What Is Learning? A N D How Do We Learn?


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What Is Learning? A N D How Do We Learn?

  1. 1. What is Learning ? Chapter 1
  2. 2. Must Learning Result in a Behavioral Change? How Permanent is Relatively Permanent? Learning and Performance. Why do we refer to practice or experience? Does learning result from a specific kind of experience? A modified definition of learning Are there different kinds of learning ? Classical Conditioning Instrumental Conditioning Learning and Survival Why Study Learning? Essential Questions Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  3. 3. Learning – To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery through experience or study. Most psychologist have difficulty with this definition because it contains the nebulous terms; Knowledge, Comprehension, and mastery. Definition of learning Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  4. 4. Many psychologist prefer to define learning as changes in observable behavior. Kimble defines learning as: A relatively permanent change in behavior potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice. Psychologist definition of learning Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  5. 5. For the Skinnerians (and you know who you are), reinforcers strengthen behavior but rewards do not. Skinner (1986) elaborated on these points : The strengthening effect [of reinforcement] is missed…when rein forcers are called rewards . People are rewarded, but behavior is reinforced. If, as you walk along the street, you look down and find some money, and if money is reinforcing, you will tend to look down again for come time, but we should not say that you were rewarded for looking down. As the history of the word shows, reward implies compensation, something that offsets a sacrifice or loss, if only the expenditure of effort. We give heroes medals, students degrees, and famous people prizes, but those rewards are not directly contingent on what they have done, and it is generally felt that rewards would not be deserved if they had not been worked for. Skinner : Rewards Vs. Reinforcements Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  6. 6. Must Learning Result in a Behavioral Change? We study behavior so that we can make inferences concerning the process believed to be the cause of the behavioral changes we are observing. B.F. Skinner argued that behavioral changes are learning and no further process needs to be inferred. Other theorists say that behavioral changes result from learning. Most people, however, look on learning as a process that mediates behavior. Learning is something that occurs as the result of certain experiences and precedes changes in behavior. Learning is the intervening variable. An intervening variable is a theoretical process that is assumed to take place between the observed stimuli and responses. Independent variables cause a change in the intervening variable (learning), which in turn causes a change in the dependent variable (behavior). Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  7. 7. Independent Variable Intervening Variable Behavioral Changes Learning Dependent Variables Experience Diagram of behavior change process Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  8. 8. How permanent is relatively permanent? (how long will changes in behavior last…) Short – term memory - if unfamiliar information, such as a nonsense syllable, is presented to individuals who are prevented from rehearsing the information, will retain the material almost perfectly for about three seconds. In the following fifteen seconds, however, their retention drops to almost zero. Despite the fact that the information is lost over such a short period of time, we would hesitate to say that no learning occurred. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  9. 9. How permanent is relatively permanent? (how long will changes in behavior last…) Sensitization – the process whereby an organism is made more responsive to certain aspects of its environment. For example, an organism that may not ordinarily respond to a certain light or sound may do so after receiving a shock. The shock, therefore, sensitized the organism, making it more responsive to its environment. Feeling “touchy” or hypersensitive following an upsetting experience is a form of sensitization with which we are all familiar. Habituation – Process whereby an organism becomes less responsive to its environment . Becoming accustomed to any behavior or condition, including psychoactive substance use. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  10. 10. Learning and Performance There is a very important distinction between learning and performance . Learning refers to a change in behavior potentiality, and performance refers to the translation of this potentiality into behavior. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  11. 11. Why do we refer to practice or experience? Because the term instinctive was offered as an explanation of behavior, we now tend to use the term species-specific behavior. Imprinting – The formation of an attachment between an organism and an environment object First described by Konrad Lorenz. Imprinting is characterized by three characteristics. 1.) It is a behavior that results from passive exposure to a stimulus. 2.) It is irreversibly or very difficult to reverse. 3.) It is limited to an early stage in development, ie immediately after their eyes open. Caique chicks not only imprint on their parents, but also their siblings and even the humans who handle them while they are still in the nest. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  12. 12. Kimble’s definition of learning Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior or in behavioral potentiality that results from experience and cannot be attributed to temporary body stages such as those induced by illness, fatigue, or drugs. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  13. 13. Learning : Classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, escape conditioning, avoidance conditioning. In classical conditioning , which was discovered by Pavlov, a light or sound is paired with a natural reinforcement. The response which was initially produced by the reinforcement becomes conditioned' so that it occurs to the light or sound even when no reinforcement is given. This is therefore a matter of learning an association between two stimuli (the reinforcement and the light or sound) and is referred to as SS conditioning. (see also, Operant Conditioning, Conditioning) Classical conditioning, also called "pavlovian conditioning" and "respondent conditioning", is a type of learning involving animals, caused by the association (or pairing) of two stimuli. The simplest form of classical conditioning is reminiscent of what Aristotle would have called the law of contiguity. Essentially, Aristotle said, "When two things commonly occur together, the appearance of one will bring the other to mind." the process of using an established relationship between a stimulus and a response to cause the learning of the same response to a different stimulus
  14. 14. Instrumental conditioning reinforcement occurs only after the response is given In instrumental conditioning, the animal’s behavior is “instrumental” in getting it something it wants, that is, a reinforcer. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  15. 15. Skinner Box Skinner Box – a small experimental test chamber used to demonstrate instrumental conditioning (or a closely allied form of conditioning called operant conditioning). Can be electrified with a feeder mechanism. Escape conditioning – The organism must perform some response in order to escape. Avoidance Conditioning – The organism learns to associate the light with the onset of shock , and it will perform its response in order to avoid the shock whenever it sees the light go on. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  16. 16. Homeostatic Mechanisms Homeostatic Mechanisms – Function is to maintain a physiological equilibrium, or homeostasis. E.g., If we get too hot, our body cools us down. Blood sugar too low, secretions to raise it.
  17. 17. Schwartz, Wasserman, and Robbins Indeed, if we conceive of Pavlovian conditioning as a kind of predictive analysis, we can even see virtue in the fact that it usually takes numerous CS-US pairing before an association is formed. Suppose we learned after a single pairing of CS and US. If we did, any stimulus that accidentally preceded, say, a shock, would produce conditioned fear. Because there is always some stimulus around when a shock (or some natural aversive event) occurs, we might end up walking around in fear of virtually everything. However, if conditioning requires multiple pairings, this most paralyzing and maladaptive possibility is largely eliminated. Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)
  18. 18. The End ! Presented by Brent Daigle, Ph.D. (ABD)