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PSYA01H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Vending Machine, Libido, Scapegoating

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Steve Joordens
Study Guide

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Midterm Notes Chapter 13 Motivation and Emotion
Motivation: general term for a group of phenomena that affect the nature of strength, and
persistence of an individual’s behaviour
This chapter focuses on eating, sexual behaviour and aggression as these are important to
survival of individual and species
Motivation is proactive and reactive
Biological Needs
Complex organisms possess physiological mechanisms that detect deficits or imbalances
associated with these needs and related Regulatory behaviours: behaviour that tends to bring
physiological conditions back to normal, thus restoring the condition of homeostasis
Homeostasis: process by which important physiological characteristics are regulated so that they
remain at their optimum level
Regulatory system has 4 essential features:
System variable: variable controlled by a regulatory mechanism for example temperature in a
heating system
Set point: optimum value of the system variable in a regulatory mechanism
Detector: In a regulatory process, a mechanism that signals when the system variable deviates
from its set point
Correctional Mechanism: the mechanism that is capable of restoring the system variable to the
set point
Negative Feedback: process where the effect produced by an action serves to diminish or
terminate that action. Regulatory systems are characterized by negative feedback loops

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Earliest systematic attempt to explain nature of motivation and reinforcement was:
Drive reduction hypothesis: hypothesis that a drive (resulting from physiological need or
deprivation) produces an unpleasant state that causes an organism to engage in motivated
behaviours. Reduction of drive is assumed to be reinforcing.
Example: Hunger, Hunger serves as a drive: condition caused by physiological changes or
homeostatic disequilibrium that energizes an organism’s behaviour
The act of eating reduces hunger and this drive reduction is reinforcing
Not all dives are based on homeostasis; example o sex drive, we can survive without sex but the
drive is certainly motivating, and is reinforcing
Also, organisms in a featureless environment will be motivated to seek for something new
This hypothesis falls in disfavor for two primary reasons: drive is almost impossible to measure
& if we examine our own behaviour we find many events we experience are also exciting or
drive increasing; roller coasters is fun not because it reduces drive
Generally experiences we want to repeat, increase, not decrease our level of arousal/drive
Physiology of Reinforcement
Olds and Milner showed electrical stimulation of brain can be reinforcing to rats, found that it
is reinforcing because it activates same system that is activated by natural reinforcers.
Essential part of reinforcement system consists of neurons that release dopamine as transmitter
Optimum-Level Theory
In some cases, motivation can be avoidance of exciting stimuli

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Some psychologists proposed optimum-level hypothesis of reinforcement and punishment:
hypothesis that all organisms will perform behaviour that restores the level of arousal to an
optimum level
Berlyne proposed two forms of exploration related to arousal Diversive exploration [ response
to under stimulation] and Specific Exploration [response to over stimulation]
Problem since we cannot measure someone’s drive we cannot determine what the optimum
level is
Perseverance: the tendency to continue to perform a behaviour even when it is not being
Effects of Intermittent Reinforcement
Studied in various ways: withholding of reinforcers, reinforcement of competing behaviour and
so on
Behaviour acquired with intermittent reinforcement more resistant to extinction
Succeeding after several failures can cause the learner to resist the effects of subsequent failures
Discovered in studies of extinction that environmental stimuli present during extinction become
Motivational effects of extinction are called frustration, and if another animal or human is
present during the extinction they may be attacked
-this s called extinction-induced aggression
Example: quiet office worker who pounds on the vending machine when it doesn’t give him his
candy bar
In society; large scale example would be scapegoating
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