the arms.
morris water maze task
procedure in which a subject must find his way to a slightly submerged platform
how do emotional responses enhance consolidation?
there is an increase in the secretion of epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol. Small to moderate amounts of cortisol activate the amygdala and hippocampus where they enhance consolidation The amygdala stimulates the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
leads to loss or shrinkage of the neurons. type of brain damage caused by thiamine deficiency, characterized by apathy, confusion, and memory impairment
making up an answer to a question and then accepting the invented information as if it were memory
better procedural than declarative memory. some use curcumin the help. Or use drugs that stimulate acetycholine release. condition characterized by memory loss, confusion, depression, restlessness, hallucinations, delusions, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite
protein that accumulates to higher than normal levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease
part of the intracellular support structure of a neuron
transmitter, released by a postsynaptic cell under extensive stimulation, that travels back to the presynaptic cell to modify it
What should the usual relationship between the CS and the UCS in classical conditioning be?
a) it depends on what each stimulus is
b) the unconditioned stimulus should be presented first
c) the conditioned stimulus should be presented first
d) They should be presented simultaneously
the conditioned stimulus should be presented first
In operant conditioning, reinforcement is
a) an event that decreases the future probability of a response
b) a stimulus that produces a reflexive response
c) an event that increases the future probability of a response
an event that increases the future probability of a response
People with amnesia will improve on ___ tasks but have no ____ memory with respect to that task
a) explicit; procedural
b) declarative; implicit
c) implicit; procedural
d) procedural; explicit
Forgetting events prior to the time of brain damage is a characteristic of ____ amnesia
After a series of electric shocks, a person becomes overresponsive to lights and noises. This exemplifies ______
develops around age 3-5. large set of axons that connects the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex
division of labor between the two hemispheres of the brain
point at which parts of the optic nerve cross from one side of the brain to the other
mainly because of a decreased release of the inhibitory transmitter GABA
type of mental retardation in which the person has relatively good language skills in spite of extremely limited other abilities
language acquisition device
built in mechanism for acquiring language.
poverty of the stimulus argument
claim that children do not hear many examples of some of the grammatical structures they acquire and therefore they could not learn them.
portion of the human left frontal lobe associated with certain aspects of language, especially language production
condition marked by the loss of fluent speech and impaired use and understanding of prepositions, word endings, and other grammatical devices.
condition marked by poor language comprehension and difficulty remembering the names of objects
portion of the left temporal lobe associated with language comprehension
difficulty recalling the names of objects
A stroke caused by an artery rupturing is also known as:
c) closed head injury
Nonfluent aphasia, in which the victim is unable to speak fluently, is due to brain damage that includes
a) the postcentral gyrus of the parital lobe
b) the corpus callosum
c) Wernicke's area
d) Broca's area
_____ involves difficulty remembering the names of objects
A specific impairment of reading in a person with adequate vision and adequate skills in other academic areas is referred to as ______
What we can learn about human language abilities from the studies of nonhuman language abilities
a) the only important language of humans is in our vocal apparatus
b) Langauge is indistinguishable
c) We may gain some insights into how best to teach it to those who do not easily learn it
We may gain some insights into how best to teach it to those who do not easily learn it