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The Structure of Learning

Book Description

Drawing together research and theory in ethology and psychology, this book offers a clear and provocative account of the ways in which living organisms learn. Throughout, the authors' focus is on the importance of operational definition.

In lively prose, describing experiments in enough depth to involve readers in the drama of experimental method, they recount the history of scientists' attempts to answer basic questions, and show how one study builds on another. Although they present the major traditional positions, they demand that readers examine actual evidence, recognize weaknesses, and consider alternatives.

This critical process leads to the delineation of a bottom up, feed forward model in contrast to the traditional top down, feed backward one. Recent research in robotics and fuzzy logic suggests ways in which artificial as well as living systems pursue bottom up, feed forward ethological solutions to practical problems. The authors' extended discussion of their exciting work teaching sign language to chimpanzees vividly illustrates the application of the basic principles of learning elucidated in the book.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. 1 Introduction
    1. Discovery Versus Understanding
    2. Belief Versus Evidence
    3. Operational Definition
      1. Facial Vision
      2. Dependent Variable
      3. Independent Variable
      4. Experimental Control
      5. Introspection
      6. Intervening Variable
      7. Experiment Versus Correlation
      8. Adaptive Versus Maladaptive
    4. Ethological Experiments
      1. Color Vision
      2. Arbitrary and Obligatory
      3. Obligatory Patterns
      4. Observation and Experiment
      5. Experimental Psychology
      6. Ethology of the Skinner Box
    5. Plan of This Book
  8. 2 Classical Conditioning
    1. Typical Procedures
      1. Salivation
      2. Leg Withdrawal
      3. Eyeblink
      4. Knee Jerk
    2. Basic Terms
      1. Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS)
      2. Conditioned Stimulus (CS)
      3. Orienting Response (OR)
      4. Unconditioned Response (UCR)
      5. Conditioned Response (CR)
      6. Response Measures
      7. Acquisition
      8. Extinction
      9. Resistance to Extinction
      10. Spontaneous Recovery
      11. Habituation
      12. Sensitization
    3. Relationship Between Conditioned and Unconditioned Responses
      1. Conditioned Response as a Fractional Response
      2. Conditioned Response as a Prepatory Response
    4. Generality
      1. Experimental Subjects
      2. Unconditioned Responses
      3. Conditioned Stimuli
      4. Arbitrary Stimuli
      5. Ethology of Stimulus/Response Compatibility
    5. Time and Sequence
      1. Interstimulus Interval (ISI)
      2. Length of the Interstimulus Interval
    6. Conditioned Emotional Response
    7. Social Conditioning
      1. Imprinting
      2. Conditioned Mobbing
      3. Chemical Alarms
      4. Emotional Words
    8. Summary
  9. 3 Instrumental Conditioning
    1. Typical Procedures
      1. Reward
      2. Escape
      3. Avoidance
      4. Punishment
    2. Basic Terms
      1. Unconditioned Stimulus
      2. Response Measures
      3. Response Variability
      4. Acquisition
      5. Extinction
      6. Resistance to Extinction
      7. Spontaneous Recovery
    3. Generality
    4. Maze Learning
    5. Skinner Box
      1. Schedules
      2. Fixed Interval
      3. Variable Interval
      4. Fixed Ratio
      5. Variable Ratio
      6. Maintenance Versus Conditioning
      7. Time Schedules
    6. Discrimination
      1. Successive Procedure
      2. Simultaneous Procedure
      3. Multiple Stimuli and Responses
    7. Reinforcement and Inhibition Versus Differential Response
    8. Summary
  10. 4 Mechanisms of Conditioning
    1. Theory and Experiment
    2. Stimuli and Responses
    3. Four Basic Mechanisms
      1. Common Sense
      2. Parsimony
    4. Implications
    5. S-S Contiguity
      1. Fractional Anticipatory Response
      2. Length of the Interstimulus Interval
      3. Direction of the Interstimulus Interval
    6. S-S* Contingency
    7. S-R-S* Contingency
    8. Role of S*
      1. Higher-Order Conditioning
      2. Preconditioning
      3. A Hybrid Paradigm
      4. A Misnomer
    9. S-R Contiguity
      1. Sign Stimuli
      2. Action Patterns
    10. Temporal Patterns
      1. Feedback Systems
      2. Feed Forward Systems
      3. Anticipatory Responses
      4. Backward Conditioning
    11. Rhythmic Patterns
      1. Delay Conditioning
    12. S-R Sequences
      1. Contrast With Stimulus Substitution
    13. Summary
  11. 5 Reinforcement Versus Expectancy
    1. Response Contingent Reinforcement
      1. S-R-S* Contingency
      2. Goal Gradient
      3. Learning the Shorter Path to a Goal
      4. Order of Elimination of Blinds
      5. Speed-of-Locomotion Gradient
    2. Cognitive Expectancy
      1. Unrewarded Trials
      2. Free Exploration
      3. Irrelevant Drive
    3. Summary
  12. 6 Sequence and Anticipation
    1. Latent Extinction
      1. Segments of a T-Maze
      2. Segments of a Goal Box
    2. Drive Discrimination
    3. Conditioned Rejection
    4. Summary
  13. 7 Feed Forward Versus Feed Backward
    1. Operational Definition
    2. Defining Secondary Reward
      1. Magazine Clicks
      2. New Learning
      3. Partial Reward
      4. Interstimulus Interval
      5. Summary
    3. S-R Contiguity
      1. S-R Chains in a Skinner Box
      2. Preliminary Training
      3. S-R-Sr
    4. Discriminative Stimulus: Sd Versus Sr
      1. Feed Forward Versus Feed Backward
      2. Conditioned Eating
      3. Magazine Click as Sd
      4. Token Rewards for Chimpanzees
      5. Money Feeds Forward
  14. 8 Continguity Versus Contingency
    1. Shaping and Autoshaping
    2. Superstition
    3. Earning Versus Free Loading
    4. Avoiding Food
    5. Constraints and Contingency
    6. Yoked Control
      1. Experimental Design
      2. Subject Selection
      3. Readiness
      4. Conclusion
    7. Learning Without Hedonism
      1. Bioassay
      2. Inhibition and Competition
      3. Feedback Versus Sign Stimuli
    8. Autonomous Robots
      1. Top-Down Robots
      2. Bottom-Up Robots
      3. Building From the Bottom Up
      4. Bottom-Up Learning
    9. Summary
  15. 9 Appetite, Aversion, and Conflict
    1. Motive and Drive
      1. Irritability
      2. How Many Drives?
      3. Evocative Stimuli
      4. Selection
      5. Summary
    2. Aversion
      1. Defensive Aggression
      2. Suppression and Induction
      3. Rhythmic Patterns
      4. Avoidance
      5. Compatibility
      6. Operant Avoidance
      7. Two Ways to Abolish Contingency
      8. Earning Pain
      9. Summary
    3. Conflict
      1. Homeostasis
      2. Robots in Conflict
    4. Fuzzy Control
      1. Fuzzy Logic
      2. Parallel Processing
      3. Queuing
      4. Control Problem
      5. Fuzzy Solution
      6. Biological and Industrial Priorities
      7. Summary
  16. 10 Excitation, Inhibition, and Competition
    1. Hull’s Excitation and Inhibition
      1. Two Kinds of Inhibition
      2. Massed and Distributed Practice
    2. Resistance To Extinction
    3. Overtraining
    4. Summary
    5. Competing Responses
      1. Considering More Than One Response
      2. Two-Choice Situations
      3. Competition and Contingency
      4. Summary
  17. 11 Reward Versus Nonreward
    1. Operant Procedure
      1. Partial Reward During Acquisition
      2. Extinction After Partial Reward
      3. Amount of Practice
    2. Discrete Trials
      1. Generality
      2. Discrimination
      3. Frustration
    3. What is Wrong With 100% Reward?
      1. Anticipatory Goal Responses
      2. Anticipatory Errors
    4. Summary
  18. 12 Places, Paths, and Bearings
    1. Place Learning Versus Response Learning
    2. Spontaneous Alteration
      1. Intramaze Stimuli Versus Extramaze Stimuli
      2. Odor Trails
      3. Compass Bearing
      4. Navigation
      5. Radial Arm Maze
      6. Morris Water Maze
      7. Caching Food
    3. Summary
  19. 13 Transfer
    1. Stimulus Generalization
      1. Basic Phenomenon
      2. Implications
      3. Peak Shift
    2. Transposition
      1. Spence’s Model
      2. Psychophysics
    3. Sign Stimuli
      1. Dimensional Stimuli
      2. Neural Networks
    4. Habits, Hypotheses, and Strategies
      1. Habits Versus Hypotheses
      2. Overtraining and Reversal
      3. Learning Sets
    5. Problem Solving Versus Habit
    6. Comparative Intelligence and Intelligent Comparisons
    7. Summary
  20. 14 Teaching Sign Language to Chimpanzees
    1. Cross-Fostering
    2. Sibling Species
    3. Sign Language
      1. Sign Language Only
      2. Ethological Considerations
    4. Chimpanzee Subjects
    5. Teaching Methods
      1. Contrast With Operant Conditioning
      2. Failure of Extrinsic Incentives
    6. Uses of the Signs
    7. Phrases
      1. Word-for-Sign Translation
      2. Creativity
      3. Development
    8. Modular Approaches
      1. Modular Semantics
      2. Modular Conversation
    9. A Robust Phenomenon
      1. Replication
      2. Loulis
  21. 15 Concepts and Communications
    1. Communication and Information
    2. Vocabulary Tests
      1. Objectives
      2. Teaching and Testing
      3. Rewards
    3. Items and Exemplars
      1. Photography
      2. Novelty
      3. Target Signs
    4. Test Results
      1. Chance Expectancy
    5. Productive Tests Versus Forced Choices
    6. Signs of ASL
    7. Concepts
    8. Communication and Language
    9. Duality of Patterning
    10. Ethology and Operational Definition
  22. References
  23. Author Index
  24. Subject Index