AP_Unit 6 Learning

Term Definition
Learning The process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviours. The most crucial ingredient in all learning is experience.
Associative Learning Learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (as in operant conditioning).
Conditioning The process of learning associations
Cognitive Learning The acquisition of mental information, whether by observing events, by watching others, or through language.
Habituation An organism’s decreasing response to a stimulus with repeated exposure to it.
Stimulus Any event or situation that evokes a response.
Behaviourism The view that psychology: should be an objective science thatstudies behaviour without reference to mental processes.
Classical Conditioning Forming an association between two stimuli resulting in a learned response. An organism forms associations between events it does not control.
Unconditioned Stimulus (US) A stimulus that unconditionally – naturally and automatically – triggers a response (UR).
Unconditioned Response (UR) An unlearned, naturally occurring response (such as salivation) to an unconditioned stimulus (US) (such as food in the mouth)
Neutral Stimulus (NS) A stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS) A previously neutral stimulus that, after repeated association with an unconditioned stimulus, elicits the response of the unconditioned stimulus itself.
Conditioned Response (CR) A learned response to the previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus.
Higher-Order Conditioning Also called second-order conditioning. A procedure in which the conditioned stimulus in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus.
Acquisition The first stage of learning in classical conditioning. One links a neutral stimulus (NS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) so that the neutral stimulus begins triggering the conditioned response (CR). The CS should be presented 1/2 second before CR.
Extinction The diminishing of a conditioned response. Occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS). Occurs in operant conditioning, when a response is no longer reinforced.
Spontaneous Recovery Refers to the reappearance, after a time-lapse, 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 In classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus.
Little Albert Experiment Emotions and behaviours can be learned through classical conditioning. Fears can be learned through classical conditioning. Little Albert developed a fear of rats after a white rat was paired with a loud noise.
Operant Behaviours Voluntary behaviours that produce rewarding or punishing consequences.
Operant Conditioning A form of learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences. Behaviour is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.
Law of Effect Thorndike’s principle that behaviours followed by favourable consequences become more likely, and that behaviours followed by unfavourable consequences become less likely. Refers to the tendency to repeat behaviours that are rewarded.
Operant Chamber A chamber (also known as a Skinner box) containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer. Attached devices record the animal’s rate of bar pressing or key pecking.
Shaping An operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behaviour toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behaviour.
Discriminative Stimulus In operant conditioning, a stimulus that elicits a response after association with reinforcement (in contrast to related stimuli not associated with reinforcement). The tendency for a response to happen only when a particular stimulus is present.
Reinforcement Involves the introduction of a pleasant stimulus or the withdrawal of an unpleasant stimulus. , Any event that strengthens the behaviours it follows.
Punishment Involves the withdrawal of a pleasant stimulus or the introduction of an unpleasant stimulus. Decreases the behaviour that it follows.
Positive Reinforcement The addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behaviour that makes it more likely that the behaviour will occur again in the future. It increases the rate of operant responding.
Negative Reinforcement The removal, stopping, or avoidance of a negative outcome or aversive stimulus that strengthens a response or behaviour. It increases the rate of operant responding.
Primary Reinforcer Occurs naturally and does not require learning. They are innately satisfying and fulfill biological needs.
Conditioned Reinforcer A stimulus that acquires reinforcing power by association with a primary reinforcer. Also known as a secondary reinforcer.
Immediate Reinforcer Reinforcers delivered immediately after the desired behaviour is performed. Most animals are best conditioned through immediate reinforcers.
Delayed Reinforcer Reinforcers not delivered until a long time after the desired behaviour. Humans, unlike many other animals, can be conditioned with delayed reinforcers.
Reinforcement Schedule A pattern that defines how often a desired response will be reinforced.
Continuous Reinforcement Reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs.
Partial Reinforcement Also known as intermittent reinforcement. Reinforcing a response only part of the time. Results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement.
Fixed-Ratio Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after a specific number of responses has occurred.
Fixed-Interval Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after a specific period of time has elapsed.
Variable-Ratio Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after an unpredictable number of responses.
Variable-Interval Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after an unpredictable time period has elapsed.
Positive Punishment The addition of an unfavourable outcome or event following an undesirable behaviour. Decreases the rate of operant responding.
Negative Punishment The removal of something desirable in order to reduce the occurrence of a particular behaviour. Decreases the rate of operant responding.
Punishment Issues Punished behaviour is suppressed, not forgotten. Punishment teaches discrimination among situations. Punishment can teach fear. Physical punishment may increase aggression by modelling aggression as a way to cope with problems.
Biofeedback A system for electronically recording, amplifying, and feeding back information regarding a subtle physiological state, such as blood pressure or muscle tension. Biofeedback is beneficial in its capacity to facilitate the relaxation response.
Respondent Behaviour Behaviour that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus.
Operant Behaviour Behaviour that operates on the environment, producing consequences.
Garcia Effect Rats easily learned to associate nausea-producing radiation treatments with novel tastes. They avoided flavoured water because they associated it with illness. Classical conditioning is constrained by biological predispositions.
Instinctive Drift Animals tend to revert from newly learned habits to their biologically predisposed behaviours. Biological constraints predispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive. Readily learn the specific associations that promote survival.
Robert Rescorla Showed that cognition is important in an animal learning that one stimulus reliably predicts another stimulus.
Latent Learning “Hidden” learning that only manifests itself when reinforcement is offered. Not all learning is immediately apparent. Sometimes learning only becomes evident when we need to utilize it.
Cognitive Maps A mental representation of the layout of one’s environment. After exploring a maze, rats act as if they have a cognitive map of it.
Insight Learning Learning that occurs after an extended period of thinking about a problem but little or no direct, systematic interaction with the environment. A sudden realization of a problem’s solution.
Intrinsic Motivation The desire to engage in an activity for the sake of its own enjoyment. Promising rewards for what people already enjoy doing undermines intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic Motivation The desire to perform a behaviour due to promised rewards or threats of punishment.
Coping Alleviating stress using emotional, cognitive, or behavioural methods.
Problem-Focused Coping Attempting to alleviate stress directly- by changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor. Individuals use problem-focused strategies when they feel a sense of control over the situation.
Emotion-Focused Coping Attempting to alleviate stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to one’s stress reaction. Individuals reach out to friends for support or comfort. Can be adaptive (hobbies) or maladaptive (go out and party).
Learned Helplessness A behaviour in which an organism forced to endure aversive, painful, or otherwise unpleasant stimuli, become unable to or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli.
External Locus of Control The perception that chance or outside forces beyond our personal control determine our fate; one’s fate is determined by luck. Learned helplessness is associated with an external locus of control; people have a lower morale.
Internal Locus of Control The perception that you control your own fate. The perception that one can strongly influence the outcome and destiny of one’s own life; possesses a strong ego.
Self-Control The ability to control impulses and delay short-term gratification for greater long-term rewards. Weakens following an exertion of energy.
Observational Learning Learning by observing others. Also called social learning. A key factor that influences whether we will imitate a model is whether the model is rewarded or punished.
Modelling The process of observing and imitating a specific behaviour.
Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiments Preschool children pounded and kicked a large inflatable Bobo doll that an adult had just beaten on. Modelling is important in the process of learning. Observational learning depends on whether we see the people as similar to us.
Mirror Neurons Frontal lobe neurons (adjacent to the motor cortex) that some scientists believe fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain’s mirroring of another’s action may enable imitation and empathy.
Prosocial Behaviour Positive, constructive, helpful behaviour. The opposite of antisocial behaviour.
Violence-Viewing Effect Viewing violence leads children and teenagers to behave aggressively; it leads to desensitization and imitation.

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