Learning Rules: Overview
Learning is the most important way by which the environment alters the behavior in animals and humans. Neurobiological as well as computational studies have stressed the significance of synaptic plasticity in the learning process: Experience and training leads to modifications of synapses, which in turn lead to changes in neuronal firing patterns, causing changes in behavior. A full understanding of the processes underlying learning, therefore, requires an understanding on the neural as well as on the systemic level.
In the behavioral literature, learning is studied by exposing animals and humans to sensory stimuli and having them interact with the environment. The paradigms which have been used gave rise to a categorization into associative and nonassociative learning. In nonassociative learning an animal is repeatedly exposed to a single type of stimulus, and learning is described by the strength of its impact leading, for example, to the phenomena of habituation...