Psych 245 – Learning

Psychology of Learning (Psych 245) will introduce you to the ways that behavior changes as a result of experience. The course will not address how students learn in the classroom (although our material is certainly relevant to that); instead we will focus on basic research in learning, often involving nonhuman animals. Because experience can affect behavior in many ways, the field of learning is a diverse one; we will examine many of its topics. Learning researchers must take great care to ensure that they understand exactly how an experience has affected a behavior; therefore learning studies often involve complicated controls in order to determine the exact nature of the learning that has occurred. By the end of the semester you will be better scientists (or at least better designers of well-controlled experiments) as a result of what you learn in this course.

My own interests lie squarely in the realm of Pavlovian conditioning, and it might seem that much of the semester is devoted to this topic. Instrumental learning is so heavily influenced by Pavlovian conditioning that the two are hardly separable, and in fact time spent considering Pavlovian matters directly benefits one’s understanding of instrumental learning.

PSY 245 ~ Learning ~ Fall 2020

Syllabus – Spring 2020


New Post-Coronavirus Syllabus

Lecture 1 (Chapter 4, latter part) 

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 1 (3/23/2020)

Lecture 2 (Chapter 5, early part) 

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 2 (3/25/2020)

Lecture 3 (Chapter 5, next part)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 3 (3/27/2020)

 ~ ~ ~ Amygdaloids “Fearing”  [“Mind over Matter”]

Joe LeDoux with Albion students. 

Lecture 4 (Chapter 5, part 3) 

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 4 (3/30/2020)

~~~ Read Timberlake & Grant.

Lecture 5 (Chapter 5, part 4 – final lecture for Chap 5)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 5 (4/1/2020)

Online Discussion: Review before Test 3 (4/3/2020)

 * * *

Lecture 6 (Chapter 6, part 1)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 6 (4/8/2020)

Lecture 7 (Chapter 6, part 2)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 7 (4/10/2020)

Schedule for Remainder of Semester

Lecture 8 (Chap 6, part 3; Chap 7, part 1)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 8 (4/13/2020)

Lecture 9 (Chap 7. part 2)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 9 (4/15/2020)

Lecture 10 (Chapter 7, part 3)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 10 (4/17/2020)

Izquierdo paper

Lecture 11 (Chapter 7, part 4, PLUS)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 11 (4/20/2020)

Lecture 12 (Chapter 7_5, PLUS)

 ~ ~ ~ Online Discussion of Lecture 12 (4/22/2020)

Learning Term Paper (as yours should look) – Spring 2020

Learning Term Paper (published version) – Spring 2020

Interpreting my comments on your paper


Bouton Companion Web Site

Dogs Driving (1) (2)  Rats Driving

Fairness in Monkeys

History (class slides)

Dogs with sticks.  1  2  3

Unusual sounds

Facilitated Communication  [Examples] [Letterboard]

Thorndike video 1, 2

Little Albert (in Watson’s own words)

Watson’s “Behaviorist Manifesto”

Joshua Klein Crow Talk (TED)

Chapter 2 (class slides)

Dawkins – Colbert Greatest Show God Delusion

Dawkins – Seven Wonders

Fixed Action Pattern videos:  Tinbergen’s SticklebacksLorenz’ Greylag geese

Human Innate Behavior   video

Ramachandran on Art – go to minute 22  (Higher resolution video here)

Conditioning in Children (Nikolai Krasnogorskii)

BBC- Bowerbird

Breland & Breland, 1961 – should work now

Chapter 3 (class slides)

Thompson (eyeblink conditioning)

Glanzman: Aplysia Sensitization

Gabriel: Salivary Conditioning

Videos illustrating learning procedures

The Office  Dorm Room

Pudovkin’s “Mechanics of the Brain”

Pudovkin Poster

Optogenetics – Implanting False Memory

Rescorla-Wagner (Simplified)

Chapter 4 (1) Rescorla-Wagner Graphs (from class)

Rescorla-Wagner Spreadsheet – play around!

Excellent page with R-W demo – check it out! (Will not work on Chrome)   

Rescorla-Wagner Problems (2020)

Chapter 4 (2) Learning After R-W

WTF? Mackintosh and Pearce & Hall

Chap 4 Discussion (Fall 2019)

Note: Material below this is from earlier semesters. It might still be useful.  New material will be added above this.

Chapter 5 (Class Slides)

Generalization, Differentiation, & “Fuzziness”

Escape & Avoidance

Timberlake, W., & Grant D. L. (1975).  Auto-shaping in rats to the presentation of another rat predicting food. Science, 190: 690-692.  [If link does not work access College library site and use PsychInfo to find article.  Select “Check for Full Text.”]

(Occasion Setting Diagrams)

McCollough Effect

Cones  Ganglion Cells

Grau lab Behavioral Systems

Two videos that address the nature of rewards.  What’s rewarding and how do we compare reward?  This relates to what response do we choose – clearly relevant to our discussion of instrumental learning.  Watch Ariely first.

– Dan Ariely ask, “Are We in Control of Our Own Decisions?”

– Dan Ariely “Why We Feel Good”

– Dan Ariely “Our Buggy Moral Code”

– Laurie Santos:“A Monkey Economy as Irrational as Ours”

        –  Parrot Economics

 Chapter 6 (Class Slides) SPRING 2020

Bow Revusky, Sam Revusky, & Andree Liddell (Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1998

Honeybee Proboscis Extension CR

Crespi 1942

Taste Aversion Videos

Bob Batsell on Taste Aversion

–   How Taste Aversion Differs from Classical Conditioning (it really doesn’t)

–   Taste Aversion in Mountain Lion

–  Hedonic Expession (from Berridge)

Counting Ants

 — Video

Byrne: Dung Beetle Navigation

Dung Beetles & Milky Way

Experimental Neurosis in a Dog

Chapter 7 Class Slides… SPRING 2020

Chapter 7 – Professor’s notes

Tolman’s Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men

Discussion of Skinner’s Work

Skinner’s Project Pigeon


Delayed Reward videos: 

Marshmallow Test (re-enacted)

Marshmallow Test (de Posada)

Daniel Goldstein: “The Battle Between Your Present and Future Self.”

Frans de Waal’s TED talk on Moral Behavior

Hullian Drive Theory

Wilson & Baeske (1987)

Useful Videos:

Radial Arm Maze (mouse)  (rat)

Delayed Matching to Sample (pigeon)

Caching in Scrub Jays

BioMorphs!  another  another

After Chapter 7:

Chap 8, 269 – 277

    — Pigeons as Cancer Detectors (article)

Chap 8, 298 – 305

Chap 8, 314 – 325

Chap 9, 329 – 359


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