General Psychology – Chapter 6: Learning

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Learning
A systematic, relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs through experience.
Behaviorism
A theory of learning that focuses solely on observational behaviors.
Associative Learning
Occurs when an organism makes a connection, or association, between two events.
Observational Learning
When a person observes and imitates another person’s behavior.
Classical Conditioning
When a neutral stimulus becomes associated with an innately meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response.
Unconditioned Stimulus
Stimulus that provides a response without prior learning.
Unconditioned Response
An unlearned reaction that is automatically elicited.
Conditioned Stimulus
A previously neutral stimulus that eventually elicits a conditioned response after being paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioned Response
The learned response to the conditioned stimulus. Occurs after CS-US pairing.
Acquisition
Initial learning of the connection between the US and CS when these two stimuli are paired.
Generalization
A new stimulus elicits a response similar to the conditioned stimulus. Part of classical conditioning.
Discrimination
In classical conditioning is the process of learning to respond to certain stimuli and not others.
Extinction
The weakening of the conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is absent. Part of classical conditioning.
Spontaneous Recovery
The process by which a conditioned response can recur after a time delay without further conditioning. Part of classical conditioning.
Renewal
The recovery of the conditioned response when the organism is placed in novel context.
Counterconditioning
Procedure for changing the relationship between a conditioned stimulus and a conditioned response. Part of classical conditioning.
Assertive Conditioning
A form of treatment that consists of repeated pairings of a stimulus with a very unpleasant stimulus.
Immunosuppression
A decrease in the production of antibodies, which can lower a person’s ability to fight disease. Classical conditioning can cause this.
Habituation
Refers to a decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations.
Operant Conditioning
A form of associative learning in which the consequences of a behavior change the probability of the behavior’s occurrence.
Aversive Conditioning
A form of treatment that consists of repeated pairings of a stimulus with a very unpleasant stimulus.
Law of Effect
States that behaviors followed by pleasant outcomes are strengthened, and that behaviors followed by unpleasant outcomes are weakened.
Shaping
Refers to rewarding successive approximations of a desired behavior.
Reinforcement
The process by which a stimulus or event following a particular behavior increases the probability that the behavior will happen again.
Positive Reinforcement
Behavior increases because it is followed by a desirable stimulus.
Negative Reinforcement
Behavior increases because it is followed by the removal of something undesirable.
Avoidance Learning
Occurs when the organism learns that by making a particular response, a negative stimulus can be altogether avoided.
Learned Helplessness
The organism learns that it has no control over negative outcomes.
Schedules of Reinforcement
Specific patterns that determine when a behavior will be reinforced.
Punishment
A consequence that decreases the likelihood that a behavior will occur.
Insight Learning
A form of problem solving in which an organism develops a sudden insight into or understanding of a problem’s solution.
Instinctive Drift
The tendency of animals to revert to instinctive behavior that interferes with learning.
Sympathetic Nervous System
Part of the autonomic nervous system that responds to stress. Plays an important role in the learned associations between conditioned stimuli and immune and endocrine functioning.
Preparedness
Species-specific biological predisposition to learn in certain ways but not others.
Primary Reinforcer
Does not take any learning on the organism’s part to make it satisfying. Includes food, water, and sex.
Secondary Reinforcer
Acquires positive value through an organism’s experience. Example might be a paycheck.
Latent Learning
Unenforced learning that is not immediately reflected in behavior.
Taste Aversion
Learned association between a particular taste and nausea. Part of classical conditioning.
Fixed-Ratio Schedule
Reinforces a behavior after a set number of behaviors.
Variable-Ratio Schedule
A timetable in which behaviors are rewarded an average number of times but on an unpredictable basis.
Fixed-Interval Schedule
Reinforces the first behavior after a certain amount of time has passed.
Variable-Interval Schedule
A timetable in which a behavior is reinforced after a variable amount of time has elapsed.
Skinner Box
An operant chamber or device that is used to study operant conditioning.
Purposiveness
The idea that much of behavior is goal-directed.
Categories: General Psychology