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Preparedness and directed learning. Food, fears, & phobias Humans (and other animals) are very quick to learn certain associations Taste aversion learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparedness and directed learning. Food, fears, & phobias Humans (and other animals) are very quick to learn certain associations Taste aversion learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparedness and directed learning

2 Food, fears, & phobias Humans (and other animals) are very quick to learn certain associations Taste aversion learning – the Garcia effect (Garcia, 1989) Specific to taste in rats – difficult to pair visual or auditory stimulus Can often be learned in a single trial Difficult to unlearn

3 Food, fears, & phobias Garcia & Koelling (1966) CS = saccharine taste + light + sound US:Shockx-ray illness Test:Tastelight+soundtastelight+sound Result : no effectaversion no effect Rats associate flavour with illness and light and sound with pain

4 Food, fears, & phobias Humans also appear to be preprogrammed to learn certain fears quickly (Marks & Nesse, 94) We are often afraid of heights, snakes or small scuttly things as these were dangerous in ancestral times

5 Food, fears, & phobias We are not afraid of plug points, skate boards or cars which now account for far more deaths and injuries

6 Freud & Imprinting The Oedipus complex - young children’s attraction to their opposite sex parent Early exposure to parental characteristics affects later mate preferences in both birds and mammals In animals such effects are referred to as imprinting

7 Imprinting Common in birds Goslings imprinted to Konrad Lorenz’s boots Unusual features: –May be tied to specific period –Possibly irreversible

8 Konrad Lorenz and a Goose

9 Imprinting in Other Mammals Kendrick et al. (Nature, 98) have shown that young sheep and goats imprint on foster parents Learning is directed at parental models

10 Novel Sheep Goat brought up with sheep mum Novel Goat Mother

11 Novel Sheep Sheep brought up with goat mum Novel Goat Mother

12 Imprinting in Humans Parental age at birth effects age preferences (Perrett et al., 2002) Partners more likely to have similar hair- and eye colour as parents than self (Little et al., 2003)

13 Younger parents like Older parents like


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