Chapter 15. Historical Perspective. How the world creates who you are: behaviorism and social learning theory

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1 Chapter 15 How the world creates who you are: behaviorism and social learning theory Learning 2 stimuli events, things, or people repeatedly experienced together will eventually come to elicit the same response i.e. someone puffs air into your eye at the same time they ring a bell bell ring makes blink Behaviors that are followed by pleasant outcomes tend to be repeated, and behaviors followed by unpleasant outcomes tend to be dropped i.e. hard work rewarded may work harder and hard work unappreciated why bother? Learning the change of behavior as a function of experience 2 types Behaviorism Social learning theory Behaviorists try to show how people s behavior is a direct result of their environment esp. the rewards and punishments of the environment Behaviorism The best angle to understand a person is from the outside we can only know that which we can see, and we can see everything we need to know Your personality is a sum total of everything you do. Nothing else 2 beliefs 1. All knowledge worth having can only come from direct observation Introspection is invalid b/c nobody else can verify it 2. The causes of behavior can be observed as directly as behavior itself, b/c these causes aren t hidden in the mind, but can be seen in the individual s environment Historical Perspective Locke s tabula rasa Classical Conditioning Pavlov s dogs Watson s Little Albert Stimulus generalization Operant (aka instrumental ) Conditioning Thorndike s cats Shaping Skinner s Walden II Schedules of reinforcement 1

2 Philosophical roots of behaviorism 1. Empiricism All knowledge comes from experience Experience is the direct product of reality itself Rationalism believes the exact opposite that the structure of the mind determines our experience of reality Tabula rasa or blank slate The newborn s mind is empty and ready to be written on by experience (Locke) Watson s quote at bottom of p. 443 Philosophical roots of behaviorism 2. Associationism Two things, or two ideas, or a thing and an idea, become mentally associated into one if they are repeatedly experienced close together in time i.e. thunder and lightning become associated in the mind The thought of one will conjure up the other, and the way a person reacts to one will tend to become the way they ll react to the other Philosophical roots of behaviorism 3. Hedonism and utilitarianism Empiricism and associationism together form the core of the behaviorist explanation of personality Hedonism Why people behave at all motivation Utilitarianism The best society is the social arrangement that creates the most happiness for the largest number of people 3 kinds of learning 1. Habituation 2. Classical conditioning 3. Operant conditioning 2

3 Habituation Diminishing of response due to repetition i.e. jump every time someone rings a bell behind you Simplest way behavior changes as a result of experience A response almost as strong as the original can be maintained, but only if the stimulus is changed or increased with every repetition (recovery) Classical conditioning Pavlov s dogs Bell elicited salivation most quickly and reliably if rung right before feeding rather than simultaneously with feeding Associationism suggest that 2 things become combined in the mind by being experienced together, but Pavlov found that conditioning is more than simply pairing one stimulus with another, but teaching the animal that one stimulus (the bell) is a signal or the other (the food) Concepts become associated not just b/c they occur close together in time and place, but b/c the meaning of one concept has changed the meaning of another i.e. the bell used to be just a sound, but now it means food is coming Classical conditioning Learned helplessness Feeling of unpredictability due to the experience of random reward or punishment, independent of what one does that leads to the belief that nothing ones does really matters why bother syndrome S-R conception of personality Watson and Pavlov assumed that the essential activity of life was to learn an array of responses to specific environment stimuli and the individual s personality consists of their learned S-R (stimulus-response) associations Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning Not just salivating dogs Terminology US unconditioned stimulus Stimulus that innately produces a response (does not require learning: e.g. grilling food UR unconditioned response (reflex) Behavior that is triggered by the US: e.g. salivation NS neutral stimulus Doesn t produce a response (e.g. light, tone) CS conditioned stimulus Pairings of a NS with a US leads to the formation of an association between the previously neutral stimulus and the US NS becomes a CS and can produce a response on its own (conditioned response) 3

4 Classical conditioning: Pavlov s dogs US (food) UR (salivation) pair with CS (tone) CR (salivation) Classical conditioning Classical conditioning: Dog phobia US Meat UR Salivate US (bitten by dog) UR (fear) US Meat + Tone UR Salivate pair with CS Tone CR Salivate CS (dog) CR (fear) 4

5 How to cure a dog phobia 1: Extinction How to cure a dog phobia 2: Systematic desensitization NOT BITTEN NO FEAR Think of dog FEAR!!! So.. pair with Relaxation Response NO FEAR DOG NO FEAR pair with DOG NO FEAR RN1 How to cure unhealthy behaviors, 1: Aversion therapy for smoking Smoke Pleasure Put nauseating substance on tongue So.. NAUSEA pair with Smoke cigarette NAUSEA 5

6 Slide 17 RN1 Which is US, CS, UR, and CR? Ronald Noble, 10/3/2003

7 Operant conditioning Experimentation leads to things that work are repeated and things that don t are dropped i.e. a good cook experimenting The Law of Effect: Thorndike Put hungry cats into a puzzle box They could only escape by doing some specific, simple act, such as pulling on a wire or pressing a bar Doing this would result in the box opening and the cat would jump out to find some food nearby The cat would be put back into the box to try again Techniques of operant conditioning: Skinner Respondent conditioning What is conditioned is a passive response that has no impact of its own i.e. Pavlov s dog salivating Operant conditioning The animal learns to operate on its world to change it to the animal s advantage i.e. Thorndike s cats who pushed the lever to open the cage to escape Skinner box used to work out the laws of operant conditioning using rats and pigeons A bar to press and a chute for delivering food pellets Pigeon would be bumping around and eventually pushes the bar resulting in a food pellet down the chute The pigeon eats it and continues with what it s doing Eventually the pigeon catches on and hits the bar more often resulting in persistent hitting of the bar Operant conditioning: reinforcement Operant conditioning The animal learns to operate on its world to change it to the animal s advantage 1. Start some behaviors (usually reward or give praise) 2. Maintain some behaviors (usually reward or give praise) 3. Prevent some behaviors (can still reward for something incompatible with the undesired behavior) Reinforcement Increasing the frequency or probability of a behavior by presenting or removing a stimulus following that behavior Positive reinforcement i.e. press lever get food Negative reinforcement i.e. press lever shock ends Operant conditioning: punishment Operant conditioning The animal learns to operate on its world to change it to the animal s advantage 1. Start some behaviors 2. Maintain some behaviors 3. Prevent some behaviors Punishment Decreasing the frequency or probability of a behavior by presenting or removing a stimulus following that behavior An aversive consequence that follows an act in order to stop it and prevent its repetition Used by parents, teachers, and bosses Positive punishment i.e. climb pole to birdfeeder = shock (squirrels) Negative punishment i.e. break rules = no cigarettes (prison inmates) 6

8 Operant conditioning summary Reinforcement increases frequency of a behavior Positive reinforcement = by adding something nice Negative reinforcement = by taking something nasty away Don t confuse negative reinforcement with punishment Punishment decreases the frequency of a behavior Positive punishment Negative punishment Positive (something added) Negative (something removed) Reinforcement (behavior increases) Positive Reinforcement (R+): Something added increases behavior I.e. give star to child when makes bed; treat dog for sitting, praise Negative Reinforcement (R-): Something removed increases behavior I.e. baby stops crying when mom feeds it, avoiding dog reduces fear Punishment (behavior decreases) Positive Punishment (P+): Something added decreases behavior I.e. get ticket for speeding, boss requiring redo of incorrectly done project done correctly in future Negative Punishment (P-): Something removed decreases behavior I.e. child misbehaves and friend can t come over or TV taken away Two-stage theory of phobias Phobias are acquired by classical conditioning Some neutral US is paired with a CS that produces fear Phobias are maintained by operant conditioning Each time the phobic object is removed or avoided negative reinforcement occurs Because the phobic object is always avoided, the phobic never learns the object is harmless How to punish 1. Availability of alternatives Alternative response must be available can t be punished and should be rewarded 2. Behavioral and situational specificity Be clear about exactly the behavior you re punishing and the circumstances under which it will/won t be punished Never punish for being bad, but for the behavior 3. Timing and consistency To be most effective, needs to be applied immediately after the behavior you want to prevent and every time it occurs 4. Conditioning secondary punishing stimuli i.e. hissing spraying cat with water for clawing couch just hissing i.e. verbal warnings 1, 2, 3 5. Avoiding mixed messages Don t cuddle after punishing may lead to misbehaving for attention Parents shouldn t play off of each other with one punishing and the other providing sympathy 7

9 Dangers of punishment 1. Punishment arouses emotion Unlikely to learn a lesson when under emotion 2. It is difficult to be consistent 3. It is difficult to gauge the severity of punishment A slap or rebuke can be humiliating and cause more psychological distress than realized 4. Punishment teaches about power Those being punished may focus on getting big and powerful to punish too 5. Punishment motivates concealment Cuts off communication whereas an anticipation of being rewarded for good work motivates to bring work to the attention of the boss Social learning theory (SLT) Important omissions of behaviorism 1. Ignores motivation, thought, and cognition 2. Classic behaviorism is based on animals The hope is to be able to generalize general laws of learning relevant to all species, but not focusing on what s unique to humans like problem solving 3. Ignores the social dimension of learning Rat in Skinner box is there alone and can t interact with, learn from, or influence any other animal Humans learn by watching others 4. Treats the organism as passive They re put there Humans choose what environments to enter and these environments change as a result of what we do in them Dollard and Miller s SLT Habit hierarchy The behavior you are most likely to perform at a given moment is at the top of your habit hierarchy Your least likely behavior is at the bottom The effect of rewards, punishments, and learning is to rearrange the habit hierarchy If you are rewarded for a particular behavior, this behavior might become more likely; if you re punished for a certain behavior, it might become less likely Motivation and drives Drive A state of psychological tension that feels good when it s reduced Primary drives Food, water, physical comfort, avoidance of physical pain, sexual gratification, etc. Secondary drives Love, prestige, money, and power Also negative drives such as avoidance of fear and humiliation There can be no reinforcement (and no behavior change) w/o some kind of drive reduction, whether it s primary or secondary For a reward to be rewarding and have the power to make the behavior it rewards more likely, the reward must satisfy a need Dollard and Miller s SLT (cont.) Frustration and aggression Frustration-aggression hypothesis The natural, biological reaction of any person to being blocked from a goal, or frustrated, will be an urge to lash out and injure The more important the blocked goal, the greater the frustration, and the greater the aggressive impulse The preferred target will be the source of the frustration or the aggressive impulse can be displaced elsewhere Psychological conflict Conflict between desire and fear and how it can change over time Approach-avoidance conflict 5 key assumptions 1. An increase in drive strength will increase the tendency to approach or avoid a goal 2. Whenever there are 2 competing responses, the stronger one (one w/ greater drive strength behind it) will sin out 3. The tendency to approach a positive goal increases the closer one is to the goal 4. The tendency to avoid a negative goal also increases the closer one is to the goal 5. Most important, tendency 4 is stronger than tendency 3 The tendency to avoid a negative goal becomes stronger, w/ nearness/ than does the tendency to approach a positive goal 8

10 15_5.jpg Rotter s SLT Expectancy value theory (like SFP) Behavioral decisions are determined not just by the presence or size of reinforcements, but also by beliefs about what the results of behavior are likely to be Even if a reinforcement is very attractive, you re not likely to pursue it if your chances of success seem slim Even something that isn t particularly desirable might motivate behavior, if the chances of getting it are good enough Expectancy and locus of control An individual s expectancy for a behavior is their belief, or subjective probability, about how likely they think the behavior is to attain its goal What are the chances? The expectancy is your belief about the odds that an action will pay off This belief could be right or wrong It doesn t matter whether something is actually likely to succeed or not; if you think it will, you ll try It doesn t matter whether something will actually succeed if you only try, if you think it won t work, you won t even try 2 kinds of expectancies 1. Specific 2. General (locus of control) Internal locus of control are those w/ high generalized expectancies that think that what they do can affect what happens to them External locus of control are those w/ low generalized expectancies that think what they do won t make much difference Bandura s SLT Less emphasis on stable differences between people as w/ Rotter, but rather on the social nature of learning and the way people interact with the situations in their lives Efficacy expectations Belief that one can accomplish something successfully How one interprets reality matters more than reality itself Rotter s expectancy is the perceived conditional probability that if you do something, you ll attain your goal Bandura s efficacy is the perceived nonconditional probability that you can do something in the first place Observational learning (vicarious) Learning a behavior by seeing someone else do it Bobo doll studies A child who watches an adult hit the doll is likely to later hit the doll themselves, especially if they see the adult rewarded for the aggressive behavior modeling Bandura s SLT (cont.) Reciprocal determinism and the self An analysis of how people can shape their own environments 1.You aren t just placed in the environments in your life like a rat placed in a Skinner box many times you choose the environments that influence you 2.The social situations in your life are changed, at least a little because you are there 3.A self system develops that has its own effects on behavior, independent of the environment 9

11 Bandura s Triadic Model of Reciprocal Determinism Overt Behavior Personal Factors (beliefs, expectations, self-perceptions) Environmental Influences Contributions to the learning approaches 1. Conducted admirable programs of research that came close to achieving the dream of establishing psych as an objective science among other sciences 2. Recognize how what people do depends on the environment and the specific situation that they re in at the time 3. The development of a technology of behavior change Limitations of the learning approaches 1. It s not clear that the effects of behavioral therapies for phobias, addictions, and other problems are always generalizable and long-lasting 2. They re too simple and underappreciate that people think 10

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