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Fundamentals of Learning, Term Paper Example

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The article the role of Hippocampus in instrumental conditioning by Laura H. Corbit and Bernard W. Balleine is of enormous significance in providing evidence for instrumental conditioning. The authors in the article were trying to show the actions, which rats encode the outcome caused by actions exposed, and extent the action is significant in production of the associated outcome.

The study was conducted with the aim of studying the effects of dorsal hippocampal lesions on instrumental conditioning. While investigating instrumental conditioning the experiment, which shows how the behavior was investigated. The experiment uses both dependent and independent variables. The experiment evaluates hippocampus involvement in the process of encoding various aspects of instrumental learning (Carlson et al, 2007). Rats were used in the study these rats contained electrolytic lesions. The rats were trained to press two levers when hungry, when the lever was pressed food the outcome was the delivery of food. The two experiments 1A and 1B encode the action outcome relationship using a process called outcome devaluation. Refraining of the experiment resulted into devaluation of the outcome by use of a given satiety procedure. The performance of the levers then assessed using a test, results show that there was no detectable outcome following the acquisition on the performance or the sensitivity of the rat resulting from the outcome devaluation. The choice of dependent and independent variable are effective

Results from the experiment suggest that, in instrumental conditioning theories, lesions of the dorsal hippocampus impaired the ability of the rat in representing casual relationships between actions and the consequences (Domjan, 2003). The behavior of the rat when to press the lever to access food, this has become a significant form of learning to be observed in animal laboratory. Research shows that brain processes mediating learning, the author’s most of his works put more emphasis on predictive relationships between different events by utilizing his Pavlovian conditioning paradigm.

The experiment was conducted using 17 adult-female rats, who were experimentally naïve. The subjects housed for one week for the surgery each housed singly. During surgery, the subjects found to weigh between 270 and 325 gm. Sodium pentobarbital was used to anaesthetized the animals, and later placed in a stereotaxic frame containing the incisor bar. The subjects were divided into two groups, with half of them given electrolytic lesions of the dorsal hippocampus (Domjan, 2003). The remaining subjects were given sham surgery, which involved using electrode into the hippocampus, the electrode used do not have any current. The animals could then undergo the surgery process they were then given 1 week for recovery. During the recovery period, the subjects handled daily, and behavioral change noted (Miyazono & Moore, 2009, p.385).

The results indicate that the hippocampal lesions did not affect the acquisition of instrumental action. The lesioned animals had no significant different from those which underwent sham surgery no difference observed in the rate of acquisition of lever response or level of responding after the training. It was also found that, both the hippocampal lesioned and the sham rats had the same sensitivity after devaluation of the instrumental outcome.

The experimental results are significant in that it acts as a source of evidence concerning encoding value of outcomes by the animals with lesions (Neuringer, 2002, P.674). Effects of lesions on acquisition of instrumental conditioning thus investigated; the experimental was also significant in investigating maintenance of instrumental performance, sensitivity to changes in the value of instrumental outcome and degradation of instrumental contingency.

References

Domjan, M. (2003). The Principles of Learning and Behaviour, Fifth Edition, Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth

Carlson, H., Neil, R. & Donald, C. (2007). Psychology the Science of Behavious. New Jersey, USA: Pearson. pp. 700.

Neuringer, A. (2002). Operant variability: Evidence, functions, and theory. Psychonometric. Bulletin & Review, 9(4), 672–705.

Miyazono, H., & Moore, B. (2009). Perceptual learning of frequency discrimination for tones with low fundamental frequency: Learning for high but not for low harmonics / Perceptual learning of frequency discrimination for tones with low fundamental frequency: Learning for high but not for low harmonics. In: Acoustical Science and Technology. Vol 30(5):383-386.

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