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Updated: Jun 19 2017

Learning and Conditioning

  • Simple learning
    • Habituation
      • repeated stimulation → ↓ response
    • Sensitization
      • repeated stimulation → ↑ response
  • Classical conditioning
    • Reflexive response normally elicited by an unconditioned stimulus becomes evocable by a second, conditioned stimulus
    • Pavlov's dogs are the typical example of classical conditioning
      • ringing a bell provoked salivation
        • natural response = salivation
        • conditioned stimulus = bell
        • unconditioned stimulus = food
    • Extinction occurs when the conditioned stimulus is no longer associated with the unconditioned stimulus.
      • over time the response will no longer be elicited
  • Operant conditioning
    • Type of learning in which reward elicits action
    • Positive reinforcement
      • desired reward produces action
      • e.g. mouse presses button to get food
    • Negative reinforcement
      • removal of aversive stimulus elicits behavior
      • e.g. mouse presses button to avoid shock
    • Punishment
      • aversive stimulus prevents unwanted behavior
    • Extinction
      • discontinuation of reinforcement eliminates behavior
  • Reinforcement schedules
    • Pattern of reinforcement determines how quickly a behavior is learned or extinguished
    • Continuous
      • reward received after every response
      • rapidly extinguished
      • think "vending machine"
    • Variable ratio
      • reward received after random number of responses
      • slowly extinguished
      • think "slot machine"
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