Learning

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Learning

The study of animal learning was a cornerstone of psychology from the 1930s to the 1970s and is as relevant now for understanding humans as it was back then for studying animals. This module will provide an introduction to classical and instrumental conditioning and related topics. It will also introduce preparedness and other areas of learning theory that are at the intersection of the evolutionary history of a species and how it interacts with the environment.

 

Lecture No 19
Introduction, the history of animal learning, & non-associative learning
In this lecture we will discuss why studying animal learning is important and how its impact goes far beyond the animals and the laboratory in which these principles were developed. We will also discuss definitions of learning, the early history of the field, and non-associative learning, which can be found even in the simplest organisms.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
05/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Lecture No 20
Classical Conditioning 1
Being able to elicit responses by presenting once neutral stimuli is a classic experimental paradigm in animal and human learning research. This lecture will describe the basics of this work and the associated findings.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
07/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Lecture No 21
Classical Conditioning 2
Building on the previous lecture, this lecture will cover more advanced topics related to classical conditioning and discuss some theories about how it works and the evidence in support of those theories. In addition, we will discuss how this work informs our understanding of the development of addiction and paraphilias.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
09/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Lecture No 22
Operant Conditioning 1
This lecture will cover how behavior can be controlled or 'shaped'. In doing so we will discuss topics such as reinforcement, punishment, schedules of reinforcement, and other matters. We will also touch upon how research in this area has been key to developing treatments for certain psychological disorders.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
12/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Lecture No 23
Operant Conditioning 2
This lecture will cover different theories about operant conditioning, including what reinforcers and punishments are and how they work. We will also discuss so-called biological constraints on learning.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
14/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Lecture No 24
Using Learning
In our final lecture we will embark upon that gray area that lays between animal learning and animal cognition. We will therefore discuss topics such as stimulus control, generalization and discrimination, and choice.
David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A
16/11/2018 - 11:10am to 12:00pm
Learning Outcomes: 

- Knowing the history of the field

- Understanding difference between classical and operant conditioning

- Know the difference between conditioned and unconditioned stimuli
  and responses

- Define positive and negative reinforcement and punishment

- Be able to distinguish between primary and secondary reinforcers

- Understand different reinforcement schedules

- Know why preparedness is an important concept

- See how animal learning impacts a range of areas in psychology.

 

References: 

Schacter et al. Psychology, Second European Edition (2016), Chapter 6.

 

Optional reading
Skinner, B. F. (1948). Walden Two. Reprinted by Hackett Publishing Co,
Inc.

Burgess, A. 1962. A Clockwork Orange.