In this paper, this author will analyze forms of simple stimulus learning. He will examine the concept of habituation, analyze factors that affect perceptual learning, and examine the effects of stimulus exposure. He will give some examples of real life situations and the application of simple stimulus in those situations. Definitions and explanations will be discussed and analyzed. According to Terry (2009) “stimulus learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior, or behavior repertoire which occurs as a result of experience.” Habituation
According to Terry (2009), “Habituation is a simple form of learning. Habituation is the decrease in size or frequency of the orienting reaction to a stimulus that is repeatedly presented.” “Habituation, a decrement in response to a stimulus that is presented repeatedly without ill effect, can be identified in almost all animals” (Marland, 2009). The concept of habituation is studied through responses to stimuli. Some stimuli could be noises, such as a clap. A clap can be used to see if a person responds to the sound with a blink or some other reaction. A reaction or response could be from some other reason and not learning.
The person could have a problem with one or more of his or her senses. This is why repetitive stimulation is used in research of habituation. An example of habituation is a person who lives by an airport. When the person first moves in, he or she probably is annoyed by every plane taking off. After living there for a while, the person does not really hear the planes anymore. He or she has become used to the sounds of planes taking off and landing or flying over head. The longer a person is around a stimulus, such as the planes, the less the stimulus affects him or her. Perpetual Learning
According to Terry (2009), perpetual learning is “exposure to a stimulus leads to learning about that stimulus.” Some factors that affect perpetual learning are presenting contrasting stimuli, attention and feedback, and transfer from easy to difficult stimuli. Because stimuli can be different, presentation of positive and negative instances is important. It will allow the person to decide which stimuli are relevant. With transfer from easy to difficult stimuli, starting with easy stimuli can help in learning more difficult stimuli. An example of this is school subjects. A student does not start off doing calculus.
Students start off with numbers, then addition subtraction, multiplication, and division. They progress through math until they learn about letters and numbers in algebra and eventually learn how to do trigonometry and calculus. According to Terry (2009), “perceptual learning occurs in the absence of experimenter feedback about performance.” The subject does need to pay attention to learn. However, learning can occur without intent. Stimulus Exposure
“Some of the most interesting recent paradigms for exploring learning have exploited the fact that prior exposure to stimuli can affect the rate at which associations between those stimuli are subsequently learned” (Myers, et al, 2000). Stimulus exposure can reveal other behavioral outcomes. Some people can have an increase liking or preference to stimuli. An example of this would be a person who works in a bakery enjoys the smell of cookies baking. The person may visit other bakeries more often than a person who does not like the smell of cookies baking.
Another example would be a student likes to read and write. The student will enroll in classes that involve reading and writing. Stimulus exposure can lead to memories involving the stimulus. An example would be a song from a happy event in a person’s life may be heard again and the person will remember that happy event. Stimulus exposure can also have negative effects where the stimulus causes a negative response. Examples of negatives would be phobias, anxiety, or fears.
This happens when a person associates a stimulus to a negative or traumatic event. Another form of stimulus exposure is priming facilitation. “Priming occurs when one presentation of a stimulus facilitates the processing of a closely following repetition of the same or a related stimulus” (Terry, 2009). An example would be multiplication cards. The student is shown multiplication card and is to say the answer. The student knows that 4 times 5 is the same as 5 times 4. The stimulus has been primed and the student can identify the common multiples and answer the cards faster. Application of Simple Stimulus Learning
The author works as an automotive technician. He has been doing it for 20 years and it took time to learn the things about fixing automobiles. He started off in trade school and then was hired by an automotive repair shop. He started off doing easy repairs and preventative maintenance on vehicles. As he became more comfortable with the repairs, he was given harder repairs. He progressed from easy to difficult repairs. Now, there is probably not a repair that he has not had to perform in his 20 years of experience. He learned by watching and doing. He also learned by making mistakes.
Another example would be a little girl who gets her ears pierced. At first she is playing with the earrings and knows they are there. After a while she gets used to the earrings and forgets that she even has them in. Another example would be a bell that indicates lunch at a workplace. The people learn that the bell indicates that it is lunchtime. When the bell rings people stop working and take their lunch break.
People learn in many different ways. Some people may learn by doing something once and other may learn it by doing it repetitively. Other may use perception to learn. They may associate certain stimuli to certain processes. There are times that people learn without the intent to learn. Habituation is simple form of learning. A person is around a stimulus long enough and they get used to that stimulus.
Perpetual learning is exposure to a stimulus leads to learning about the stimulus. Some factors that affect perpetual learning are presenting contrasting stimuli, attention and feedback, and transfer from easy to difficult stimuli. Stimulus exposure can reveal other behavioral outcomes. There may be a positive or negative behavior or response to a stimulus. Examples of negatives would be phobias, anxiety, or fears. There are many things that can affect the learning process. Attention to detail and feedback can help a person in the learning process and will also help psychologists to understand learning and behavior better in the future.
Marsland, S. (2009). Using Habituation in Machine Learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Volume 92, Pages 260-266
Myers, C., Oliver, L., Warren, S., & Gluck, M. (2000). Stimulus Exposure Effects in Human Associative Learning. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental
Psychology, Volume 53B (2), Page 173-187 Terry, W. S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.