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PSY 3011 Introduction to learning and behavior (Innate Behavior Patterns & Habituation)

by: Cassie Ng

PSY 3011 Introduction to learning and behavior (Innate Behavior Patterns & Habituation) PSY 3011

Marketplace > University of Minnesota > Psychology (PSYC) > PSY 3011 > PSY 3011 Introduction to learning and behavior Innate Behavior Patterns Habituation
Cassie Ng
U of M

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- Characteristics of Goal-Directed Systems 27 - Reflexes 28 - Tropisms and Orientation 29 - Kineses 29 - Taxes 30: - Sequences of Behavior 30 - Reaction Chains 32 - Innate Human Abilities a...
Intro to Learning and Behavior
Brothen, Thomas
psy, 3011, IntroductiontoLearning&Behavior, innate
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Date Created: 09/19/16
Chapter 2: Innate Behavior Patterns and Habituation  26 Chapter 2 reviews basic innate behavior patterns and the work that has been done to understand  the foundational physiological structures related to learning. Habituation (the most basic  environmentally caused representation of learning) and opponent­process theory lay the  groundwork for the coverage of more complex learning principles that you will encounter in the  rest of the book. ­­reasons for examining innate behavior patterns:  . There are good reasons for examining innate behavior patterns in a book about learning.  . First, many learned behaviors are derivatives, extensions, or variations of innate behaviors . Second, many of the features of learned behaviors (e.g., their control by environmental stimuli,  their mechanisms of temporal (e.g., their control by environmental stimuli, their mechanisms of  temporal sequencing) have parallels in inborn behavior patterns.  ­­ethologists: scientists who study how animals behave in their natural environments.  ­­control systems theory: a branch of science that deals with goal­directed behaviors in both  living creatures and inanimate objects. Characteristics of Goal­Directed Systems 27 . based on the work of McFarland  . house’s heating system ­­comparator (fig. 2­1): a comparator receives two types of input, called the reference input and  the actual input. The reference input:  ­ is often not a physical entity but a conceptual one (the temperature that, when reached,  will be just enough to open the switch and stop the furnace) The actual input: ­ Measures some actual physical characteristic of the present environment . Any comparator has rules that it follows to determine, based on the current actual input and  reference input, what its output will be . The output of the action system (warm air) and the actual input to the comparator (air  temperature) seem closely related  The reason is that a close relationship does not always exist between the output of the  action system and the actual input; other factors can affect the actual input.  Reflexes 28 . A reflex is a stereotyped pattern of movement of a part of the body that can be reliably elicited  by presenting the appropriate stimulus.  . A normal newborn child displays a variety of reflexes. A nipple placed in the child’s mouth will elicit a sucking response. If the sole of the foot is pricked with a pin, the child’s knees will flex,  pulling the feet away from the painful stimulus.  . The hand contains sensory neurons sensitive to pain, and their lengthy axons travel all the way  into the spinal cord before synapsing with other neurons.  ­­interneurons: separate the sensory neurons from motor neurons. . the comparators (the stretch receptors) continue to stimulate the action system (the motor  neurons and muscle fibers) until the goal (a successful muscle contraction) is achieved Tropisms and Orientation 29 . A tropism is a movement or change in orientation of the entire animal. . Jacques Loeb (forced movements)  . suggest that no intelligence, will, or choice was involved. Later researchers ­­distinguish between Kineses 29 ­ A kinesis the direction of the movement is random in relation to a stimulus ­ Wood louse  ­ Must have a comparator that can detect the actual input (current humidity) and compare it to the reference input (the goal of high humidity) ­­and Taxes 30:  ­ In a taxis, the direction of movement bears some relationship to the location of the  stimulus ­ a maggot’s movement away from any bright light source. If a bright light is turned on to  the maggot’s right, it will promptly turn to the left and move in a fairly straight line away  from the light ­ A more sophisticated taxis is exhibited by the ant, which can use the sun as a navigational aid when traveling to or from its home.  ­ On a journey away from home, the ant travels in a straight path by keeping the sun at a  constant angle to its direction of motion. To return home, the ant changes the angle by  180 degrees Sequences of Behavior 30 Fixed Action Patterns 30: used to describe some behavioral sequences A fixed action pattern has the following characteristics: ­ (1) It is a part of the repertoire of all members of a species, and it may be unique to that species; ­ (2) suitable experiments have confirmed that the animal’s ability to perform the behavior is not  a result of prior learning experiences; ­ (3) in a sequence of behaviors, the behaviors occur in a rigid order regardless of whether they  are appropriate in a particular context; that is, once a fixed action pattern is initiated, it will  continue to completion without further support from environmental stimuli ­ Although all members of the species exhibit this behavior pattern, this does not prove that the  behavior is innate. Each squirrel may learn how to bury nuts by watching its parents early in life. All possible means of learning the behavior were removed:  ­ A squirrel was separated from its parents at birth and raised in isolation so that it had no  opportunity to observe other squirrels burying nuts (or doing anything else, for that matter). ­ the squirrel received only liquid food and it lived on a solid floor, so it had no experience in  handling food or in digging or burying objects in the ground ­ it would scratch at the floor with its forepaws, push the nut into the corner with its snout, and  make the same covering and tamping­down motions seen in the burying sequence of a wild  squirrel ­ the squirrel’s nut­burying repertoire is innate ­sign stimulus: to initiate a fixed action pattern. ­ In the case of the squirrel, the sign stimulus is clearly the nut, but without further experiments  we cannot tell which features—its size, shape, color, and so on—are essential ingredients for  eliciting the response.  Provine (1989):  ­ found evidence that contagious yawning (the tendency to yawn when someone else  yawns) is a fixed action pattern that may occur if we see the entire face of a yawning  person.  ­ Seeing only the yawner’s eyes or only the mouth is not enough to elicit contagious  yawning. Another example:  ­ territorial defense response of the male threespined stickleback  ­ the sign stimulus is often a simple specific detail; as a result, a seemingly poor imitation  of the natural sign stimulus can elicit a fixed action pattern. ­ sometimes an unrealistic model can elicit a stronger response than the actual sign  stimulus itself Reaction Chains 32 ­ Reaction chains: Whereas fixed action patterns continue until completion once started, in  a reaction chain the progression from one behavior to the next depends on the presence of the appropriate external stimulus ­ if a stimulus for a behavior in the middle of a chain is presented at the outset, the earlier  behaviors will be omitted. ­ those of a reaction chain do not always occur in this complete sequence. The sequence  can stop at any point if the stimulus required for the next step is not forthcoming.  ­ When crabs were presented with a suitable shell with the aperture directly in front of  them, they would often omit the first five behaviors and proceed with the last four  behaviors of the sequence ­ This dependence on external stimulus support makes the behaviors of a reaction chain  more variable, but at the same time more adaptable, than those of a fixed action pattern. Innate Human Abilities and Predispositions 33 Behaviorist John B. Watson (1925):  ­ Watson believed that the environment could play such a dominant role in determining what  type of adult a child will become because he thought heredity had little or nothing to do with  how people behave. ­ A section of the cerebral cortex called Wernicke’s area is essential for language  comprehension: If this area is damaged through accident or illness, a person cannot understand  spoken language ­ Cerebral cortex, Broca’s area, is necessary for speech production, and if this area is damaged, a  person loses the ability to speak in coherent sentences ­ Pinker maintains that the presence of neurons specifically designed to respond to human speech is what allows young children to learn language so easily  ­ A strategy used by Pinker (and by other scientists) to support the claim that a particular  characteristic of human beings is innate is to demonstrate that this characteristic is found in  people everywhere on earth.  ­ We can demonstrate that people living in vastly different cultures and environments all exhibit  a particular characteristic ­ Children of all cultures babble before they learn to speak, and even deaf children babble at an  early age (Lenneberg, 1967), although the nature of their babbling is different from that of  children with normal hearing (Oller & Eilers, 1988).  ­ the range of emotions people experience, how emotions are reflected in their facial expressions, Charles Darwin (1872) : ­ first proposed that different emotions may have evolved because they helped creatures  survive, and that gestures and facial expressions of emotion are important means of social communication among members of a species ­ learning is also involved, because some types of facial expressions are culture specific.  For example, in China, sticking out your tongue is a way of showing surprise, and this is  not so in Western societies ­­human universals: abilities or behaviors that are found in all known human cultures.  ­ Brown’s point is that every human society has some type of dance, some type of government,  some type of division of labor, and so on. He maintains that because these characteristics of  human existence are found in all cultures, even those that are completely isolated from the  modern world, they most likely reflect innate human tendencies. ­ Another possibility is that the behavior is seen in people everywhere because the environment  places similar constraints on people everywhere Habituation 35: defined as a decrease in the strength of a response after repeated presentation of  a stimulus that elicits the response ­ With additional gunshots, Dick’s startle response decreases until it has disappeared completely, that is, the noise no longer disrupts his concentration on his novel ­­automatic responses ­­orienting response: If a new sight or sound is presented to a dog or other animal, the animal  may stop its current activity, lift its ears and its head, and turn in the direction of the stimulus. If  the stimulus is presented repeatedly but is of no consequence, the orienting response will  disappear ­ Therefore, both animals and humans will typically exhibit an orienting response to a novel  stimulus, and they will both exhibit habituation of the orienting response if the same stimulus is  presented many times Stimulus specific:  ­ An infant who has stopped turning his or her head toward a speaker playing the same  syllable over and over will again turn toward the speaker if a different syllable is played ­ Psychologists can tell that even infants just a few months old can distinguish subtle  differences in human speech sounds  Study by Dielenberg and McGregor (1999):  ­ Shows how animals can habituate to a fear­provoking stimulus if the stimulus repeatedly  proves to be insignificant ­ After several presentations of the cat collar, the rats’ hiding times decreased and came  close to those of the control group (rats that were exposed to a cat collar that had no cat  odor on it) ­ There is some evidence that the rate of habituation in human infants and children is  correlated with mental abilities later in life ­ infants who displayed faster habituation to repetitive stimuli at 3 months of age obtained,  on average, slightly higher scores on intelligence tests when they were 4½ years old ­ one study found that a fetus’s rate of habituation was related to performance on tests of  cognitive functioning 6 months after birth  ­ Another study found that adolescents who showed very slow habituation to repetitive  stimuli had a higher risk of developing the severe psychiatric disorder schizophrenia later in life  General Principles of Habituation 37 ­ Thompson and Spencer (1966) listed some of the most salient properties of habituation,  properties that have been observed in human beings, other mammals, and invertebrates ­­6 principles:  1) Course of Habituation: The decrements in responding from trial to trial are large at first but  get progressively smaller as habituation proceeds. 2) Effects of Time:  ­ The amount of recovery depends on the amount of time that elapses. To draw a parallel to  Ebbinghaus’s findings, we might say that habituation is “forgotten” as time passes.  ­ Suppose that after Dick’s startle response to the gunshots has habituated, there are no more  gunshots for 30 minutes, but then they begin again. Dick is likely to exhibit a weak startle  reaction to the first sound of gunshot after the break. (Thus, there is some savings over time, but  also some forgetting.) In comparison, if there were no further shooting until the following  evening, Dick’s startle reaction after this longer time interval would be larger. 3) Relearning Effects:  ­ Whereas habituation may disappear over a long time interval, it should proceed more rapidly in a second series of stimulus presentations.  ­ although Dick’s initial startle response to the sound of gunfire on the second evening of his  vacation might be almost as large as on the first evening, the response should disappear more  quickly the second time. 4) Effects of Stimulus Intensity:  ­ a reflexive response is frequently stronger with a more intense stimulus.  ­ Habituation proceeds more rapidly with weak stimuli, and if a stimulus is very intense, there  may be no habituation at all. 5) Effects of Overlearning: further learning can occur at a time when there is no longer any  change in observable behavior.  ­ Below­zero habituation: occurs at a time when there is no observable response to the stimulus ­ After a 24­hour interval, however, he might show little savings from the previous day’s  experience. If there were 100 gunshots on the first evening, Dick would probably show less of a  startle response on the second evening. 6) Stimulus Generalization:  ­ The transfer of habituation from one stimulus to new but similar stimuli ­ If on the third evening the sounds of the gunshots are somewhat different (perhaps because  different types of guns are being used), Dick may have little difficulty ignoring these sounds.  Physiological Mechanisms of Habituation 39: ­ The physiological mechanisms of habituation may also be similar in different species ­­simple systems approach: Studying fairly primitive creatures, which have nervous systems that  are smaller and less complex Aplysia, a large marine snail:  ­ If the siphon is stimulated about once every minute for 10 or 15 trials, the gill­withdrawal reflex habituates. Complete habituation lasts for about an hour, and partial habituation  may be observed for as long as 24 hours. If such trials are given on three or four  successive days, longterm habituation (lasting several weeks) can be observed.  ­ The amount of transmitter released by the presynaptic (sensory) neurons: With repeated  stimulus presentations, less transmitter was released into the synapse.  ­ This mechanism of habituation is not unique to Aplysia. Physiological investigations of  habituation in two other species (the crayfish and the cat) also found decreases in the  amount of transmitter released by the sensory neurons ­ Kandel’s studies supported this idea: The calcium current grew weaker during  habituation, and in the recovery period after habituation, both the calcium current and the  response of the postsynaptic (motor) neuron increased at the same rate  ­ Because of the comparative simplicity of Aplysia’s neural networks, researchers have  been able to pinpoint the neural changes responsible for habituation and to begin  examining the chemical processes involved as well ­ neural locations, not on widespread changes in many parts of the nervous system.  Research with mammals, including humans 40 Michael Davis:  ­ A rat’s startle response to a sudden loud noise. The startle response is measured by testing a rat  in a chamber that sits on springs, so that the rat’s movement when it is startled shakes the  chamber slightly, and this movement is measured by a sensor ­ Davis wanted to know what parts of the rat’s nervous system were responsible for this  habituation ­ Other studies with mammals extend but also complicate the physiological picture of  habituation.  Guinea pigs, Condon and Weinberger (1991):  ­ Found that if the same tone was presented repeatedly, individual cells in the auditory  cortex “habituated”; that is, they decreased their sensitivity to this tone, but not to tones  of higher or lower pitch ­­PET and fMRI:   . With fMRI, researchers can measure the activity of different parts of the brain in real time, as a person performs some task or is presented with some stimulus. . one study using fMRI found habituation in many different parts of the brain, including the  cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, when people were repeatedly shown the same pictures of  human faces  . Other brain areas show habituation when people are presented with repeated speech sounds  . There is growing evidence that many different areas of the brain and nervous system display  habituation (a decrease in responsiveness) when the same stimulus is repeatedly presented. ­­plasitcity: to refer to the nervous system’s ability to change as a result of experience or  stimulation. Habituation in Emotional Responses: The Opponent­Process Theory 41 ­­temporal pattern ­­A, B Process ­­repeated stimulation effects ­­types of emotional reaction Chapter 2 Study Questions Use these questions as a study aid—they are not to be turned in. These Study Questions are designed to be complements to the Learning Objectives that begin the textbook chapter. Review the Learning Objectives before reading and then write answers to the Study Questions AFTER you have read the chapter and finished the Matching and Fluency Quizzes. This will help you prepare for the Final Quiz. If you find you have difficulty answering the questions or are using the page numbers extensively to find the answers, read the chapter more carefully and take more Matching and Fluency Quizzes. 1. Describe the basic concepts of control systems theory, and illustrate them using a concrete example of a closed-loop feedback system, either animate or inanimate. Pages 27-28. 2. Describe the spinal reflex arc, and explain how feedback is involved in this simple reflex. Pages 28-29. 3. What properties do kineses and taxes have in common, and how do they differ? Give one example of each. Pages 29-30. 4. Discuss one example of an innate behavior pattern that is initiated by a sign stimulus. For this particular behavior pattern, which characteristics of the stimulus are most important in eliciting the response, and which are not? Pages 31-32. 5. Describe an experiment that offers strong evidence that a squirrel’s nut-burying behavior is innate, not learned. Page 31. 6. In what sense are reaction chains more adaptable than fixed action patterns? Give a concrete example to illustrate this adaptability Pages 32-33. 7. Describe some of the evidence supporting the view that language is an innate human ability. Page 34. 8. What have psychologists learned about how people’s emotions are expressed in facial expressions, and how others interpret these expressions? Page 34. 9. Define the concept of a “human universal,” and give some examples. Page 35. 10. Describe four general principles of habituation--properties that are found across a wide range of species. Pages 35-36. 11. Explain how psychologists can use the phenomenon of habituation to study the perceptual abilities of infants. Page 38. 12. Explain why some researchers have chosen to study habituation in simple creatures such as Aplysia. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using such simple organisms? Pages 39-40. 13. Briefly describe the neural pathways involved in the gill-withdrawal response in Aplysia. What changes take place in this system during habituation of the gill-withdrawal response? Pages 39-40. 14. Describe research on the physiological basis of habituation in mammals. In what ways are the findings similar to those from Aplysia, and in what ways are they different? Page 40-41. 15. Describe the temporal pattern of a typical emotional response, according to the opponent-process theory of Solomon and Corbit. What underlying processes are hypothesized to be involved, and how do they change with repeated presentations of the same stimulus? Pages 42-44. 16. Show how the Solomon and Corbit opponent-process theory has been applied to drug addiction. Use this theory to account for the different reactions experienced by a first-time user and an experienced user. Page 45.


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