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Social learning/
Observational learning

Refers to learning from others

--> actively monitoring the acts of others, then later choosing actions based on those observations


How does social learning differ from classical + operant conditioning

One cannot reliably predict WHAT an organism will learn from observing the actions of others

ex.: when watching friends in lecture, cannot reliably say whether they're daydreaming or listening



Refers to the act of doing what one observes another organism doing


Banduras Bobo doll experiment

Children had to observe adults acting aggressively toward a Bobo doll

--> some children imitated what they had seen
--> due to the absence of reinforcement/punishment the possibility of conditioning was excluded



Refers to a demonstration of actions that can be used to imitate


Social learning theory

States that the kinds of reinforcements an individual has experienced in past social contexts will determine how this individual will act in any given situation

--> the relationship between action + outcome only needs to be observed, not performed, to be learned

--> imitation, observation + modeling


Which 4 basic processes did Bandura cite to explain imitation ?

--> increases the observers attention

2. Memories of the situation have to be stored in an ACCESSIBLE FORMAT
--> so they can guide later actions

3. One has to be ABLE to REPRODUCE the actions

4. One has to be MOTIVATED to reproduce


True imitation

Copying in which motor acts are replicated



Replicating an observed outcome without reproducing the actions the model used to achieve that outcome



Two "model" individuals are trained to perform a different action, which have same outcome

--> if naive observers are later asked to perform any actions to achieve the same outcome (Emulation), they will more likely perform same actions as "model" individuals (True imitation)

=> technique to investigate imitation abilities


Perspective taking

Imagining oneself in the place of another

--> only humans + few other species possess this ability


Which 3 Phenomena closely resemble imitation, but are not ?

1. Emotional contagion

2. Observational conditioning

3. Stimulus enhancement


Emotional contagion

Refers to the inborn tendency to react emotionally to sights/sounds of emotion of others

ex.: yawning when someone else is yawning
--> reaction is an UR


Observational conditioning

Learning an emotional response after observing similar responses in others

ex.: phobias; overcoming fear after observing someone else responding to the same fear, fearlessly


Stimulus enhancement

Process whereby observing another individual causes ones attention to be directed toward specific objects/events within an environment

ex.: seeing a lot of people looking into sky, looking up too to see what is so fascinating


Social transmission

Refers to a process in which an observer learns something new through experiences with others

ex.: person ahead of me at vending machine lost money, therefore i will not use it


Social transmission of food preferences by rats

Given a choice of 2 novel foods observer rats are more likely to eat the food they smelled on the demonstrator rats breath


Social conformity

Refers to the tendency to adopt the behavior of the group

--> has protective functions, but can also hinder the development of novel behavior patterns that might be advantageous

--> might be driven by stimulus enhancement


Social transmission of escape routes by guppies

Demonstrator guppies were trained to escape from a net, by swimming through a particular hole in the net

--> Observer guppies tended to use the same escape path as the demonstrator guppies eventhough there was a different hole available


Which effects does the media have on behavior ?

The amount of violent TV watched by children in elementary school is correlated with their aggressiveness as teenagers

--> homicides increased after TV was introduced in the US


The ability to either imitate or emulate depends on ... ?

The availability of memories for facts + events


Direct matching hypothesis

States that observing an action automatically activates the same neural systems required to perform the actions

--> memories for the action are stored as part of the process


Mirror neurons

Neurons that respond during performance of an action + during visual observations of the same action

--> provide a neural link between seeing + doing an action
--> hypothesized that they provide a basic mechanism for simple imitation


Song learning in bird brains.
In which way do the related findings relate to the human cortex ?

Song learning circuits of birds share many features in common with mammalian brain circuits for learning perceptual motor skills

--> Area X = Basal ganglia
LMAN = frontal cortex


Memory for socially transmitted info about foods in rats depends on which brain regions ?

Hippocampus + basal forebrain


Autism spectrum disorder

Refers to a set of disorders associated with deficits in social interactions + social learning

--> engage in echolalia



Refers to the automatic repetition of words/phrases immediately after hearing them spoken

--> would suggest ASD patients are good imitators


Mind blindness theory

States that children with ASD have problems with perspective taking

--> would explain imitation deficits


Which results ultimately explained why ASD children/patients suffer from impaired imitation abilities ?

Several brain regions were anatomically abnormal + slower activation of cortical regions

e.g.: cerebellum, corpus callosum, temporal lobes, amygdala affected

--> imitations start later + take longer to complete


Which effects to lesions to the frontal lobe have on imitation ?

Difficulty imitating actions when instructed to do so, but no problem when imitating automatically