PSY 322 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Noam Chomsky, Latent Learning, Little Albert Experiment

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9 Feb 2017

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The Rise of Behaviorism
John B. Watson (1878 1958)
- create emotional reactions by associating things with stimuli
- Little Albert
- John Watson should abandon study of the mind
o 2 problems with introspection should focus on measurable behavior
1. Extremely variable for individuals
2. Results are difficult to verify invisible mental processes
B.F. Skinner (1940s 1960s)
- Relationship between stimuli and response
o Paired ringing of a bell with presentation of food
After enough pairings, the bell alone caused salivation classical conditioning
- Argued that behavior can be analyzed without reference to the mind
- Operant conditioning - Shape behavior by rewards/punishments
Rewarded behavior, more likely to continue
Punished behavior, more likely to stop
The Reemergence of the Mind in Psychology
Tolman (1938) trained rates to find food in a four-armed maze
- 2 competing interactions
o behaviorism predicts that the rats learned to “turn right to find food”
o Tolman believed that the rats had created a cognitive map of the maze and were navigating to a specific arm
- What happens when rats are placed in a different arm of the maze?
o Rats navigated to specific arm where the food is located
Supported Tolman’s interpretation
Did not support behaviorism interpretation
Tolman & Honzik (1930) Latent Learning
Latent learning = learning that becomes clear when someone is given the incentive to display
- The rats’ mental representation was supported due to the reward
Consider the following historical figures: Ebbinghaus, Pavlov, Tolman, and Skinner. The clapping demonstration is most
typical of the experimental procedures used by which of these researchers? Why?
- Operant conditioning by Skinner; behavior is being shaped by a reward that reinforces that behavior
The Decline of Behaviorism
- Due to controversy over language acquisition
- Skinner (1957) Verbal Behavior
o Argued that children learned language through operant conditioning
Children imitate speech they hear
Correct speech is rewarded
o Did not make any sense argued by Chomsky
Noam Chomsky 1959
- Argued that children do not only learn language through imitation and reinforcement
o Children say things they have never heard and cannot be imitated
o Children say things incorrectly and say things that have not been rewarded for
- Language must be determined by inborn biological program
The Cognitive Evolution
Shift from behaviorist’s stimulus-response relationships to an approach that attempts to explain behavior in terms of the mind
- Information-processing approach
o Way to study the mind created from insights associated with the digital computer
The mind processes info similarly as the computer
o How much info can the mind absorb?
o How does the mind attend to just some of incoming info?
Cherry (1953)
Dichotic listening task
o Present message A in one ear
o Present message B in other ear
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