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PSY 2130 November 14.docx

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York University
PSYC 2130

PSY 2130 November 14, 2012 1. Central Position of Behavioral Perspectives on Personality Humans have the longest period biologists called “neoteny”, which is the time with which babies are dependent on their parents. During this period, parents invest a great deal of effort in socializing our young, and as a discipline, psychology has invested an incredible amount of research in sorting out this process. Psychology as a discipline is in some way or another, concerned with learning. Experience in A can affect experiences later down the road in B. cognitive psychologist are interested in memory, and thought processes that are involved in peoples ability to learn. All personality psychologists begin studying personality by looking at behavior. The emphasis has not been on the behaviors themselves, but looking at these behaviors an interpreting them as something we cannot see. For example, listening to people free associate (behavior), and analyzing the contents (unconscious processes). Trait psychologists study responses on a questionnaire, but aren‟t interested in the behavior of filling out the questionnaire. More so the responses, which illuminate traits. In contrast the Freudian and Trait strategy, the behavioral and learning strategy in interested in behavior for its own sake. They observe for the sake of taking sample, not for the sake of illuminating inner processes. These are samples of larger behaviors. For example, seeing someone volunteer at the hospital, can be taken as a sample of altruistic behavior and use this to predict their behavior. “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”. –B.F Skinner Covert behavior and Overt behavior. Theorists always start with the overt behaviors. Inferences and statements are made on the basis of overt behaviors about covert behaviors. In this sense, personality psychologists begin by examining behavior directly. Personality to the behaviorists is nothing more than learned tendencies that have been acquired during earlier experiences. Personality is nothing more than the residue of experience. The basic premises here, is one that speaks to the preeminence of behavior. For the behaviorists, all thoughts feelings and behaviors are learned tendencies. The main assumption is that behavior is lawful. It follows law and is purely the product of forces outside of the individual and can be understood at the objective level. You don‟t look inside the person, but look at the person‟s environment. Sechenov argued “all associations between events and ideas can best be understood in terms of reflexes and their neurological bases. It was Ivan Pavlov that first demonstrated that a reflex could become associated with a new stimulus, which came to be known as classical conditioning. 2. General Characteristics of Behavioral/Learning Theories of Personality A. Parsimonious Parsimonious means simple. We tend to favor the simplest model. B. Minimal Use of Theoretical Constructs They typically avoid explanations that involve processes that are inside the person. For example, a patient having trouble speaking in their first session. Freudians would say they are showing resistance and are not ready to talk about the subject. The behaviorists would say the patient was just nervous because they haven‟t faced this sort of situation before. They would probably only write that the person didn‟t say much. Skinner was never fond of being called a „theorist‟. By calling him a behavioral theorist, we are putting him in a role. Skinner gave us an alternative framework for explaining behaviors that other people thought of as distinctive to a person‟s personality. C. Minimal Use of Inferences D. Assessment: direct, observational, and present-oriented This was a treatment for smokers. Smoking diary records time of day, place, and what happened before you light one up. Connections are made between outside things and smoking behavior. 3. Classical Conditioning The conditions that Pavlov condition were reflexive. Reflexes are unlearned responses to a specific stimulus. Not subject to voluntary control. The reflex is called the unconditioned response and the reflex that solicits this is the unconditioned stimulus. For example, neutral stimulus (bell) followed by unconditioned stimulus (meat) automatically elicits unconditioned response (saliva). After repetitions, conditioned stimulus (bell) resulted in conditioned response (salivation). The acquisition and retention of relationship, depends on two important things. The neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus have to occur close together in time. There has to be temporal contiguity. Repetition is also needed. The unconditioned response is not identical to the conditioned response. One very important difference is the conditioned response takes longer to elicit. The conditioned response is also weaker than the unconditioned response. If we measured the volume of drool, less saliva occurs in the conditioned response. Finally, the conditions response is not as predictable as the unconditioned response. It is not a reflex, and may not happen in very trial. * Overview of principles *Temporal contiguity and repetition * Stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination Once you have gotten a conditioned response, the same response can be elicited by presen
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