Concepts of Learning: Conditioning, Reinforcement

September 18, 2012
by Pharm Tao

Concepts of Learning: Conditioning, Reinforcement

 

 

Classical Conditioning

 

Concepts

Responses

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS): naturally induces a response Unconditioned response (UCR)
Neutral stimulus No specific reactions
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) + Neutral stimulus Association: Neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus (CS)) -> Conditioned response (CR)
Stimulus generalization Similar stimulus -> conditioned response
Extinction No more responses to the conditioned stimulus
Spontaneous recovery Reoccurrence of responses after the extinction
“Avoidance prevents extinction” Avoidance is not a good strategy
Aversive counterconditioning Pair the stimulus with a noxious stimulus
Systematic desensitization Using gradually increasing amounts of stimulus

 

 

Operant Conditioning

 

Concepts

Explanations

Subcategories

Types

Thorndike’s law of effect Pleasant consequences can strengthen the response, while unpleasant consequences weaken the responses    
Skinner’s operant Learned behaviors operate on the environment; behaviors can be shaped by consequences    
Reinforcers/reinforcement Increase the occurrence Primary/natural reinforcers, e.g., food; secondary/conditional reinforcers Positive reinforcement (by application)
Negative reinforcement (by removal)
Punishers/punishment Decrease the occurrence   Positive punishment (by application)
Negative punishment (by removal)

 

Maintaining Behaviors: A Schedule of Reinforcement

 

Concepts

Explanations/subtypes

Subtypes

Continuous reinforcement Reinforce each time  
Partial reinforcement schedules The ratio-based schedule: based on the response numbers The fixed-ratio (FR) schedule: with fixed numbers
The variable-ratio (VR) schedule
The interval-based schedule: around the time The fixed-interval (FI) schedule
The variable-ratio (VI) schedule

 

Other Learning Concepts

 

Concepts

Explanations

Observational learning (Tolman) Learning can occur by observation in a latent way, without shaping consequences
Social learning (Bandura, “Bobo doll experiment”) Vicarious conditioning (via observing consequences); observation can influence thinking and learning

 

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