Psychology 001Introduction to PsychologyChristopher Gade, PhDOffice: 621 HeafeyOffice hours: F 3-6 and by apt. Email: email@example.com Class WF 7:00-8:30 Heafey 650
What’s on tap? • Today we’re going to discuss behaviorism and how it relates to learning • We’ll do this by… • Briefly reviewing the field of behaviorism and discussing one of its most influential characters • Going over one of the most popular behavioral discoveries of all time • Discussing classical conditioning and the basics of how this learning process works
Learning:A relatively permanent change in an organism’s behavior due to experience. • Behaviorism: the approach to Psychology that involves observable cause-and-effect relationships between conditions and behavior • Origins in ‘stimulus-response’ psychology • Takes into account an organism’s history of experiences, i.e. knowledge • Aims to decode the ‘basic laws of behavior’ • Assumes a deterministic perspective and emphasizes the influence of the environment
John B Watson • Pioneer in the field of behaviorism • Considered by many to be the founding father of behaviorism. This might not be the case, but he was definitely their poster boy. • Famously known for his statement: • “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select…” • Most famous experiment was with Baby Albert.
Associative Learning (Classical Conditioning): • We link together events/experiences that have some kind of association such that you can predict one from the other: • temporal sequence, they happen close in time. • meaning, they represent the same thing. • function, they serve the same function. • salience, they share the same emotional significance. Lightning thunder Bank teller ATM A excellent 9/11 WMD
Ivan Pavlov (1839-1946) • Originally interested in • the digestive system of • dogs. • From his research, he • discovered ‘psychic • salivations’ that dogs • would show (for which he was awarded a Nobel prize) • Realized that this form of learning was interesting and dedicated his time to studying how dogs developed this behavior • 5:28
Classical Conditioning • In this form of learning, the learned responses develop from an initial pairing of two pieces of information: • The unconditioned stimulus (US): a stimulus that elicits an unlearned, or reflexive response. • The unconditioned response (UR): a response to a stimulus that is automatic.
Classical Conditioning After the initial pairing of information, a “neutral stimulus” (NS) is presented to the individual. A “training” or “pairing” procedure then begins until the neutral stimulus is recognized to be associated with the unconditioned stimulus: This pairing of stimuli eventually leads to a “conditioned response” (CR) to the newly “conditioned stimulus” (CS).
Important concepts • A learning curve tells us whether conditioning is occurring, that is, whether, when and how strongly the CS is eliciting the CR over time. • Second-order conditioning is a process of adding new CSs to the conditioned CSs (sequentially). • If, after the conditioning, the CS is presented without the US repeatedly, the association will deteriorate and the CS will cease to elicit the CR – this is called extinction. • – however, extinguished associations can be reconditioned (usually faster than the initial conditioning) AND, sometimes organisms show spontaneous recovery of extinguished behaviors.
Acquisition (CS+US) Strength of CR Spontaneous recovery of CR Extinction (CS alone) Extinction (CS alone) Pause Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery
What influences the strength of a learned response through classical conditioning? • Conditioning occurs more rapidly when the neutral stimulus is relatively unfamiliar. • The less time that elapses between the presentation of the CS and the UCS, the faster the CR is acquired. • The CR will be acquired more quickly when the CS precedes the UCS (forward conditioning). • Specific connections between CS’s and UCS’s are stronger in different species. • Rat and Poison example
What about stimuli that are similar to the neutral stimulus? • Sometimes, organisms respond to new, irrelevant stimuli that closely resemble the original Neutral Stimulus with the same CR, this is called generalization. • Organisms can also learn through conditioning to discriminate between similar stimuli, if a CS– is introduced into the conditioning process.
What does this tell us about learning? • It tells us how we can learn about how our minds might pair stimuli with each other. • However, it doesn’t inform us about how we know about what to do and not to do in our world. • In our next class we’ll revisit the world of behaviorism from a different perspective; from the world of operant conditioning.