On the dynamics of operant conditioning

Author(s): Grossberg, S. |

Year: 1971

Citation: Journal of Theoretical Biology, 33, 225-255

Abstract: Simple psychological postulates are presented which are used to derivepossible anatomical and physiological substrates of operant conditioning.These substrates are compatible with much psychological data aboutoperants. A main theme is that aspects of operant and respondent conditioning share a single learning process. Among the phenomena whicharise are the following: UCS-activated arousal; formation of conditioned,or secondary, reinforcers; a non-specific arousal system distinct fromsensory and motor representations whose activation is required forsensory processing; polyvalent cells responsive to the sum of CS and UCSinputs and anodal d.c. potential shifts; neural loci responsive to thecombined effect of sensory events and drive deprivation; "go"-like or"now print"-like mechanisms which, for example, influence incentivemotivational increases in general activity; a mechanism for learningrepetitively to press a bar which electrically stimulates suitable arousalloci in the absence of drive reduction; uniformly distributed potentials,driven by the CS, in the "cerebral cortex" of a trained network; thedistinction between short-term and long-term memory, and the possibilityof eliminating transfer from short-term to long-term memory in theabsence of suitable arousal; networks that can learn and perform arbitrarilycomplex sequences of acts or sensory memories, without continuous controlby sensory feedback, whose rate of performance can be regulated by thelevel of internal arousal; networks with idetic memory; network analogsof "therapeutic resistance" and "repression"; the possibility of conditioning the sensory feedback created by a motor act to the neuralcontrols of this act, with consequences for sensory-motor adaptationand child development. This paper introduces explicit minimalanatomies and physiological rules that formally give rise to analogousphenomena. These networks consider only aspects of positive conditioning. They are derived from simple psychological facts.

Topics: Biological Learning, Mathematical Foundations of Neural Networks, Applications: Other, Models: Other,

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  1. Embedding fields: Underlying philosophy, mathematics, and applications to psychology, physiology, and anatomy
    This article reviews results on a learning theory that can be derived from simple psychological postulates and given a suggestive neurophysiological, anatomical, and biochemical interpretation. The neural networks described ... Article Details