Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)

In this video I explain the concept of long-term potentiation, which refers to the strengthening of neural connections due to repeated synchronous firing. Repeated firing leads to changes in chemical signaling between the two neurons, influencing neurotransmitter and receptor activity. Next I introduce an example of this with the possible role of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (for the neurotransmitter glutamate) in …

Latent Learning & Cognitive Maps

In this video I explain the concept of latent learning using two studies conducted by Edward Tolman and colleagues. Latent learning refers to learning that occurs without reinforcement and isn’t demonstrated until an opportunity arises. I also describe the idea of a cognitive map and how it supports the existence of internal mental representations. Don’t forget to subscribe to the …

Chaining, Shaping, & Instinctive Drift

In this video I describe the how conditioning to be used to train more complex behaviors. This can be accomplished with chaining, which involves linking together previously conditioned behaviors, and shaping, which involves reinforcing successive approximations of a desired behavior. Next I provide examples of behaviors which cannot be conditioned due to biological constraints on learning described by Keller and …

Operant Boxes & Schedules of Reinforcement

In this video I describe the operant boxes used by Skinner (often called “Skinner boxes”) to study the relationship between different schedules of reinforcement and behavior. Then I describe 4 possible schedules of reinforcement including fixed-ratio, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and variable-interval, as well as how random rewards created “superstitious” behaviors in pigeons. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see …

Scared Infants and Sick Rats: Aversive Conditioning

In this video I explain two examples of aversive conditioning; John Watson’s “Little Albert” study pairing presentation of a rat with a loud noise, and John Garcia and Robert Koelling’s work on learned taste aversions in rats. Taste aversions demonstrate our biological preparedness for some learning, which allows us to learn certain types of associations more easily than others. Don’t …

Observer Bias: Clever Horses and Dull Rats

In this video, I explain two well-known examples of observer bias: the case of Clever Hans, and Rosenthal and Fode’s experiment with “bright” and “dull” rats. Observer bias (or experimenter expectancy effect) is considered, along with an explanation for how to reduce this bias. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see future videos! Have questions or topics you’d …

How Does Toxoplasmosis Affect the Brain?

I highly recommend checking out this excellent interview with one of my favorite lecturers, Robert Sapolsky. He discusses fascinating ways different parasites like toxoplasma gondii are able to take control of behavior via some surprising neurological mechanisms. It appears that the toxo parasite makes rats sexually attracted to the scent of cat urine, increasing the odds the rat will end …