PSYC*1000- INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES
COMPLETE FINAL COURSE NOTES
CHAPTER 6- Learning
6.1- Classical Conditioning: Learning by Association
What is Learning? A process by which behavior or knowledge changes as a result of experience.
What are the main types of Learning?
1. Classical Conditioning/Pavolovian Conditioning/Associative Learning: Learning to link two stimuli
in a way that helps us anticipate an event to which we have a reaction. A neural stimulus elicits a
response that was originally caused by another stimulus.
2. Operant Conditioning: Changing behavioural responses in response to consequences (contingencies)
for example when a rat presses a lever
3. Cognitive (latent) learning: Learning that can occur without reinforcement, and without being directly
observable (no immediate form of feedback) (i.e. reading, listening, and taking tests)
What is Learning without Thinking?
Behaviourism: Started with proponents thinking that mental life was much less important than behaviour as a
foundation for psychological science (saw that introspection was biased)
(B.F. Skinner and J.B. Watson- the reason why cars are seen as attractive; since associated with women)
How do we learn by acquiring Associations? (Classical Conditioning)
• Ivan Pavlov- got a nobel prize studying digestion
• Measured amount of saliva dogs were producing- noticed more production when bells were ringing
• Dogs were anticipating food
• Stimulus: An external event or cue that elicits a response- such as food, water, pain, sexual contact
• Neutral stimulus (NS)- a Bell A stimulus which does not trigger a response
• Unconditioned stimulus (US)- Food, Water, Sex- A stimulus which triggers a reflexive response
naturally leads toUnconditioned response (UR):an unlearned reflexive reaction to a US- i.e.
salivation, flinching, blinking
• Conditioned stimulus (CS)- the Bell again A once neural stimulus that will trigger the learned CR,
because it has a history of being paired with an unconditioned stimulus
• Leads to Conditioned response (CR)- the learned response (i.e. salivating) triggered by the CS,
happens in the absence of food
• There is some confusion between the UR and CR, since in both cases dogs are salivating. However, in
UR they do it because of the US (food), and in the CR they do it because of the CS (the tone)
• When a weak connection between neurons is stimulated at the same time as a strong connection, the
weak connection become strengthened
What are some of the properties of classical conditioning?
1. Acquisition: Initial phase of learning in which a response is established
- The association between a Neural Stimulus and a Unconditioned Stimulus
- Occurs when the Unconditioned Response gets triggered by Conditioned Stimulus (now becomes a
Conditioned Response) - However, the Neural Stimulus MUST appear very quickly before the Unconditioned Stimulus, and it
must be frequent (that food is provided at the sound of a tone for example) to be consistent
2. Extinction (& spontaneous recovery)
- The diminishing of a Conditioned Response that occurs when Conditioned Stimulus is presented
without the Unconditioned Stimulus
- I.e. if a tone is presented and no food follows, salivation will occur less and less
- Spontaneous recovery: After extinction, and after some time, presenting the Conditioned Stimulus
alone often leads to a spontaneous recovery, suggests networks of brain areas related to
conditioning were preserved in some form
3. Generalization and discrimination
- Generalization: is the tendency to have conditioned responses triggered by related stimuli (i.e. you
can use multiple bells to trigger stimulus)
- Discrimination: is the learned ability to only respond to a specific stimuli, prevents generalization
(i.e. using only one bell)
What are some other applications of Classical Conditioning?
• Self esteem: When you are receiving positive stimuli from environment: i.e. smiles
• We’ve used classical conditioning to increase self esteem: there is a game (selfesteemgames.mcgill.ca)
where a bunch of names show up and you click your own quickly- and a happy smiling face shows up)
• Used for telemarketers to decrease risk of depression and increase self esteem
• Conditioned emotional responses: Consist of emotional/physiological responses that develop to a
specific object or situation
o I.e. Making a loud noise whenever a baby sees a rat. Now the US is the loud noise, the UR is the
fear, the CS is the rat, and the CR is the fear
o Fear related activity happens in the amygdala from context in the hippocampus- contextual fear
• Psychopathy- disregarding feelings of others
What about Conditioned Fear Responses and Taste Aversions (which are an example of the former)?
• Healthy fear response is important for survival
• Fear of snakes/other things is LEARNED because little children are quite curious and not afraid of them
• Guns are late in our evolutionary history, which is why we’re more afraid of snakes then them
• Preparedness: The biological predisposition to rapidly learn a response to a particular class of stimuli
• Conditioned Taste Aversions: Acquired dislike or disgust of a food or drink because it was paired with
illness (can occur naturally as well), ALSO we associate food with illness NOT sound
o Can happen if you’re unfamiliar with food, or if you get ill after eating it
• Latent inhibition: When frequent experience with a stimulus before it is paired with an unconditioned
stimulus (fear, disgust) makes it less likely that conditioning will occur after a single episode of illness
How do we Learn without Awareness?
Many instances of classical conditioning can occur without any effort or awareness from the individual.
• Example: Drug Use & Tolerance
-Physiological reactions to drugs are influenced by stimuli that are associated with administration of
the drug, and if environment’s change (no conditioned stimulus) drugs have a more potent effect
-Conditioned drug tolerance: Because of conditioning, the body can already be braced for the drug
before the drug is even taken; thus more drug is needed to override prepatory effects
-In heroin addict, the needle can be the conditioned stimulus, and the drug’s response to body can be
conditioned response • Sexual Arousal
-Classical conditioning plays a role in sexual fetishes (sexual attraction and fixation on an object)
• The Paradox of “Diet” Beverages
-Diet drinks are ineffective in helping people lose weight
-Humans get conditioned to the real sugar taste, i.e. the taste of a candy bar tells the body calories is
on the way (US)- so body expects calories- if they’re not there body continues sending hunger signals
6.2- Operant Conditioning: Learning through Consequences
How do we learn through the Consequences of our Actions? (Operant Conditioning)
• Operant conditioning: involves adjusting to the consequences of our behaviours (functionalism), in
other words behaviour is influenced by consequences
• “Individual operates on the environment”-organism is operating agent
• Influences voluntary actions, instead of reflexive responses, in classical conditioning the organisms
DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING (just showed they learned an association), different in operant
• Contingency- A consequence of a particular behaviour can be either reinforcing or punishing
How does Operant conditioning work? REINFORCEMENT VS. PUNISHMENT!
• A behavioural response is followed by either a reward or punitive feedback
• Thorndike’s law of effect:
o Reinforced behaviour is likely to be tried again
o Punished behaviour is less likely to be attempted in the future
o As a general rule, reinforced behaviour trumps punishment
• This is different than classical, because this is initiated by organism (active agent)
• Reinforcement: A process in which an event or reward that follows a response increases the likelihood
of that response occurring again
• Reinforcer: A stimulus that is contingent upon a response, and that increases the probability of that
response occurring again
• Example: reinforce would be a stimulus like food, and reinforcement would be the changes in frequency
of behaviour like lever-pressing that occurs as a result of the food (reinforce)
• Positive: a stimulus is added, Negative: a stimulus is taken away from a situation, these apply to both
reinforcement and punishment
• If you’re in this type of situation with a child having a tantrum- the best is to step back with your arms
crossed and stay neutral- don’t get angry- and don’t give in
What are types of reinforcement?
• Anything that can increase the likelihood of a certain behaviour happening again (can be good/bad)
• Positive (additive) reinforcement: Adding something desirable (kid having tantrum- giving them
chocolate- is bad- they don’t learn to deal with frustration, and in the future they’ll tantrum again)
• Negative (subtractive) reinforcement: Removing something unpleasant (parent removing weird
stares from people by giving in to the kid, parent creepily staring at kid until they listen, aspirin)
o Avoidance learning: Type of negative reinforcement that removes the possibility that a
stimulus will occur: i.e. avoiding a negative outcome like losing money o Escape learning: Occurs if a response removes a stimulus that is already present, i.e. covering
your ears upon hearing very loud music
What are the two types of Reinforcers?
1. Primary reinforcers: Consist of reinforcing stimuli that satisfy basic motivational needs- needs that
affect an individual’s ability to survive (and possibly reproduce)- such as food, water, sex, shelter
2. Secondary reinforcers: Consist of stimuli that acquire their reinforcing effects only after we learn that
they have value- such as money, and raise- do not affect survival related behaviours- trigger dopamine
• IN GENERAL: primary and secondary reinforcers satisfy our drive, but the nucleus accumbens is
associated with motivation to seek out these reinforcers, as it becomes activated during the processing
of all kinds of rewards
• Discriminative stimulus- A cue or event that indicates a response, if made, will be reinforced, aka
checking to see if parent’s are in a good mood (cue) will dictate if you ask to borrow the car. (Another
example- checking light on the coffee pot is on, to see if our coffee is ready)
• Behaving superstitiously- When organisms behave in a consistent manner to receive the reward, even
if they know it’s already consistent. They think if they don’t do it, they won’t be rewarded!
Do we need to give a reward every single time? Are there Schedules of Reinforcement?-Rules that
determine when the reinforcement is available?
• Continuous reinforcement: is when the subject acquires the desired behaviour quickly, and every time
• Partial/intermittent reinforcement: the target behaviour takes longer to be acquired/established but
persists longer without reward (think lottery tickets)…aka only a certain # of responses are rewarded, or
a certain amount of time must pass before reinforcement is available
o Scheduling reinforcements based on an interval of time that goes by
o Plan for a certain ratio of rewards per number of instances to the target behaviour
• Delayed reinforcement: decrease activity in neural activity of dopamine-releasing neurons (which is
why people like drugs that give effects immediately)
• Extinction: Weakening of an operant response when reinforcement is no longer available
• There is a decrease in response rate for a “devalued reward”
What’s the impact of fixed vs. variable time intervals/ratio?
Ratio: reinforcement is based on the amount of responding, and Interval: amount of time inbetween
Partial reinforcement effect: refers to a phenomenon in which organisms that have been conditioned under
particle reinforcement resist extinction longer than those conditioned under continuous reinforcement
• Fixed interval: reinforces the first response occurring after a set amount of time passes; slow,
unsustained responding, and rapid responding near time for reinforcement
• Variable interval: where the first response is reinforced following a variable amount of time; slow,
consistent responding (BETTER)
• Fixed ratio: reinforcement is delivered after a specific # of responses have been completed: high rate
of responding • Variable ratio: the # of responses required to receive reinforcement varies according to an average;
high, consistent responding…robust, even if reinforcement stops (resists extinction!)
o Using a lottery machine, and variable ratio is present in anxiety
o HIGHEST MOST CONSISTENT RESPONDING
What are types of punishments? They make target behaviour less likely to occur in the future/decreases
future probability of a response. Thus a Punisher (i.e. yelling, losing money)is a stimulus that is contingent
upon a response and that results in a decrease in behaviour.
• Positive (additive) punishment: Adding something unpleasant/aversive, decreasing the behaviour
• Negative (subtractive) punishment: Removing something pleasant/desired, to decrease behaviour
o Taking a kid’s favourite toy away- very effective
What conditions makes physical punishment useful?
• Severity: Should be proportional to offence
• Initial punishment level: Needs to be sufficiently strong to reduce likelihood of offence occurring
• Contiguity: When punishment occurs right immediately after the behaviour
• Consistency: Punishment should be administered consistently
• Show alternatives: Individual must be clear on how reinforcement can be obtained by engaging in
• Intensity of punishment has little impact on outcome
• For humans, you need to explain the punishment + give alternate action they should’ve done
• Works best with positive reinforcement…by itself typically inhibits behaviour (suppressed)
• Physical punishment teaches to respond aggressively… use variable ratio, positive/negative
reinforcement to guide their behaviours…don’t need consistency here
What are the options to teach/learn with Operant conditioning?
Positive (additive) Increase behaviour by adding Desired behaviour by adding
desired outcome undesired outcome
Negative (subtractive) Increase behaviour by removing Decrease behaviour by removing
undesired outcome desired outcome Which form of operant conditioning is use?
- You’re playing video games instead of practicing the flute, so I am justified in yelling at you (Positive
-You’ve yelled at your flute instructor, so I’m taking your favourite video game away (Negative Punishment)
-I’ll stop bugging you if you start practicing (Negative reinforcement)
-After you practice, we’ll play a game! (Positive reinforcement)
-If a garbage truck is racing, and your dog is scared- it’s a classically conditioning response (unconditioned
response)- we turn that into an operant type of learning by clicking a clicker and giving the dog a treat
What are some Applications of Operant Conditioning?
• Shaping: a procedure in which a specific operant response is created by reinforcing successive
approximations of that response (i.e. for pressing a lever- rat must stand up, face the lever, stand and
face the lever, push down, etc…another example would be toilet training)
• Chaining: Links together 2 or more shaped behaviours into a complex action or sequence of actions
Is there any place for thinking in learning? (Cognitive learning)
- Classical and operant learning derived from behaviourism
- No thinking, mindless automati learning
- Did not deny that thinking occurs, but radical behaviourist, such as Skinner, viewed thinking/feeling as
unobservable (covert) behaviours
From S-R to S-O-R:
• Behavioursists believe: Stimulus Response (S-R)
• Cognitivists believe: Stimulus Organism Response (S-O-R)
o Organism interprets the stimulus before responding
Sample case…”It bothers me that you’re never prepared for group discussions!”
• Behaviouristswould probably explain the difference by learning histories…i.e. how the person reacted
to critics in the past
• Cognitivists would contend that the differing reactions stems from how they interpret the critic in that
given situation…is it constructive feedback, or a personal attack?
• Allows people to have “will” or “self-control” to act differently in situations, in which they might be
acting impulsively in
Can you learn only by observing?
• Observational learning (SOR type): Changes in behaviour and knowledge that occurs by watching
others, typically role models
o Don’t need reinforcement/punishment!
• A form of latent learning- learning that is not directly and immediately observable Can aggression be learned by observing?
• Children were exposed to either aggressive people, non-aggressive people, or no one
• Dependent variables: physical (hitting the bobo doll), verbal (saying aggressive things), and non-
imitative (physically aggressive acts towards objects other than bobo)
• Conclusion: observing an aggressive model increased imitative physical/verbal responses
• Some learning may occur, even if reinforcement was not there
• Humans innovate based on observational learning…they’ll be creative with it…can go to worse
CHAPTER 7- Memory
7.1- Memory Systems
We have several different types of memory, each involving different networks of brain areas.
Memory- A collection of several systems that store information in different forms for different amounts of
time. Psychologists study memory in controlled lab settings. It’s a reconstructive process.
What is the Atkinson-Shiffrin Model?
• Atkinson-Shiffrin Model: Multistage process, where info flows through certain stages
• Stimulus/InfoSensory Organs (Eyes, ears, etc.)Encodes into Sensory Memory (Limitless, but
short-fixed) Short-Term Memory (7 +/- 2 items, lasts 30 seconds) Encodes into Long-Term
Memory (Unlimited, not always accessible)
• Stores: Retain information in memory without using it for any specific purpose (i.e. hard drive)
o Three stores are sensory memory, short-term memory (STM), and long term memory (LTM)
• Control processes: Shift information from one memory store to another, elements of memory that do
not store information
• Attention: helps select a portion of the sensory memory for further processing to STM
• Encoding: The process of storing information in the LTM system, happens after paying attention
• Retrieval: Brings information from the LTM back to the STM; when you become aware of existing
memories; like remembering a movie you saw last week
• Serial position effect: Most people will recall the first few items from a list, and the last few items, but
only an item or two from the middle
• Primary effect: Recalling the first few items from a list, because they begin the process of entering LTM
How does Memory Work? There are two pathways: Automatic (you didn’t try to memorize it but it was
encoded), and Effortful (you tried to memorize it and it was encoded) What are some of the perils of memory in this information age?
• Much more availability of information
• We automatically encode at least part of everything we are exposed to (for better & worse)
• Alters brain pathways, affects perceptions, and leads to top-down processing
How to avoid some of the perils of memory?
• Because of a multiple of cognitive biases we have the illusion that we control how the info we encode
affects us- but we actually do not have control
• Solution: consciously filter (select) information that you expose yourself to, before exposing yourself to
it (ask yourself- would you still watch that video if your mother was beside you?)
What is Sensory Memory? A memory store that accurately holds perceptual information for a very brief
amount of time.
• Iconic memory- Visual form of sensory memory, is held for 0.5-1 second
• Echoic memory- Auditory form of sensory memory, held for longer ~ 5 seconds
• George Sperling’s experiment involved flashing a grid of letters for a split second, and participants had
to report what they saw:
o In the whole report condition: participants had to recall all letters- the whole screen
o They could only recite 3-4 letters…did that mean we didn’t have large capacity?
o In the partial report condition participants were shown the same grid, and a tone (high,
medium, low- corresponding to row) and now participants could say the letters
o Shows that we have capacity for all the letters, but only remain in sensory memory short time
• Change blindness: Relationship between sensory memory and attention; participants view 2 nearly
identical photos- and they need to find the difference
o Photo 1 shown for 240 milliseconds, then blank screen, then Photo 2, then blank
o If the difference is not in the focus of attention, participant fails to notice change
o If they pay attention, the image will be transferred into STM
What is Short-Term Memory, and the Magical Number 7?
• Short-Term Memory: A memory store with limited capacity and duration (less than a minute)
• The Magical Number is 7 +/- 2: People can juggle 7 units of information, give or take a few
• Chunking: Organizing smaller units of information into larger, more meaningful units
o For example, for a phone number we split it into 3 units: area code, first and second part
o Chess masters perceive a chess board as one big unit, instead of individually- if in a certain
position, not randomly What is Long Term Memory?
• Only a small amount of information from STM is encoded or transformed into memory traces
• Long-Term Memory: Holds information for extended periods of time, if not permanently
o Final memory store
• Organized through semantics (i.e. cat is similar to dog and mouse), or through similar sounding words-
the tip of the tongue (TOT) phenomenon- retrieving similar sounding words, not actual words you want
• You can’t access information in LTM whenever you want! Retrieval (LTM into STM) is influenced by a
number of different factors
How is information recalled from Long Term Memory?
• When we recall we fill in or filter parts to make our memories more consistent- memories can change
every time we remember/recall information
What is the Working Memory Model- the Active STM System?
• Rehearsal: Repeating information in order to remember it
• Rehearsal involves Working Memory- A model of short-term remembering that includes a
combination of memory components that can temporarily store small amounts of information for a
short period of time
o Stimuli aren’t encoded as a single unit of info; they are remembered by being subdivided into
three storage components: the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the
episodic buffer. The central executive is the last component
o Central executive: The control centre of working memory; coordinates attention and the
exchange of information among the three storage components, focuses attention on what is
important in the current situation
What is the Phonological Loop? A storage component of working memory that relies on rehearsal and that
stores information as SOUNDS or AUDITORY CODES.
• Engages portions of brains that have to do with speech and hearing, not visual or spatial
• Word-length effect: people remember more 1 syllable words than 4 or 5 syllable words
o You can store as many syllables as can be rehearsed in 2 s, and you can store this for 15 s
• I.e. remembering a number that was said on the radio
What is the Visuospatial Sketchpad? A storage component of working memory that maintains visual images
and spatial layouts in a visuospatial code. Uses frontal lobes.
• Keeps you up to date on objects around you and where you intend to go
• Uses chunking known as feature binding- where visual features are combined into a single unit
• I.e. remembering where other drivers are on the road, as we check our speedometer and mirrors
What is the Episodic Buffer? A storage component of working memory that combines the images and
sounds from the other two components into coherent, story-like episodes
• Holds 7-10 pieces of info as STORIES “I was driving when I heard the radio DJ give a number”
• Information connected with knowledge increases memory capacity
• Words strung into sentences are easier to remember then random words
• I.e. binds the above info into stories: “I was driving to school- DJ announced contest- I pulled over”
What are the Long-Term Memory Systems? Declarative and Nondeclarative memories!
• Declarative (explicit) memories: Memories that we consciously aware of and that can be verbalized,
including world facts and personal memories
• Nondelaractive (implicit) memories: Actions or behaviours that you can remember and perform
What is Declarative Memory? • Episodic memories: Are declarative memories for personal experiences that seem to be organized
around “episodes” and are recalled from first-person (I, my) perspective
o First day of university, a cool event you went too
• Semantic memories: Declarative memories that include facts about the world
o I.e. knowing the capital of a city, knowing where you live, K.C. had this memory!
• As people get old, episodic memory declines more rapidly than semantic memory
What is NonDeclarative Memory?
• When memories are altered due experiences, suggesting previous info was encoded into LTM
• Procedural memories: Patterns of muscle movements (motor memory)- how to walk, drive, etc.
o Classical conditioning is a form of nondeclarative memory
• Priming: Testing nondeclarative memory; based on the idea that previous exposure to a stimulus will
affect an individual’s later responses to that same stimuli or something similar
How does Cognitive Neuroscience affect Memory?
How does Memory work at the Neural level?
• Long-term potentiation (LTP): Changes occur across brain cells as memories are forming,
strengthening, and being stored- neurons generating stronger signals then before
o Demonstrates that there is an enduring increase in connectivity and transmission of neural
signals between nerve cells that fire together
o Isn’t memory- but can allow memory to form
• Hippocampus (within the temporal lobe) is a key memory structure of the brain
o Stimulating this generates stronger signals
• Consolidation: The process of converting short-term memories into long-term memories in the brain
o Cellular consolidation: When neurons fire together a number of times, and they adapt to make
the changes more permanent
o Synapse changes physically between cell, so that pre-synaptic cell is more likely to stimulate a
specific postsynaptic cell
What are the types of Amnesia?
• Amnesia: A profound loss of at least one form of memory (doesn’t have to be all)
• Anterograde Amnesia: The ability to form new memories for events occurring after a brain injury
o Will result with damage to hippocampus
• Retrograde Amnesia: A condition in which memory for the events preceding trauma or injury is lost
More about the Hippocampus?
• Not where declarative memories are stored
• Essential for spatial memories (remembering layouts)- people have bigger hippocampi if they have to
consolidate more spatial information
• Reconsolidation: When the hippocampus functions to update, strengthen, or modify existing long-
• Cross-cortical storage: When long term declarative memories are distributive throughout the cortex of
the brain rather than being localized in one region (new memories have less extensive networks)
7.2- Encoding and Retrieving Memories
How you encode information affects the likelihood of you remembering that information later.
What are the 3 Key Components of Memory?
1. Encoding: Process of transforming sensory and perceptual information into memory traces.
2. Storage: Time and manner in which information is retained between encoding and retrieval 3. Retrieval: Process of accessing memorized information and returning it into short-term memory
What is Rehearsal (In terms of Encoding)?
• Rehearsal: A type of memorization
• It’s not how long we rehearse info for, but how we rehearse it
• Maintenance Rehearsal: Prolonging exposure to information by repeating it-- aka learning by rote-
where you recite something over and over in order to memorize it…using flashcards with key terms, etc.
o Not most effective way to learn, doesn’t lead to better recall
• Elaborative Rehearsal: Prolonging exposure to information by thinking about it’s meaning
o I.e. saying a term, and imagining how that term looks
What are Levels of Processing?
• Elaborative Encoding: When additional sensory or semantic information is associated with the to-be-
• Levels of Processing (LOP): Our ability to recall information is most directly related to how that
information was processed initially. Differences in processing can be described as continuum ranging
from shallow to deep processing
o Shallow processing: Sound or spelling of a word (Is it upper case or lower?)
o Moderate processing: (Does it rhyme?)
o Deep processing: Related to an item’s meaning or function. (Does it fit in this sentence? Is it a
synonym with another word I know?) Creates retrieval paths.
• Shallow/Deep processing does not affect STM memory rates
• Self-Reference Effect: Occurs when you think about information in terms of how it relates to you or
how it is useful to you
• Survival Processing- When items are processed as they relate to survival; leads to more recall
• Source Confusion: Results from attributing familiarity to the wrong source
• Incorrect Eyewitness Testimony: Results in false convictions
• The Misinformation Effect: Leading questions can implant false memories- leading to an answer, aka
incorporating misleading information in the memory of an event (i.e. when cars violently hit each other)
o Children are very susceptible to this effect, and to leading questions
• Source Amnesia: Assign details of a memory to the wrong source
Will Jurors continue to believe an eye witness even if they know about recall problems?
Participants were grouped in mock juries, and randomly assigned to one of three conditions: circumstantial
evidence, circumstantial evidence + eye witness, circumstantial evidence + eye witness + expert challenges the
eye witness evidence
• Even if an eyewitness is biased and an expert calls them out, jurors still believe the eyewitness!
How does Retrieval Work? There are 2 types!
1. Recognition: Identifying a stimulus or piece of information when it is presented to you (multiple
2. Recall: Retrieving information when asked, but without that information being present during the
retrieval process (short answer)
a. Hints or retrieval cues help during this process (i.e. fill in the blanks)
• Retrieval- is most EFFECTIVE when it occurs in the same context as encoding- known as the encoding
• Context-Depending Forgetting: Change in environment influenced the forgetting. o Forgetting why you walked into a room
o Reversed by: Context Reinstatement Effect: Returning to original environment and memory
• Internal environment can serve as a retrieval cue for your memory
What is State-Dependent Learning? When your internal state matches the state you were in during encoding
• For example, encoding information in a sober state, will be easy to recall if they are sober
o Drunk sober, and sober drunk combinations don’t work
o If you were drunk while encoding, being drunk during recall makes it a TINY bit easier to recall
What is Mood-Dependent Learning? Mood at retrieval should match mood during recall to improve memory
• A person’s emotional state can have an effect on encoding and retrieval
What is the effect of Emotional Memories?
• Emotional seems to act as a highlighter for memories, making them easier to retrieve than neutral
memories- due to self relevance- and arousal- deep processing of stimuli
• Has the largest influence on the process of consolidation (STM to LTM)
• Weapon focus: Tendency to focus on the weapon at the expense of peripheral information including
the identity of the person holding the weapon
• Emotional memories activate the amygdala (UNIQUE)
• Flashbulb memory: An extremely vivid and detailed memory about an event and the conditions
surrounding how one learned about the event
o Highly charged emotional memories involving recollection of location, etc.
o Overtime, memory for details decays, similar to what happens with nonflashbulb memories
How do Forgetting and Remembering work?
• Forgetting is good in moderation, we only need to keep useful information
• Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve: The rate at which he forgot a series of nonsense syllables. Steep
decline in performance within the first day, and that the rate of forgetting levels off over time
• Mnemonics: A technique intended to improve memory for specific information, a way to improve
• Method of loci: A mnemonic that connects words to be remembered to locations along a familiar path
o Identify a path, and relate the first word to the first location on your path, memorize a list
• Acronyms: Pronounceable words whose letters represent the initials of an important phrase
o SCUBA: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
• First-letter Technique: Uses the first letters of a set of items to spell out words that form a sentence
• Dual coding: Occurs when information is stored in more than one form (verbal description & image)
o Deep processing
• Mnemonics help with rote memorization NOT understanding
• Desirable difficulties: Make studying slower/more effortful but gives you a better understanding
o Spacing out studying
• Testing effect: Practice tests can improve exam performance, even without additional studying
CHAPTER 8- Thought and Language
8.1- The Organization of Knowledge
How does the brain keep track of all the information/knowledge that we have?
Notes from Lecture: • Although we have a natural tendency to think & understand people, we don’t want to think too hard!
• Overall our thinking is different than a computer’s, it balances the need for speed with quality/accuracy
• The biases are suitable- helps you decide what to eat at lunch, how to get to campus, etc.
• But sometimes leads us to be incorrect: “I have lots of time” “I work better under pressure”
o You cannot cognitively work better under pressure if it’s a task that requires thinking
What is Cognition?
Cognition: Mental activities and processes associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and
What are Concepts and Categories?
• Concepts: Mental groupings of similar objects, events, ideas, states, and/or people
• Categories: Clusters of interrelated concepts (furniture comprises of tables, chairs, etc.)
o Categorization is the process of forming these interrelated concept groups, aka creating
categories of objects according to a certain set of rules by a specific definition
What are Classical Categories? A way we organize info!
• Classical Categorization: The theory that claims objects/events are categorized according to a certain
set of rules or by a specific set of features (very much using dictionary definitions)
• Problem: Graded Membership: The observation that some concepts appear to make better category
members than others
• Sentence-Verification Technique: A behavioural measure in which volunteers wait for a sentence to
appear in front of them on a computer screen and respond as fast as they can with a yes/no answer
o Some members of a category are recognized faster than others
o Goes against classical categorization
What are Prototypes? Another way we organize info!
• Prototypes: mental representations of an average category member, aka mental images of the best
example of a concept within a category
o We do not derive concepts from a definition we have learned/memorized (constantly draining
of energy) so we derive quick versions of what we think it looks like- the prototype
o Frequency of exposure to stimuli defines your prototype (your environment)
o Average of three most familiar birds gives us prototypical bird
• Allows for classification by resemblance, not by classical categorization – we don’t care about
rules/definitions, we care about a set of similarities in shape/function
When do Prototypes fail us?
1. When examples stretch the qualities associated with the prototype (blue apple)
2. When the boundary between the categories of concepts is fuzzy (is a tomato a fruit/vege)
3. When examples contradict our prototypes (is a penguin a bird?)
How do Networks and Hierarchies work?
• Semantic network: An interconnected set of nodes/concepts linking to form a category
o Nodes: circles that represent concepts, and links connect them together
• Priming: It’s easier to identify one member of a category (oranges-fruit) after seeing another word
from that category (apple) than after seeing an unrelated word (elephant). Activating individual concept
for apple makes connected nodes in the network more likely to become activated.
• Hierarchy: A structure moving from general to very specific
• Basic Level Category: Located in the middle row of the diagram o The most often used terms in conversation, easy to pronounce, the level at which prototypes
exist, and where most thinking occurs
• “There is an ANIMAL/BIRD/ROBIN in your backyard!”
• Superordinate categories: Generally used when someone is uncertain about an object (i.e. animal in
your backyard!), or wants to group all as one
• Basic Level Category= Bird!
• Subordinate-level category: Something special about the basic level category or the bird (Robin)
What is the link between Categorization and Experience?
• Our ability to form categories is based on experience
• As we are exposed to new stimuli we instinctively try to organize them into groups based on similar
physical and semantic features
• Memory from a previous example can influence categorization decisions
What is the link between Categorization and Culture?
• Categorization is based on cultural learning
• Cultural factors influence not just how we categorize individual objects, but also how objects in our
world relate to one another
• Linguistic relativity/determinism (Whorfian hypothesis): The theory that the language we use
determines how we understand the world/thinking-i.e. how we perceive, categorize, and remember
colours? (I.e. you cannot think about something unless you have a word for it)
o English language separates blue and green as colours, Dani people of New Guinea don’t
o Hopi don’t have words that are past tense- therefore they cannot think in the past- WRONG
o Can you think about something that you don’t have a word for? YES… so this hypothesis is false-
language has a profound influence on thinking
• Language has some effects on categorization, but they’re limited
How is our Thinking shaped by our Language?
• Language: Use of symbols to represent, transmit and store meaning/info
o Useful? Storing info, sharing info, understanding others
o Can be sign language, verbal language, and written language- stimulates same part of brain
• The Billingual Advantage Hypothesis (Dr. Wallace Lambert): People who are bilingual have greater
# of synapses, have greater executive control, cognitively age less faster, no disadvantages
8.2- Problem Solving, Judgment and Decision Making
Reasoning and decision making can be performed in a number of ways and can be influenced by a number of
factors. We don’t all respond the same way to the same situation.
How do we Define and Solve Problems?
• Problem solving: Means accomplishing a goal when the solution/path to the solution is not clear
o Lecture def’n: Thinking in order to answer a complex question or figuring out how to
accomplish a goal when the solution/path to solution isn’t clear
o Well-defined (I’m cold) vs. ill-defined problems (I need to find a topic for my paper)
o Other species cannot solve ill-defined problems: it’s a profound skill
o Obstacles interfere with our ability to reach goals in everyday life
• 1) Algorithms: Problem-solving strategies based on a series of rules-logical + easy to follow
o Aims to guarantee a solution of equal quality every time, however takes longer o Not adaptable, and quality > speed (instructions were for 1 cake, what if I want 2?)
o Making a list of places you were at during the day, because you lost your phone
• 2) Heuristics: Problem-solving strategies that stem from prior experiences and provide an educated
guess as to what is the most likely solution aka mental short cuts that give guidance
o They’re adaptable and help generate solutions quickly, however no consistent solutions
(OPPOSITE OF ALGORITHMS!) because Speed > Quality
o I always forget my stuff at my friend’s house, maybe it is there?
• Cognitive Obstacles?
o Mental set: Cognitive obstacle that occurs when an individual attempts to apply a routine
solution to what is actually a new type of problem
o Functional fixedness: Which occurs when an individual identifies an object/technique that
could potentially solve a problem, but only thinks of it in its most obvious function
▪ You can also use bricks as hammers!
How does Judgment affect Decision Making?
• Judgments and decisions can be based on logical algorithms, intuitive heuristics, or a combo
• Base rate: Rate at which you find a certain factor in the world’s population just by asking random
people on the street if they have it (i.e. if they are a bank teller)
• Conjunction Fallacy: The mistaken belief that finding a specific member in 2 overlapping categories is
more likely than finding any member in one of the larger general categories
o More likely to be a bank teller, then bank teller + feminist
o Demonstrates use of Representative Heuristic
• Representativeness Heuristic: making judgments of likelihood based on how well an example is
similar to a specific category. Basically you’re being bias with the information you’re given to be
intuitive about the answer. (I.e. traits of a feminist were given; assuming they are a feminist)
You have mental categories of dentists, profs, etc. expectations for them.
• Availability Heuristic: Entails estimating the frequency of an event based on how easily examples of it
come to mind. Aka if examples are readily available, then they must be very frequent.
o More words that start with R or have R three letters in? Most people pick the first one, because
they can think of more examples for the first one
• Anchoring Effect: Occurs when an individual attempts to solve a problem involving numbers and uses
previous knowledge to keep (anchor) the response within a limited range
o I.e. what % of countries in the UN are from Africa? Is it 65%? This question uses an anchor- the
65%- and this affects people’s answer to be around that much
• Framing: How a problem is worded/framed- affects decision making. I.e. a question framed in terms of
killing people/saving people could be saying the same thing- but you pay attention to wording
• Belief Perseverance: When an individual believes he/she has the solution to the problem or the
correct answer for a question and accepts only evidence that confirm their beliefs
o Someone counting a deck of cards as 51, then again as 52- and immediately confirming
• Confirmation Bias: Occurs when an individual searches for only evidence that will confirm his/her
beliefs instead of evidence that might disconfirm them, disregarding contradictory evidence
o Solution is to falsify instead of confirm!
o If someone gives you an explanation- if you can explain it alternatively- it’s useful!
o Search for a particular type of evidence, not evaluating evidence that already exists- seeking to
get a value of 52 cards
• Paradox of Choice- Having more choices means you’re less satisfied with your final answer • Fixation: The tendency to get stuck in one way of thinking, often because of how we understand
concepts- limits our ability to think a problem/solution from a new perspective
o I.e. hammers can be used in alternate ways (functional fixation)! Great problem solving skill!
• Overconfidence: Tendency to be more confident than correct, we overestimate the accuracy of our
estimates, predictions, and knowledge
o Why? For speed (takes a lot of time to engage in in-depth thinking), to manage uncertainty
(world is unpredictable by default- you can’t be stopped by fear), and gain power (confidence
shows you have power!)
Heuristics, Biases, and Fixation- 3 problems that stop us from cognitively thinking about problems:
• We need these because we need to be confident then what we do
CHAPTER 11- Motivation and Emotion
Men tend to externalize distress (being aggressive), and women tend to internalize distress (by ruminating on
11.1- Hunger and Eating
Eating isn`t just a simple behaviour we use for survival: hunger is a biological drive that influences what we pay
attention to and interacts with our past experiences and current mental states such as excitement or anxiety.
Hunger is a psychological behaviour!
What are some terms we need to be aware of?
• Motivation: Concerns the physiological and psychological processes underlying the initiation of
behaviours that direct organisms towards specific goals.
o A need/desire that energizes (effortful) behaviour and directs it to a goal (typically through
o Initiating factors are known as motives: thoughts, feelings, sensations, body processes
• Instinct: A fixed (rigid and predictable) pattern of behaviour observed across all units of a species
o Doesn’t require learning, in the genes
o Doesn’t involve rational decision making (cognitive thinking)
o Typically is rationalized post-op (i.e. building shelters) motivated innately
• Drive: A biological trigger that tells us we may be deprived of something and causes us to seek out
what is needed, such as food or water (when satisfied, reward centres in our brain become activated)
o An aroused/tense state related to a biological need that isn’t being met- key motivator!
I.e. hunger, thirst, sex (reinforced positively), pain and belonging (usually negatively reinforced)
Shared among members of the species
• Drive-reduction theory: Suggests we are motivated to restore homeostasis when a drive emerges
o Need Drive (only basic ones- not sex) Drive reducing behaviour
o I.e. oxytocin motivates to engage in social interaction
• Incentive: A reward, which increases the likelihood of a behaviour (positive reinforcement)
o Allows for learned response-reward pairings (money satisfies primary needs)
o Motivates by attracting the person to the reward (operant conditioning- positive rein.)
o As opposed to pushing the person, like a drive (negative reinforcement)
• Push vs. pull forces: When both needs (push) and incentives (pull) work in tandem we are highly
motivated (mixed motivational state)
o Incentives can conflict with needs
o One way in which society impacts how we regulate our behaviour • Homeostasis: The body’s physiological processes that allow it to maintain consistent internal states in
response to the outer environment
o Anxiety takes up a lot of your body’s energy- so you naturally increase food consumption to
• Allostasis: Motivation is not only influenced by current needs, but also by the anticipation of future
Are we always motivated to maximize?
• A need to either increase or decrease our physiological arousal level to maintain an optimal level of
arousal- as opposed to eliminating arousal
• We are “motivated to balance arousal”
• Humans have propensity to be motivated by things that would otherwise not make sense
What are the Physiological Aspects of Hunger?
• Hunger involves physiological responses as well complex cognitive and emotional factors
o Physiological signals include: stomach contractions, hypothalamus- secretes hormones, set
• “On” and “Off” switches of Hunger are found in the Hypothalamus (On = Lateral Hypothalamus, Off =
• Brain influences body and body influences brain
• Some taste preferences are universal (carbohydrate taste)
• Other tastes are acquired through exposure, culture, and conditioning (socially learned)
• Others are individually learned (taste aversions- innate propensity for survival)
• Glucose: A primary sugar energy source that serves the body and brain
o Hypothalamus detects changes in Glucose using highly specialized neurons- glucostats
• Insulin: A hormone secreted by the pancreas helps cells store circulating glucose (is the key that lets
glucose inside cells, to decrease concentration in blood)
• Satiation: The point in a meal when we are no longer motivated to eat- due to release of CCK
After satiation point, food can become somewhat aversive
Do socio-cultural influences shape how much we eat?
• Portion sizes and the “French Paradox?”
o French eat more unhealthy/fatty food but in smaller proportions whereas the US has 25%
o However 22.3% of Americans are obese compared to 7.4% of French
What is the “Need to Belong” as a Social Need?
• We have a strong fundamental need to bond with others as survival requires cooperation, married
people are better off, and loneliness increases risk of psychological/physiological disorders
• Pain of social exclusion is associated with activation of the same areas in brain linked to physical pain
Can physical pain trigger social pain?
• Yes, even in absence of social interaction
• Trying to categorize needs as biological is useless, all needs are physiological/psychological or equal
What motivates us in work contexts?
• We spend a vast majority of our life employed
• We have need for: autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and these are mixed motives, the challenge
is to keep them in harmony
• Mixed motives have major implications in work context (industrial organizational IO psychology) o How to get people to increase their performance at work without affecting well being?
What are the Psychological Aspects of Hunger?
• Humans were conditioned to “eat while you can” because there was no guarantee of food in the past
• We developed bodies that were hard-wired to like some foods better than others
• We crave fats because we have specialized receptors on the tongue that are sensitive to the fat content
of food – that send signals to brain to release endorphins and dopamine
• High-energy food can be a more powerful reinforce than drugs needing a “sugar fix”
• Plain sucrose stimulates release of dopamine in nucleus accumbens- which is associated with
reinforcing amphetamines and cocaine
• Ghrelin: A hormone secreted in the stomach that stimulates stomach contractions and appetite, is
modulated by stress
o Based on allostasis: body stores up energy for future threat you feel when you’re anxious- thus
overeating can happen due to psychological reasons not only physiological
What is the connection between Attention and Eating?
• Watching how much food you’re eating serves as a reminder that it’s time to stop
• Unit bias: The tendency to assume that the unit of sale or portioning is an appropriate amount to
o Good: for 1 banana- it’s one unit, and bad- one can of coke is seen as one unit as well!
• Increasing size of dishes increases consumption by 18-25% for meals, and 30-45% for snacks
What about Eating in terms of the Social Context? Food intake is affected by social motives!
• Social Facilitation: Eating more. When guests are encouraged to take more helpings. The longer a
person sits socializing the more likely he/she is to continue nibbling.
• Impression Management: Eating less. Self-consciously controlling behaviour so others will see them
in a certain way. I.e. chewing with mouth closed, eating small portions- minimal eating norm
• Modelling: Eating whatever they eat. Copying eating habits/patterns of others- eating lots when they
do and restraining when they aren’t eating
What are some Eating Disorders?
• Obesity: A disorder of positive energy balance, in which energy intake exceeds energy expenditure
o It’s an epidemic: obesity rates are really high
o Due to huge variety of food being available; we’re not likely to grow tired of food anytime soon
o Due to the fact that we crave fatty foods- we overeat- and it’s stored as fat
o Due to economics- obesity affects poor more than the rich- since unhealthy energy-rich sugary
fatty food is cheaper than healthy food
• Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder that involves self starvation, intense fear of weight gain and
dissatisfaction with body, and denial of consequences of being a very low weight
• Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder that is characterized by periods of food deprivation, binge-eating
and purging (eating lots of calories and then throwing it up). More impulsive than Anorexia
• Both can be caused by stress, mental health issues-depression, anxiety, guilt- low self esteem, i.e.
stress + psychological vulnerability, and pressure from family to be thin
• Eating disorders help people cope with their difficult-to-control lives, because it’s the one part of their
life that they can control
• Reproduction suppression hypothesis: States that females who believe they have low levels of social
support from romantic partners and family members are more likely to engage in dieting behaviour o Influences ovulation, leads to a loss of periods (amenorrhea), and makes it less likely that the
women can become pregnant
11.3- Social and Achievement Motivation
In addition to satisfying basic biological drives, motivation entails meeting social and personal needs.
What’s up with our Needs to Belong and Love?
• Humans have other needs, such as social processes and the need for meaning and purpose in life
Beyond pleasure and pain?
We reach “self-actualization”
• Problem-step model not always in that sequence, could occur at same time (not fixed)
• Self actualization- transcend your existence, in the moment, present, mindfulness
What is flow?
• A state of experience where a person is totally absorbed and feels a tremendous amount of
exhilaration, control, and enjoyment (i.e. you’re totally immersed- at the edge of your abilities)
o Occurs when people push their boundaries, and merge action and awareness
o Flow can occur through spectrum of a daily experience (singing, painting, sports)
What is the Hierarchy of Needs?
• Once survival needs are met (important ones like eating) we move to higher-level needs (self esteem)
• Self-actualization: Highest point of the hierarchy: the point at which a person reaches his/her full
potential as a creative deep-thinking individual
• Criticism of the Hierarchy of Needs: We don’t fulfill one need before thinking about another! We
have multiple motivations simultaneously. Also, it’s biased towards Western culture.
Is Belonging a Need or a Want?
• Affiliation Motivation-Need to Belong: The motivation to maintain relationships that involve
pleasant feelings like warmth, affection, appreciation, and mutual concern for each person’s well-being
o Friendship, kinship, group membership
o Seems fundamental just as food and shelter
• Passionate love:Is associated with a physical and emotional longing for the other person; felt at the
beginning.Meeting a new person, and brain is related to physical rewards, feeling hormonal • Companionate love: Related to tenderness, and to the affection we feel when our lives are intertwined
with another person
o Has greater influence on long-term stability, than passionate love
• Oxytocin: A hormone that is related to feelings of trust and desire to be close to someone
What about Love and Commitment?
• What influences Commitment? Initial strength of attraction, number of barriers to leaving relationship
(i.e. kids, social pressures), and lastly the availability of alternatives- not much choice = I’ll commit!
• If you break-up, you’re responses to photos of your ex signal brain areas in reward centre- much like
drugs addicts CRAVE drugs, but this effect decreases over time!
What is Achievement Motivation?
• Achievement Motivation: The drive to perform at high levels and accomplish significant goals
o I.e. receive respect/attention from others, or maybe a strong desire for the goal
• Approach Goal: An enjoyable and pleasant incentive that a person is drawn toward, such as praise,
financial reward, or a feeling of satisfaction
• Avoidance Goal: An attempt to avoid an unpleasant outcome such as shame, embarrassment, losing
money, or feeling emotional pain
What is the Self-Determination Theory?
Intrinsic motivation: Concerns active engagement with tasks that people find interesting and that, in turn,
promote growth, it is comprised in the BALANCE of 3 needs (i.e. work family balance):
Mental health based on ability to meet these needs. These are key stages of Erik Erikson’s model.
• 1) Relatedness: A universal need, the need to feel connected with others, sense of
belonging/attachment needs to be present
o Satisfied by forming meaningful bonds with people: family members, teammates, colleagues
• 2) Autonomy: A second need- the need to feel in control of your own life, feel as if we are causal
agents of our own behaviour and the goals we pursue
• 3) Competence: The third universal need- the ability to perform a task at a skill level that is satisfying
to the individual, i.e. mastery of tasks and skills
o Motivation isn’t influenced by how competent we are, it’s how competent we THINK we are
o I.e. Terrible singers on American-Idol type shows
• Self-Efficacy: An individual’s confidence that he or she can plan a execute a course of action in order
to solve a problem (their belief that they can complete a task)
o When we experience high levels of self-efficacy our performance improves, and we’re motivated
o If you BELIEVE you can do something, you are more motivated to attempt to do it!
• Self-Determination Theory: An individual’s ability to achieve their goals and attain psychological well-
being is influenced by the degree to which he/she is in control of behaviours necessary to achieve
o If we feel we have control, we’re more motivated- can be applied to EXERCISING
What is Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation?
• Extrinsic (Performance) Motivation: Motivation geared toward gaining rewards or public recognition,
or avoiding embarrassment. Not very effective as you have to give up autonomy.
o Super bad- you rely on other people’s reactions to determine if you succeeded in your goal
• Amotivational: A feeling of having little or no motivation to perform a behaviour • Intrinsic (Mastery) Motivation: The process of being internally motivated to perform behaviours and
overcoming challenges (e.g. a genuine desire to master a task rather than be motivated by a reward)
o More self-determined than Extrinsic Motivation, which is more self-determined than
o Has higher levels of autonomy
o Dependent on reward = low levels of autonomy
• We can apply these concepts in terms of exercising. If you exercise to have the reward of looking
slimmer, and having other people’s attention- you really won’t go far. But if you exercise for YOURSELF,
to feel better about your body, to want to be healthy- this goes a longer way
• Over-justification Effect: Change in intrinsic (as an example) motivation due to gaining a reward for
an intrinsically motivated behaviour
• Internalized behaviours are more likely to be performed (and performed well) than extrinsically
motivated behaviours- YOU NEED TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF!
We detect an emotional item, have an initial emotional reaction preparing us to respond, and after we analyze
the situation, we increase or decrease that response.
Rather than discussing mental health issues, or seeking treatment when depressed/anxious, men turn to drugs.
Emotion: A behaviour with three components- (1) A subjective thought and/or experience with, (2)
Accompanying patterns of neural activity and physical arousal, and (3) An observable behavioural expression
(e.g. an emotional facial expression, or changes in muscle tension)
Who is Stanley Milgram?
• He did an experiment where he and his graduate students had to go onto a subway, ask for an elderly
man’s seat, and take it (while others observe)
• He felt an emotion: shame, after doing the action
• He wanted to “normalize” his request: so he started limping after he got the seat to justify why he
asked for it
What do Emotions do?
• A functional perspective- suggests emotions are signals to motivation
o I.e. survival and fear, the need to belong and guilt
• Well-suited to help us manage the “push” of biological processes and the “pull” of socio-cultural forces
What is an Emotion? (Arousal, Behaviour, Cognition)
• Bodily arousal, Conscious experience (thoughts, labelling of emotions), Expressive behaviour
• Below: The significant event is out of the ordinary (you got a better grade then expected), the emotion
will have four pieces of puzzle with it, first is a feeling (a subjective feeling, awareness, feel pride,
respect, happiness), sense of purpose (you’re motivated to study more), social expression (also body
expression), and lastly bodily arousal (i.e. heart rate increasing)
• It’s a dynamic process, and there’s not specific start or end point in this LOOP, because emotional state
is constantly ongoing How are Emotions a form of Motivation?
• Early psychology focused on psychological drives as motivators (hunger, thirst, sex)
• Now we believe for humans that emotions are the causal and immediate sources of motivated actions
(i.e. air deprivation)
• Emotions function as 1 type of motivator, but views about their importance vary
• Take away the emotion, and take away the motivation
How are Emotions a form of Evaluation?
• People have ever changing motivational states
o Positive emotions signal satisfaction of motivational states
o Negative emotions signal frustration of motivational states
• Emotions are not necessarily motives in the same way that needs are, but instead they reflect the
satisfied vs. frustrated status of other motive
What’s the Physiology of Emotion?
Firing associated with one stage of an emotional response will influence the patterns of firing associated with
subsequent stages of that response
1. What’s the initial response? Brain shows emotional responses within 150 ms of seeing/hearing threat
- Amygdala- A group of nuclei in the middle of the temporal lobes in each hemisphere of the brain.
They fire when we perceive emotionally arousing stimuli (fearful images/sounds). .
-Initial reactions to emotional images
-The Amygdala projects to other brain structures (visual/auditory cortex) this causes emotional
response, and more attention is paid to these emotional stimuli
2. The Autonomic Response: Fight or Flight?
- Emotional response involves physiologically getting prepared for this potential threat
-Autonomic Nervous System- Prepares/relaxes body as necessary via (1) Sympathetic Nervous
System- recruits energy to help prepare for a threat, and (2) Parasympathetic Nervous System-
preserves energy and calms you down if no response is necessary
3. How do we prepare for Movement as part of Emotional Response (Sympathetic)?
-Nervous system becomes prepared to make a movement if one is necessary by increasing speed and
efficiency by increasing activity in brain areas related to planning movement (esp. threating stimuli)
-Fear responses- Include facial expressions, muscle tension, autonomic nervous system activity 4. What if we’re Regulating Emotions?
-Frontal lobes receive info from amygdala have info about stimuli decide whether instinctive
emotional response is correct for situation (i.e. continue running from snake, ANS still an influence)
-Or they send feedback that reduce s intensity of initial emotional response
How do we Experience Emotion?
1. James-Lange theory, 2. Cannon-Bard theory, 3. Schachter-Singer “Two factor” theory, and 4.
Automatic affective experiences
How are the physiological response and psychological feelings of emotions related? Which comes first?
• James-Lange theory of emotion: Body before thoughts: Our physiological reactions to stimuli (e.g. a
racing heart) come before the emotional experience (the fear) (body influences how brain responds),
o (1) Based on initial perception of stimulus, heart races
o (2) Brain receives feedback about response
o (3) Brain decides based on feedback, that you should have emotional experience: fear
o Facial Feedback hypothesis: Suggests our emotional expressions can influence our subjective
emotional states (if your lips are smiling, biting a pencil, wide open, you will feel happier)
o Research shows: Use of Botox decreases ability to move face dampens emotional
o Research shows: Physical touch (holding a warm/cold coffee) affected how people described a
o Setback of this theory: Cognitive appraisal (personal interpretation of situation) not a
• Cannon-Bard theory of emotion: Simultaneous body response and cognitive experience: Our
emotions occur simultaneously with our physiological reactions to a stimuli
o Sensory stimulus Stimulus perceived Emotional expression and physiological response and
• Schachter-Singer “Two factor theory”: Emotion = Body plus a label: Emotions are the result of the
physiological responses and the cognitive appraisal of this response
o Situation Sensory input Changes physiological arousal Search for interpretation of
o Sight of oncoming car Pouding heart (arousal) and Cognitive label (I’m afraid) Fear
How about Emotions without cognitive appraisal?
• Robert Zajonc- “I feel emotions and I don’t know why I’m feeling them!”
• Not all emotions follow the long road!
• Some emotional reactions (fears, likes, dislikes) develops in a “low road” through the brain- skips
• Schachter-Singer and Zajonc are right!
How about Emotions with or without appraisal?
• Schacter-Singer highlights the role of appraisal in labelling consciously experienced emotions
• Lazarus: Even in emotional responses that operate without conscious thought, “top-down” cognitive
functions such as appraisal of stimuli can be involved
• We are in a constant state of mixed emotion: because all 3 pathways happen at once (for one of them,
cognitive functions happen in a millisecond) Are we controlled by our Emotions, or do our Emotions control us? We are not controlled by our
• Emotions provide us useful info that help us adapt to change life circumstances
• But sometimes, the emotions we feel are not ideal for us to adapt to the situation
o I.e. Anger and getting a ticket
• Other times our emotions conflict with our roles (e.g. parents, profession)
o Physician regulating disgust, flight attendants managing client
• To regulate disgust or to stand a gross smell: just smile! It changes the muscles in your face so you
• Mastering emotions requires effort, but it can be managed and improved
• How can you regulate your emotions?
o 3 strategies: awareness monitoring, appraisal, and relaxation (mindfulness meditation)
How to Develop Awareness of your Emotional States?
• Recognize the emotions you are experiencing; label them, monitor them, talk about them
• We’ll capture the concept of Emotional Intelligence
• Log them, write a journal, but it should be free-writing (not strict- every day)
How to Choose how to view a situation (Appraisal)?
• The start of an emotion is a life event, how you view that event (appraisal) affects how you will feel
o Is it overwhelming, and will I give up? Or is it a challenge and will I tackle it?
o Hormones are slower to affect your system and their actions are typically longer
▪ Change the appraisal now, but it might take a bit of time before changing physiological
How do you Develop Mindfulness?
• Mindfulness (or mindful awareness) is a mental state of consistent and flexible attention ot the present
moment, to both the word outside of us and the world within, bring attention to present moment,
helps you focus, clear your mind
• It involves an accepting attitude, non judgemental, with curiosity
• You can move around attention! An activity would be a body scan.
• These training activities are non-religious, non-esoteric, and derive from meditation
• Strengthen attention/concentration skills, build self-awareness, and improve emotional management
• Rapid growth of programs/interventions to specify clinical topics (depression/anxiety) and non-clinical
(stress management, academic performances, sports performances0
• Fits with an important ongoing chance in psychology; that just like your body health benefits from
regular activities (i.e. training at the Gym)
• Two most frequently used programs: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBRS) and Mindfulness-
based cognitive therapy (MCBT)
Are all forms of Emotional Regulation good? NO!
• Relying on external mechanisms (others, or substances) to regulate emotions can backfire • 2 ways, romantic relationship, and substance abuse
• Using Romantic Relationships: Counting on your partner to cheer you up is WRONG because you
elevate them. Just spend 2 minutes in your car to practice mindfulness and clear your mind.
• Alcohol myopia: A state of shortsightedness, being too present
o 1. Using alcohol to regulate anxiety and stress (i.e. fear, panic)
o 2. Using alcohol to feel better about one’s self (e.g. pride)
o 3. Using alcohol to lower inhibition to do things that otherwise they would not be able to
What are the Types of Emotions? Positive and negative emotional experiences!
• Six Basic Human Emotions: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise
o Can be recognized across all cultures
o There are more than six!
• We have a predisposition to feel certain negative emotions…
• Anger: is it worth it to vent?
o Anger is an uncomfortable emotion often experienced when we believe we were wronged
o The catharsis myth: Reduce anger by acting aggressively to release it (aka venting) (MYTH)
o Counterproductive: Teaches to act aggressively and often leads to feelings of guilt
• Beyond the 6 basic emotions: GUILT and SHAME (Secondary emotions)
o Guilt: Occurs when we think a moral transgression occurred because of our bad behaviour
▪ Motivates repair of wrong (specific behaviour that you have done- productive,
o Shame: Typically when we think a moral transgression occurred because we are a bad person
▪ Motivates social withdrawal (counterproductive, road to depression, isolate yourself)
o Switch these around by how you act socially and feel with these situations
o Students that drank a lot- when they felt guilty they decreased their future alcohol
consumption, and when they felt shameful they increased future alcohol consumption
o Greater identification = better connection to norms, which are lower than what people imagine
o Lower identification = lack of appreciation of the norms, more likely to have individual focus
that leads to self-blame (shame) hard to focus on behaviour, easier to drink to manage self-
How do we Express Emotions?
• Polygraph: A machine that measures increase in heart rate and sweating in response to a question
to gauge stress levels determine if person is lying however turned out to be inaccurate • Microexpressions: New type of lie detection strategy, where brief expressions known as
Microexpressions show up on a person’s face when they are faking an emotional expression/lying.
Doesn’t tell you why they are concealing real emotion
How do our Faces and Bodies show that we’re emotional?
• Our primary method of communication our emotional feelings is through facial expressions
o Orbicularis oculi: Crinkling of muscles near eye (lead to real smiles/ Duchenne’s smiles)
o Zygomatic major: Movement of mouth
• When feeling disgusted nose is scrunched up reduces airflow of disgusting substance inside body
• When feeling fear eyes open up, we inhale deeply take in lots of info to develop plan to keep us
• Facial expressions of emotion are universal
• Body expression provides almost as much emotional information as facial expressions (is also universal)
What about Culture, Emotional Dialects, and Display Rules?
• Emotional Dialects: Physical variations across cultures in how emotions are expressed (raising
o Raising one’s chin in contempt (not smiling due to happiness all cultures do this!)
• Display Rules: Refers to the unwritten expectations we have regarding when it is appropriate to show a
certain emotion (in funerals, British keep stiff upper lip, the Irish sing and drink beer grief in diff
o Suppressing anger during a debate
• Asians interpret the emotional feelings of someone with respect to the emotional feelings of others
around them, whilst North Americans focus specifically on the person
• Interpretation of why expressions are being displayed is culture-dependent
CHAPTER 12- Personality
12.1- Contemporary Approaches to Personality
Personality and circumstances come together to shape our behaviour
Psychoanalytic and humanist approaches (12.3) use complex theories to explain personality (Oedipus complex):
there should be a more simple way to capture how someone is?
What are some terms that need to be known?
• Personality: a characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that is unique to each individual,
and remains relatively consistent over time and situations
• There are two broad approaches to personality measurement:
• 1) Idiographic approach: creating detailed descriptions of an individual specific person's unique
personality characteristics – help you understand yourself, used in criminal investigations
• 2) Nomothetic approach: examines personality in large groups of people, with the aim of making
generalizations about personality structure – in order to understand factors that predict certain
behaviours across people in general (can involve important societal behaviours)
What is the Trait Perspective?
Trait theories tend to rely on self-reported behaviours, rather than observed behaviours
• Personality trait: a person's habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving – how a person is most
of the time; an enduring quality that makes a person tend to act a certain way
o Can be measured by personality tests and scales
• The Barnum Effect is when people believe that a personality test describes them but it really doesn’t,
basically it is easy for people to be convinced that a personality profile describes them
• Factor analysis: a statistical technique used to group items that people respond to similarly
Had people rate themselves for 18000 personality traits, reduced to 16 factors (clustered) o I.e. people who describe themselves as warm, friendly, and kind can be grouped into a factor
o A valid technique
o Hans and Sybil Eysenck: Reduced it to 2 dimensions- if they were Introverted/Extraverted, and
then if they were Unstable/Stable
• Was considered to be too reductionistic, was criticized
What is the Five Factor Model? (OCEAN)
• Five Factor Model: A trait-based theory of personality based on the finding that personality can be
described using five major dimensions – basically 5 main general personality factors
Useful for understanding people's behaviours, thoughts, and emotions
o Only applies to western culture!
1. Openness- flexibility, nonconformity, variety (non-sensation seeking, just curious)
o Individuals high in openness are the dreamers and creative, and are open to new things (ideas,
opinions, perspectives, experiences) and think more abstractly (have unconventional views)
o Individuals low in openness are the defenders of the system and are practical ; prefer things to be
straightforward and conventional, resistant to change, like rational and logical things
2. Conscientiousness- self-discipline, careful pursuit of delayed goals
o Highly conscientious people are ambitious, organized, and reliable; meet deadlines; plan ahead to
achieve their goals, however are not flexible/spontaneous- great students
o Low conscientious people are unreliable, lazy, casual, easy-going, fun to hang out with, but not
great at collaborating on projects
3. Extraversion- drawing energy from others, sociability
o High Es are the socializers and stimulation seekers; they love the company of others; outgoing
o Introverts (low Es) are quiet, reserved; can be overwhelmed by stimulation (i.e. many people)
4. Agreeableness- helpful, trusting, friendliness (gets along with other people- makes them comfortable)
High As are good-natured, trusting, supportive; kind; compassionate; helpful; place strong value on
getting along with people; leadership often suffer because they are unwilling to assert their opinion
o Low As put themselves first, are rude, uncooperative, hostile; value being authentic; suffer socially
5. Neuroticism- anxiety, insecurity, emotional instability
High Ns are worried, insecure, anxiety-prone and often difficult to deal with; sensitive and
experience strong emotions to stressful situations
o Low Ns are tranquil, secure and confident; let go of negative emotions easily
Beyond The Big Five: What is the Personality of Evil?
• During world crisis (wars, holocaust, terrorist attacks, etc.), authoritative personality is a big part
• Authoritarians are rigid and dogmatic in their thinking, believe in the superiority of US and the
inferiority of THEM
• Authoritarians are more likely to engage in prejudice and violence
What are the important 3 lines of Research?
• 1) Honesty-Humility:
o HEXACO model of personality: a six-factor theory that generally replicates the five factors of the
FFM and adds one additional factor – “Honesty-Humility”
o Individuals scoring high tend to be sincere, honest, modest and faithful
o Individuals scoring low are selfish, anti social, and violent tendencies; they are also altruistic and
materialistic; feel a strong sense of self-importance and a sense of self-entitlement
• 2) The Dark Triad- related to “Honest Humility”
o Refers to three traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) that describe a person who is
socially destructive, aggressive, dishonest, and likely to commit harm in general
o Machiavellianism: a tendency to disrespect and use people and to be manipulative and deceitful
Psychopathy: a general tendency toward having shallow emotional responses, thus there is a
tendency to stimulating activity since they feel thrilled with conflict
o Narcissism: reflects an egotistical preoccupation with self-image and an excessive focus on self-
importance o High P’s are aggressive when physically threatened, high N’s are when self-esteem is threatened
• 3)Right-Wing Authoritarianism: a highly problematic set of personality characteristics that involve
three key tendencies
o 1) Obeying disorders and deferring to the established authorities in a society
o 2) Supporting aggression againt those who dissent or differ from the established social order
o 3) Believing strongly in maintaining the existing social order
o Strong tendency to think in dogmatic terms, hold strong beliefs, maintain rigid beliefs, process
information in highly processed ways
An individual high in RWA is likely to be seething with prejudice ; tend to judge people harshly; play
problematic roles in society; likely to agree with unethical decisions made by leaders
What about Personality Traits over the Life Span?
• Our personalities start even before we are born
• Genes predispose us to forming a lifelong personality
• Infants have different temperaments right from birth
• A person's personality tends to reinforce itself and exhibit remarkable stability over time
• Personality conditions how you tend to feel, perceive, interpret, and behave
• The more people practice having a certain aspect of personality (open-minded, extraverted, etc.), the
more they train their brain to act in that manner
• Temperament (specifically at age 3) predicts the behavioural and personality tendencies at a later age…
• Personality stability is lowest for young children and highest for people over 50
• There are many changes over time in our environments, our roles, the amount of choice and power we
From Lecture: Ongoing questions about trait-based approaches?
• Does one’s profile of traits change over the lifespan? (Stability)- Yes, current shows that it is stable-
because personality is primarily determined by genetics (if parent’s are neurotic- you might have
• Are traits learned or genetic? Depends if they are heritable
• Can we use these traits to predict behaviour? No, not good at predicting single instances of
behaviour, if you know someone’s personality you can only explain 10% of their behaviour! (predicative
What are standardized approaches to assess personality?
1. Personality inventory- questionnaire for personality traits, asking behaviour/response of person
2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Big 5
Developed to examine personality as conceptualized by Jung by Myers and Briggs
o 16 personality type profiles- 4 domains
o There is a shadow within us- evil/dark side- we’re not all positive
o Taken by 2 million people/year, as part of hiring process, CPP private organization makes $30
• What are the 4 Domains?
o Where you focus your attention? Extraversion (E)- focus on outer world, Introversion (I) focus
on inner world
o The way you take in information? Sensing (S)- takes info from senses, in the moment, Intuition
(N)- take info from big picture
o The way you make decisions? Thinking (T)- makes logical decisions, Feeling (F)- makes
decisions based on subjective evaluation
o How you deal with the outer world? Judging (J)- like planning/organizing, Perceiving (P)-
prefer to be spontaneous
• Minnestoa Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Controversial!)
o This is fully atheoretical- built up only using factor analysis
o Has 338 items to rate, owned by Univversity of Minnesota
o Clinical scales- Hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathy, masculinity/femininity
o Validity scales- Designed to detect when clients are over-exaggerating symptoms, or if they
are under-reporting/denying o Supplemental scales- Addictions Potential Scale
• Assessing the big five
o NEO Personality Inventory published in 1985: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness
o NEO-PI-R (1992( Covers all 5 trait domains of the big 5, exists privately owned
o Personality tests struggle to predict any one instance of behaviour
o They predict the occurrence of a behaviour over a long period of time (will you drink
• What’s missing to predict what someone will do in one instance?
o Need to know the social context (other half) in which that personality will be expressed
What are the Types of Temperament- and how they later Manifest as Adults?
1) Well-adjusted: Capable of self-control, confident, not upset by new people/situations
2) Under-controlled: Impulsive, restless, distractible, emotionally volatile
a. Engaged in externalizing and inhibiting behaviours- experienced relationship troubles
3) Inhibited: Socially uncomfortable, fearful, upset by strangers
a. Developed strong internalizing behaviour
• The more people practice a certain skill, the more they train their brains to be good at it
• People’s personalities are more labile when young, and are fixed as we age
• Adults have a greater sense of identity, and feel less insecure and negative emotions
What about Personality Traits and States?
• State: a temporary physical or psychological engagement that influences behaviour
• The state a person is in can have an effect on how a person reacts to something specific that has
happened with them
• Four general aspects can influence our behaviour: locations (being at work, school, home), associations
(with friends, alone, family), activities (awake, rushed, studying), subjective states (mad, sick, happy)
What are some Behaviourist and Social-Cognitive Perspectives?
These alternative approaches complement trait theories of personality!
• The behaviourist perspective emphasizes the importance of the stimulus-response associations that are
learned through exposure to specific situations (stimulus and response!)
o Predict how past experiences predict future behaviours
o Believe that reinforcement and past experiences play a great role
• According to Bandura, environmental stimuli do not automatically trigger specific behaviours
• People exist in a relationship with their environments
• Reciprocal determinism: behaviour, internal (personal) factors, and external (situational) f