All right, last lecture of week four halfway through the course already, time flies. It seems like we just got going, eh? a bit of Canadian for you. all right, so for this last lecture what we're going to do is talk about one last form of learning. Which is actually an extremely important, and extremely powerful form of learning. But it often sort of gets lost in the classical conditioning and operant conditioning kind of stuff. so I want to highlight it today in this lecture, And, and I want to kind of use the issue of media violence as an example of why this is something we really need to understand well. And how it directly impacts society, and potentially every one of us. All right, so, let's do that story then. Observational Learning, Week 4, Lecture 8. All right. Well, sometimes this is actually called modeling. It goes by both words and it's a really very simple idea. You know, I mentioned when I was talking about language how language allows us to pass down knowledge. in a very, you know, explicit way, through books, and through talks, and that kind of thing. but we also pass down knowledge in a very implicit, a very easy way where we're not even necessarily intending to pass down knowledge. the point being that children are always watching. And they're, they're paying attention in a very important way, that often leads them to ultimately mimic the behavior of those they see around them. so here, you know, we have a little girl kind of going through, I guess, a spa kind of ritual with her, with her mother. and doing what the mother does and, and be quite happy about it, and in this case we have you know a male ritual [LAUGH]. The mowing of the lawn and we have a little boy kind of literally following in his father's footsteps and, and I assume having fun. For some reason this is fun when you're mimicking your dad, but somehow it stops being fun when it's just you and a real lawnmower out there. but again, this is something you will see children kind of, naturally do, mimic an adult's behavior. why? Well, it turns out there's actually a good neurological reason, and you will even see primates mimicking humans. As you see in, in this situation here, with a very young monkey, and it is a monkey in this case literally mimicking the behavior that it sees. In fact, there's a lot of neurological evidence that suggests we have these, what people call mirror neurons. And, and what they mean by that is, when you observe something in the real world. And especially, and it's interesting how this part comes in to play. But especially if you observe somebody behaving in an intentional way. So, not just behaving randomly but clearly with some goal in mind. So, they might be mowing the lawn or washing the car, or washing the dishes, or sweeping the floor, any of that kind of thing. Then it seems as though, that what's really happening when someone's attending, is these neurons are causing, the, the neurons in your motor cortex to fire in a way that's consistent with what you're seeing. So, if you saw somebody, let's say, I don't know, let's say just waving. You know how you do that with babies, bye, bye, see you next time really nice that you visited, bye. Well, as you do this, of course, your motor cortex on this side, right, because of the cross wiring, is sending signals to the appropriate muscles to make your hand do that. But the claim is that the motor neurons send muted version of those same signals to the child's motor cortex. So, it starts to kind of feel an urge to do the same thing you're doing, to mimic your behavior. And that this is considered to be a very important part of our system because it allows us literally to learn from others. To watch somebody do something, and as we're watching, we're kind of feeling ourselves doing it. And sometimes, as in the case with, with this monkey, we can't resist but actually do it. So we literally do mimic. But even when we don't mimic, the idea is that we're kind of feeling it. so when you're watching sports, for example, I used to say back in the day when Vince Carter was on the Toronto Raptors and everybody loved him. And he was a real good slum dunk champion, everybody doesn't love him any more, I'm afraid. but they did for a while, and I used to say during those days to my class, when I watch Vince Carter I don't watch Vince Carter, I am Vince Carter. That when he went up and did something beautiful, I could almost feel myself doing it, that's called mirror neurons. Now obviously this is a very functional, useful aspect of our system. and one that allows us to learn things in, in just such a natural way, especially motor behaviors. But it can have really a dark side as well. And that dark side is often highlighted in issues of media portrayals of violence and there was a very famous experiment by Albert Vandura on this. Albert Vandura had kids, half of them watched a video of a model here interacting with a Bobo doll. So, a Bobo doll is one of these, and this might be the best picture, one of these things that just stands up right. And you can hit it and it falls down but then it comes back and you can do whatever you what with it. kind of funny that our society has these toys for children but we do. and in this video the model would do things like punch the Bobo doll, throw the Bobo doll in the air, and actually sit right on top and kind of beat the Bobo doll up. So, half the children watched this, these videos, half the, the other half of the children watched a much more neutral kind of video. and then the children were allowed into a play room that contained a whole bunch of different toys including a Bobo doll. and also including sort of toy hammers and toy guns and things like that, items by the way which the model never used. The model only ever threw the thing around or hit it with their bare hands. But what they found when they allowed the kids into this playroom, the kids that had watched the model. Only the kids that had watched the model, became very aggresive towards the Bobo doll. They did the things they saw, they sat on it, beat it up, they threw it in the air, they punched it. they mimicked all those behaviors they saw, assumably because their motor neurons were kind of firing along as they watched it. but they also took it a step further. They would grab a hammer, and you see a little boy and a little girl here look how happy they look, well this guy doesn't look happy. This guy looks intense but she looks pretty happy but they would grab a hammer and they would beat on the Bobo doll with a hammer. And in one case this guy grabs a gun, and its just a toy gun but hes holding it right up to the Bobo doll and acting like he's pressing the trigger. So, that, you know, the worry, this really kind of grabbed a lot of attention. And it suggested in pretty strong terms, that, at lease for children, when they're watching violence they're feeling the violet acts. They're kind of doing violence along with the actors. And it seems as though if they're then given a safe opportunity to express it, they mimic that behavior. you know, in, in pretty extreme and startling ways. Now, of course, this has, this has touched off a whole debate over, you know, can humans actually make that distinction between fantasy and reality. And is, is it necessarily the case that watching violence or playing violent video games in the modern world makes a person actually more likely to commit violence. most of the evidence, by the way, suggests the answer to that is yes that, you know, exposure to violence, exposure to violent video games. Most of the good experiments that have been done, suggests that that does make somebody more prone to violence. but there's also experiments suggesting that most people can tell the difference. And just because they might feel a little bit more prone to violence doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to break the law. And become, you know, full out violent offenders. but it's very debated and every time we hear something like a school shooting. And people talk about gun control they almost always talk about this issue as well. so this is all a reflection of observational learning, very powerful thing, kids learn without knowing they're learning. We teach sometimes, without even knowing we're teaching. that's why often people who a lot of children look up to Athletes for examples. Singers, etc are often pinned with this label of being a role model and they're told children are watching you. And what you do they're more likely to do and you have to be aware of that. this is where a lot of that comes from. Okay? So, cool interesting stuff If you want to learn more about mirror neurons here's a video this one's specifically the Bobo doll experiment. So you can actually see these kids doing stuff, here I threw this one in. This is just, this is just me and a point that I like to make where we often under rate animals. this is an octopus who is learning to twist off the cap of a jar. Now unfortunately, I couldn't really find the video I wanted, which is one where they show they give octopus number one a jar with a twist lid. And it takes him quite a while, it takes him a bunch of trials before he figures out how to twist it off but he does. But then they allow octopus number two to watch octopus number one. Octopus two watches octopus one, he twists off the jar then they give octopus two the, a jar, and he twists the lid off, first try. In this case, with one try, he's learned how to do this. Octopus are truly an am, fantastic, amazing, intelligent animal with no backbone. They're like some weird alien critters that we really underrate the intelligence of. And I think they're a great example. I always think they're a great example that just because something looks weird, acts a little strange, and we don't know it well. It's very dangerous to assume, therefore, it has no intelligence, no consciousness, no sense of its own existence, so check that out. and this is one about, actually, how to model good teaching. and so this is an explicit attempt to model, and so I threw this in to show that, yeah well often we model in a sort of implicit way. Sometimes we really try to do it explicitly. over here I've got a transcript to the original Bobo Paper. I've,I've given you a couple of these and I just want to do a shout out in modern language to Christopher Green at York University, who has made an effort to get a lot of these classics out there and available and, and really doing a great service to the scientific community in, in so doing. and so I will connect every now and then to the classics that he provides, here's one. And then this is just another website that talks about the Bobo experiment, but then extrapolates it to this issue of violence and media violence. So a good one to check out. Alrighty. That's week four. Been fun. Well, we're kind of at halftime, I feel like a whistle should blow or something like that. but I've had a great time so far. I really look forward to the second half of the course. I hope you do too. I'll see you there.