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  1. 1. Learning in Psychology ByDr. Soheir H. ElGhonemy Assistant Professor of Psychiatry- Ain Shams University MD in Psychiatry and Addiction Arab Board in PsychiatryMember of International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM
  2. 2. LearningIt is the process by which past experience and practiceresult in relatively permanent change in behavior.Learning is a process that depends on experience andleads to long-term changes in behavior potential.Learning is a relatively permanent change in anorganism’s behavior that results from experience 2
  3. 3. Behaviorist; learning is the modification of behaviourbrought about by experience.Cognitive psychologists; learning is the study of howinformation is sensed, stored, elaborated and retrieved.Others would stress the importance of meta-cognition(learning to learn), or reflection on experience as well asexperience per se.Humanistic psychologists; are more likely to insist thatpersonal growth and development are at the heart oflearning.Constructivists; argue that learning is primarilyconcerned with how people develop different conceptionsand constructions of reality. 3
  4. 4. Learning as an increase in knowledge.Learning is memorizing.Learning is acquiring facts or proceduresthat are to be used.Learning is making sense.Learning is understanding reality;“Personally meaningful learning” 4
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  6. 6. Types of LearningI. Classical Conditioning:Classical Conditioning can be defined as a type of learning in whicha stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a reflexive response thatwas originally evoked by a different stimulus.Ivan Pavlov - Russian physiologist interested in behavior (researchon digestion).Pavlov was studying salivation in dogs - he was measuring theamount of salivation produced by the salivary glands of dogs bypresenting them meat powder through a food dispenser.Stimulus-Response; S-R Bonds 6
  7. 7. a) Unconditioned Stimulus (US) - a stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without any prior conditioning (no learning needed for the response to occur).b) Unconditioned Response (UR) - an unlearned reaction/response to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without prior conditioning.c) Conditioned Stimulus (CS) - a previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.d) Conditioned Response (CR) - a learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of prior conditioning.*These are reflexive behaviors. Not a result from engaging in goaldirected behavior. 8
  8. 8. Basic Principles:I- Acquisition:There are several different ways conditioning can occur -- order that the stimulus-response can occur:1. delayed conditioning (forward) - the CS is presented before the US and it (CS)stays on until the US is presented. This is generally the best, especially when thedelay is short.example - a bell begins to ring and continues to ring until food is presented.2. trace conditioning - discrete event is presented, then the US occurs. Shorterthe interval the better, this approach is not very effective.example - a bell begins ringing and ends just before the food is presented.3. simultaneous conditioning - CS and US presented together. Not very good.example - the bell begins to ring at the same time the food is presented. Bothbegin, continue, and end at the same time.4. backward conditioning - US occurs before CS.example - the food is presented, then the bell rings. This is not really effective. 9
  9. 9. II-Extinction :This is a gradual weakening and eventual disappearance of theCR tendency. Extinction occurs from multiple presentations of CSwithout the US.Essentially, the organism continues to be presented with theconditioned stimulus but without the unconditioned stimulus theCS loses its power to evoke the CR.For example, Pavlovs dogs stopped salivating when the dispensersound kept occurring without the meat powder following. 10
  10. 10. III- Spontaneous Recovery:Sometimes there will be a reappearance of a responsethat had been extinguished. The recovery can occurafter a period of non-exposure to the CS. It is calledspontaneous because the response seems to reappearout of nowhere.IV- Stimulus Generalization:A response to a specific stimulus becomes associatedto other stimuli (similar stimuli) and now occurs to thoseother similar stimuli. 11
  11. 11. John Watson conditioned a baby (Albert) to be afraid of a whiterabbit by showing Albert the rabbit and then slamming two metalpipes together behind Alberts head (nice!). The pipes produced avery loud, sudden noise that frightened Albert and made him cry.Watson did this several times (multiple trials) until Albert wasafraid of the rabbit. Previously he would pet the rabbit and playwith it. After conditioning, the sight of the rabbit made Albertscream -- then what Watson found was that Albert began to showsimilar terrified behaviors to Watsons face (just looking atWatsons face made Albert cry.). What Watson realized was thatAlbert was responding to the white beard Watson had at the time.So, the fear evoked by the white, furry, rabbit, had generalized toother white, furry things, like Watsons beard. 12
  12. 12. V- Stimulus Discrimination :Learning to respond to one stimulus and not another.Thus, an organisms becomes conditioned to respond toa specific stimulus and not to other stimuli.e.g.: a puppy may initially respond to lots of differentpeople, but over time it learns to respond to only one ora few peoples commands.VI- Higher Order Conditioning:A CS can be used to produce a response from anotherneutral stimulus (can evoke CS). There are a couple ofdifferent orders or levels.light -- US (food)--> UR (salivation) light -- US (food) -> CR (salivation) tone -- light--> CR (salivation) tone -- light --> CR (salivation ) 13
  13. 13. Classical Conditioning in Everyday Life*Optimism and pessimism.*Advertising; modern advertising strategies evolved fromJohn Watsons use of conditioning. The approach is tolink an attractive US with a CS (the product being sold)so the consumer will feel positively toward the productjust like they do with the US.*Conditioned Fear & Anxiety - many phobias that peopleexperience are the results of conditioningPartly classical and partly operant conditioning; pairing adog (CS) with bite pain (UCS)= sense of fear (UCR)repeated the site of dog= sense of fear (CR) 14
  14. 14. II- Operant Conditioning:A type of learning in which voluntary (controllable; non-reflexive) behavior is strengthened if it is reinforced andweakened if it is punished (or not reinforced).Skinnerian conditioning= InstrumentalConditioning/LearningCompared to Classical Conditioning, OperantConditioning attempts to predict non-reflexive, morecomplex behaviors, and the conditions in which theywill occur. In addition, it deals with behaviors that areperformed so that the organism can obtainreinforcement. 15
  15. 15. The organism has a lot of control. Just because astimulus is presented, does not necessarily mean thatan organism is going to react in any specific way.Instead, reinforcement is dependent on theorganisms behavior.*Skinner Box - a chamber in which Skinner placedanimals; rats and pigeons to study. It contains either alever or key that can be pressed in order to receivereinforcements such as food and water.*The Skinner Box created Free Operant Procedure. 16
  16. 16. Shaping - operant conditioning method for creating anentirely new behavior by using rewards to guide anorganism toward a desired behavior (calledSuccessive Approximations). In doing so, theorganism is rewarded with each small advancement inthe right direction. Once one appropriate behavior ismade and rewarded, the organism is not reinforcedagain until they make a further advancement, thenanother and another until the organism is onlyrewarded once the entire behavior is performed. 17
  17. 17. Principles of ReinforcementSkinner identified two types of reinforcing events - those in which areward is given; and those in which something bad is removed. Ineither case, the point of reinforcement is to increase the frequency orprobability of a response occurring again.1) Positive reinforcement - give an organism a pleasant stimuluswhen the operant response is made. a rat presses the lever (operantresponse) and it receives a treat (positive reinforcement)2) Negative reinforcement - take away an unpleasant stimulus whenthe operant response is made. stop shocking a rat when it presses thelever . 18
  18. 18. Two types of reinforcers:1) Primary reinforcer - stimulus that naturally strengthens anyresponse that precedes it (e.g., food, water) without the need forany learning on the part of the organism. These reinforcers arenaturally reinforcing.2) Secondary/conditioned reinforcer - a previously neutralstimulus that acquires the ability to strengthen responses becausethe stimulus has been paired with a primary reinforcer. LikeClassical Conditioning, with the exception that the behavior isvoluntary and occurs before the presentation of a reinforcer. 19
  19. 19. Two types of reinforcement schedules either continuous, andpartial/intermittent.Punishment - Whereas reinforcement increases the probability of aresponse occurring again, the premise of punishment is to decreasethe frequency or probability of a response occurring again.Skinner did not believe that punishment was as powerful a form ofcontrol as reinforcement, even though it is the so commonly used.Thus, it is not truly the opposite of reinforcement like he originallythought, and the effects are normally short-lived. 20
  20. 20. There are two types of punishment:1) Positive - presentation of an aversive stimulus todecrease the probability of an operant response occurringagain. e.g.; a child reaches for a cookie beforedinner, and you slap his hand.2) Negative - the removal of a pleasant stimulus todecrease the probability of an operant response occurringagain. e.g.; each time a child says a curse word, youremove one pound from his money. 21
  21. 21. Token EconomyIt is a type of behavioral therapy based on operant conditioning inwhich token are used as reinforcers.Targeting the behavior of different organism by the use of differentproper reinforcement for every subject.Uses:1. Chronic schizophrenia.2. MR for teaching social skills.3. Children with conduct disturbances.4. To change any unwanted behavior. 22
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