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Introduction to Psychology Suzy Scherf Lecture 6: How Do We Act? Learning and the Role of Experience. Psychology without Evolution. Behaviorists -. Nativists -. Psychology without Evolution. Behaviorists and Nativists came up with same conclusion:

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Introduction to Psychology

Suzy Scherf

Lecture 6: How Do We Act?

Learning and the

Role of Experience


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Psychology without Evolution

Behaviorists -

Nativists -


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Psychology without Evolution

Behaviorists and Nativists came up with same conclusion:

Since learning results from an individual’s experience:


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Psychology without Evolution

1. Nature vs. Nurture -

2. Genetic Fallacy -

3. Instincts control animal behavior -



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Genetic Fallacy

The idea that traits with a genetic basis are automatically fixed and inflexible.


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Instincts vs. Learning

What do we mean by “instincts”


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Instincts vs. Learning

Even animal behaviors that appear to be completely “instinctual” require learning:


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Instincts vs. Learning

What do we mean by “learning”


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Instincts vs. Learning

Even animal behaviors that appear to be completely “learned” are influenced by the genotype:




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Why Design an Obligate Adaptation?

  • When a single solution works best across a wide range of environments

  • Obligate traits ‘expect’ a certain range of environments

Experience Still Matters:



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Why Design a Facultative Adaptation?

1. When the environment is variable within the lifetimes of individuals.

2. When the fittest alternative varies from one environment to the next


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Norm of Reaction for a

Facultative Trait:

High

(Phenotype)

Low

Low

(Environment)

High

Levelof Melanin Synthesis

Level of UVb Radiation


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Reaction Range for an

Obligate Trait: Discontinuous

Abnormal

(Range of Normal

Phenotype)

(Range of Normal

Environment)

Abnormal



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What Kind of Learning? depending on -

  • Learning involves -

  • Learning mechanisms are -

  • Facultative adaptations are -


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What Kind of Learning? depending on -

1. Birds learning “star compass” -

2. Ants navigation home in most efficient way using “dead reckoning”

3. Human infants learning language -

4. Monkeys showing “insight” in food foraging


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What Kind of Learning? depending on -

5. Dogs being classically conditioned -

6. Cats being operantly conditioned -

7. Human’s learning to play a game of weather forecasting using -

8. Monkeys learning to do -


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

1. Ecological Context - -

  • EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness):


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

2. Critical Period Learning -

  • Specialized to happen once -

  • Indigo Buntings -

  • Human’s -


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

2. Critical Period Learning -

  • Requires specialized experiences to develop

  • Time window -

  • Traits vary in their sensitivity to critical periods


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

2. Critical Period Learning -

  • Deprivation and excessive enrichment experiences -

  • Related to plasticity

  • Different brain systems -


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

3. Preparedness -

  • Over-prepared -


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Concepts Relevant to Learning depending on -

3. Preparedness -

  • Under-prepared -


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Are there any General-Purpose Learning Mechanisms? depending on -

  • Can we think of any general problems that animals face?

  • Problems that would be solved with a single learning mechanism?


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Classical Conditioning depending on -

  • Learning that some external thing can elicit a reaction from your body

  • Forming an association (noticing a pairing) between -


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Classical Conditioning is Still not depending on -

General-Purpose


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Operant Conditioning depending on -:

Learning Associations between Behaviors and Consequences


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Operant Conditioning depending on -

Reinforcers and Punishers affect behavior

Reinforcers -

Punishers -


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Operant Conditioning depending on -

Still not general-purpose


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Limitations of Conditioning depending on -

1.

2.

3.

4.




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