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psychology 361 chapter 1 notes

by: Tatum Messer

psychology 361 chapter 1 notes PY 361

Marketplace > University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa > Psychlogy > PY 361 > psychology 361 chapter 1 notes
Tatum Messer
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These notes cover all of chapter 1 reading material assigned, as well as class lecture notes and power point presentation notes. I take notes not only off the board but also off the book and what ...
Psychology of Learning
Class Notes




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Tatum Messer on Friday January 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PY 361 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Lewis in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 143 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Learning in Psychlogy at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 01/15/16
Psychology of learning  Chapter 1 notes January 13, 2016  Day 1: o Charles Darwin gave explanation to how creatures and people deal with ever  changing environments : ANSWER­ natural selection o Went traveling on “the beagle” expedition which is now famous for allowing  Darwin to gather hundreds of specimens of plants and animals in hopes to  understand the mystery of what we don’t know (the origin of species)  Kinds of adaptive forms of behaviors: o A reflex is a relationship between a simple event and a simple response (query 1) o Modal action pattern (MAP)­(instincts) MAPs are series of related acts found in  all or mostly all of the members of a species… ALSO TERMS KNOWN AS  fixed action patterns and species­specific behaviors. o Modal action patterns differ from reflexes in that MAPs involve the entire  organism and are more complex and variable. (query 2) o MAPs evolve through natural selection because they contribute to the survival of  the species. (food, protection from predators, reproduction) o The question asked… do humans have these modal action patterns?  ANSWER: it is hard to tell. Today the list of instincts in humans have become smaller and  researchers say the previously attributed instincts lack the monotonous character  of that of animals. (ex: previous times food was caught through hunting and  gathering… now fast food and ordering in).  General behavior traits  o The tendency to engage in certain kinds of behavior (being shy or aggressive) o Difference between modal action patters and this… MAPs are not released  behavioral patterns based off of a wide assortment of events.  General behavior  traits can have many events that cause aggressiveness or other emotions.   Thanks to genetic variation… natural selection… and the listed adoptive forms of  behavior the survival of species has been helped. o Natural selection produces three types of behavior which are the listed adaptive  behaviors above.   RECAP: o Reflexive behavior—response to specific events o Modal action patterns—used to be called instincts and are far more complicated  than reflexes but like a reflex they are stereotypical (birds building nests..  hibernation of bears) o General behavioral traits—behavioral tendencies that include a strong genetic  component (shyness, aggression, anxiety, OCD)  LIMITS OF NATURAL SELECTION o The chief problem with natural selection (as a way to cope with changes) is that is it slow occurring over generations. o Natural selection is limited in value of coping with abrupt changes.   Ex: ebola virus… limited to Africa right now but with everything these  days including travel and terrorism things can happen to spread it to every  continent.  Natural selection is slow and unlikely to work fast enough to  prevent a massive casualty from his highly infectious and deadly disease.   o Other related problems with N.S. is that while an adaptation serving a purpose for  a species for thousands of years or longer can become relatively useless almost  overnight. o Natural selection helps the species to adapt to change, not the individual (query 4) o Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can be known as diseases of natural selection  seeing that the world we live in changed and adapted to wanting saltier and  sweeter foods. o Hybridization­ the cross breeding of species closely related­ aid in the species  adaption along with mutation.   o The mating of two breeds cause a percentage of both genes to occur in the  offspring leading to a generation of useful adaptations. o While natural selection clearly shows its unwillingness to keep up to the fast  changes… what is needed is the evolution of characteristics that allow an  organism to change, not over time but quickly.   o A mechanism has evolved known to be “evolved modifiability” or also known to  be LEARNING.   LEARNING:EVOLVED MODIFIABILITY o Learning can be defined as “a change in behavior due to experience”  Ex: a change to a behavior due to an external change in the environment o Learning does not always involve acquiring something but it does however  always involve a change in some way. o To learn or learning means changing in the sense that the frequency of a habit or  skill is different, the intensity and speed or form of something also show how  learning is a change rather than an acquisition o Behavior is the change that occurs when learning o Behavior is anything someone or something does that can be measured  Ex: heartbeat, adrenaline release, firing of a neuron. o The main difference between thinking and other forms of behavior is that thinking is a private action and other forms are public. o Thinking is covert speech which is seemed to be the idea of a diminutive form of  speech o Unconscious thoughts are not behavior… they are also not thoughts.   o Thoughts are not identical overt behavior… they often have different effects o Learning does involve a change in the nervous system but there are at least two  problems with equating learning with neurological changes.  One­ we are just now understanding the biological mechanisms involved  in learning  Two­ the problem as defining learning as a neurological change denies the importance of behavior  o As learning is concerned… behavior is “where it is at”  o The changes of behavior are not a result of learning but learning themselves.  o Changes in behavior are the result of the experience o Behavior is anything an organism does that can be measured (query 5)  EXPERIENCE o Learning is due to experience o Experience means changes in the environment  o Therefore learning can be defined as a change in behavior due to a change in the  environment surrounding.   o Stimuli are the changes in the environment that affect or have the capability to  affect behavior. (physical change) o In most studies the stimuli investigated occur outside the person or animal o However, physical events can occur inside the body and also affect behavior.  (toothaches… upset stomach) o Earlier noted that changes in the environment are responsible for the most part for changes in natural selection o “no change in the environment… no change in species” “no change in  environment, no change in behavior” o On the flip side… not all changes in behavior (even resulting from a change in the environment) qualify as learning.  Ex: doctor giving patient tranquilizer… patient didn’t learn to be calm o Changes in behavior that are due to drugs, injury, aging or disease do not qualify  as learning. o Simplest example of learning­ habituation o A stimulus is an environmental event that is capable of affecting behavior (query  6)  Habituation is a reduction in the intensity or probability of a reflex response as a result of  repeatedly evoking the response. o Loud noises tested with cats… arousal high at first and declined after a few times  hearing the noise  Habituation involves a reduction in the probability or intensity of a response (query 7)  Habituation becomes helpful in survival due to keeping us alert in dangerous places or  situation  Habituation allows us to go on with whatever we are doing at the time without any  interruption NATURE VS NURTURE  One of the longest running arguments in studying behavior is whether nature or nurture in relatively important in behavior  No one denies learning is important but also no one denies that heredity plays a factor as  well  B.F. Skinner is called and extreme environmentalist and accused of denying biology as a  role of behavior  The trouble with this debate is that is creates an artificial division between the  contributions of heredity and learning. Implying the answer has to be one or the other  Nature and nurture are tangled together in a knot and cannot be separated   Many examples were given to show this fact on pages 28­29.  Kuo’s experiment showed that whether cats killed rats depended on whether they saw the experience from the mother (query 8)  All behavior reflects a blending of nature and nurture so complex and intricate that it is  impossible to say where one begins and the other one ends.  Heredity and learning are different aspects of the same process.  END OF CHAPTER 1 NOTES IN CLASS NOTES ON CHAPTER 1: 1­15­16  Natural Selection o The basics  Change is constant  The struggle to survive is an effort to constantly cope with change  Learning is a biological mechanism  Learning=surviving o Teacher speaking  During change hopefully you learn to adapt…  We weren’t designed in a way that natural selection for us to specifically  learn… not developed to be good at studying or reading  Survival benefits to growing in these aspects. o According to the textbook  Natural selection is the tendency for characteristics that contribute to the  survival of a species to persist and for those that do not to disappear.  Basic example…  Set of bugs… doing fine in envioronment. 50 green 50 brown…  introduce new animal to environment (raven) it causes change on  certain members of the bugs (green).  This pressure can decrease  the certain population and even may cause extinction in the  variation. o Natural Selection  Depends on variety among the members of a species   Profitable variations  Examples… soay sheep (Scotland): smaller ones growing and  lighter coats as weather warms up.  Peppered moths: change in  environment caused changed in light to dark moths being eaten.  Pressures in environment leads to changes among species.  o Natural Selection  Desirable traits are not absolute (thick vs thin coats of fur)  Order evolves from disorder without intelligent intervention  Characteristics can appear, disappear, and reappear through natural  selection as the environment changes.  Natural selection is what environmental factors changing can cause  change in species characteristics. o Mutations   Mutations are abrupt changes in genes  Possible causes?  Effects of mutations o Teacher talking on subject  Mutations are changes in genotypes that lead to changes in behavior or  characteristics  Problems in copying of genes, pollution… etc. (examples)  Blue eye mutation o Reflexes  A reflex is a relationship between a specific event and a simple response  to that event  Present at birth or appear at predictable stages of development  Appear in almost all members of a species   Examples… dirt in eyes (blink), hit in the knee (kick), touch hot stove  (move hand quick), gag reflexes.  Simple responses to specific events  Specific event­specific behavior o  Reflexes continued…  Not all reflexes are useful  Reflexes are highly stereotypic, but can vary  Peanut allergies… (not useful)  For most part reflexes are very similar in species o Sensitization and habituation  Sensitization is an increase in intensity or probability of a reflex occurring  Loud noises, scary movies, drugs  Habituation is a decrease in the intensity or probability of a reflex  response to different stimuli  Constant loud noises   Get used to noise of train from living near it for a while. o Habituation   Run trials and see if the decrease or increase appears.    Record responses… and a general trend starts where the lessening of the  enjoyment will begin to occur (making sibling not like cake) o Modal action patterns  Similar to reflexes in sense that they don’t vary much in species are a  specific response  Another word for modal action patterns: Instinct   Interrelated acts found in all or nearly all members of species  Scared cat… arch back. Not reflex.  Examples to contrast reflexes to this…  Possum plays dead when approached by other animals… aids in  survival.   Geese leave Canada when it gets colder… response to temp.  Change… general pattern to fly in V line to aid in keeping  predators away. o General behavior traits  A general behavior trait is any general behavioral tendency that is strongly influenced by genes  Ex: activity level, aggression, introversion, anxiety, sexual  practices, intelligence, personality traits…  Differences from modal action patterns  Varying triggers (MAPs usually have similar triggers in species)  Plasticity of the behavior o General Behavioral Traits and Natural Selection  Foxes… breed to be calm and easier to breed themselves o Limits of natural selection  It is a slow process  Extinction of animals  Highly infectious diseases…  These cause these changes to occur in species  It can’t help living being cope with change  Role of learning  Allows individuals to change within a lifetime  Our ability to learn helps us adapt to our environments


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