Simple Stimulus Learning
a. Explain the concept of habituation.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines habituation in terms of psychology is the decline of a conditioned response following repeated exposure to the conditioned stimulus. That is an action done over and over in response to a specific situation. One way we learn is by repetition of a specific response across a number of situations (Carducci, 2002). The more we do something the more we have learned it. Then when exposed to the stimulus (an agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a response), regardless of situation, then we perform the behavior. Habituation takes place in small children when trying to teach a new concept or in adults with amnesia when needing to learn a lost skill. Schools use habituation for spelling test and new math concepts. On Mondays students are given the list of spelling words, then each day the write out the words [five times each], find the definitions of each word, write the words in sentences, and then tested on the spelling of each word on Friday. A person suffering from amnesia that lost the knowledge of driving can regain the skill through habituation.
b. Analyze the factors that affect perceptual learning. As with most learning, positive reinforcement or rewards have played a factor in how quickly and adequate we learn. Perceptual learning occurs when there is repeated exposure to a specific stimulus followed by a reward, in the form of praise, monetary, or good feelings. It has been proposed that perceptual learning may occur through a reinforcement process, in which consistently pairing stimuli with reward is sufficient for learning (Franko, 2010). In the spelling test example above the positive reinforcement in learning the spelling words is the grade received on the spelling test. Another important factor to perceptual learning is that the stimulus is recognizable and the reinforcement is desirable. In the amnesia case...
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