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CARLETON UNIVERSITY / Psychology / PSYC 1001 / How stimulus generalizing and discrimination affect learning?

How stimulus generalizing and discrimination affect learning?

How stimulus generalizing and discrimination affect learning?


School: Carleton University
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Psychology I
Professor: Professor
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 25
Name: Psyc1001 notes on learning part 1
Description: Lecture notes for NOV 17th 2020. Operant learning
Uploaded: 11/23/2020
10 Pages 110 Views 3 Unlocks

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

How stimulus generalizing and discrimination affect learning?

Chapter 6: Learning Podcast 1/5

Overview • How we learn • Classical Conditioning • Pavlov • Basic concepts


- relatively permanent change in behavior or mental processes resulting from  practice or experience

o practicing doesn’t mean you’re consciously processing something. It is the  repetition of the behaviour that reinforce it and ensure it remains


- process of learning associations between environmental stimuli and behavioural  responses

o things that happen as a result of conditioning is a form of learning that can  happen consciously and unconsciously  

Classical conditioning: learning objectives

- describe

How does the neutral stimulus become a cs so that it will elicit a cr?

o Pavlov and Watson’s contributions to our understanding of learning  - explain  

o how stimulus generalizing and discrimination affect learning  

- describe  

o the process of extinction and spontaneous recovery  

- identify  

o an example of higher-order conditioning  

Classical conditioning  

- Ivan Pavlov  

o Said we need to focus on observable behaviour and created classical  conditioning to do this

- learning that occurs when a brand-new stimulus (neutral) comes to elicit a  response that is not naturally associated with (conditioned stimulus) o salivating to a bell  

How can we predict and control overt behaviour?

We also discuss several other topics like How should the researchr show the maximal change in action potential firing ?

o you see a pizza box and it should be a neutral stimulus because cardboard  isn’t tasty but by seeing a pizza box you expect the good tasting food inside. - Pavlovs original experiment

o Conditioned dogs to when a bell rang they would get food  

o The dogs began to associate the sight of Pavlov to getting food  o Then to the sound of Pavlovs steps to getting food and they would salivate  sooner and sooner

Classical conditioning: key concepts  

- Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)  

o Elicits UCR without previous conditioning

o Is naturally occuring

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

- Unconditioned Response (UCR)  

o Unlearned reaction to UCS occurring without prior connection

o There is no special learning or training in creating the stimulus between the  UCS and the UCR  If you want to learn more check out What are the advantages and disadvantages of strategic alliance?

o Occurs as a natural and automatic response to the UCS

- Neutral stimulus  

o Before conditioning doesn’t naturally elicit response of interest  

o The tuning fork in pavlovs experiment was a neutral response. Is not related  in anyway to food.

- Conditioned Stimulus (CS)  

o Previously NS that, through repeated pairings with UCS, now causes a CR o Overtime, by presenting the tuning fork at the same time as food, the tone  began to cause a CR

- Conditioned Response (CR)

o Learned reaction to CS occurring because of previous repeated pairings with  an UCS

o The reaction to the CS in response to a trained or learned connection to the  CS

o The CR was in relation to the tuning fork which occurs as a result of learning/  training that the two were associated  

- Carboard box is a neutral stimulus  

- When you start to learn that a cardboard box with a specific shape and size is  associated with pizza  

- The cardboard box becomes the CS and you salivating in preparation to eat pizza is the CR Don't forget about the age old question of What is the simplest form of fat?

Podcast 2/5 Classical conditioning  

Classical conditioning: lesson goals

- Real life applications  

- Basics on the research: terms  

- Process: extinction, recovery, generalization, discrimination

- Watson and conditioned emotional responses (CER)  

Everyday conditioning examples

- Phobias

o Fears of spiders, public speaking

- Positive emotions  

o Advertising

 Experts at linking and pairing a neutral stimulus with an US to cause a  

positive or negative response to the previously neutral stimulus  

- Psychological

o Immune suppression, allergies, drug tolerance, sexual arousal  

 Even being exposed to the idea of catching COVID can cause our  immune systems to be suppressed, not directly but through being  

stressed about it for example

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

- Drug tolerance  

o Compensatory stimuli (CRs)

 Cues associated with routine (context)

 You do heroin in a specific room  

 Your brain is associated a context variant. So the room that youre in. so that over repeated uses in the same room, your brain  

decreases the effect of the drug.

 This is a protecitive activity by your brain.  We also discuss several other topics like How does the electoral college work, and is it fair?

 Your brain makes the association b/w room and heroin so that at  some point when you start going into that room the heroin wont  

have as big of an effect.  

 A theory for this is that your brain starts to take the fact that  

your walking into that room as a cue that youre about to use  

heroin so as an adaptive strategy your brain start to calm itself  

down so that when you do heroin it wont have as great of an  

effect. If you want to learn more check out How well does fde approx pde?

 Expectation  homeostasis  

- The UCR of desire arises as a result the UCS of his physical attributes  o Identify what would be the neutral stimulus

 K

o How does the neutral stimulus become a CS so that it will elicit a CR  You have to present the CS at the same time as the UCs eventually the  

underwear will elicit desire (UR) and that should lead to sales.  

 Sales isn’t a CR because it isn’t related to an emotion, it is a  

consequence  Don't forget about the age old question of What places have a direct democracy?

o But this is more complex in real life.  

Classical conditioning: Basics

- Trial: pairing of UCS and neutral (CS)

o One specific exposure to a pairing between UCS and a neutral stimulus  o The trial is the number of pairings b/w the neutral and unconditioned  stimulus  

 The pairing DOES NOT take place b/w the neutral stimulus and the  response. The pairing is between two stimuli. One is neutral and the  other is unconditioned and over time the neutral becomes conditioned  - Acquisition: initial stage in learning  

o Stage in which pairing is starting to have an effect  

o As soon as the neutral stimulus starts to elicit what used to be the  unconditioned response.

- Stimulus contiguity: occurring together in time and space  

- What is the best timing  

o Simultaneous conditioning: neutral (CS) and UCS begin and end together  o Short-delayed conditioning: neutral (CS) begins just before the UCS, end  together

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

 This is the best timing. The neutral stimulus is a cue which starts just  

before the UCS  

o Trace conditioning: neutral (CS) begins and ends before UCS is presented

Processes in Classical conditioning  

- Not all or nothing. In general it takes time. But the bond between CS and response  doesn’t last forever. This is extinction

- Extinction  

o Conditioned response disappears if unconditioned stimulus is not presented  over many trials  

o Some easily disappear some do not  

- Spontaneous recovery

o After a period of non pairing, the conditioned response shows up again o Overtime the response decreases until it stops.  

 Example If Pavlov stopped providing food and then spontaneously  

started again all of a sudden the CR will show up again  

o The response is dormant

Gradual extinction of conditioned response.  

Spontaneously start again= spontaneous recovery.  

- Stimulus generalization  

o Stimuli similar to conditioned stimulus  

 Generalize that all nestle products are good because you like one o Elicit same response  

o Depends on similarity  

o Ensures we expand our learning

- Stimulus discrimination  

o Start to learn that not all nestle products are good through experience. o Ensure we don’t generalize too broadly

1. Stimulus generalization

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

2. Discrimination  

3. Higher-order conditioning  

Higher-order conditioning  

- Idea that once youhave conditioned a previously NS to cndition a CS - You can then pair another NS with that conditioned stimulus and that NS will  overtime begin to elicit a CR

o Example: paired bell with meat powder. If we then pair a red light with the  bell overtime the dog will respond to the red light as well.

Process in classical conditioning: John Watson

- Position to redefine psychology based on animal research  

- Independence from traditional psychology in three ways  

o Completely objective, no subjective data

 Objective measures had to be the sole basis of psychology  

o Goal is to predict and control behaviour  

 Behaviourist psychology is to predict and control behaviour.

 Takes things beyond understanding to having achieved understanding,  

how can we predict and control overt behaviour  

o No dividing line between animals and humans  

 Watson denied the distinction b/w humans and animals. For him the  

differences were trivial.  

- Little albert experiment  

- Eleven month old infant conditioned to fear a rat

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

o Albert liked the rat and would play with it. But then Watson began to make a  loud bang when albert would play with the rat

 Banging sound is a UCS that results in the UCR of an emotional fear.   When your brain is startled it goes whats going on im scared  

 Because classical conditioning works by pairing a NS with the UCS and  so by presenting the loud scary banging sound (UCS) at the same time  as albert played with the rat (NS didn’t evoke fear) the NS becomes a  CS which causes the CR of fear in response to the rat  

o Fear generalized to similar objects with fur

o Conditioned reflects persisted for one month before extinction  o Here Watson had successfully demonstrated the humans can be subjected to classical conditioning  

- More specifically  

- Conditioned emotional response (CER)

o Watsons experiment with Albert and the rat caused him to discover CER o Emotional responses are classical conditioned to a previously neutral  stimulus (NS)

- Classical conditioning that leads to prejudice  

o Affects us in unconscious ways  

o Some people can find a conscious experience that can be responsible for it. o Parental behaviour impacts kids.  

 The unconditioned stimulus for the child is the parents reaction to a NS  So a NS is paired with the UCS of the parents reaction and so overtime  the child develops a CR to the previously NS of the parents reaction

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Podcast 3/5: Operant conditioning

- B.F. Skinner

- Reinforcement, punishment  

- Positive, negative

Operant conditioning

- Learning in which voluntary responses are controlled by their consequences  o Praising an action = positive consequence that reinforces the likelihood of  that behaviour occurring again.

- Edward L. Thorndike: law of effect

o Cats, puzzle boxes

 Created a puzzle box that the cats could escape from by pressing a  


 He found that by giving the cats a positive consequence after they  

escaped from the box the cats would try and escape more often.  

 If consequence is unpleasant then the likelihood of the response is  


o Trial, error

- The law of effect

o Probability of an action being repeated is strengthen when followed by a  pleasant or satisfying consequence  

Operant conditioning or Instrumental learning  

- B.F. Skinner: Principle of reinforcement  

o Operant chamber

 Skinner box: small enclosure where animals can make a specific  desired response by the experimenter. The response is recorded on a  graph that represents the response rate  

o Emission of response  

 operant responses tend to be voluntary they are emitted. The decision  

to omit a response  

 In classical conditioning the responses are elicited  

o Reinforcement contingencies  

 We know reinforcement has happened if the rate of a behaviour has  

been increased

 Researcher determines whether the reinforcement is positive or  

negative, when it is given and for how long  

o Cumulative recorder

 The cumulative recorder shows you when the rate of behaviour has  increased  

Basic processes in operant conditioning: the basics  

- Acquisition  

o Refers to the initial stage of learning

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

o Learning operant responses usually occur through a gradual process called  shaping

- Shaping

o Reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of the desired behaviour.  o For complex shaping you have to do it step by step. Reinforce the smaller  steps and progressively reinforce all the behaviours that are needed for the  bigger behaviour  

o Progressive approximations to the end target behaviour you’re looking for  o Providing the right type of reinforcement in the right proportions at the right  time.  

- Extinction  

o Gradual weakening and disappearance of response tendencies because the  response is no longer followed by reinforcement.

- Stimulus control  

o Generalization  

 Stimulus that causes a certain behaviour might be associated with  

other stimuli

o Discrimination (discriminative stimuli)

 Stimuli that precede a response can become a cue to do the desire  


 Such as slowing down when the highway is wet. This serves as a cue  that if you don’t slow down you could have an accident  

- Acquisition  

o Animals start to increase the rate of behaviour when they realize there is a  positive consequence to that behaviour  

- Shaping

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

o Progessive increase to a constant rate

- Acquired

o Behaviour is acquired because the rate is constant  

- Extinction  

o The rate plateaus and then will begin to decrease  

Operant conditioning basic principles

- Primary reinforcers

o Normally satisfy an unlearned biological need

o One that an animal doesn’t have to learn. It is inherently reinforced because  it deals with a biological need

 Food, water, sex, other distinctive behaviours  

o Secondary reinforcers  

 Learned value

 Animal has to learn the value of it through association (classical  


 Money, praise

 Doesn’t mean anything until you associate it through classical  

conditioning with things of value

 I can get food with money, I can get a house with money etc

Positive reinforcement

- Adding or presenting a stimulus which strengthens a response and makes it more  likely to occur

- An increase in behaviour that results from giving something  

- Is a reinforcement where you give somebody something.

o Reinforcement because the behaviour increases

o Positive because the increase is a result of giving, or adding something  - It has value for them, gives them a positive experience  

- The consequence is related to a target behaviour  

o Example: giving someone a chocolate when they smile  

- If there is no increase in behaviour then there was no reinforcement even if you  gave them something  

- The change in target behaviour is due to the relationship it has with the  reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement

- Starts by taking away or removing a stimulus which strengthens a response and  makes it more likely to recur

- By making the animals circumstances better, you are rewarding whatever the  animal is doing and as a result you are increasing the target behaviour. o Example a headache is removed by taking an aspirin

 You want to make sure it is effective in removing headaches. Because  you have a headache, you take an aspirin, the pain goes away, the

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

aversive consequence is removed, the aspirin will increase the chances you will increase the target behaviour  

o Walking a dog and wanting it to walk towards you  

 Put a choke collar on them so that when they move away and start  pulling there is a bad feeling. Then when the dog gets closer to you the aversive feeling will be removed and so the dog will be more likely to  engage in the target behaviour (walking close to you )

- escape and avoidance  

o regulates escape and avoidance learning.  

o Escape learning: and organism learns to perform a behaviour that decreases  or ends an aversive stimulus.

o Avoidance learning: involves negative reinforcement that is proactive   Having learnt that air conditioning can remove the sweat hot feeling  

you might program the air conditioner so that it will be on during the  day at specific times so that when you go home your home wont be  super hot  

 An organism learns to prevent or avoid an aversive stimulus- it is a  proactive form of learning.  

Operant conditioning – basic principles

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