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Principles of Learning. How do parents and other influential adults consciously try to shape children’s behavior and attitudes by rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior?. Can parental behavior also unconsciously shape children’s behavior? If so, how?.

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Principles of Learning

How do parents and other

influential adults consciously

try to shape children’s

behavior and attitudes by

rewarding good behavior and

punishing bad behavior?

Can parental behavior also

unconsciously shape children’s

behavior? If so, how?


Principles of Learning

Form into groups of 3-4.

Appoint a recorder per group.

Write a series of 4 or more

statements that explain cause-

and-effect relationships between

types of stimuli and responses.


Principles of Learning

Here is your homework assignment.

Recall a situation in which

you taught another person

a skill or how to do a task.

Write a brief account about it (1-page.) Make sure to include a description of the strategy you used in teaching—modeling, rewards, punishments, etc.—and whether or not you were successful.


Principles of Learning

Let’s begin by reviewing a 1982 experiment about learning. Turn to p. 241 of the textbook and read “Which Pen Would You Choose?” at the top of the page.


Principles of Learning

So how do the behaviorists and the cognitive psychologists differ on the topic of learning?

OK—so how does our textbook define learning?

An experience which produces

a lasting change in behavior

or mental processes

Behaviorists: reject mental

processes and focus only on

what can be observed.

Cognitive psychologists: in

addition to behavior, learning requires that we make inferences about hidden mental processes


Principles of Learning

Hello Mustang AP psych students. I’m Winnie, Simoncini’s dog. How does learning differ from instincts?

Instinctive (species-typical

behavior) is heavily influ-

enced by genetic program-

ming. Most of what my

fellow animals and I do is

instinctive, because our

actions tend be influenced

very little by experience.

Your (human) behavior is

more influenced by learning

based on experience.


Principles of Learning

Can YOU give tell me the definitions of habituation and mere exposure effect?

Habituation: involves learning

NOT TO RESPOND to stimulation

(ignoring the sound of traffic on

a busy street—sensory adaptation)

Mere exposure effect: a preference

for stimuli to which we have been

previously exposed—accounts for

the effectiveness of advertising.

The heck with the noise—I’ve learned to sleep like a baby.

“The few; the

proud; the



Classical Conditioning




Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning

Controlling a response such

that an old response becomes

attached to a new stimulus.

Example in your lives:

Bells at school:

begin/end passing

periods or fire



Classical Conditioning

Pavlov’s experiment

Pavlov’s experiment: the tuning fork was a neutral stimulus (nothing that had to do with the response to meat

prior to conditioning)


Classical Conditioning

Unconditioned stimulus:

Event that leads to certain

predictable response without

previous training.

Unconditioned response:

The salivation—the reaction occurs

naturally & automatically given

unconditioned stimulus (a reflex)


Classical Conditioning

Acquisition—the conditioned, or

learned, response

NS/UCS = CS and leads to CR




Classical Conditioning

Conditioned stimulus (CS)

Neutral event which, after

conditioning, leads to a


Conditioned response (CR)

The salivation caused by

the conditioned stimulus—

the neutral event that would

not normally lead to



Classical Conditioning

stop presenting food after sound of tuning fork, sound gradually loses effect.


After time


Classical Conditioning

Spontaneous recovery:

Spontaneous recovery: conditioned

responses may appear following

extinction, after time, but generally

at a lower intensity.





Classical Conditioning


Animal responds to a second

stimulus similar to the

original CS, without prior

training in second stimulus.


Classical Conditioning


Respond differently to

different stimuli


Classical Conditioning

John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner and the Little Albert Experiment

Conditioned Albert to react fearfully to a white lab rat.

Created the fear by repeatedly presenting the rat

paired with an aversive UCS—loud sound.

Took only 7 trials for Little Albert to react with fear at

the appearance of the rat (CS) alone.

The fear—extinguished rapidly.


Classical Conditioning

Other applications of classical conditioning

Sailors and battle stations

during World War II—still

a strong reaction 15 years



Classical Conditioning


Here is a scene from

the 1995 movie,

French Kiss, in which

the character Kate

undergoes a form of



Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning in


Hobart & Mollie Mowrer (1938)

Bed-wetting: the

bell and pad

Alarm = UCS

Waking = UR

Full bladder = CS


Child wakes (CR)


Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning in


Taste aversions

Sickness after

eating something for the first time or

after not eating for some time—tend to

blame the new food.


Classical Conditioning

John Garcia and Robert Koelling (1966)

Garcia and Koelling found that

rats readily learned an association

between flavored water and illness,

yet the rats could not be conditioned

to associate flavored water with an

electric shock delivered through a

grid on the floor of the test chamber


Classical Conditioning

Taste aversions: a challenge to Pavlov

The tendency to develop taste aversions

appears to be part of our biological nature;

therefore, taste aversions are not a simple

classically conditioned response

Garcia et al used classical (aversive)

conditioning to dissuade wild coyotes from

attacking sheep.

Wrapped toxic lamb burgers in sheepskins and

stashed them on sheep ranches—30-50%

reduction in sheep attacks


Classical Conditioning

Oh boy! Now it’s time for an experiment. We science teachers just love experiments. To begin, I need a volunteer.

The Lamp Experiment

Materials needed:

lamp, table, glass of water &

a spoon; plus a volunteer


Operant Conditioning

Learning from the consequences

of behavior.

Subject causes some change

in the environment

Repeat or eliminate behaviors

to get reward or avoid


Great job!


Operant Conditioning

Edward Thorndike (1898)

The Thorndike

Puzzle Box


Law of effect: a change in behavior

based on the outcome of previous



Operant Conditioning


stimulus or event that affects

the likelihood that an

immediately preceding

behavior will be repeated.


Operant Conditioning

Positive Conditioning vs. Negative Conditioning

Positive: strengthens a response by occurring

after the response and making the behavior more

likely to occur again

Negative: the removal of an unpleasant or

aversive stimulus (using an umbrella during the


Differ: They mean add or apply vs. subtract

or remove; not good vs. bad


Operant Conditioning

B. F. Skinner and the

Operant chamber or

“Skinner Box.”

Could be set to control the timing and

frequency of reinforcement

(Contingencies of Reinforcement)

the skinner box skinner s hypothesis methodology and results

Operant Conditioning

The “Skinner Box”: Skinner’s Hypothesis, Methodology, and Results
  • Rats placed in “Operant chambers”
  • Shaped to get closer and closer to the bar in order to receive food
  • Eventually required to press the bar to receive food
  • Food is a reinforcer

Operant Conditioning

Schedules of Reinforcement

Continuous schedule


Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is not limited to

simple behaviors—it is used to create

new knowledge by building on old



Operant Conditioning

Shaping—the process in which reinforcement is used to sculpt new responses out of old ones.

My assistant coaches and I use shaping when we teach our team new plays or variations on existing plays.


Operant Conditioning

We do that by developing response chains: combinations of responses that follow one another in a sequence.

That’s right, Coach Merzon. We start by reviewing the basics, like blocking and the numbering of the various holes. Then we teach the blockers more advanced blocking schemes, then how to run a play with all 11 players and then maybe some options. That’s a responsechain—everything builds on something taught before it.


Operant Conditioning

Say Coach, don’t the cheerleading coaches also use response chains in teaching us new routines?

Uh, sure, Joey! Many teachers and coaches of all sports and activities use response chains and reinforcements: aversive control, negative reinforcement, escape conditioning, avoidance conditioning, and other techniques.


I hope I’ll never have to wear one of these prison suits for real.

Operant Conditioning

That is so cool—now I understand all the things that happen at practice!


Operant Conditioning

Schedules of Reinforcement

Continuous schedule

Partial schedule

Fixed-ratio schedule

Reinforcement depends on a

specified schedule of



Operant Conditioning

Variable-ratio schedule

Number of responses needed

for reinforcement changes

from one time to the next.

Fixed-interval schedule

Reinforce first response after

a predetermined amount of

time has elapsed. Time

interval always same.


Operant Conditioning

Variable-interval schedule

The time at which the

reinforcement becomes

available changes through-

out the conditioning


More activity

than fixed-



Operant Conditioning

Primary reinforcers

. . . satisfy or reduce a basic,

natural need, such as hunger.

Secondary (conditioned) reinforcers

conditioned reinforcers

because without the condition-

ing process, it would be a

neutral stimulus having no

positive or negative value.


Operant Conditioning

Behavior therapy

Contingency Management

Used in mental hospitals and

prisons—miniature system of

rewards called token economies


Operant Conditioning

Successive approximations: start with an

easy task and making it more difficult to

get the same reinforcement

Today I got to go pose on the beach after working out for 2 hours. Tomorrow I’ll have to work out for 2 hours, 30 minutes before posing for the ladies on the beach.

Sigh. Simoncini is so buff!! What a totally HOT older man!!! Miss Becky is soooo lucky!!!


Operant Conditioning

Use of the Premack

Principle in education:

Dr. Fred Jones

From book: Positive

Classroom Discipline

Preferred Activity Time


Operant Conditioning

Aversive control

Unpleasant consequences

or punishers.

Negative reinforcement

Takes away an aversive stimulus;

removes unpleasant consequences.


Operant Conditioning

All right! If I squeeze long enough, I can get what I want.

Anything to get his grubby hands off me.

I won’t let go until you promise to do my math homework for a week.

OK, I’ll do your stupid homework, David.

Negative Reinforcement


Operant Conditioning

Escape conditioning

causes an unpleasant event to stop.

Avoidance conditioning

preventing an unpleasant

situation from happening.


Operant Conditioning

Oh boy! It’s time for another experiment.

Everyone partner up—one only.

Next, between you and your partner decide who is the A person and who is the B person.

And take out the rulers you were supposed to bring to class today.

OK. A people stay put; B people outside, away from the door.


Operant Conditioning

Positive punishment vs. negative punishment

Positive punishment requires the application of an aversive stimulus—painful consequences reduce the likelihood of a person repeating that behavior.

Omission training (negative punishment)

removal of a reinforcer—parents taking

away a misbehaving teen’s car keys

Unlike reinforcement, punishment must be administered

consistently; intermittent punishment is far less

effective than punishment delivered after every

undesired response


Operant Conditioning

Punishment vs. negative reinforcement

Punishment is used to decrease a behavior or reduce its probability of recurring.

Negative reinforcement—like positive reinforcement—always increases a response’s probability of occurring again

Remember: positive and negative in this

context means add and remove.


Operant Conditioning

Tierney, you are tardy for the 21st time. You’re going down! Detention!!!

Who does punishment


Punishment often produces an immediate

change in behavior, which, ironically, is reinforcing

to the punisher and a major reason why the use

of punishment is so widespread.

Punishers may feel good while delivering

the punishment


Operant Conditioning

Wow! This is heavy stuff. So, why is punishment so difficult to use effectively?

  • The power of punishment to
  • suppress behavior disappears when
  • the threat of punishment disappears
  • Punishment triggers escape or
  • aggression
  • 3. Punishment is often ineffective
  • 4. Punishment is often applied unequally

Operant Conditioning

It says here that there are seven different conditions needed for punishment to work.

  • Should be swift--immediate
  • Should be certain—administered every time unwanted
  • response occurs
  • Should be limited in duration and intensity
  • Should clearly target the behavior, not the character
  • of the person
  • Should be limited to the situation in which the
  • response occurred
  • Should not give mixed messages to the
  • punished person—you can’t hit others, but I can hit you
  • Most effective is usually omission training

Behavior Modification

Philip Zimbardo and the Stanford

Prison Experiment


Behavior Modification

Philip Zimbardo and

the Stanford

Prison Experiment

recruitment and methodology

Behavior Modification

Recruitment and Methodology
  • Wanted to learn about behaviors and feelings of prisoners or guards
  • Set up a phony prison in a university building
  • Recruited male college students to participate
  • Randomly assigned 24 participants to role of either prisoner or guard

Behavior Modification

  • Guards instructed to make prisoners feel frustrated and not in control
  • Prisoners arrested and booked as real prisoners
  • Guards bullied the prisoners and began “counts”. Observe this film clip about the experiment

Behavior Modification

  • Prisoners staged a rebellion on the second day
  • Guards stepped up their harassment and treated rebellion “ringleaders” differently than the “good” prisoners
  • Prisoners told they couldn’t leave; many became anxious
  • Guards increased bullying tactics as they perceived prisoners to be a real threat
  • Zimbardo and his colleagues adapted to their roles

Behavior Modification

  • Everyone took on the role to which they were assigned—the experiment became very realistic
  • Experiment ended after six days instead of two weeks
  • Prisoners had lost their identity

Behavior Modification


Individual values and identities can break down

under situational pressure where one group

has more power than other groups

Prisons have traditionally been considered

places of punishment and rehabilitation.

Zimbardo concluded that rehabilitation may

be difficult.

Zimbardo: “Prisons are evil places that demean

humanity. . . They are as bad for the guards as

they are for the prisoners


Walden Two

B. F. Skinner


Written 1948;

first printed in


Walden Pond by H. D. Thoreau

Utopia: Thomas More


Walden Two

Enclave in Ohio

Work 2-4 hours; remainder

follow own pursuits

No possessions--communal

Planners, managers, and

scientists—menial tasks as



Walden Two

Self-contained community

No competition

No “thank yous”

A person’s work shall not tax

his strength or threaten his


No personal freedom yet total



Walden Two

Children conditioned from

birth—communal rearing

Behavioral engineering—

control physical and social


Imparting techniques of self-



Walden Two

Education—did not teach

subjects; taught techniques

of thinking and learning.

Most people lived in separate

quarters—even husbands

and wives.


Operant Conditioning

In groups of 1-4, determine an inappropriate behavior that a teenager or young child has. Act as if you were a team of psychologists hired by the young person’s parents to develop a strategy to stop the inappropriate behavior. Take about 15 minutes to develop a strategy employing the advice provided by Zimbardo, et al, on pp. 217-218, drawing in what we have learned about operant conditioning and behaviorist thought to this point. Be certain to include correct


I sure do, Simone. You are so much nicer than your brother!

Miss Becky, after that discussion and that earlier nasty experiment, don’t you think it’s time for another group activity.


Cognitive Psychology

Wolfgang Kohler and Chimp


Suggested that animals were not mindlessly

using conditioned behaviors, but were learning

by recognizing their perceptions of problems.

Kohler called it insight learning.


Principles of Learning

Factors that affect learning

Feedback—finding out the

results of an action or


Experiment time again! I need two volunteers.

Materials: bucket, blindfold,



Principles of Learning

Factors that affect learning

Feedback—finding out the

results of an action or



Skills you already have

into appropriate responses

for another skill


Principles of Learning

Factors that affect learning

Transfer: positive—transfer of a

skill to help acquire another skill

Negative transfer—a previously

learned task hinders learning

I say, jolly, you are driving on the wrong side of the street here in England.


Principles of Learning

Factors that affect learning

Practice—repetition of a task—

binds responses together

Physical & mental


Cognitive Psychology

Edward Tolman and cognitive maps

Cognitive learning—a form of altering

behavior that involves mental

processes and may result from

observation or imitation.

a. Cognitive maps—a mental picture of

spatial relationships or relationships

between events (only way to account for a

rat quickly selecting an alternative route in

a maze when the preferred route to the goal is



Social Learning

1. Cognitive learning—a form of altering

behavior that involves mental

processes and may result from

observation or imitation.

a. Cognitive maps

b. Latent learning—alteration of a

behavioral tendency that is not

demonstrated by an immediate,

observable change in behavior.

I’m not sure if I can find the doctor’s office. Wait a minute. I’ve been here before, and I remember that building. OK, now I think I know how to get there.


Cognitive Psychology

Primary significance of Tolman’s work

Its challenge to the prevailing

behavioral views of Pavlov, Watson

and Skinner; he showed that simple

associations between stimuli and

responses could not explain the

behavior observed in his experiments

Recent brain imaging has supported Tolman’s

work; pointed to the hippocampus as the

structure involved in drawing the cognitive map

in the brain


Social Learning

Cingulate gyrus

Anterior nucleus of


The Limbic






Mamillary bodies of





Draws cognitive






Social Learning

1. Cognitive learning—a form of altering

behavior that involves mental

processes and may result from

observation or imitation.

With this type of learning, my fellow teachers and I must be aware of learned helplessness:

too many rewards without

effort, learned laziness; pain

no matter how much someone

tries, that person gives up.


Social Learning

1. Cognitive learning—a form of altering

behavior that involves mental

processes and may result from

observation or imitation.

2. Modeling: learning by imitating others

Much of teaching and coaching is

modeling. Here is another example. . .

Starring ME!


Social Learning

1. Cognitive learning—a form of altering

behavior that involves mental

processes and may result from

observation or imitation.

2. Modeling: learning by imitating others

Three types:

a. Behavior of others increases the chances

that we will do the same thing

b. Observational learning, or imitation

c. Disinhibition—watch someone else engage

in a form of threatening activity without

being punished, easier to engage in activity


Social Learning

I am Dr. Albert Bandura. In 1961 I performed an experiment about social learning —the process of altering behavior by observing and imitating the behavior of others.





toward the

bobo doll.

Bobo doll

albert bandura hypothesis

Social Learning

Albert Bandura: Hypothesis
  • Believed we learn through observation and imitation
  • Hypothesized that children would imitate aggressive behavior they observed


bandura s methodology

Social Learning

Bandura’s Methodology
  • Children watched films of adults beating Bobo dolls
  • Three groups: aggression-rewarded, aggression-punished, no consequences
  • Children went into rooms with toys that they were told not to play with
bandura s results

Social Learning

Bandura’s Results
  • Children in the aggression-punished group expressed the fewest aggressive behaviors toward the Bobo dolls
  • Children in the other two groups expressed an equal number of aggressive behaviors and were more aggressive than children in the aggression-punished group
bandura s experiment

Social Learning

Bandura’s Experiment
  • Children promised rewards for imitating the adult in the film
  • Now, all three groups were equally aggressive
  • Children had learned the aggressive behavior from the film, but those who saw the adults being punished were less likely to act aggressively
bandura s social learning theory

Social Learning

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory
  • Relates to effects of violence and other images on TV and in the movies
  • Children imitate good and neutral behaviors as well as bad ones

Social Learning

After our discussion of my BoBo doll experiment, and after your preparation of question 44 on the homework sheet, now it’s time for another group activity.

Divide into groups of 1-4 students and list examples of pro-social and anti-social behaviors people learn from observing others. Take 10-minutes. Be prepared to share with the class.


Social Learning

Psychic Numbing

Viewers of media violence show a reduction

in emotional arousal and distress when they

observe violent acts



Robert Rescorla and the

Adaptive Value of

Classical Conditioning

for an Animal

The crucial feature of the conditioned stimulus

is its informativeness—its value in predicting the

onset of the unconditioned stimulus

Example: food aversions



Eric Kandel and Robert


Two types of learning circuits may divide the task

of learning along the same line that has long

separated behavioral and cognitive psychologists

Simpler circuit: mindless learning—slowly with

repetition over many trials (classical and

operant conditioning)

More complex circuits: require conscious

processing (Cognitive psychologists)



Robert Sternberg and

Elena L. Grigorenko

Assessed students on abilities for logical, creative

and practical thinking

Students did best when the teaching emphasis

matched their intellectual style

Everyone learns better when material can be

approached in more than one way (visual,

verbal and hands-on)


Eight Styles of Learning

Theory of Harvard Psychology

Professor, Dr. Howard Gardner


Eight Styles of Learning


The word player


Eight Styles of Learning

Logical/Mathematical Learner

The Questioner


Eight Styles of Learning

The Spatial Learner

The Visualizer


Eight Styles of Learning

Musical Learner

The Music Lover


Eight Styles of Learning


The Mover


Eight Styles of Learning

Interpersonal Learner

The Socializer


Eight Styles of Learning

Intra-personal Learner

The Individual


Eight Styles of Learning

The Naturalist Learner

Distinguish among and use

features of the environment