Learning Theory and Behaviorism

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Learning Theory and BehaviorismOctober 16, 2012

Wundt’s Structuralism:
• Goal was to analyze the structure of conscious experience into its elements and components and their associative relationships. It was a form of metal chemistry • Developed of the technique introspection, which requires trained introspectionists to look inward and describe/analyze the contents of their experience to a stimulus word • Edward Titchner brought structuralism to the U.S. @ Cornell university listing 1000’s of elements of consciousness William James:

• James studied with Wundt, but rejected a static description of the elements of the mind. James thought the mind and consciousness to be adaptive function that envolved just as any other adaptive function • Therefore, proper study of the mind is to relate its characteristics to purposeful, adaptive behavior. • Hence the rise of functionalism. James was professor of psychology at Harvard Principles of Psychology:

• James wrote this
• Titles were stream of thought, memory, reasoning, emotion, will, effects of experience Edward Thorndike:
• In the late 1800s at Harvard, drawing from James and functionalism and also Darwin’s ideas of evolution of species and their adaption to environment, he studied the progress cats made in solving a puzzle by learning a desired that is instrumental in bringing about desired outcome • Notion of stimulus-response (reflexive vs. rational) was already firmly in the thinking of leading philosophers at the time, in the field of education Ivan Pavlov:

• In 1904, Pavlov received the Nobel prize for his work on the chemistry of digestive juices in saliva • His work with dogs required gathering large amounts of saliva for chemical analyses. Done through a tube surgically implanted in dog’s salivary gland and then simulating salvation with dried meat powder Unconditional….

• Dried meat powder is an unconditional stimulus 9UCS) in that it always triggers the response of salivating. We call the response unconditional response (UCR). Needs no learning • Many pleasure, pain, and emotional responses and tastes and smells are unconditional Psychic Reflex:

• Pavlov and associates observed that dogs would often begin salivating before they were harnessed and before the meat powder • Pavlov switched his path of study this psychic reflex • Studies are among the most famous in psychology. Type of learning he describes is known as “classical condition” or “glandular conditioning” Conditional….

• Stimulus in effect becomes a signal that the dog will be harnessed, presented with the meant, and will be salivating. • The dog must perceive this connection. Its meaning and power as a signal depends on its reliability. Its meaning and power are conditional on its place in time and its frequency in the sequence, becoming conditional stimulus (CS). The psychic reflex becomes a Conditional response. Prior to perception of a connection to the UCS, all events are neutral in meaning with respect to UCS. Conditioning involves responding to a CS with a CR in anticipation of the occurrence of the UCS-UCR pair. Learning:

• Conditional response (CR) is the learned response to the conditional stimulus (CS) which gained meaning to the extent it anticipates the UCS-UCR pain. The CR is potentially a adaptive response, a preparatory response • The UCS-UCR pair do not re-occur, then the power of the CS to trigger a CR is weakened. The CS no linger bring about the CR-extinction. Higher order conditioning:

• The CS must occur fairly closely in time to the UCS-UCR pain- interstimulus interval (CS & UCS) • However once a CS has gained the power to anticipate the UCS, other neutral stimuli close in time to the CS will become conditioned. A CS signal the next CS, which signals the next CS and so on until the original CS signals the UCS-UCR pain-higher order conditioning. Historical context:

• The...
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