Simple Stimulus Learning
The principle of learning explains the behavior of human beings on a daily basis. Humans are born with the knowledge of some kind of biologically programmed response like coughing, sneezing and breathing but learning can help in their modification. Scientifically, learning involves stimulus and response. Stimulus can be defined as anything that is experienced through senses while response refers to anything that people do individually. When stimulus is consistently presented, the response to it is weakened. Stimulus learning is a permanent behavioral change that results from experience. Stimulus learning is made up of simple forms of learning like habituation and conditioning. It is acquired in the event that stimulus is introduced as part of the process of learning that can manipulate behavior.
This paper will analyze the forms of simple stimulus learning.
The Concept of Habituation
Habituation refers to a psychological process of learning that entails decrease in response to a stimulus once it is consistently exposed to it. It occurs because of sensory adaptation. This concept creates the assertion that organism may learn to ignore stimulus as a result of repeated exposure to it. Essentially, habituation is a critical biological system process that helps in spotting significant and changing information within the body. It is impacted by the length of time to the presentation of stimulus. Habituation elevates with frequent stimulus presentations; it is dependent on particular characteristics of the stimulus. Any alteration in the characteristics creates nonappearance of habituation (Faulkender, 1974, p. 1002).
Habituation bears certain scientific significance. It tests psychological phenomenon in both human beings and animals. This means that people are likely to be attentive to a stimulus to which they have been exposed to on many occasions. Habituation points out that all organisms have the natural desire of experiencing and discovering more about their environment. It exemplifies that organisms are in a position of differentiating between the disparities in their environment and then recollecting them (Faulkander, 1974, p.1002).
Factors Affecting Perceptual Learning
Perceptual learning refers to practice-induced improvements in the ability of an organism to carry out certain perceptual tasks. It is part of the process of learning that is based on conscious forms of learning. Perceptual learning leads to functional and structural changes in the primary sensory cortices of the organism. In the model of perceptual learning, subjects are presented by definite tasks like orientation discrimination, texture discrimination, motion direction discrimination or hyper acuity test. All living organisms including humans have habits. In a customary condition, there is tendency of orienting reactions to a stimulus that is repeatedly presented to decrease. Several factors impact perpetual learning with the most common ones being contrasting stimuli, transfer of stimuli and attention and feedback (Burns et al, 2007, p.84).
With a focus on contrasting stimuli, perpetual learning requires the identification of the relevant dimensions to discrimination. It is quite imperative to provide both negative and positive aspects of the stimuli to allow the subject to differentiate one stimulus from another. This will make sure that the subject in able to learn relevant stimuli. Perpetual learning that involves the transfer of stimuli from an easy one to a difficult stimulus entails initial experience. Easy discrimination facilitates learning of discrimination that appear to be quite difficult. Perpetual learning that regards attention and feedback involves learning that takes place without feedback on personal performance. If a given task entails distinguishing the similarities and disparities of stimuli, there is a higher chance that many people will be swayed towards the difference.
Impacts of Stimulus Exposure
Exposure to stimuli makes an organism to get used to the stimulus. Conscious processing of stimuli is not critical for one to be able to attain more impact from the exposure, which influences the way in which organisms repeatedly experience stimuli. There are some kinds of stimulus exposure that can create potentiated startle in the event of a magnified startle response. Potentiated startle is achieved from coupling aversive stimuli with conditioned stimuli. It refers to a reflex action that involves senses like touch, hearing, smell, and sight. The technique of potential startle increases the natural startle response of an organism. An ideal example is seen when a rat is exposed to a loud voice that appears suddenly. Upon hearing the sound, the muscles of the rat will contract and if sufficiently startled, the rat may even end up throwing itself up in the air. The magnitude of the startle will go up as the rat jumps higher. Habituation also results from the exposure of stimulus and has been discussed in the concept of habituation (Janiszewski, 1993, p. 377).
Priming is an effect of exposure to stimuli that facilitates the processing of information. It occurs when stimulus presentation enhances the process that entails stimulus with close relationships. In priming, the stimulus is memorized after its presentation. The best example of priming is seen when two people are locked in a conversation on a particular subject. When one narrates a story to you based on the level of enjoyment that he or she has experienced from watching TV after buying a satellite dish. It often occurs that the word dish will stick in the mind for longer than satellite. The next time that you hear about the word dish, your mind is likely to remember satellite dish instead of dish served at dinner compared to a person who was not part of the conversation involving a satellite dish. Initial exposure to unknown stimuli creates neophobia, which refers to the fear of new tastes, food or odors. Neophobia will reduce as a person gets more experience (Janiszewski, 1993 p. 378).
Practical Application of Simple Stimulus Learning
Simple stimulus learning can be applied in real-life situations. An ideal example is the impulsive jolting chill that is experienced when one jumps into a pool of water. The sensory neurons present in the skin will send temperature-related information to the brain. The brain will then undertake the interpretation and relay information that the water is cold. As time advances, the sensory neurons will be drained and the chilling sensation will be weakened. The cold water will then eventually feel nearly warm. Another example of simple stimulus learning is seen when people eat luscious foods. The flavor of the food will remain very strong but in the event that it is held in the mouth for long without swallowing, the strong flavor will disappear. This proves that habituation to the sensation of flavor occurred.
Learning involves acquiring new knowledge through the exposure of various stimuli in a person’s own environment. The behavior of organisms is the result of learning to respond to stimuli. Habituation entails decline in response after continuous introduction of unconditioned stimuli in an environment. Perceptual learning is impacted by transfer of stimulus, contrasting stimuli, and attention and feedback of the stimulus. Stimulus exposure produces potentiated startle, priming, habituation, neophobia and mere exposure impact as behavioral result which is important in the process of learning.
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