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Learning and Memory. Stimulus learning; elicited behavior. Definitions. Stimulus Response Elicit Novelty Salient Trials. Elicited Behavior: Reflexes. Innate Automatic responses Fixed? Examples Patella tendon reflex Newborn reflexes Pain-withdrawal reflex

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Learning and Memory

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learning and memory

Learning and Memory

Stimulus learning; elicited behavior

  • Stimulus
  • Response
  • Elicit
  • Novelty
  • Salient
  • Trials
elicited behavior reflexes
Elicited Behavior: Reflexes
  • Innate
  • Automatic responses
  • Fixed?
  • Examples
    • Patella tendon reflex
    • Newborn reflexes
    • Pain-withdrawal reflex
  • Very simple in the nervous system
complex forms of elicited behavior
Complex forms of elicited behavior
  • Fixed (Modal) action patterns
    • Tinbergen and Lorenz
    • Definition
    • Example
      • Eibl-Eidesfeldt (1975) and squirrels

Species of squirrel and nut burying behavior

    • Observed that once squirrel: Picks up the nut  climbs down to the ground  searches for a place at the bottom of tree trunk or large rock
    • MAP: Once found, scratches a hole with forelimbs  places the nut in hole  rams the nut in place with snout  covers with dirt
  • Is this innate? Maybe they learn by watching other squirrels.
  • Example – Herring-gulls and egg rolling behavior
infant caregiving a map
Infant caregiving – A MAP?
  • Head large in proportion to the body
  • Protruding forehead large in proportion to the size of the rest of the face
  • Large ears and eyes below the midline of the head
  • Small nose
  • Short thick extremities
  • Rounded body shape
  • Soft elastic body surfaces
  • Round protruding cheeks
  • Animals that are “cute” have similar traits.

Key aspects of MAPS

  • Stereotypical behaviors, but not fixed
  • Sign stimulus
    • Key features of the sign stimulus are needed
    • Ex. Herring-gull bill
    • Ex. Sexual behavior in Japanese quail
  • Adaptive
  • Innate-releasing mechanism
  • Depend on situational factors – E.g., motivation, timing, etc.
  • Supernormal stimulus –
    • Gull example

Imprinting – immediate learning

    • Ducks and boxes
  • Critical periods
  • Memory lasts the life-span
  • Examples: Mice and odors
  • Zebra finches and mate choice
  • Westermark effect
    • Israeli kibbutz
    • Adaptive?
changing elicited behavior habituation and sensitization
Changing elicited behavior: Habituation and Sensitization
  • Orienting response
    • Depends on the nature of the stimulus
    • Infants and OR
  • Habituation – reduction of the orienting response after repeated presentations.
    • Simplest form of learning
    • In all species including protozoa and isolated tissue
    • adaptive
  • Examples?
  • Not just the OR
habituation of the startle response in rats
Habituation of the Startle Response in Rats
  • http://go.owu.edu/~deswartz/videos/habituation.mov
measuring habituation
Measuring Habituation
  • GSR
  • Heart rate changes
  • Eye fixation
  • Lever pressing
  • Opposite of habituation
  • Increased response with repeated stimulation.
  • Intense and salient stimuli
  • Examples:
    • Pain response
    • Annoying sounds
    • Fear-potentiated startle
    • Everyday examples?

Habituation is learning

    • Not sensory adaptation or fatigue
    • Can last over long periods of time (long-term habituation)
    • dishabituation

Habituation of reflexive behavior

  • Reflex is a 3 step process
    • Stimulus activates sense organ
    • Relay of sensory messages through interneurons to motor neurons
    • Activation of motor neurons causing muscle to move
  • Habituation occurs at the second step





characteristics of habituation
Characteristics of habituation
  • Stimulus specificity of habituation:
    • Stimulus generalization
    • Generalization gradient

Effects of time:

    • A) Habituation will not occur if trials are very spaced.
    • greater stimulus frequency, greater habituation

Effects of time:

    • B) Responding may reoccur after a lapse of time: spontaneous recovery
spontaneous recovery video
Spontaneous Recovery Video
  • http://go.owu.edu/~deswartz/videos/spontaneous_recovery.mov

Effects of exposure to a second stimulus

  • Dishabituation
  • Sensitive to time: Attenuation of dishabituation when there is a time gap.
dishabituation video
Dishabituation video
  • http://go.owu.edu/~deswartz/videos/dishabituation.mov

Savings in habituation

1st habituation

2nd habituation


Sensitization effects mirror habituation

  • More stimulus generalization
  • Sensitization = arousal
theories of habituation and sensitization
Theories of Habituation and Sensitization
  • Two underlying processes exist
    • 1) A Habituation process
    • 2) A Sensitization process
  • The observable behavior is the sum of these two processes.
  • The habituation effect is observed when the habituation process is greater than the sensitization process.
dual process examples
Dual Process examples

Sensitization effect

Habituation effect

habituation and human infant research
Habituation and Human Infant Research
  • Used to study infant perception and cognition
    • Difficult to study





Habituation-dishabituation procedure

    • The infant is exposed repeatedly to a stimulus until its looking at the stimulus is at a low value
    • Habituation is only possible if the infant remembers the stimulus
    • Dishabituation is only possible if the infant can compare the stimulus to the original stimulus
what do infants like to look at
What do infants like to look at?
  • Moderately bright objects
  • Moderately complex objects
    • Changes as child develops
      • 3-week-olds like 2x2 checkerboards
      • 14-week-olds like 8x8 checkerboards
      • 4-month-olds initially preferred 2x2, but after repeated ex. Liked 24x24
  • Prefer attractive faces