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PSY402 Theories of Learning Chapter 9, Theories and Applications of Aversive Conditioning.

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Presentation on theme: "PSY402 Theories of Learning Chapter 9, Theories and Applications of Aversive Conditioning."— Presentation transcript:

1 PSY402 Theories of Learning Chapter 9, Theories and Applications of Aversive Conditioning

2 More Drawbacks  Suppressive effects may generalize from an undesirable behavior to other desirable behaviors. Punishment may not generalize to similar undesirable behaviors.  The person may not recognize the contingency between the behavior and the punishment.

3 Explaining Avoidance  The existence of avoidance behavior implies a cognitive process: Behaving in order to prevent an aversive event.  Behaviorists like Hull needed to explain this without cognition.  Mowrer’s two-factor theory was developed to explain this – but it has problems needing explanation.

4 Mowrer’s Two-Factor Theory  Mowrer proposed a drive-based two-factor theory to avoid explaining avoidance using cognitive (mentalistic) concepts.  Avoidance involves two stages: Fear is classically conditioned to the environmental conditions preceding an aversive event. Cues evoke fear -- an instrumental response occurs to terminate the fear.

5 Mowrer’s View (Cont.)  We are not actually avoiding an event but escaping from a feared object (environmental cue).  Miller’s white/black chamber – rats escaped the feared white chamber, not avoided an anticipated shock.  Fear reduction rewards the escape behavior.

6 Criticisms of Two-Factory Theory  Avoidance behavior is extremely resistant to extinction. Should extinguish with exposure to CS without UCS, but does not.  Levis & Boyd found that animals do not get sufficient exposure duration because their behavior prevents it. Avoidance persists if long latency cues exist closer to the aversive event.

7 Is Fear Really Present?  When avoidance behavior is well- learned the animals don’t seem to be afraid. An avoidance CS does not suppress operant responding (no fear). However, this could mean that the animal’s hunger is stronger than the fear.  Strong fear (drive strength) is not needed if habit strength is large.

8 Avoidance without a CS  Sidman avoidance task – an avoidance response delays an aversive event for a period of time. There is no external cue to when the aversive event will occur – just duration. Temporal conditioning.  How do animals learn to avoid shock without any external cues for the classical conditioning of fear?

9 Kamin’s Findings  Avoidance of the UCS, not just termination of the CS (and the fear) matters in avoidance learning.  Four conditions: Response ends CS and prevents UCS. Reponse ends CS but doesn’t stop UCS. Response prevents UCS but CS stays. CS and UCS, response does nothing (control condition).

10 D’Amato’s Acquired Motive View  D’Amato proposed that both pain and relief motivate avoidance. Anticipatory pain & relief responses.  Shock elicits unconditioned pain response R P and stimulus S P motivates escape.  Classically conditioned cues s P elicit anticipatory pain response r P that motivates escape from the CS.

11 Anticipatory Relief Response  Termination of the UCS produces an unconditioned relief response R R with stimulus consequences SR.  Conditioned cues elicit an anticipatory relief response r R with stimulus consequences s R.  Example: dog bite elicits pain response, sight of dog elicits anticipatory pain, house elicits relief

12 A Discriminative Cue is Needed  During trace conditioning no cue is present when UCS occurs and no avoidance learning occurs.  A second cue presented during avoidance behavior slowly acquires r R -s R conditioning.  Similarly, in a Sidman task, cues predict relief -- associated with avoidance behavior, not the UCS.

13 Flooding (Response Prevention)  Flooding -- forcing a person to experience a feared stimulus until they realize no UCS will occur. Also called response prevention. Effectiveness increases with longer exposure to the feared stimulus.  Also used to treat obsessive- compulsive disorder – suppresses obsessive behaviors and fear.

14 Thorndike’s Negative Law of Effect  Thorndike suggested that punishment weakens an S-R bond. Skinner’s finding that suppression of behavior is temporary contradicts this.  The effect of punishment must be something different than weakening of the S-R bond.

15 Guthrie’s View of Punishment  When a punishment occurs, the response to it is conditioned to the environment during the event. Freezing, jumping, flinching.  The effect on behavior depends on the UCR elicited by the shock. Shock to forepaws inhibits running but a shock to hindpaws facilitates it. Monkeys struggle more when shocked.

16 Guthrie’s Competing Response Theory  Guthrie suggested that punishment works only if the response elicited by the punishment is incompatible with the punished behavior. Gerbils punished for standing upright do it more, not less.

17 Problems with Guthrie’s Theory  Response competition alone is insufficient to make punishment effective.  When punishment is contingent instead of just co-occurring, it is more effective. Contingent means the punishment happens only when the behavior occurs, not independent of it, randomly

18 Este’s Motivational View  When a behavior is rewarded, the motivational system becomes associated with the behavior. The response occurs the next time the motivational system is activated.  Punishment works by changing the motives. Stimuli associated with punishment inhibit the motivational state.

19 Support for Estes  Thirsty rats were trained to lever press for water and “dry lick” for air on alternate days. Punishment of both behaviors had a greater effect on dry licking (a thirst- related behavior) than lever pressing. If the behavior rather than the motive were being suppressed no such difference should occur. Results differed with hungry rats.

20 Applications of Punishment  Widespread use of punishment (e.g., spanking) probably does not serious harm.  Two applications: Persistent vomiting decreased. Tree-climbing behavior suppressed.  Use of such punishment may be preferable to ineffective methods.

21 Ethical Use of Punishment  Cruel and unusual punishments prohibited by 8 th Amendment of US Constitution.  Rights of individual must be safeguarded. APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists Least restrictive alternative  Balance punisher pain against pain if the behavior is left untreated.

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