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Psychology: Learning and Memory

Introduction to key theories, findings and methodologies in the study of learning and memory in Psychology with an emphasis on behavioural science, cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

In English
Psychology: Learning and Memory

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Define Learning

The process by which changes in behaviour arsise as a result of experiences interacting with the world

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190 questions
Define Learning
The process by which changes in behaviour arsise as a result of experiences interacting with the world
Define Memory
The record of past experiences acquired through learning
Define Data
Facts and figures from which conclusions can be inferred
What is theory?
A set of statements devised to explain a group of facts
What is associationism?
The principle that memory depends on the formation of linkages between pairs of events, sensations and ideas such that recalling or experiencing one member of the pair elicits a memory or anticipation of the other
What is Contiguity?
Nearness in time (temporal) or space (spatial)
What is empiricism?
A philosophical school of thought that holds all the ideas we have that are the result of experience
What is nativism?
A philosophical school of thought that holds that the bulk of knowledge is inborn
Who believed in nativism?
Plato, Rene Descartes, Gottfriend Leibniz, Charles Darwin
Who believed in Empiricism?
Artistotle, John Locke, William James, Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike
What did Rene Descarte believe?
The mind and body are distinct entities, governed by different laws. The body functions as a machine with innate and fixed responses to stimuli
What did Goffried Leibniz believe?
Three quarters of human knowledge is learned, but one quart is inborn
Who believed in Natural Selection?
Charles Darwin believed that species evolve when they possess a trait that is inheritable, varies acorss individuals and increases the chances of survival and reproduction
What did Aristotle believe?
Memory depends on the formation of associations, for which there are three principles: contiguity, frequency and similarity
Who believed that a newborns mind is a blank slate?
John Locke believed that education and experience allow common people to transcend their class
What did William James believe?
Habits are built up from inborn reflexes through learning
Who believed in Classical Conditioning?
Ivan Pavlov believed that animals learn through experience to predict future events
What did Edward Thorndike believe?
The law of effect (instrumental conditioning): an animal's behaviours increase or decrease depending on the consequences that follow the response
What is dualism?
The principle that the mind and the body exist as separate entities
What is a stimulus?
A sensory event that provides information about the outside world
What is response?
The behavioural consequences of perception of a stimulus
What is a reflex arc?
An automatic pathway from a sensory stimulus to a motor response
What are Darwin's three criteria for traits to evolve through natural selection?
Inheritable trait, natural variability, Relevance to survival
Define Evolutionary Psychology
A branch of Psychology that studies how behaviour evolves through natural selection
Define Retention Curve
A graph showing forgetting or relearning as a function of time since initial learning
Define learning curve
A graph showing learning performance (the dependent variable, usually plotted along the vertical axis) as a function of training time (the independent variable, usually plotted along the horizontal axis)
Define Instrumental conditioning
The process whereby organisms learn to make responses in order to obtain or avoid important consequences
What is operant conditioning?
The process whereby organisms learn to make responses in order to obtain or avoid important consequences
What is Law of Effect
The observation, made by Thorndike, that the probability of a particulare behavioural responses increases or decreases depending on the consequences that have followed that response in the past.
Define Behaviourism
A school of thought that argues that psychology should restrict itself to the study of observable behaviours, such as salivation and lever pressing, and not seek to infer unobservable mental processes
What is Radical Behaviourism?
An extreme form of behaviourism, championed by B. F. Skinner, holding that consciousness and free will are illusions and that even so-called higher cognitive functions are merely complex sets of stimulus response associations
What is a cognitive map?
An internal psychological representation of the spatial layout of the external world
What is latent learning?
Learning that is undetected until explicitly demonstrated at a later stage
Define Cognitive Psychology
A subfield of psychology that focuses on human abilities - such as thinking, language and reasoning - that are not easily explained by a strictly behaviourist approach
Define Cognitive Science
The interdisciplinary study of thought, reasoning and other higher mental functions
Define Mathematical Psychology
A subfield of psychology that uses mathematical equations to describe the laws of learning and memory
Rene Descartes borrowed from hydraulic engineering to explain what?
How the body could function like a machine with input and output control pathways
John Lock borrowed from Physics (Newton) and Chemistry (Boyle) to explain what?
How complex ideas could be formed from combinations of simpler and more elementary components.
Herman Ebbinghaus borrowed from Laws of Perception (Fechner and Weber) to explain what?
How psychology of memory could be a rigorous natural science, defined by precise mathematical laws
Ivan Pavlov borrowed from telephone exchanges to explain what?
The distrinction between a direct fixed connection and a modifiable indirect connection as when a switchboard operator makes the call
Edward Thorndike borrowed from Evolution by natural selection (Darwin) to explain what?
That of all possible behavioural responses, the ones that are more successful and adaptive are more likely to be retained
Clark Hull borrowed from the Theory of relativity (Einstein) to explain what?
The search for simple, powerful equations that unify many disparate observations
George Miller borrowed from the information theory (Shannon) to explain what?
The ability to measure the amount of information in a message or stored memmory, independent of the content
What are connectionist models?
Networks of uniform and unlabeled connections between simple processing units called nodes
Define distributed representation
A representation in which information is coded as a pattern of activation distributed across many different nodes
How do sensations or ideas become linked in the mind?
Aristotle identified the basic requirements for association more than 2000 years ago: contiguity, frequency and similarity. Pavlov showed how we can study and measure learning about associations that exist in the world. Thorndike showed how reward and punishment govern which associations we learn to make. Both Hull and Skinner built on the work of Thorndike, with Hull focusing on mathematical models to explain the favors that influence learning and Skinner expanding the experimental analyses of reward and punishment and applying his research to society. Today, most psychologists take for granted the idea that memory involves forming associations among ideas or sensations, although there are still many arguments about exactly how these associations are formed and how they are used
How are memories built from the components of experience?
Early philosophers and psychologists sought to describe how elements of our experiences could be combined into the whole of consciousness or into networks of associations that describe our memories and knowledge. Estes's model of memory as distributed patterns of selected elements was updated by Rumelhart and others into connectionist network models that drew inspiration from brain circuits as well as James's early models of memory
To what extent are behaviours and abilities determined by biological inheritance and to what extent by life experiences?
Aristotle and Lock firmly believed that we enter the world as a blank canvas, with our experiences the sole factor influencing our behaviour and capabilities. This poistion, empiricism, carried over into the behaviourism of Watson and Skinner. At the other extreme, Descartes was more strongly aslied with the nature campy and believed that we inherit our talents and abilities. Today, most researches take the middle road: acknowledging the profound influence of genes on learning and memory, while noting that a lifetime of experience modifies these influences.
In what ways are human learning and memory similar to learning and memory in other animals and in what ways do they differ?
Most early philosophers assumed that humans were quite distinct from and innately superior to animals, but the proponents of evolution, such as Erasmus and Charles Darwin, showed how similar we are. Behaviourists also emphasised the similarities between animal and human learning. In contrast, the early cofnitive psychologists chose to focus on computer-based models of lanuage and abstract reasoning - cognitive behavious that are not easily studied in nonhuman animals. More recent effots to reconcile the associationist theories of animal learning and the higher capabilities of human cognition are seen in the connectionist models of Rumelhart, McClelland and their intellectual descendants. Today, many researchers think of cognition as a continuum, with some anials perhaps processing only limited capability for abstract reasoning, but others capabale of a degree of communication, reasoning and use of symbol represenation approaching that of humans
Can the psychological study of the mind be rigorously scientific, Uncovering Universal principles of learning and memory that can be described by mathematical equations and considered fundamental laws?
Throughout the history of studies on learning and memory, philosophers and psychologists have borrowed methods and metaphors from physics, chemistry and other scientific fields to enchance their understandting. Ebbinghaus was among the first to show that psychology could indeed be the subject of careful experimentation. Hull attempted to devises mathematical equations to describe learning, and the traition was continued by Estes and others working in mathematical and cognitive approaches. In current research, most psychologysts hold themselves to the same rigorous principles of methodology adhered to by scientists in other disciplines
According to Darwin, a traing can evolve though _____ if it is inheritable, variable and ____
Natural selection, makes an individual more fit to survive or procreate
Define Hebbian Learning
The principle that learning involves strengthening the connections of coactive neruons
Define Long-term Potentiation
A process in which synaptic transmission becomes more effective as a results of recent activity
Define Long-term Depression
A process in which synaptic transmission becomes less effective as a result of recent activity
Would a weak stimulus provoke a FASTER or SLOWER habituation?