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Lecture 22

PSYC 361 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Learned Helplessness, Operant Conditioning, Prefrontal Cortex

1 pages81 viewsSpring 2018

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 361
Professor
Catharine Winstanley
Lecture
22

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Stress and control
Physiological effects of lack of control- focus on development of ulcers
Weiss 1972, 1977: rats hooked up to device which delivers electric shocks to tail. One rat
can control the amount of shock received, the other is "yoked" to the "master" rat
Both rats are shocked the same amount
o Yoked - not able to control
o Master - can control if the shock occurs - master rat pokes nose into space and stops
shock before it comes
Only yoked rats developed stomach ulcers
The perception of control
People either try and control events (primary control) or adjust to events they cannot
control (secondary control) such as:
o Predictive control: even failure can become predictable and dealt with. Knowing you
will fail and deal with it calmly
o Illusory control: attributing random events to personal skill eg. Throwing dice
o Vicarious control: belief that there is higher power in control, either divine or not
o Interpretive control: finding meaning in uncontrollable events. Some greater force in
control eg. God.
Degree of secondary control reduces averseness of an event resilience to some stress
related disorders eg PTSD
Learned helplessness
Dogs which are shocked in a situation from which they cannot escape, then fail to learn to
avoid shock when given the opportunity.
Prior exposure to shock from which they can escape does not inhibit learning of scape or
avoidance responses
Could be that they are more scared of CS
Differs from avoidance learning experiment by amount of shocks administered
The biology of being frazzled
Stress impairs working memory key role for the prefrontal cortex
Activation of amygdala, inhibition of prefrontal cortex
Simple, habitual behavior is actually improved under stressful circumstances, yet more
complex cognitive processes (sustained attentional, planning, strategy use) are impaired
Now stress regulation now uses prefrontal cortex instead of primitive areas of the brain in
fear and anxiety modulation
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