Psychology 101: Learning

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Chapter 6: Learning

* Phobias:
* Irrational fears of specific objects or situations
* Learning:
* Refers to a relatively durable change in behaviour or knowledge that is due to experience * Includes the acquisition of knowledge and skills but also shapes personal habits, personality traits, and personal preferences * Conditioning:

* Learning associations between events that occur in an organism’s environment Classical Conditioning
* Classical conditioning:
* A type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus * Sometimes called Pavlovian conditioning
Pavlov’s Demonstration: “Psychic Reflexes”
* Noticed that dogs accustomed to the procedure would start salivating before the meat powder was presented * What he demonstrated was how learned associations – which were viewed as the basic building blocks of the entire learning process were formed by an organism’s environment Terminology and Procedures

* Unconditioned stimulus (UCS):
* A stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning * Unconditioned response (UCR):
* An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning * Conditioned stimulus (CS):
* A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response * Conditioned response (CR):
* A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning * When evoked by the UCS (meat), salivation was an unconditioned response * When evoked by the CS (tone), salivation was a conditioned response * Classically conditioned responses have traditionally been characterized as reflexes and are said to be elicited (drawn forth) because more are relatively automatic or involuntary * Trial (in classical conditioning):

* Consists of any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life
* Classical conditioning often plays a key role in shaping emotional responses such as fears * Conditioning and Physiological Responses:
* Classical conditioning affects not only overt behaviours but physiological processes as well * The functioning of the immune system can be influenced by psychological factors, including conditioning * Classical conditioning can elicit allergic reactions * Contributes to the growth of drug tolerance and the experience of withdrawal symptoms when drug use is halted * Classical conditioning can influence sexual arousal * Conditioning and Drug Effects

* Classical conditioning contributes to drug tolerance – sometimes in unexpected ways * Stimulus that are consistently paired with the administration of drugs can acquire the capacity to elicit conditioned responses * Compensatory CRs:

* Partially compensate for some drug affects
* Drug administration process itself can become a CS associated with drug effects * Environmental cues eventually begin to elicit compensatory CRs that partially cancel out some of the anticipated effects of abused drugs * As CRs strengthen, they neutralize more and more of a drug’s pleasurable effects, producing a gradual decline in the users responsiveness to the drug Basic Processes in Classical Conditioning

* Acquisition: Forming New Responses
* Acquisition – the initial stage of learning something * The acquisition of a desired response depends on stimulus contiguity * Stimuli are contiguous if they occur together in time and space * Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Responses

* Extinction – the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency * What leads to extinction in classical conditioning?
* Presentation of the...
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