Week 2, Lecture 2
Week 2, Lecture 2 PSY-B 344
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Malissa Notetaker on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY-B 344 at Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis taught by Dr. Christine Czachowski in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Learning in Neuroscience at Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis.
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Date Created: 09/06/16
Psychology 344 Learning Lecture 2 8/29/16 ● Recap definition of Learning: ○ “Learning is an enduring change in the mechanisms of behavior involving specific stimuli and/or responses that results from prior experience with those stimuli and responses.” ■ “Mechanisms because you can’t always see the learning, not always observable” ■ Remember the distinction between learning vs. performance ○ Shorter version of the definition Changes in behavior that results in experience ● Basic Behavioral Processes ○ Most everyday behavior is not deliberate, but rather put into motion by features of the environment that operate outside of conscious awareness and guidance ■ Ex: when time is 4:30, you know it’s time for class ○ There is a limited role of consciousness in behavior; much of what takes place in a normal day involves habitual responses that we spend little time thinking about ■ Ex: steps in the shower not consciously thinking about each step we are taking ○ All of behavior is not purposeful ○ Not thinking about every single thing we do, would take too much brainpower ● Despite this (bullet point above): ○ Early theories opposed the idea that we had behavioral processes that had anything in common w/ animals ○ Behavior was presumed to be result of deliberate intent or free will ● History of the Study of Learning Philosophers around 1600’s: ○ Rene Desc artes ■ Was a nativist, believing that humans and animals were born with some knowledge ■ Cartesian dualism: ● Part of human behavior is reflexive and controlled by external stimuli and governed by rules ○ Response to environment ● Other part of behavior is governed by free will (and was not predictable and not governed by rules ● Involuntary Action produced by a reflex arc: messages from the sense organs go to the brain, then to the muscles. ● Voluntary Action initiated by the mind, with messages sent to the brain and then the muscles ○ Purposeful ○ Unique to humans ○ Believed that the pineal gland was the special region that controls “free will” ● Pineal Gland ○ Thought it was where “free will” was controlled bc of location in the brain ○ Actually an endocrine gland that produces melatonin and regulates sleep/wake cycles ● History of the Study of Learning Philosophers around 1600’s (cont.): ○ John Locke ■ Unlike nativists, believed all information people had was acquired after birth; was an empiricist ■ At birth, babies are a blank slate, called tabula rasa ■ Slate fills up with the experiences of a lifetime ■ Empiricists believed that the mind is governed by associations (rules) ○ Thomas H obbes ■ Accepted the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior, but believed ALL human behaviors were rulebased, reflexive, and mechanistic ■ Behavior is governed by hedonism the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain ● Resort Hedonism II nude beach ■ Notion of hedonism remains influential today when seeking to understand animal behavior and mechanistic human behaviors ○ Empiricists: Rules of Association 1. Contiguity things that occur close together in space/time are associated with one another a. This is still a fundamental rule of learning b. “Contiguous 48 states” c. Ex: bell & salvation 2. Similarity/Contrast things are associated by similarity or extreme differences a. Little evidence for this idea b. Ex: red car, red apple ● However, Empiricists didn’t test their ideas ● Unlike the philosophers, psychologists like Ebbinghaus (1885) did attempt to study the formation of associations in humans ○ Invented nonsense syllables 3letter combinations to discover new learning rules ■ Ex: BAP, ROH, KUF ○ Addressed questions of contiguity, practice, etc. ■ Credited with the “forgetting function” ● Ivan Pavlov (1800’s): ○ Russian physiologist ○ Advocate of nervism that all important physiological systems are controlled by the nervous system ○ Advocated functional neurology ● Charles Darwin ○ Claimed a continuity between nonhuman to human animals, argued that the mind ○ Did not deny that humans had the capacity for the things like reason, wonder, and ○ Beginning of comparative psychology as a science ● General Process Approach to Studying Learning ○ Focuses on similarities among different animals (i.e., the “general processes”) ○ Seeks to find general rules that govern learning from sea cucumbers to humans ○ Species use different stimuli (e.g., bats use echolocation), but that may use the ● General Process View ○ One can study behavior in a relatively small number of situations and hopefully ○ Learning principles should be demonstrable in any species that is capable of ● Why use animal models? ○ Humans and animals behave differently, so why use animals ● Choice of Animal Species ○ Rule of Thumb the more basic the process under investigation, the more distant can be the evolutionary relationship to humans ■ Examples (simple to complex) nematodes, insects, snails, squid, rodents, monkeys, etc. ● Simple learning processes, like habituation, can be studied in the sea slug (aplysia) ● Cognitive function and disorders require more closely related species, like the macaque monkey ○ Ex: cooperation ○ Most animals used today in psychological/neuroscience research today are mice and rats ● Why use animal models? (cont.) ○ Working with animals has several advantages: ■ Easier to control their history, both environmentally and genetically ■ Animals don’t have demand characteristics the tendency to guess the purpose of your experiment and modify their behavior based upon that guess ● Ex: humans may change an answer to sound more adventurous or less irresponsible ■ You may need to use procedures that would be ethically difficult in humans ● Ex: allowing selfadministration of rewarding drugs like cocaine ● Animal Protections ○ One cannot gather reliable data from animals that are unhealthy or excessively stressed, or uncomfortable with the apparatus ■ Aversive stimulation (e.g., shock) is typically very mild ● Many test with their hands first ■ Deprivation (food or water) is mild compared to the wild ■ All animal research is closely supervised by Federal legislation, and is much more closely monitored than agriculture ● Animal Alternatives ○ Tissue Culture One can use this to study cellular processes that are potentially involved in learning, but behavior requires use of whole animal ○ Computer Simulation presumes that one already knows a great deal about the target of the simulation ○ Observation vs. Experimentation hard to make conclusions about causes of learning ● Observation vs. Experimentation ○ Observation simply watch and carefully record behavior ■ Ex: Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees ■ Can learn a great deal and not overly modify the environment ■ Observation has external validity (it is generalizable to other situations) ■ Cannot make causal conclusions (assumptions) ● Ex: just b/c someone eats doesn’t mean they were hungry ○ Experimentation investigator changes one thing at a time ■ Independent variable thing you change ● Under the right conditions, one can make conclusions that the independent variable c aused behavior to change ○ BUT only if the independent variable was the only thing that was changed ○ In other words, there is a high i nternal validity ● Sometimes it’s harder to apply these lessons to the real world, so there can be less external validity ● The Study of Learning Requires Experimentation ○ The study of learning “experimental psychology” ○ One has to exclude other potential causes of behavioral change to conclude that a change is caused by learning ○ This is hard to do in the field, using observation alone, because you can’t rule out other causes of behavioral change ● Basic Learning Experiments: ○ If using two groups, they should be identical, except for the training/treatment of interest ○ If using one group, there should be some certainty that behavior is stable in the absence of training/treatment
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