CH5: BODY RHYTHMS & MENTAL STATES 4/3/2013 3:59:00 PM
Biological Rhythms: The tides of Experience
Consciousness: Awareness of oneself and the environment
Biological Rhythm: A periodic, more of less regular fluctuation in a biological system; may or may not have
Entrainment: The synchronization of biological rhythms with external cues, such as fluctuations in daylight
Endogenous: Generated from within rather than by external cues
Circadian Rhythm: A biological period (from peak to peak or trough to trough) or about 24 hours from latin circa,
“about,” and dies, “a day”
Ex: sleep-wake cycle, menstrual cycle, temperature, hibernation
- exist in plants, animals, insects, and human beings.
- reflect the adaptation of organisms to the many changes associated with the earth’s rotation
The Body’s Clock:
- Circadian rhythms are controlled by a biological clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus)SCN: An area of
the brain containing a biological clock that governs circadian rhythms
- allow it to respond to changes from light and dark (master pacemaker)
- Regulates fluctuating levels of hormones and neurotransmitter
- ex: dark hours: Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland. Sleep in dark room: melatonin level
rises, wake up to a lightened room: decreases.
Melatonin: A hormone, secreted by the pineal gland, that is involved in the regulation of daily biological (circadian
When Clock is out of sync:
- When your normal routine changes, circadian rhythms may also change
- Internal Desynchronization: A state in which biological rhythms are not synchronized
with one another (ex: jet lag, new shift, daylight savings)
- no simple cure for Desynchronization: affected by illness, stress, fatigue, excitement, exercise
drugs, mealtimes, and ordinarily experiences. Also by genetics
Moods and Long-Term Rhythms
Does the season affect moods?
- People become depressed during particular seasons.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Researchers believe that SAD patients are out of sync – have a chronic form of jet lag/have some abnormality with the way they produce/respond to melatonin
Does the Menstrual Cycle Affect Moods?
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)/ Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- there are many physical symptoms which can make a woman unhappy, but emotional symptoms are
The Rhythms of Sleep
The Realms of Sleep
Rapid Eye Movement: Sleep periods characterized by eye movement, loss of muscle tone, and dreaming
- whenever they begin, the patter of electrical activity from the sleeper’s brain changes to resemble that of alert
- when you first climb into bed, close your eyes, and relax, your brain emits bursts of alpha waves.
Stage 1: Your brain waves become small and irregular, and you feel yourself drifting on the edge of
consciousness, in a state of light sleep. If awakened, you may recall fantasies or a few visual images.
Stage 2: Your brain emits occasional short bursts of rapid, high-peaking waves called sleep spindles.
Minor noises probably won’t disturb you.
Stage 3: In addition to the waves that are characteristic of stage 2, your brain occasionally emits delta
waves, very slow ways with very high peaks. Your breathing and pulse have slowed down, your muscles have
relaxed, and you are hard to rouse.
Stage 4: Delta waves have now largely taken over, and you are in deep sleep. It will probably take
vigorous shaking or a loud noise to awaken you. No one yet knows what causes sleep- walking, which occurs more
often in children than adults, but it seems to involve unusual patterns of delta wave brain activity
Then REM (paradoxical sleep) – where dreams are most likely to occur
Non-REM dreams tend to be shorter, less vivid, and more realistic than REM dreams, except in the
hour before a person wakes up in the morning.
Why we sleep
The mental consequences of sleeplessness
Sleep is necessary for mental functioning
Chronic sleep deprivation increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may damage or
impair brain cells that are necessary for learning and memory.
o Can also fail to mature normally. Mental flexibility, attention and creativity all suffer.
Insomnia: difficulty falling or staying asleep.
o Can result from worry and anxiety, psychological problems, physical problems (arthritis), and
irregular or overly demanding work and study schedule.
Sleep Apnea: A disorder in which breathing briefly stops during sleep, causing the person to choke
and gasp and momentarily awaken o Often in older males and overweight people
o Caused by: blockage of air passages to failure of the brain to control respiration correctly.
o Effects: high blood pressure, irregular heart beat
Narcolepsy: A sleep disorder involving sudden and unpredictable daytime attacks of sleepiness or
lapses into REM sleep (5-30 mins)
o Seemed to be caused by the degeneration of certain neurons in the hypothalamus, possibly
owing to an autoimmune malfunction or genetic abnormalities.
REM behaviour disorder: A disorder in which the muscle paralysis that normally occurs during REM
sleep is absent or incomplete, and the sleeper is able to act out his or her dreams. (unaware of what
he is doing)
o Ex: if dreaming about a kitten, he may try to pet it.
The Mental Benefits of Sleep
Consolidation: A process by which the synaptic changes associated with recently stored memories
become durable and stable, causing memory to become more reliable
Improvements of memory have been associated with REM sleep and slow-wave sleep and with the
memory for specific motor and perceptual skills
Strengthens: recollections of events, locations, facts, emotional memories, negative emotional
scenes, computerized tasks
Exploring the Dream World
- People who do not have dreams may have suffered some brain injury.
- Lucid dream: a dream in which the dreamer is aware of dreaming
Dreams as Unconscious Wishes
Must distinguish manifest content: the aspects of it that we consciously experience during sleep and
may remember upon waking, from its hidden latent content: the unconscious wishes and thoughts
being expressed symbolically
Each dream had to be analyzed in the context of the dreamer’s waking life, as well as the associations
with the dream’s contents.
Dreams as Efforts to Deal with Problems
- problem focused approach to dreams, the symbols and metaphors in a dream do not disguise its true meaning;
they convey it.
- supported by findings that dreams are more likely to contain material related to a person’s current concerns than
chance would predict
Ex: stressed out students get test-anxiety dreams; the dreamer is unprepared for or unable to finish
an exam, or shows up for the wrong exam. Dreams as Thinking
- cognitive approach to dreaming emphasizes current concerns, but it makes no claims about problem solving
dreaming is simply a modification of the cognitive activity that goes on when we are awake
dreams that are not related to our daily problems.
Cerebral cortex is highly active
Also predicts that as cognitive abilities and brain connections mature during childhood, dreams should
change in nature, and they do.
Dreams as Interpreted Brain Activity
- activation-synthesis theory: The theory that dreaming results from the cortical synthesis and interpretation of
neural signals triggered by activity in the lower part of the brain
spontaneous firing of neurons in pons
signals originating in the pons have no psychological meaning in themselves but cortex tries to make
sense of them by synthesizing them with existing knowledge to produce some coherent
The Riddle of Hypnosis
Hypnosis: A procedure in which the practitioner suggests changes in the sensations, perceptions, thoughts,
feelings, or behaviour of the participant.
- tries to alter his or her cognitive processes in accordance with hypnotist’s suggestions (“arm will slowly rise, you
will feel no pain” etc)
Nature of Hypnosis
1. Hypnotic responsiveness depends more on the efforts and qualities of the person being hypnotized than on the
skill of the hypnotist.
2. Hypnotized people cannot be forced to do things against their will.
3. Feats performed while under hypnosis can be performed by motivated people without hypnosis.
4. Hypnosis does not increase the accuracy of memory.
5. Hypnosis does not produce a literal re-experiencing of long-ago events
6. Hypnotic suggestions have been used effectively for many medicinal and psychological purposes
Theories of Hypnosis
Dissociation: A split in consciousness in which one part of the mind operates independently of
Hypnotist induces Split between hidden observer Person responds
hypnotic state or executive control system and to suggestions
rest of mind (“I’m 4 yrs old”) The sociocognitive approach
Holds that the effect of hypnosis result from an interaction between the social of the hypnotist and
the abilities, beliefs, and expectations of the subject.
Social Influence of hypnotist Person’s own cognitions (“I believe
(“youre going back in time”) in age regression”)
Person conforms to suggestions
(“I’m four-years old.”)
Explain apparent cases of past-life regression.
Consciousness- altering drugs
Psychoactive drug: a drug capable of influencing perception, mood, cognition, or behaviour.
1. Stimulants speed up activity in the central nervous system
2. Depressants slow activity in the central nervous system
Depressants: Drugs that slow activity in the central nervous system
3. Opiates relieve pain
Opiates: Drugs, derived from the opium poppy, that relieve pain and commonly produce euphoria.
4. Psychedelic Drugs disrupt normal though processes, such as the perception, time and space
Psychedelic Drugs: Consciousness-altering drugs that produce hallucinations, change thought processes, or
disrupt the normal perception of time and space.
Anabolic steroids: synthetic derivatives of testosterone that are taken in pill form or by injection, to increase
muscle mass and strength.
The physiology of Drug Effects
- produce effects by acting on brain neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that carry messages from one
nerve cell to another.
- affect cognitive and emotional functioning.
- tolerance: Increase resistances to a drugs effect accompanying continued use.
- withdrawal: Physical and psychological symptoms that occur when someone addicted to a drug stops taking it.
The Psychology of Drug Effects
1. Individual factors include body weight, metabolism, initial states of emotional arousal, personality
characteristics, and physical tolerance for the drug.
2. “Experience with the drug” refers to the number of times a person has taken it.
3. “Environmental setting” refers to the context in which a person takes the drug.
4. “Mental Set” refers to the expectations about the drug’s effects, as well as reasons for taking it. CH7: LEARNING AND CONDITIONING 4/3/2013 3:59:00 PM
- Learning: A relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behavioral potential) due to experience.
- Behaviourism: An approach to psychology that emphasizes the study of observable behaviour and the role of
the environment as a determinant of behaviour.
- Conditioning: A basic kind of learning that involves associations between environmental stimuli and the
- Pavlov a Russian physician/neurophysiologist won a Nobel prize in 1904
- captured the phenomenon in classic experiments and conditioning.
- ex: dogs and salivation for food
New Reflexes from Old
- original salivary reflex, consisted of an
unconditioned stimulus (US): The classical-conditioning term for a stimulus that elicits a reflexive
response in the absence of learning. (food in the dogs mouth)
- an event or thing that elicits a response automatically or reflexively
unconditioned response (UR): The classical-conditioning term for a reflexive response elicited by a
stimulus in the absence of learning. (salivation)
- response that is automatically produced
- learning occurs, when a neutral stimulus (one that does not yet produce a particular response, salivation) is
regularly paired with an unconditioned stimulus:
Neutral US UR
- Neutral stimulus becomes a
conditioned stimulus (CS): The classical-conditioning term for an initially neutral stimulus that
comes to elicit a conditioned response after being associated with an unconditioned stimulus. (the site
of a food dish)
Conditioned response (CR): The classical-conditioning term for a response that is elicited by a
conditioned stimulus; it occurs after the conditioned stimulus is associated with an unconditioned
stimulus. (food dish becomes CS for salivation)
- Classical Conditioning: The process by which a previously neutral stimulus acquires the capacity to elicit a
response through association with a stimulus that already elicits a similar or related response. Also called
Pavolovian of respondent conditioning.
Principles of Classical Conditioning
Extinction - The weakening and eventual disappearance of a learned response; in classical conditioning, it occurs
when the conditioned stimulus is no longer paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
- ex: training your dog to salivate to the sound of a bell, but then you ring the bell every 5 minutes
and do not follow it with food. The dogs salivation will decrease and will soon stop salivating
- Spontaneous Recovery: The reappearance of a learned response after its apparent extinction.
- In classical conditioning, a procedure in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus
through association with an already established stimulus.
- ex: dog learned to salivate to sight of his food dish (CS = CR). Flash a light before present a dish
(NS + CS = CR). Repeat and dog may learn to salivate at the light (CS = CR)
Stimulus Generalization and Discrimination
- Stimulus generalization: After conditioning, the tendency to respond to a stimulus that resembles
one involved in the original conditioning; in classical conditioning, it occurs when a stimulus that
resembles the CS elicits the CR.
- ex: dog learns to salivate to a key of C on piano may then salivated to key of D.
- more similar, more likely to generalize.
- Stimulus discrimination: The tendency to respond differently to two or more similar stimuli; in
classical conditioning, it occurs when a stimulus similar to the CS fails to evoke the CR.
- ex: dog will salivate to key of C on piano, but not key of C on the guitar.
- contiguity is destroyed, erased.
Classical Conditioning in Real Life
Learning to Like
- classical conditioning explains why sentimental feelings sweeps over us when we see a school mascot, national
flag, or the logo of the Olympic games. It then associates with positive feelings.
- ex: US (stirring music) = UR (positive emotion)
Neutral Stimulus (flag) + US = UR
CS = CR
- the music was an unconditioned stimulus for internal responses associated with pleasure or
displeasure, and pens, became conditioned stimuli for similar responses.
Learning to fear
- viewed psychology as objective science generally agreed-upon consensus today
- called this position behaviourism
- conditioned the Little Albert (had a fear of everything). - counterconditioning: In classical conditioning, the process of pairing a conditioned stimulus with a stimulus that
elicits a response that is incompatible with an unwanted conditioned response.
- Ex: rabbit (CS) paired with a snack of milk and crackers (US). Snack produced pleasant feelings that
were incompatible with the conditioned response of fear to the child.
- Systematic desensitization: variation of counterconditioning devised for treating phobias in adults.
Account for taste
- many people have learned to dislike a food after eating it and then falling ill, even when the two events were
unrelated. Food (NS) becomes a (CS) for nausea
Reacting to Medical Treatments
US (needle) = UR (nausea)
Neutral stimulus US UR
(hospital) (needle) (nausea)
CS (hospital) = CR (nausea)
- operant conditioning: The process by which a response becomes more likely to occur or less so, depending on
- Ex: little girls sobbing operates or produces effects on the environment. Effects will influence whether the
response will occur again.
- responses are complex, and are not reflexive – riding a bicycle, writing a letter, climbing a mountain, throwing a
The Birth of Radical Behaviourism
- Thorndike (1898):
Law of effect: Principles that behaviours followed by favorable consequences become more likely,
and behaviours followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely.
- What controls behaviour, controls likelihood of that behaviour in the future.
- environmental determinism: cause of behaviour that comes from outside.
The Consequences of Behaviour
- B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) elaborated and highlighted Thorndike’s Law of Effect; he developed behavioural
technology (e.g. Skinner box)
- chamber with a bar or key that an animal manipulates to obtain a food or water reinforcer contains
devices to record responses.
- animal should be hungry.
- schedule: refers to the type of relationship between behaviour and some other reinforcer.
- a response (“operant”) can be influenced by 2 types of consequences:
1. Reinforcement strengthens the response or makes it more likely to recur. - reinforcement: The process by which a stimulus or event strengthens or increases the probability
of the response that it follows.
- ex: when dogs beg for food, you give food off plate, begging is likely to increase
2. Punishment weakens the response or makes it it less likely to recur.
- Punishment: The process by which a stimulus or event weakens or reduces the probability of the
response that it follows.
- ex: when dog begs for food, shout “no,” responses become less likely.
Primary and Secondary Reinforcers and Punishers
- Primary Reinforcer: a stimulus that is inherently reinforcing, typically satisfying a physiological
need; an example is food.
- natural reinforcer
- Primary punisher: A stimulus that is inherently punishing; an example is electric shock
- Secondary reinforcer: A stimulus that has acquired reinforcing properties through association with
other reinforcers. (money, praise, applause, good grades)
- Secondary punisher: A stimulus that has acquired punishing properties through association with
other punishers. (Criticism, fines, bad grades)
- Conditioned reinforcer: stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with
o ex: money = learn to appreciate
= can exchange with a primary reinforcer
Positive and Negative Reinforcers and Punishers
- positive reinforcement: A reinforcement procedure in which a response is followed by the
presentation of, or increase in intensity of, a reinforcing stimulus; as a result, the response becomes
stronger or more likely to occur.
- negative reinforcement: A reinforcement procedure in which a response is followed by the
removal, delay, or decrease, in intensity of an unpleasant stimulus; as a result, the response becomes
more stronger or more likely to occur.
- ex: having a headache and taking pills to subside the pain.
Principles of Operant Conditioning
- The weakening and eventual disappearance of a learned response; in operant conditioning, it occurs
when a response is no longer followed by the reinforcer.
- ex: put a coin in vending machine, get nothing back. Eventually give up.
Stimulus generalization and discrimination - Stimulus generalization: in operant conditioning, the tendency for a response that has been
reinforced (or punished) in the presence of one stimulus to occur (or be suppressed) in the presence
of other similar stimuli.
o ex: pigeon has been trained to peck at a picture of a circle may also peck at a slightly oval
- Stimulus discrimination: In operant conditioning, the tendency of a response to occur in the
presence of one stimulus but not in the presence of other, similar stimuli that differ from it on some
o Ex: present both circle and oval, giving reinforcers to pigeon when it pecks at circle and non
when pecks at oval.
- Discriminative stimulus: A stimulus that signals when a particular response is likely to be
followed by a certain type of consequence.
o Ex: light may serve as a discriminative stimulus for pecking at circle. When light is on,
pecking brings reward; when off, pecking is futile.
Learning on Schedule
- continuous reinforcement: A reinforcement schedule in which a particular response is always
- intermittent (partial schedule or reinforcement:
A reinforcement schedule in which a particular response is sometimes but not always reinforced.
o Results in slower acquisition. Greater resistance to extinction.
- fixed ratio (FR): reinforces a response only after a specified number or responses; faster respond
the more rewards you get different ratios; very high rate of responding like piecework pay
- variable ratio (VR): reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses; average
ratios like gambling; very hard to extinguish because of unpredictability (highest rate of respond).
- fixed interval (FI): reinforced a response only after a specified time has elapsed; response occurs
more frequently as the anticipated time for reward draws near. (ex: exam dates)
- variable interval (VI): reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals; produces slow steady
responding like pop quizzes (gambling).
- An operant-conditioning procedure in which successive approximations or a desired response are
- training a subject something complicated (behaviour-wise)
- successive approximations: in the operant-conditioning procedure of shaping, behaviours that
are ordered in terms of increasing similarity or closeness to the desired response.
Biological Limits on Learning - instinctive drift: During operant learning, the tendency for an organism to revert to instinctive
Operant Conditioning in Real Life
- behaviour modification: The application of operant-conditioning techniques to teach new responses or to
reduce or eliminate maladaptive or problematic behaviour; also called applied behaviour analysis.
The Pros and Cons of Punishment
When Punishment Works
- consistency of punishment. (prisoners and crimes, drivers getting speed tickets.)