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  • 1.Dummies Guide to the Learning approach.Key assumptions1) Our environment shapes our behaviour. Environmental factors act as stimuli and we respondto them. We are born with a blank slate upon which our lives are written based on ourexperiences of the world. Experiences lead us to behave in particular ways, the role of genetics is seen as relativelyunimportant and does not for example restrict out ability to succeed, we all have equal potential to be anything we want tobe.2) Behaviour is measurable. We can set up a stimulus and observe and measure the response. Thereforelearning is observable and therefore can be studied scientifically. This can lead to general laws about ourbehaviour such as the Law of Effect by Thorndike.There are 3 types of learning: Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning and Social Learning.CLASSICAL CONDITIONINGOnly applies to reflexive natural responses. E.g. Pavlovs dogsThe unconditioned stimulus (UCS) (eg food) produces an unconditioned response (UCR) (eg salivation). By pairing aneutral stimulus (NS) (eg bell) with the UCS an association is established and after several trials the NS becomes theconditioned stimulus (CS) and now produces the conditioned response (CR) (salivation) in its own right. Once the CR-CSlink has been established it will need occasional links back to the UCS+NS to maintain the response, otherwise extinctioncan occur.UCS e.g. food --> UCR e.g. salivationUCS e.g. food + CS e.g. sound of bell --> UCR e.g. salivationCS e.g. sound of bell --> CR e.g. salivationExtinction occurs if UCS and CS not paired for a while, dog stops salivating.Generalisation means associating a similar stimulus with the CRDiscrimination means associating only one stimulus with the CRSpontaneous recovery is when a CR recurs in response to the CS after extinctionDelayed conditioning is where the NS is presented before the UCS but is still present as the UCS ispresented and is the most effective method in expts. Trace conditioning is where the NS again is present before the UCS butstops before the UCS is presented. The time gap here is critical if it is very short it can be moderately effective, the longerthe time lapse the less effective. Simultaneous conditioning is where the NS & UCS are presented simultaneously and isslightly effective. Backwards conditioning is where the NS comes after the UCS and is considered not to work in non-human animals though it does in humans.Evaluation: reliable, has practical applications such as systematic desensitisation and aversion therapy, valid,much research only done on animals, does not explain all behaviour.Classical conditioning in humans: Specific phobias are seen as an example of classical conditioning in humans, forexample it was discovered that a child afraid of sand had a sand pit near a garden gate, a local dog when passing the gatesnarled and snapped at the child causing fear (UCS-UCR) because the child was in the sand pit sand was the NS and thephobia developed.A study demonstrating classical conditioning is Little Albert, Watson and Rayner (1920)Systematic desensitisation used to treat phobias. You cannot feel 2 emotions at once so if UCS is relaxation, thenUCR is relaxation, if UCS paired with CS spider leads to UCR relaxation so CS spider leads to CRrelaxation.Evaluation: works better for small phobias like agoraphobia, therapy works, patients need goodimagination, therapy doesnt deal with cause of phobia only behaviour.

2. 1) Little Albert, Watson and Rayner 1920Aim: to explore how classical conditioning could be used to create a phobia in humans using CC principles.Method: ExperimentProcedure: 11-month baby Albert, placid and emotionally stable. Banged metal bar to startle Albert and then linked noiseto Albert playing with pet rat. The NS in Watson and Rayners experiment was a white rat. Trials before the experiment hadshown that Albert did not mind the rat and certainly did not object to it. The UCS in the experiment was the noise made byhitting an iron bar with a hammer just behind Albert. This produced a loud noise that Albert found very upsetting. On aseries of occasions, Watson and Rayner presented Albert with the rat and, when he noticed it, struck the metal bar behind hishead. Predictably, this caused Albert to become quite upset. After a few trials, they presented the rat on its own. Evenwithout the noise, Albert started crying. He had learned to associate the rat with the noise, and this had produced aconditioned reflex:Noise (UCS) = Anxiety (UCR)Noise(UCS) + Rat (NS) = Anxiety (UCR)Rat (CS) = Anxiety (CR)Results: After a few trails Albert agitated on seeing rat. it became clear that it wasnt just rats that made Albert upset. Hisanxiety response had generalised to some other objects white furry ones that were similar to the white rat.Conclusion: Watson & Rayner concluded that they had succeeded in conditioning in an infant fear of an animal the childwould not ordinarily be frightened of. Stimulus generalisation also was claimed in that Albert transferred the fear to othersimilar stimuli. From the fact that the conditioned response was still present after 31 days, Watson & Rayner concluded itmight last a lifetime. Ivan Pavlov had shown that Classical Conditioning occurs in dogs but Watson & Rayner were thefirst to demonstrate it occurred in humans too.Evaluation: J Supported Pavlovs findings, good controls, The study was carefully documented; witnesses helped to recordthe data and there were strict controls. Only one variable was changed at a time. The extensive documentation meant thestudy could have been replicated and, therefore, tested for reliability but low ecological validity because it was carried outin a lab.L Ethical issues Albert frightened. Alberts mother appears not to have given fully-informed consent - though thereclearly was some degree of consent and an understanding of when he would be taken back by his motherThe researchers deliberately exposed Albert to psychological harm - causing him distress. They allowed him to rest inbetween exposures to frightening stimuli but continued even when it was clear he was distressed. Hard to generalize toothers.Conditioning and Phobias Behaviourists believe that phobias are an example of classical conditioning. What is required to produce a phobia is aUCS that produces a strong emotional reaction, pain, for example, and a situation where that UCS can becomeassociated with a neutral stimulus. For example, suppose a person got bitten by a dog when they were a child:Pain (UCS) _ Anxiety (UCR)Pain (UCS) + Dog (NS) _ Anxiety (UCR)Dog (CS) _ Anxiety (CR)If that anxiety response generalises from that particular dog to all dogs then the result would be that the person becameanxious every time they saw a dog. In other words, they would have developed a phobia. OPERANT CONDITONINGThis is where a new behaviour is created or an existing behaviour removed as a result ofselective use of rewards and punishments. Behaviour is shaped by successivereinforcements until the animal is doing precisely what is wanted. The principles of OC are:Positive reinforcement to increase behaviour something good is given (rewards, food)Negative reinforcement to increase behaviour something bad is taken away (electric shock)Negative Punishment to decrease behaviour something bad is given (smack, detention)Positive punishment to decrease behaviour something good is taken away (PS3, mobile)Primary reinforcers: are linked to basic needs (food, water, sex and warmth),Secondary reinforcers: something that can satisfy a basic need (money, tokens, stickers, praise, extra time)Continuous reinforcement where the organism is reinforced every time the behaviour is performed is not seen as a veryeffective as the behaviour will stop almost immediately if the reinforcer is missed and the rate of responding is not very highfor most reinforcers. 3. Fixed ratio schedule is where the reinforcer is given for every nth time the action is performed,Variable ratio there is no predictability about when the reinforcer will occur. This produces the highest level of consistentperformance, is very resistant to extinction and is the reinforcement schedule producedby gambling.Fixed interval is where the reinforcer comes after a set amount of time. This produces aperformance pattern where the rate of responding rapidly increases as the time for thereinforcer is approached; this is followed by inactivity after reinforcement and then abuild up again as the next time point approaches.Variable interval reinforcement comes after a period of time that varies but averages outat a certain level; it produces a slow but very steady rate of responding and is resistant toextinction.Extinction, generalisation and discrimination all occur in operant conditioning.Evaluation: J studies use experimental method and controls so they are scientific and cause and effectconclusions can be drawn. Both CC and OC can be used in therapies so they have practical applications. A lot ofit is common sense and useful when applied to learning in schools etc and token economyL Studies use animals so generalization and credibility is in doubt. Studies are lab experiments and use animalsso validity is questionable too. Many studies use animals generalised to humans, does not explaingenetic/biological ones, adults dont always reinforce young children so how do children know how to use thecorrect grammar?A study demonstrating operant conditioning is Skinners study on superstitious behaviour in pigeons.SOCIAL LEARNING THEORYWe learn from people we look up to and identify with. SLT recognises that behaviours often occur that have not beenreinforced but merely observed in others. The individual observes a behaviour being performed by a model (anotherperson) and also notes the consequences of their actions.The observer then imitates or models (copies) the behaviour that they have seen. There is no cognition or planninginvolve