Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:3:59

Non associative learning

Video transcript

- Okay, let's draw a graph. Let's look at the horizontal axis. And let's think about this as being the number of times that you hear thunder. Say you're sitting in your bedroom and you hear some loud thunder claps. Okay, so we've got six thunder claps. And now on the vertical axis, let's think about this being how high you jump out of your bed when you hear them. Let's use a bit of an arbitrary measure. Let's say you typically jump 10 centimeters. So one thing that could happen is that every time you heard a thunder clap, you could jump 10 centimeters out of your bed. You were surprised and you jumped that much out of your bed. So the first time you hear it, you jump 10 centimeters up out of your bed. Second time is the same, third time is the same, fourth, fifth, and sixth. But the stimulus, which is the thunder clap, results in more or less the same response. But let's think about this: What else can potentially happen? Well one of the other things that could happen is that you may start to jump less and less out of bed. Your response may diminish with every subsequent thunder clap. You may essentially start getting used to the thunder claps and stop getting as worried. The first time you may startle a lot, but over time you may get less and less and less startled and jump less and less out of bed. Now if this happened, this actually has a particular name, and this is called habituation. And what habituation means is that we still have the same stimulus, but with every progressive episode of this stimulus, our response decreases. Now can you see what else can potentially happen? Another thing that can happen is that with each thunder clap that we hear we start to get more and more agitated, more and more frightened. And we start to jump higher and higher out of bed. So what's happening here and what we can say here, we're actually experiencing something called sensitization. And what sensitization means `is that the response increases with every episode of stimulus, so it's actually the opposite of habituation. And what's important here is that habituation and sensitization are the two key forms of non-associative learning. And when I say non-associative learning, focus on the associative. The reason why this is non-associative learning is that it does not contain any reinforcement or punishment. We're not rewarding or punishing this increase or decrease in response. So, we're not giving you a cookie every time you jump higher out of bed or we're not attempting to give you a reward or a punishment if you stay in bed and don't respond as well. We're simply noticing how your response changes in relation to the stimulus. And this is different to associative and operant conditioning, which do involve things like reinforcement and punishment, for example.