Simple Stimulus Paper

Topics: Learning, Psychology, Ethology Pages: 9 (2757 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Simple Stimulus Learning
In the following analysis of various forms of simple stimulus learning, the concept of habituation, including many examples will be studied and explained. Three factors that affect perceptual learning will be analyzed. Those factors include presenting contrasting stimuli, transfer from easy to difficult stimuli, and attention and feedback. The following effects of stimulus exposure will be examined: Preference for familiar stimuli, priming facilitation, and potentiated startle. In conclusion, the application of simple stimulus learning to real life situations will be discussed. The Concept of Habituation Some form of response will predictably follow a stimulus, old or new. For example, the honking of a car horn is a sound that often brings about an alarmed response from those within close range of the sound. Although it is a familiar sound, it is usually unexpected and requires individuals to investigate its origin and meaning. This is especially important because the reaction incited by a car’s honk, and its timing could be a matter of life or death. On the other hand, individuals living in New York City are accustomed to hearing honking car horns blasting continuously, without as much as a second or two between honks. Moreover, they hear not one, but multiple numbers of cars honking at the same time, and there is rarely an emergency situation. These repeated sounds or stimuli, followed by no significant or negative consequence serves to desensitize individuals to the point that they no longer react to that specific stimulus. This process of a stimulus occurring multiple times without unpleasant results, and the outcome of no longer reacting to the stimulus are referred to as “habituation.” Habituation occurs in all levels of animal life including snails and humans. The study of this phenomenon involves researchers from a variety of fields as they attempt to discover equivalent philosophies of learning. Chaudhury (2010) provides empirical evidence demonstrating that although habituation may seem to be a simplistic type of memory, the mitral cells of a rat’s olfactory bulb undergo response adaptation. The experiment confirms that olfactory bulb habituation to odor stimuli does occur consistently. This is supportive of the idea that olfactory behavioral habituation can be interceded by a variation of neural sensations. Analysis of Factors that Affect Perceptual Learning Perceptual learning takes place naturally without one’s intention to learn and without feedback on one’s accuracy. Nonetheless, there are some factors that affect perceptual learning. These factors are presenting contrasting stimuli, transfer from easy to difficult stimuli, attention and feedback. An individual must receive stimuli that are distinct or contrasting so he or she can discriminate between them. Repeatedly presenting one stimulus does not allow one to learn to differentiate between that stimulus and others. The presentation of new stimuli must include the positive and negative aspects to allow the subject to use discrimination to determine which stimuli are relevant for learning. When an individual receives the opportunity to initially experience a less complicated form of discrimination, he or she can easily transfer that learning to a more challenging selectivity. Finally, perceptual learning is optimal when individuals are fully engaged in and focused on distinguishing among stimuli, as well as when instructions and feedback are provided. Examination of the Effects of Stimulus Learning Preference for Familiar Stimuli

There is something about familiarity that makes one choice more appealing than the other new or unknown choice. When it comes to stimulus learning, there is no exception to the preference for familiarity. The simple exposure, presented void of rewards or problems, to a stimulus...
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