Learning I: Classical and Instrumental Learning
Is behavior pre-programmed by evolution or biology or is it acquired later in life?
How much of our way of perceiving the world the way we do is inborn and how much is acquired?
1. Some historical background: 19th century biologists and J.B. Watson; studying learning in animals
2. Forms of learning:
b. Classical conditioning: Ivan Pavlov and his salivating dogs; unconditioned stimulus (UCS); unconditioned response (UCR); conditioned response (CR); conditioned stimulus (CS); strength of conditioning; extinction of conditioning; stimulus generalization
c. Conditioning of more complex behaviors – fear; Little Albert
d. Instrumental (operant) conditioning:
- Thorndike, the “puzzle box” and the Law of Effect
- Skinner, the “Skinner box”, and the difference between classical and instrumental learning
e. Schedules of reinforcement.
- Total vs. partial (The “reinforcement paradox” – partial is better)
- Fixed vs. variable RATIO (fixed – a specific NUMBER of responses for every award)
- Fixed vs. variable INTERVAL (fixed – reward comes a certain time after the last reward)
f. Aversive conditioning
- Learned helplessness
- Fighting fish and their perception of time
1. Learning occurs in response to reinforcement only.
2. Learning is gradual. It requires many repetitions.
3. Any organism can learn any response (which it can perform)
4. What is learned is RESPONSES, not “ideas”.