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PSYC85 Final exam notes

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Gerald Cupchik

PSYC85 Final (Chapter notes) CHAPTER 9: BEHAVIOURISM  Behaviourism is one of the most dominant approaches to psychology – behaviourists regard behaviour as the only proper subject for psychology (they do not consider subjective experience a legitimate topic)  Thorndike should be seen as a transitional figure occupying a middle ground between those functionalists who embraced introspection and the behaviourists who disregarded it completely  Animals cannot be asked to introspect, and one source of behaviourism is animal research  Behaviourism originated in America and pre-Revolutionary Russia (where Pavlov’s work on conditioned reflexes was first initiated) Ivan P. Pavlov (1849-1936)  Originally set out to become a priest, but turned to natural sciences after reading Darwin’s Origin of Species  Took interest in physiology, became a medical doctor in 1883, won Nobel Prize in 1904  He was extremely fortunate to have people around him who took care of him (his brother and then his wife) who allowed him to devote a good amount of time to his research  Institute of Experimental Medicine was constructed for him in St Petersburg  Pravda (leader of the Communist party in Russia) was one of the foundations of materialism in biology o Materialism is the doctrine that physical events constitute the only reality  At the time, Pavlov did not consider himself to be a psychologist, in fact he did not even consider psychology a science – he believed that physiology was a science, and it did not link to psychology in any way o Though later on in his career, he did acknowledge Thorndike for conducting great research, he maintained that it was best to approach psychological questions through physiology, rather than the opposite  Salivation experiments made him a household name – he made a distinction between unconditioned and conditioned reflexes in attempts to understand how a stimuli (such as furniture) could elicit a response like saliva o Unconditioned reflexes is when a given response always occurs in the presence of the same stimulus  Food is an unconditioned stimulus, and salivation is an unconditioned response  Pavlov listed other reflexes, such as defence, freedom, and purpose o Conditioned reflexes occur only under certain conditions – ex. Pavlov’s experiment with salivating dog  The tone became a conditioned stimulus and the saliva was a conditioned response  Important notes about conditioning: o Conditioned responses have less magnitude than unconditioned responses (less saliva w/ tone than food) o Extinction of a conditioned response occurs when the conditioned stimulus is presented continuously without the presence of the unconditioned stimulus o The previously extinguished response can return if the animal returns to the same place, etc., this is called spontaneous recovery  Unconditioned reflexes are not enough by themselves to ensure the survival of organisms o The animal must not only eat the food, but be able to find it as well o The function of conditioned stimuli is to signal the animals to unconditioned stimuli (if they are reliable, the animal will continue to respond to them) o Key thing about conditioned stimulus – they form temporary connections that are inhibited when they become unreliable signals o Adaptability is the ability to change one’s responses as the environment changes  It is important to note that Pavlov believed that conditioning enables the organism to form an adaptive, reflexive relationship with its environment Speech  Higher-order conditioning occurs when a second conditioned stimulus is paired with a conditioned stimulus that has already been established: o UCS UCR o CS CR 1 (Primary signals) CS2 (Secondary signals)  This leads to two levels of signals – primary and secondary o Primary signalling system – consists mostly of sensory stimuli (like the tone) o Secondary signalling system – consists largely of words (a single word can stand for an entire class of signals and thus greatly extend the range of stimuli to which a person can respond) – the word ‘phone’ does not refer to one specific phone, rather it refers to all phones. Learning to use one phone can be generalized to other phones.  Speech is the greatest factor that differs us from animals, gives us power over the environment Temperaments and Psychopathology  Pavlov believed that the fundamental cortical processes were excitation and inhibition o To properly adjust, you must have the ability to separate those responses that are appropriate to the situation from those that are not  Pavlov studied the ease at which animals were able to form conditioned reflexes o Excitatory groups are easily conditioned o Inhibitory groups are not easily conditioned  He believed that people could be sorted this way too, following Hippocrates model o Choleric (extremely excitatory) o Sanguine o Phlegmatic o Melancholic (extremely inhibitory) o The imbalance between the two extremes is associated with pathology Vivisection and Anti-vivisection  Vivisection refers to the dissection of live animals  Anti-vivisection refers to the movement against the use of live animals in research  Pavlov believed it was necessary to sacrifice some animals to benefit research/mankind Vladimir Bekhterev  Regarded the individual as a system of energy transformation and exchange (similar to Freud)  Introduced reflexology – attempt to explain all behaviour (from individual to social) in terms of reflex concept  Believed that basic laws of physical science could be applied to explain all levels of behaviour o EX – gravitational attraction applies to inanimate objects as well as individuals who have similar internal and external characteristics and are mutually attracted. Also compared inertia, equal/opposite reaction  He regarded his psychology as objective, but Pavlov’s proved to be more so and therefore Bekhterev’s psychology did not gain as much popularity as his John B. Watson (1878-1958)  Was heavily influenced by Jacques Loeb, who showed an interest in tropisms (movements under the direct control of a stimulus – EX, the tendency of animals to turn towards light) o Loeb was a materialist who believed that mechanisms similar to tropisms governed all behaviour  Watson’s doctoral dissertation was in animal psychology – he used rats as subjects  Became a professor at Johns Hopkins University in 1908, where he was heavily influenced by James Mark Baldwin (Chapter 13). When Baldwin left, Watson took his spot at head of the department  Watson published a paper in 1913 that challenged psychologists’ view on the discipline o He said it was time to replace the unreliable method of introspection with the reliable, objective observation of behaviour (disregard consciousness) o Functional psychology is also unreliable and should be disregarded o Believed that both humans and animals adapt to their environment (through genes and habits) o Psychology is concerned with prediction and control of behaviour – through this we can gain understanding of stimulus-response relationships o Key point to take away from his paper: real science uses consciousness to make observations, it does not include consciousness itself o This paper was the first in a series, called his promissory notes (‘promissory’ implying that following a certain set of research directions will be worthwhile) Watson’s Psychology  Watson began using the methods of Pavlov and Bekhterev in his own lab  He became closely identified with conditioning  Argued that humans differ from other animals because they can develop three habits through conditioning: o Emotional habits – believed that the only way to study emotion is to observe how young children react to stimuli. Found three emotional responses tied to particular stimuli: fear, rage and love. These are unlearned responses that establish a platform for more complicated emotional responses o Little Albert – 11 month old infant who was conditioned to fear white rats (by pairing a loud noise with the rat). The fear of the rat was transferred to other white, furry things, like rabbits, Santa, etc. These generalizations were called undifferentiated emotional reactions. He believed it was possible to learn how to differentiate between the initial fear-producing stimulus and those the undifferentiated ones o Manual habits – the entire range of muscular habits. The act of responding to one stimulus places the person in a new stimulus situation that elicits another response. Believed that the formation of early work habits in youth is the most reasonable explanations for success and genius. o Verbal habits – believed that thought and internal speech are the same thing. Thought does not take place in the larynx, but verbal habits constitute thinking (young children talk aloud even when alone). Under the pressure of socialization, this speech becomes silent.  Speech is one example of serially ordered behaviours – a chain of responses, one word after another. Each response in the chain serves as the stimulus for the next response. See Figure 9.4  Watson had a concept similar to Freud’s “unconscious”, which he called “unverbalized” – the things that are not spoken out loud even in childhood (EX incestuous attachments) Watson’s Second Career in Advertising  After an affair with co-worker Rosalie Rayner resulted in divorce from his wife, Johns Hopkins administration asked him to resign – he then married Rayner and moved to New York  He began working in advertising at J. Walter Thompson and then William Esty & Co.  Watson claimed to have the techniques that could be used to predict and control human behaviour, exactly what advertising agencies were looking for  He associated positive features with the product (celebrities), etc. Cortical Localization of Function  Karl S. Lashley did his postdoctoral studies with Watson, and considered himself a behaviourist throughout his career, though his interests diverged from Watson’s  They developed different interests in conditioning research o Lashley was interested in finding out how conditioned reflexes are represented in the nervous system o Initially thought that it might be possible to understand the physiological processes underlying the establishment of conditioned reflexes and to trace such reflexes through the brain o Began his studies with Shepherd Ivory Franz o Became an expert in ablation (the destruction and observation of parts of the cortex) o Franz – believed that mental processes are not due to the independent activities of individual parts of the brain, but to the activities of the brain as a whole o Together they studied the effects of ablation of the frontal lobes in rat o Lashley published Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence, discussing the lesioned cortex of rats in different places and to different degrees. Found that their performance in simple mazes was not greatly affected by brain damage, but performance declined as the difficulty increased or the damage increased o In conclusion, Lashley’s ideas were ahead of his time B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)  Regarded by many as the behaviourist of all time. He shared more with Watson than Pavlov or Lashley Skinner’s Radical Behaviourism  For both Skinner and Watson, the most important thing a psychologists needs to understand is that behaviour is not explained by mental events  Skinner believed that consciousness was a form of behaviour, not responsible for behaviour  Animism is the belief that all objects, including plants and animals, have souls – this theory arose in primitive societies as a way of explaining phenomena such as dreams o Skinner considered this a primitive explanation of behaviour o We may falsely believe that behaviour is ‘private’ if we are not aware of the stimuli that are controlling it, but our feelings of privacy and self-control are illusory The Behaviour of Organisms  Published in 1938, Skinner made a distinction between respondent and operant behaviour o Respondent – the type that Pavlov studied, elicited by a known stimulus o Operant – studied by means of the apparatus known as a “Skinner box”  A white rat is placed in the box, which has a lever protruding from one side. At some point the rat will press the lever. The stimulus that elicits lever pressing is unknown. However, the experimenter had arranged things so that when the rat presses the lever, a food pellet will be dispensed into the food tray – the food pellet is a reinforcing stimulus  Reinforcing a response will increase the probability of its future occurrence  Behaviour is regulated by three-term contingencies o STIMULUS – the environment provides a stimulus situation o RESPONSE – a response is elicited by the stimulus o REINFORCING STIMULUS – following the response (either a reward which makes the behaviour more probable, or a punishment which makes the behaviour less probable)  Events that immediately follow behaviour have the greatest influence, events which occur later have less effect A Case History in Scientific Method Skinner outlined principles that psychologists should follow when conducting research:  When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it  Some ways of doing research are easier than others (keep things as simple as you can)  Some people are lucky – EX an accidental feature of the apparatus he built was that it allowed him to keep track of the cumulative frequency with which the animal responded  Apparatuses sometimes break down – when something breaks down, it is an opportunity to learn  All of Skinner’s principles can be summed up with “Serendipity” – the faculty of making happy discoveries by accident. It involves luck and sagacity (aptitude for investigation or discovery; keenness and soundness of judgment in the estimation of persons and conditions, and in the adaptation of means to ends) The “Baby Tender”  Skinner created an ‘air crib’ – air entered through filters at the bottom and moved upward through and around the edges of a tightly stretched canvas, which served as a mattress  It was a great help to his wife, as his daughter was able to stay there in comfort  He wrote an article about this which was published in Ladies Home Journal, but a misleading title (“Baby in a Box”) which was chosen by the editor resulted in many questioning the crib and its uses  People had a negative impression Teaching Machines  Skinner argued that the most serious criticism of the current classroom is the infrequency of reinforcement  Usually the only reinforcing act is when a child completes work to avoid punishment – this is not ideal  Suggested that students should be reinforced for each response in a sequence that gradually builds up discipline  A “programmed learning” system like this was implemented in one university – reinforcement is immediate o The approach was criticized for treating students like machines, many parents resisted this Skinner’s Utopian and Dystopian Views  Skinner wrote a novel called Walden Two (the original Walden was described by Thoreau)  Skinner’s utopia is an environment in which people just naturally do the things they need to do to maintain themselves, treat each other well, and just naturally do things they enjoy doing because they do not HAVE to do them – “natural” means “positively reinforced”  The novel received mixed reviews  Opposite of utopia is dystopia, which Skinner began to discuss later in his life o Believed that Western societies had created problems for themselves by moving away from important behavioural principles o Culture comes to intervene between the organism and its environment, the consequences of which are not good – “In spite of their privileges, many of them are bored, listless or depressed. They are not enjoying their lives. They do not like what they are doing; they are not doing what they like to do. In a word, they are unhappy” (Skinner 1986) o He believed that we need to differentiate between the pleasing effects of reinforcement and the strengthening effects of reinforcement – our culture gives us things that please us but do not strengthen adaptive behaviour CHAPTER 10: GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY AND THE SOCIAL FIELD  Gestalt psychology is somewhat rooted in German culture  “Gestalt” – there are many important phenomena, in disciplines as diverse as physics and psychology, whose characteristic properties cannot be reduced to the sum of their so-called parts. Gestalt refers to an integrated whole that cannot be understood solely in terms of the parts that made it up o EX – our experience of a melody, is more than the sum of the individual notes  Introspection and behaviourism take things apart and analyze the different parts, Gestalt psychologists say “There are wholes, the behaviour of which is not determined by that of their individual elements, but where the parts are themselves determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole”  The view science first and foremost as an attempt to understand and appreciate order in nature Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)  Considered to be the founder of Gestalt psychology  Did his doctoral dissertation on the use of the word association method for the detection of complexes (a topic also researched heavily by Jung – there was dispute over who deserved credit for these methods)  At the University of Frankfurt, he studied a form of apparent motion, called phi phenomenon  He commonly used demonstrations to explain things  The phi phenomenon is a famous Gestalt demonstration – See Figure 10.1 (pg. 235) o Two lights are directed toward one object, creating two shadows o When alternated at the proper rate, the participant sees one shadow moving back and forth rather than two separate shadows. This demonstration shows that apparent motion occurs as a result of an inference o Our perception is not just a copy of the stimulus, our experience is as simple as possible o Demonstrated to the Gestalt psychologists that experience could be simpler and more unified than the stimulus conditions giving rise to the experience – this is a general law called the minimum principle  It means that we do not perceive what is actually in the external world so much as we tend to organize our experience so that it is as simple as possible  Simplicity in experience is the necessary outcome of basic processes in the brain Precursors of Gestalt Psychology  Christian von Ehrenfels greatly influenced Wertheimer o Suggested that experiences, such as that of a melody, should be understood as composed of individual sensations, corresponding to individual notes, plus a Gestalt quality that provided the form of the experience (the melody as a whole) o The comprehension of whole properties and whole-conditions must precede consideration of the real significance of parts  Immanuel Kant is also an ancestor of Gestalt psychology o Believed that we impose cause-and-effect relationships on the world o His concept of causality is similar to apparent motion  Phenomenology also has a lot in common with Gestalt psychology o Philosophical method designed to describe consciousness as it presents itself to us, without any presuppositions as to its nature or purpose Laws of Perceptual Organization  The basic ways in which we organize our experiences (as simple as possible) o Proximity, similarity, good continuation, closure o Figure and ground is also an important factor – Figure 10.4 Productive Thinking  Wertheimer discusses different teaching methods o EX – finding the area of a parallelogram, the “structurally blind” method of teaching allows students to learn the procedure without properly understanding it o If it is not properly understood it is hard to generalize the lesson to other problems encountered Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967)  During WW1, he was marooned on an island called Tenerife – his time there resulted in one of his most influential publications – The Mentality of Apes o His book was concerned with testing the intelligence of the higher apes o He used chimpanzees as subjects o He saw that they displayed insight (the ability to understand how the parts of a situation are related) o Some argue that his experiments lacked the quantitative rigour of Thorndike’s, and his definition of insight was too vague to be a scientific concept, though it continued to be a subject of research  The concept of isomorphism o Believed that there are parallels between psychology and physics o Gestalt psychology became a kind of application of field physics to essential parts of psychology and brain physiology o Used the phrase “field physics” to refer to those regions of study that could not be understood by the sum of its parts (like magnetic fields) o Isomorphism goes beyond simple parallelism by claiming that there is not a simple point-for-point correspondence between events in the brain and events in experience o Correspondence between brain and mind is structural – brain processes and experience share same Gestalt o A demonstration of this concept can be seen by the Necker Cube – Figure 10.6 Kurt Koffka (1886-1941)  International recognition stemmed from his book, Principles of Gestalt Psychology, which became known as the Bible of Gestalt psychology  Introduced several concepts: o Difference between the geographic and the behavioural environment  EX – man crossing plain, later realizing it was a newly frozen lake, has heart attack  Geographic environment – the environment as it actually is  Behavioural environment – the environment that determines our behaviour, it can be quite different from geographic environment. Contains a person’s phenomenal world  Psychologists must understand someone else’s behaviour in terms of that person’s behavioural environment, not in terms of their own o Why do things look as they do?  Distal stimuli – things as they exist in the geographic environment  Proximal stimuli – the effects that distal stimuli have on the surface of a receptor organ  EX – the actual rectangular shape of a table (distal), against the shape that is projected into our retina (proximal)  Perceptual constancies refer to the fact that our perceptions of the properties of objects remain the same even though the proximal stimulus may change. According to Koffka, this phenomena is possible because parts of the perceptual field remain the same relationships to one another as the proximal stimulus changes  The Growth of the Mind o In his book, Koffka reviewed varying approaches to child psychology (like behaviourism) and then presented the Gestalt approach o Argued that early experiences are figure-ground relationships o Claimed that infants do not have to learn the emotional meaning of their perceptions, because percepts have “physiognomic properties” that are understood even by children, they do not need to be learned Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) and the Emergence of Social Psychology  Influenced by Gestalt psychology and the philosopher Ernst Cassirer (believed that symbolic forms create the world we live in, we experience everything through them)  Came up with field theory o B = f (P, E) o Where B is the totality of facts which determine behaviour o L is life space, which is the totality of possible events, [includes the person (P) and the environment (E)] o The formula can be read as behaviour is a function of the person and the environment The Zeigarnik Effect  One of Lewin’s students, Bluma Zeigarnik, studied the way tension influences psychological processes  Asked “What is the relation between the status in memory of an activity which has been interrupted before it could be completed and of one which has not been interrupted o An experiment was conducted, in general people remembered the interrupted tasks best o If a task is not completed, a state of tension remains, and the quasi-need is continued (which we remember) o Interesting because it shows that we do not necessarily remember the most rewarding experiences best Group Dynamics  Lewin began to advocate action research (research that gathers data as well as leads to social change)  Study of group dynamics became a central focus for Lewin and his researchers  Formulated T-groups (sensitivity training groups), which gave people the opportunity to see themselves as others saw them – gave a sense of how their behaviour affects others – this made them more tolerant and accepting Fritz Heider  His psychology of interpersonal relations begins with an understanding of commonsense psychology o We interpret people’s actions and predict what they will do under certain circumstances o There are some key concepts to common-sense psychology:  Giving versus taking  Benefits versus harm  Liking versus disliking  These concepts constitute dimensions along which our interpersonal experience can vary o He was interested in how people achieve balanced states in relationships (balanced state is a good Gestalt)  Balanced states are represented by triads  (P) person  (O) another person  (X) a thing  See Figure 10.9 for example of p-o-x triad  EX – you (p) like your roommate (o), and you both like to eat a vegetarian diet (x)  This is balanced  An unbalanced situation is one in which the product of the three relations is negative Leon Festinger (1919-1989)  Worked with Lewin  Made great contributions to social psychology  Cognitive dissonance – dissonance among ideas that creates a state of tension which people try to resolve o Most psychology of the day assumed that people’s behaviour was modified by positive reinforcement, but Festinger’s work revealed situations in which the less people were reinforce
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