Unit 11: Learning

Please keep in mind that "learning theory" is associated with the psychological perspective of BEHAVIORISM.

a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience.
the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologist today agree with (1) but not with (2).
Associative Learning:
learning the two events (2 stimuli in the case of classical conditioning or a response and its consequence in operant conditioning) occur together.
Classical Conditioning:
a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate two stimuli.  A neutral stimulus that signals and unconditioned stimulus (UCS) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus.  Also called Pavlovian Conditioning. (see HANDOUT)
Unconditioned Stimulus (USC):
in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally--naturally and automatically--triggers an unconditioned response (UCR).
Unconditioned Response (UCR): in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), such as salivation when presented with food.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS): in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant or Neutral Stimulus (NS) that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), comes to elicit a conditioned response (CR).
Conditioned Response (CR): in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS).
Before Conditioning
UCS (food)→UCR (salivation) & NS (bell)→no salivation
                           During Conditioning
NS (bell) + UCS (food)→UCR (salivation)
                            After Conditioning
CS (bell)→CR (salivation)

During classical conditioning, the neutral stimulus (NS) must be presented immediately BEFORE the UCS.  After conditioning, the NS will become the conditioned stimulus (CS).  Also, keep in mind that the unconditioned response (UCR) and the conditioned response (CR) are often very similar, if not identical to one another.
Acquisition: the initial stage in classical conditioning.  The phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus and elicits a conditioned response.
Extinction: the diminishing of a conditioned response. It occurs in classical conditioning when the UCS stops being paired with the CS (e.g., the bell is presented without being followed by the food).
Spontaneous Recovery: the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response.
Generalization: the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses.
Discrimination: the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus (e.g., bell) and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus (e.g., telephone ringing).

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