General Psychology

  1. What is learning?
    Relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience
  2. Classical Conditioning
    A type of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to bring about a response after it is paired with a stimulus that naturally brings about that response
  3. Neutral stimulus
    A stimulus that, before conditioning, does not naturally bring about the response of interest
  4. Unconditioned Stimulus(UCS)
    A stimulus that naturally brings about a particular response without having been learned
  5. Unconditioned Response(UNR)
    A response that is natural and needs no training (e.g. salivation at the smell of food)
  6. Conditioned Stimulus(CS)
    A once-neutral stimulus that has been paired with an unconditioned stimulus to bring about a response formerly caused only by the unconditioned stimulus
  7. Conditioned Response(CR)
    A response that, after conditioning, follows a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. salivation at the ringing of a bell)
  8. Habituation
    The decrease in response to a stimulus that occurs after repeated presentations of the same stimulus. (Newlyweds stop noticing that they are wearing a wedding ring) Allows us to ignore the things that have stopped providing us with new information
  9. Extinction
    A basic phenomenon of learning that occurs when a previously conditioned response decreases in frequency and eventually disappears
  10. Spontaneous Recovery
    The reemergence of an extinguished conditioned response after a period of rest and with no further conditioning 
  11. Stimulus Generalization
    A process in which, after a stimulus has been conditioned to produce a particular response, stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus produce the same response (dogs salivated not only at the ringing of the bell that was used during their original conditioning but at the sound of a buzzer as well)
  12. Stimulus Discrimination
    The process that occurs if two stimuli are sufficiently distinct form one another that one evokes a conditioned response but the other does not; the ability to differentiate between stimuli
  13. Learned taste aversion
    John Garcia found that some organisms - including humans- were biologically prepared to quickly learn to avoid foods that smelled or tasted like something that made them sick
  14. Operant conditioning
    Learning in which a voluntary response is strengthened or weakened(more or less likely to recur regularly), depending on its favorable or unfavorable consequences

    The organism operates on its environment to produce a desirable result (studying --> good grades)
  15. Thondike's Law of Effect
    responses that lead to satisfying consequences are more likely to be repeated (cat in the box with a paddle to open it)
  16. Reinforcement
    The process by which a stimulus increases the probability that a preceding behavior will be repeated
  17. Reinforcer
    Any stimulus that increases the probability that a preceding behavior will occur again
  18. Primary Reinforcer
    satisfies some biological need and works naturally, regardless of a person's previous experience. (food for a hungry person, warmth for a cold person, and relief for a person in pain all would be classified as primary reinforcers)
  19. Secondary Reinforcer
    A stimulus that becomes reinforcing because of its association with a primary reinforcer. (Money is valuable, because we have learned that it allows us to obtain other desirable objects, including primary reinforcers such as food and shelter)
  20. Punishment
    A stimulus that decreases the probability that a previous behavior will occur again
  21. Positive Reinforcer
    A stimulus added to the environment that brings about an increase in a preceding response
  22. Negative Reinforcer
    An unpleasant stimulus whose removal leads to an increase in the probability that a preceding response will be repeated in the future
  23. Positive Punishment
    weakens a response through the application of an unpleasant stimulus (spanking)
  24. Negative Punishment
    consists of the removal of something pleasant
  25. Schedules of reinforcement
    Different patterns of frequency and timing of reinforcement following desired behavior
  26. Continuous reinforcement schedule
    Reinforcing of a behavior every time it occurs
  27. Partial (intermittent) reinforcement schedule
    Reinforcing of a behavior some but not all of the time
  28. Fixed-ratio schedule
    A schedule by which reinforcement is given only after a specific number of responses are made (a rat being given a pellet every tenth time it pressed a lever - ratio 1:10)
  29. Variable-ratio Schedule
    A schedule by which reinforcement occurs after a varying number of responses rather than after a fixed number (the number of responses usually hovers around a specific average)
  30. Fixed-interval Schedule
    A schedule that provides reinforcement for a response only if a fixed time period has elapsed, making overall rates of response relatively low (weekly paycheck)
  31. Variable-interval Schedule
    A schedule by which the time between reinforcements varies around some average rather than being fixed. (professor who gives surprise quizzes that vary from one every three days to one every three weeks, averaging one every two weeks)
  32. Stimulus control
    A behavior is reinforced in the presence of a specific stimulus, but not in its absence. (ONe of the more difficult discriminations many people face is determining when someone's friendliness is not mere friendliness but a signal of romantic interest. People learn to make the discrimination by observing the presence of certain nonverbal cues - such as increased eye contact and touching to indicate romantic interest)
  33. Discriminative Stimulus
    Signals the likelihood that a reinforcement will follow a response. (Cop driving behind you - you slow down. The different ways you open doors depending on what kind of handle it has. If you wait to ask your roommate to borrow something until they are in a good mood)
  34. Shaping
    The process of teaching a complex behavior by rewarding closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior. In shaping, you start by reinforcing any behavior that is at all similar to the behavior you want the person to learn. Later, you reinforce only responses that are closer to the behavior you ultimately want to teach. Finally, you reinforce only the desired response. (Lions jumping through hoops)
  35. Compare and Contrast Classical v. Operant Conditioning
    • Basic Principles:
    • Classical Conditioning - Building associations between a conditioned stimulus and conditioned response
    • Operant Conditioning - Reinforcement increases the frequency of the behavior preceding it; punishment decreases the frequency of the behavior preceding it

    • Nature of Behavior:
    • Classical Conditioning - Based on involuntary, natural, innate behavior. Behavior is elicited by the unconditioned or conditioned stimulus
    • Operant Conditioning - Organism voluntarily operates on its environment to produce a desirable result. After behavior occurs, the likelihood of the behavior occurring again is increased or decreased by the behavior's consequences

    • Order of Events:
    • Classical Conditioning - Before conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus leads to an unconditioned response. After conditioning, a conditioned stimulus leads to a conditioned response
    • Operant Conditioning: Reinforcement leads to an increase in behavior; punishment leads to a decrease in behavior

    Compare: Extinction, Stimulus generalization, and stimulus discrimination occur in both Operant and Classical Conditioning
  36. Behavior Modification
    Technique for promoting frequency of desirable behaviors and decreasing unwanted ones

    • - Identify Goals and Target Behaviors
    • - Design a data-recording system and record preliminary data
    • - Select a behavior-change strategy
    • - Implement the program
    • - Keep careful records after the program is implemented
    • - Evaluate and alter the ongoing program
  37. Cognitive learning theory
    Approach that states learning is best understood in terms of thought processes or cognitions

    Approach to the study of learning that focuses on the thought processes that underlie learning.

    Focus on the unseen mental processes that occur during learning, rather than concentrating solely on external stimuli, responses, and reinforcements. Instead, according to this point of view, people, and even lower animals, develop an expectation that they will receive a reinforcer after making a response. 
  38. Latent Learning
    Learning in which a new behavior is acquired but is not demonstrated until some incentive is provided for displaying it (maze and rats)
  39. Cognitive Map
    a mental representation of spatial locations and directions
  40. Observational Learning
    Learning by observing the behavior of another person, or model (Albert Bandura)
  41. Albert Bandura
    Observational Learning: Study w/ Bobo dolls and children. Children watched a film where an adult was violent with the Bobo dolls and then the children were also displaying the behavior when given a bobo doll. 
  42. Mirror Neurons
    Fire when one observes another carrying out a behavior
  43. Relational Learning Style
    People master material best through exposure to a full unit or phenomenon. Parts of the unit are comprehended only when their relationship to the whole is understood.
  44. Analytical Learning Style
    People master material best when they can carry out an initial analysis of the principles and components underlying a phenomenon or situation. By developing an understanding of the fundamental principles and components, they are best able to understand the full picture.
  45. 4 effects of violence in the media
    • 1. Lowers Inhibitions against carrying out aggression
    • 2. watching tv violence or using violent video games makes aggression seem a legitimate response to particular situations
    • 3. Exposure to media violence may distort out understanding of the meaning of others' behavior, predisposing us to view even nonaggressive acts by others as aggressive. 
    • 4. Continuos violence makes us desensitized to violence, and what previously would have repelled us now produces little emotional response
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General Psychology