Psychology 150: Week 2 Learning (ch. 5)

Psy 150 Ch. 5 LEARNING

BEHAVIORISM - should only examine what can be
directly observed and measured

History of Behaviorism

1. Ivan Pavlov
Classical conditioning: acquisition of fairly
specific patterns of behavior in the presence
of well defined stimuli.

meat powder, salivation, bell, salivation
unconditioned stimulus - meat powder
unconditioned response - salivation
conditioned stimulus - bell
conditioned response - salivation

2. John Watson - early behaviorist
Albert and the white rat
at 1st no fear - then, fear conditioned
unconditioned stimulus - "slam"
unconditioned response - FEAR
conditioned stimulus - white rat
conditioned response - FEAR

3. Skinner
WWII - Pigeon Guided Missiles
A pigeon in the warhead of a missile
operated the flaps on the missile and guided
it home by pecking at an image of a target
on a screen.
But, Navy officials could not accept birds
piloting their missiles.
Skinner's book "Walden Two", a novel about
Skinner's envisioned UTOPIA - engineered
through behavioral control.
Said that humans really have no free will,
that we've been trained by societal
reinforcement in the same way the pigeons were.
To deny that our behavior is controlled by environmental forces
is to ignore science and reality.
Operant Conditioning: environment operates on the individual
rewards or punishment is contingent on

1. no mind, conscious or unconscious

all behavior is learned due to rewards and punishments
in the environment: interactions in the environment

3. behavior can be changed: shy into outgoing, aggressive
into docile/laid back, boring behavior into enthusiastic,
interesting behavior

4. no ucs, no ucr, no cs: only cr (the desired behavior)

learning in which the consequences of behavior lead to changes
in the probability of that behavior's occurrence.
The immediate consequences of behavior.

a. reinforcement (increases probability of occurrence) and
punishment (decreases probability of occurrence)

1. positive reinforcement: stimulus added to environment
that brings about an increase in the response that
preceded it.
ex. pay check at the end of the week, dog to do tricks (DANO)

2. negative reinforcement: unpleasant stimulus removed from the
environment to increase the response that preceded it.
Taking an action removes a negative condition that
exists in the environment.
ex. you have a cold: you take cold medicine, the cold
symptoms are removed - this increases the likelihood
of you taking the medicine again.
ex. if the radio is so loud, that it hurts your ears,
you turn it down, thus the pain is removed; this
increases the likelihood of you repeating this
action in the future.

3. punishment by application: unpleasant stimuli (aversive)
added to environment if a certain undesired behavior
occurs to decrease the probability that the behavior
will occur again.
ex. mom and dad hollering after kid misbehaves
ex. placing adolescent on yard detail

4. punishment by removal: removal of a positive reinforcer
if a certain undesired behavior occurs to decrease the
probability that the behavior will occur again.
ex. remove driving privilege after adolescent found
drinking alcohol
ex. employee's pay is cut due to poor job performance.

Reinforcement is preferred over punishment.

Social Learning Theory - Bandura

Social Learning/Observational Learning


Social Learning Theory: ability to learn by observing a
model or receiving instructions (without 1st hand

Disagree with Skinner about COGNITION
(Skinner said cognition and the mind are unimportant

Social Learning Theory: emphasizes behavior, environment,
and cognition as the key factors to


Bandura's research relied heavily on observational learning
(learning through observing what others do).

People COGNITIVELY REPRESENT the behavior of others and
sometimes adopt this behavior for themselves.

Best known research: BOBO doll.
1. children not only copied aggressive behavior of models,
they engaged in innovative aggressive behavior
2. not limited to walloping a bobo doll, they walloped
each other, too.
3. children who observed the model being reinforced for
aggressive behavior were more aggressive than those
who observed the model being punished for the behavior.

related research
1. rewarding alternate behavior patterns reduces
aggressive behavior.
2. "empathy training exercise" used with children (to
take the perspective of others) led to significant
decreases in aggressive behavior.

Social Learning Theory: emphasizes that children acquire a
observational learning. IMPORTANT TO DEVELOPMENT.

Again, in disagreement with Skinner:
children can regulate and control their own behavior.

ex. a girl who observes her teacher behaving in a
dominant and sarcastic way toward some students finds the
behavior distasteful and goes out of her way to be
encouraging and supportive toward her younger brother.
ex. an adolescent thinks about an offer to join a club
at school, but realizes that it conflicts with her
interests and beliefs, and decides not to join.

Evaluations of Behaviorism and Social Learning

1. emphasize that environmental experiences determine
children's development.

2. emphasize scientifically sound approach to development;
(much of psychosexual, psychosocial, cognitive theories
can't be TESTED scientifically)

3. Behaviorism ignores the importance of cognition.
Places too much emphasis on the environment.
4. Both Behaviorism and S.L. Theory ignore biology.

5. Reductionistic: look at only one or two components
of development instead of the whole picture.

Behaviorism: current uses

Therapies and others:
1. systematic desensitization
2. flooding
3. aversive stimuli
4. conditioned food aversion: one pairing of conditioned and unconditioned
ex. rats/poisoned grain; conditioned (bad experience related to / pairedwith food)
5. behavior modification (hospitals, schools), token economy
- importance of reward to "fit" the client/patient


Late 1890's, determine how cats learn. Hungry cats put into cages, withfood just out of reach outside the cage. Variety of latches inside cages,the opening of which the individual cats must master to gain either freedomor food.

Terms: reinforcement - increases probability of a behavior occurringagain.
law of effect - Thorndike's theory that behavior consistently rewardedwill be "stamped in " as learned behavior.

Other Behaviorism terms:

response acquisition: the "building phase" of conditioningduring which the
likelihood or strength of the desired response increase.
intermittent pairing: pairing the conditioned stimulus and the unconditionedstimulus on only a portion of the learning trials.
shaping: reinforcing successive approximations to a desired behavior.Ex. rats in "Skinner box" (limits available response and thusincreases the likelihood that the desired response will occur) to learnto bar press.
extinction: decrease in the strength or frequency of a learned responsedue to failure to continue pairing of the US and CS or to withholding ofreinforcement.
spontaneous recovery: the reappearance of an extinguished responseafter the passage of time, without further training.
stimulus generalization: transfer of a learned response to differentbut similar stimuli
stimulus discrimination: learning to respond to only one stimulusand to inhibit the response to all other stimuli. Ex. circle/ellipse similarity(neurosis/anxiety in dogs)
response generalization: giving a response that is somewhat differentfrom the response originally learned to that stimulus. Ex. a baby beinghugged and kissed for saying "mama" may begin to call everyone"mama".
higher order conditioning: conditioning based on previous learning;the conditioned stimulus serves as an unconditioned stimulus for furthertraining - 2nd order, 3rd order conditioning.
primary reinforcer: reinforcer that is rewarding in itself (food,water, sex)
secondary reinforcer: reinforcer whose value is learned through associationwith other primary or secondary reinforcers. (we've "learned"that money is good; if a a rat learns to get food by pressing a bar, thena buzzer is sounded every time the rat presses the bar and gets food, whenthe food is stopped, the rat will continue to push the bar for a while justto hear the buzzer.)
blocking/interference: a process whereby prior conditioning preventsconditioning to a second stimulus even when the two stimuli are presentedsimultaneously. (Ex. When rat learns that a buzzer precedes a shock, pairingthe buzzer with a light, then showing light alone, does not cause the ratto exhibit the original response - fear. The original learning has a blockingeffect on new learning.)

schedule of reinforcement
: the rule for determining when and how oftenreinforcers will be delivered
1. continuous reinforcement - reinforcement every time response is made(ex. coins in to a vending machine to get candy)
2. fixed ratio - reinforcement after a fixed number of response (being paidonly after stuffing a fixed number of envelopes; slow then speed up closerto fixed number)
3. variable interval schedule - reinforcement schedule in which a correctresponse is reinforced after varying length of time after the last reinforcement(subjects learn to give a slow, steady pattern of response (but not tooslow in anticipation of reward: giving constant "pop" quizzesrequire regular studying to do well).
4. variable ratio schedule - reinforcement after a varying number of responses(slot machines: It will pay off, within a certain range of playing, butyou never know when; encourages regular steady playing, high rate of responseover a long period of time)

cognitive learning: learning that depends on mental processes thatare not directly observable (inferring from results, inferring from behavior)
latent learning: learning that is not immediately reflected in abehavior change (Tolman: after not rewarded in a maze, "knew"the maze and performed as well as reinforced rats when they were reinforced.
cognitive map: a learned mental image of a spatial environment thatmay be called on to solve problems when stimuli in the environment change(how we get around well in a neighborhood or side streets with various possibleroutes - traffic snarls)
insight: learning that occurs rapidly as a result of understandingall the ingredients of a problem. (Ex. Kohlers chimps, connecting two stickstogether to get food, pile boxes etc.)

Psy 150 Ch. 5 Learning Quiz

1. Who is generally associated with the Social Learning Theory?
a. Skinner b. Bandura c. Watson d. Pavlov

2. B. F. Skinner believe that an ideal society would be
based on
a. gender-free roles b. behavioral control
c. free will d. cognition

3. A consequence that decreases the probability a behavior
will occur is referred to as
a. negative reinforcement b. deterrent
c. punishment d. extinction

4. For Pavlov's dogs, food was the and the bell was the .
a. US, CS b. CS, US c. US, CR d. UR, CR

5. A reinforcer that removes something unpleasant from a situation is a(n)
a. positive reinforcer b. negative reinforcer c. primary reinforcer d. secondary reinforcer

6. Operant conditioning is based upon which of the following?
a. insight b. trial and error
c. consequences of behavior d. CS, US pairing

7. According to Skinner, when operantly conditioning a
behavior, the reinforcer should be presented
the target behavior.
a. immediately before b. immediately after
c. at the same time as d. several minutes after

8. Sandy's favorite activity is to go to Las Vegas and play the slot machines. Her gambling
behavior is being reinforced on a __________ schedule.
a. fixed-ratio b. fixed-interval c. variable-ratio d. variable-interval

9. After observing a Bo-Bo doll being punched, Jimmy goes outside
and punches Billy. This behavior shows
a. children will only learn the aggression they observe
b. boys will be boys
c. Jimmy is a naughty boy who needs to be beaten with a stick
d. children will often improvise and be innovative after
observing violence

10. A reinforcer that is reinforcing in and of itself is called a(n)
a. positive reinforcer b. negative reinforcer c. primaryreinforcer d. secondary reinforcer