Study Guides (248,327)
Canada (121,485)
Psychology (693)
PS102 (70)


43 Pages
Unlock Document

Don Morgenson

Reading: Chapter 3 - Genes, Evolution and Environment Introduction - Chapter focuses on two related areas: - Evolutionary psychology: Emphasizes the evolutionary mechanisms that might help explain commonalities in language learning, attention, perception, memory, sexual behaviour, emotion, reasoning and many other aspects of human psychology - Behavioural genetics: Interdisciplinary field of study concerned with the genetic bases of individual differences in behaviour and personality - Attempt to tease apart the relative contributions of heredity and environment to explain individual differences in personality, mental ability and other characteristics Unlocking the Secrets of Genes - How genes operate - Genes: Functional units of heredity; are composed of DNA and specify the structure of proteins - located on chromosomes - Chromosomes: Within every cell, rod-shaped structures that carry the genes - Found in the centre (nucleus) of every cell - Consists of threadlike strands of DNA - DNA: The chromosomal molecule that transfers genetic characteristics by way of coded instructions for the structure of proteins - Genome: The full set of genes in each cell of an organism - With the exception of sperm and egg cells - Cell body →nucleus →chromosomes are in the nucleus →genes are in the chromosomes →DNA is in the genes - Most of these genes are found in other animals - Within each gene there are four basic elements of DNA 1.Adenine (A) 2. Thymine (T) 3. Cytosine ( C ) 4. Guanine (G) - Asequence of these elements (ACGTCTCTATA) may contain thousands of the many proteins that affect every aspect of the body from structure to chemicals that keep it running - 25000 genes are able to produce hundreds of thousands of different proteins - David Suzuki + Joseph Levine compared identifying a single gene to “searching for someone when all you know is that the person lives somewhere on earth” - Linkage studies - Take advantage of the tendency of genes lying close together on a chromosome to be inherited together across generations - Start by looking at genetic markers - Genetic markers:Asegment of DNA that varies among individuals, has a known location on a chromosome, and can function as a genetic landmark for a gene involved in a physical or mental condition - Then look for patterns of inheritance of markers in large families in which a condition is common - If marker is only found in members of family with condition, then it can be used as a genetic landmark - Ex. of linkage study - Used to locate gene responsible for Huntington’s disease - Took 10 years to find - Human Genome Project - Announced they had completed a rough draft of a map of the entire human genome - Researchers have identified nearly 3 billion units of DNA; have been able to determine boundaries between genes and how genes are arranged on chromosome - Traits are influenced by more than one gene pair - Psychological traits are especially likely to depend on multiple genes The Genetics of Similarity - Introduction - Steve Jones wrote that “each gene is a message from our forebears and together they contain the whole story of human evolution” - Evolution and Natural Selection - Evolution:Achange in gene frequencies within a population over many generations; a mechanism by which genetically influenced characteristics of a population may change - When changes are large enough, they can result in formation of new species - Genes evolve over time because the copying of the original DNA sequence may undergo mutation - Mutation: Changes in genes, sometimes due to an error in the copying of the original DNA sequence during the division of the cells that produce sperm and eggs - Charles Darwin formulated natural selection - Natural selection: The evolutionary process in which individuals with genetically influenced traits that are adaptive in a particular environment tend to survive and to reproduce in greater numbers than do other individuals; as a result, their traits become more common in the population - Desirable genes are likely to continue through evolution because those with undesirable traits end up dying off before reproduction; the ones with desirable traits often spread because they are able to survive long enough to reproduce - Decide which genes survive and reproduce and which genes disappear - Certain aspects of nature contradicted Darwin’s theory of natural selection; came up with sexual selection in next book - Sexual selection: The members of either the other sex or the same sex, with which one is competing, determines a gene’s fate - Two types of sexual selection: 1. Intersexual selection: Members of one sex chooses a mate from the other sex on the basis of specific characteristics - For males, attractiveness and youth are desirable factors - For females, height, muscularity and resources the male has access to are desirable factors 2. Intrasexual selection: Members of the same sex compete for a partner of the other sex - Males compete by becoming more muscular/acquiring and displaying resources (ex. wealth) - Females will compete by enhancing appearance (ex. hair colouring, makeup) - Over the past 20 years, desirable traits have changed from beneficial skills (ex. survival, resources, etc.) to more emotional traits (ex. humor, music, artistic innovation) - These sexually selected psychological traits date back to the Pleistocene epoch - In order to excel in desirable traits, one must be intelligent and creative - Subconscious desire - “Artistic intelligence” ranked third out of nine (behind kindness and being socially exciting) of preferred partner traits - Traits and Preferences - Evolutionary biologists: Start with an observation about a characteristic and try to account for it in evolutionary terms - Evolutionary psychologists: Ask what sort of challenges humans might have faced and infer what behavioural tendencies may have been selected to overcome these challenges - Mental modules - Evolutionary psychologists believe that the human mind is not a general-purpose computer waiting to be programmed, but a collection of specialized and independent mental modules - Mental modules: Acollection of specialized and independent sections of the brain, developed to handle specific survival problems such as the need to locate food or find a mate - Aparticular module may involve several dispersed but interconnected areas of the brain - Critics argue that this concept is no improvement over instinct theory; the notion that every human activity and capacity (ex. cleanliness, cruelty, etc.) are innate - Frans De Waal; argues that those that believe desirable traits are existing solely because it is adaptive, is wrong - There are numerous undesirable traits that have evolved and are still very common (ex. baldness, acne, etc.) - Many traits are by-products of other traits - De Waal argues that we must look at the whole package of traits that characterize the species opposed to traits in isolation - Innate Human Characteristics 1. Infant reflexes - Simple automatic responses to stimuli - Ex.All infants will suck something put to their lips; by aiding nursing, this reflex enhances their chances of survival 2.An interest in novelty - Human babies reveal a surprising interest in looking at and listening to unfamiliar things - Ex. Baby will stop nursing briefly upon seeing someone new 3.Adesire to explore and manipulate objects - Human babies shake rattles, bang pots, etc. - For humans, the natural impulse to handle interesting objects can be intense, which is probably why many parents have to tell their children “ don’t touch” 4.An impulse to play and fool around - Ex. Kittens, puppies, lion cubs, panda cubs, young primates, etc. - Play/exploration may be biologically adaptive because it helps members of a species find food/learn to cope with environment - The young of many species enjoy “practice play” that will be used for serious purposes when they are adults - In humans, play teaches children social skills and gives them a chance to practice motor and linguistic skills 5. Basic cognitive skills - Many evolutionary psychologists believe that people are born with abilities that allow us to better understand our surroundings such as: - Learning and interpreting expressions and gestures of others - Identifying faces - Figuring out what others are thinking/feeling - Distinguish plants from animals - Distinguish living from nonliving - Acquire language Our Human Heritage: Language - The Nature of Language - Language:Asystem that combines meaningless elements such as sounds or gestures to form structured utterances that convey meaning - The Innate Capacity for Language - Noam Chomsky - Argued that language was far too complex to be learned bit by bit - Children must take the surface structure of a sentence and infer and underlying deep structure - Surface structure: The way the sentence is actually spoken/signed - Deep structure: How the sentence is to be understood - In order to transform surface structures into deep ones, children must apply rules of grammar/syntax - Because no one actually teaches us grammar when we are toddlers, Chomsky believes that the human brain must contain a language acquisition device - Language acquisition device:According to many psycholinguists, an innate mental module that allows young children to develop language if they are exposed to an adequate sampling of conversation - In other words, children are born with a universal grammar; their brains are sensitive to the core features common to all languages (nouns, verbs, subjects, objects, negatives) - Over the years, linguists/psycholinguists have gathered evidence to support - Chomsky: 1. Children in different cultures go through similar stages of linguistic development - Often form first negatives simply by adding no (“no get dirty”) - At a later stage, they begin using double negatives 2. Children combine words in ways that adults never would - Reduce parent’s sentence to their own version (“go store! instead of “let’s go to the store!”) - Referred to as overregularizations - Overregularization: Non-random errors in grammar that show that the child has grasped a grammatical rule - Ex.Add the t or d sound to make verb past tense as in walked or bugged; is overgeneralizing it (taked, goed) 3.Adults do not consistently correct their children’s syntax, yet children learn to speak or sign correctly anyway - Parents often reward children for small steps in language even if they are wrong, as long as they understand the basic message being conveyed - Parents do not stop to correct errors 4. Children not exposed to adult language might invent language of their own - Ex. Deaf children in Nicaragua made their own grammatically complex sign language that is unrelated to Spanish - Also occurs in cases of feral children 5. Infants as young as seven months can derive simple linguistic rules from a string of sounds - When exposed to an ABA pattern sentence (“ga ti ga”) until they get bored, they will prefer new sentences with anABB (“wo fe fe”) pattern over new sentences with a differentABA pattern (“wo fe wo”) - Studies suggest that babies can discriminate the different types of structures - Emerges before they can understand or produce any words - Learning and Language - Some theorists still believe that experience plays a greater role - Argue that instead of inferring grammatical rules, children learn the probability that any given word or syllable will follow another - Children eventually learn how nonadjacent words co-occur (“the yellow ducky”) - Are also able to generalize their knowledge to learn syntactic categories and patterns - To test this, some theorists have been able to design computer neural networks - Computer neural networks: Mathematical models of the brain that “learn” by adjusting the connections among hypothetical neurons in response to incoming data - Designers suggest that children may be able to acquire linguistic features without getting a head start from inborn brain modules - Some theorists that support inborn grammatical capacity also notice that nurture must also play a role - Although there are commonalities in language acquisition worldwide, there are also many differences that do not seem to be explained by “universal grammar” - Although children have the capacity to acquire language from exposure to it, parents do help as well - May not correct every mistake, but to recast child’s grammar - Ex. “Monkey climbing!” “Yes, the monkey is climbing the tree.” - Children often imitate recasts/expansions, suggesting they are learning from them Our Human Heritage: Courtship and Mating - Evolution and Sexual Strategies - Sociobiology:An interdisciplinary field that emphasizes evolutionary explanations of social behaviour in animals, including human beings - Sociobiologists believe that evolution has bred into each of us a tendency to act in ways that maximize our chances of passing on our genes and to help close biological relatives (whom we share genes), to do the same - Differences in survival and mating problems have led to differences in aggression, dominance and sexual strategies b/w sexes - Males compete with other males to access females, inseminate as many as possible - Females have larger biological investment in pregnancy; choose dominant males with resources and status - Sociobiologists often study nonhuman species - Ex. Male scorpion flies force themselves on females; some sociobiologists have drawn an analogy between this behaviour and human rape - Conclude that human rape must have the same evolutionary origins and reproductive purposes - Arguments against sociobiologists: - Human rape has many motives such as revenge, sadism, conformity, power, etc. - Often committed by high-status men that are able to find mates - Victims are generally children and the elderly, neither of which can reproduce - Sadistic rapists often injure or kill their victims, not allowing them to perpetuate the genes - Study found differences in men and women: - Men are more interested in youth and beauty, generally because youth is associated with fertility - Men are more sexually jealous and possessive - Men are more prone to one night stands, frequent random hookups, polygamy and promiscuity because they want to spread their seed as much as possible - Women tend to emphasize financial resources or prospects of potential - Women also focus on status - More hurt by emotional infidelity than sexual because abandonment by partner might leave them without resources and support needed to raise offspring - Culture and the “Genetic Leash” - Evolutionary views of sex differences are being challenged by theorists because: 1. Stereotypes vs. actual behaviour - Critics argue that current evolutionary explanations of infidelity and monogamy are based on simplistic stereotypes of gender differences - In female birds, fish and mammals, promiscuity has been seen; these animals often have numerous male partners, and they are not focused on getting knocked up - Often have sex when they are not ovulating or while they are already pregnant - In many species, mainly penguins and primates, the males often stick around, feeding the infants, carrying them and protecting them from predators - Human sexual behaviour ranges from culture to culture - Ex. Some cultures, women have numerous children, in others they have very few; men are more intimately part of child’s life, in others they are not, etc. - Evolutionary psychologists info. comes from questionnaires and interviews - Ask participants to rank qualities - Despite differences, both sexes generally rank kindness, intelligence and understanding over physical qualities or financial status 2. Convenience vs. representative samples - Research on topic started in 1973, only interviewed women - Wasn’t until recently that they took the men’s perspective into consideration and came up with more accurate results 3. What people say vs. what they do - Social desirability bias 4. The Fred Flintstone problem - Recent analysis of European,African and East Asian genome have found that natural selection has continued to influence genes associated with taste, smell, digestion, bone structure, skin colour, fertility and brain function - Might have occurred when most human abandoned hunting in favour of agriculture - David Buller said “There is no reason to think that contemporary humans are, like Fred and Wilma Flintstone, just Pleistocene hunter-gatherers struggling to survive and reproduce in evolutionary novel suburban habitats.” - Similarity and proximity are leading predictors today - Social Darwinism: The notion that the wealthy and successful people are more reproductively fit than those that are not - Major issue dividing evolutionary theorists from critics in terms of courtship and mating is the relative influence of biology and culture The Genetics of Difference - Introduction - What does it mean to say a trait is “heritable”? - How do behavioural geneticists study differences among people that might be influenced by genes - Examine the genetic and environmental contributions to intelligence - The Meaning of Heritability - Is the level of our ability to do certain things (ex. music, sports, etc.) innate or inherited? - Heritability:Astatistical estimate of the proportion of the total variance in some trait that is attributable to genetic differences among individuals within a group - Heritability of a trait is expressed as a proportion with a maximum value of 1.00 - Ex. 60/100, .60, etc. - Important facts about heritability: 1.An estimate of heritability applies only to a particular group living in a particular environment - Heritability of a trait may be high in one group and low in another - Ex. CommunityA - all children eat plenty of high quality food, have kind and attentive parents and go to top notch schools; because environments are the same, any differences between them are largely due to their genetic differences - Ex. Community B - there is a mix of rich, poor and middle-class children some of which have healthy diets and the others that have shitty diets; some have attentive parents, some have neglectful parents and some go to top notch school while others go to shitty schools; differences could be due to environmental differences - if so, the heritability of intelligence for this group will be low - Study found intelligence is highly dependant on socioeconomic status 2. Heritability estimates do not apply to individuals, only to variations within a group - Combination of genes in an individual will never be seen again, unless you are an identical twin - Sometimes genes are the main reason for a certain trait, sometimes it’s environment - Scientists can only study the extent to which differences among people in general are explained by their genetic differences 3. Even highly heritable traits can be modified by the environment - Ex. Height is highly heritable, but a malnourished child may not grow to be as tall as they would if they had sufficient food consumption - Computing Heritability - When looking for the heritability of a trait, comparing individual to family is unreliable because they generally have the same genes as well as environment - Abetter approach is to study adopted children because they share half their genes with each birth parent, but grow up in a different environment, away from their birth parent - They share the same environment with birth parents/siblings, but not genes - Researchers can compare correlations b/w traits of adopted children and those of their biological + adoptive relatives and can use the results to compute an estimate of heritability - Another approach is to compare identical and fraternal twins - Assumption is that if identical twins are more alike than fraternal twins, then the increased similarity must be due to genetic influences - Critics argue that identical twins may be treated differently than fraternal twins - To avoid this problem, researchers studied identical twins who were separated early in life and reared apart - Identical (monozygotic) twins: Twins that develop when a fertilized egg divides into two parts that develop into separate embryos - Recent research has found that duplicated or missing blocks of DNA can be found in one twin but not the other - Separated identical twins share all their genes but not their environment - Any similarities between them should be primarily genetic and should permit a direct estimate of heritability - Fraternal (dizygotic) twins: Twins that develop from two separate eggs fertilized by different sperm; they are no more alike genetically than are any other pair of siblings - Our Human Diversity: The Case of Intelligence - Genes and Individual Differences - Intelligence quotient (IQ):Ameasure of intelligence originally computed by dividing a person’s mental age by his or her chronological age and multiplying by 100 - Now derived from norms provided for standardized intelligence tests -Arguments against IQ testing: 1. Intelligence comes in many varieties, more than are captured by a single score 2. IQ tests are culturally biased - Testing mainly abilities that depend on experiences in a middle-class environment and favouring white people over other ethnicities - Genetic contribution becomes relatively larger and the environment one relatively smaller with age - Question of Group Differences - Jay Gould believed that “genetic research has often been bent to support the belief that some groups are destined by ‘the harsh dictates of nature’ to be subordinate to others - Racists have been using heritability/genetic explanations to cut funding to minority groups/poor children - Use heritability estimates based mainly on white samples to estimate the role of heredity in group differences - invalid procedure - Ex. Same seeds are used in potA and pot B; pot Ahas enriched soil, attention (in the sunlight, watered daily, etc.) and pot B is stuck in a corner and ignored - Obviously pot Awill have better developed tomatoes - The Environment and Intelligence - Influences associated with reduced mental ability: 1. Poor prenatal care - Malnourishment, infection, drug use, smoking/exposure to secondhand smoke or alcohol consumption puts a pregnant woman’s child at risk of having learning disabilities and a lower IQ 2. Malnutrition - Average IQ between malnourished and well-nourished children can be as high as 20 points 3. Exposure to toxins - Lead damages nervous system, even at low levels - Results in attention problems, lower IQ and poor school achievement - Concentration of lead in black children’s blood is 50% higher than white children - Researchers found that by age 3, children of highly exposed mothers were more than 2x as likely as other children to be developmentally delayed 4.Stressful family circumstances - Ex. No father, mother with history of mental illness, parents with limited work skills, history of stressful events (domestic violence) - Each risk factor reduces child IQ by 4 points - Children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods decline in verbal IQs - Comparable to that seen when a child misses a year of school - Beyond Nature vs. Nurture - Epigenetics: The study of changes in gene expression due to mechanisms other than structural changes in DNA - The study of epigenetics is demonstrating that the timing and pattern of genetic activity are crucial not only before birth but throughout life Chapter 7: Learning and Conditioning Introduction - Research on learning has been heavily influenced by behaviourism - Behaviourism:An approach to psychology that emphasizes the study of observable behaviour and the role of the environment as a determinant of behaviour - Behaviourists focus on two types of conditioning: - Classical - Operant Classical Conditioning - Studied by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov - Classical conditioning: The process by which a previously neutral stimulus acquires the capacity to elicit a response through association with a stimulus that already elicits a similar or related response - AKA Pavlovian or respondent conditioning - Unconditioned stimulus (US): Stimulus that elicits a reflexive response in the absence of learning - Unconditioned response (UR): Reflexive response elicited by a stimulus in the absence of learning - Conditioned stimulus (CS): Initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned response after being associated with an US - Conditioned response (CR): Response that is elicited by a CS; occurs after the CS is associated with an US - Found that when a neutral stimulus (NS) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US) that elicits some reflexive unconditioned response (UR), the NS comes to elicit a similar or related response - NS then becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS); response it elicits is a conditioned response (CR) - Nearly any kind of involuntary response can become a CR - Principles of Classical Conditioning - Extinction: The weakening and eventual disappearance of a learned response - Occurs when the CS is no longer paired with the US - Ex. Train Deke the dog to salivate to the sound of a bell by giving him food after - If you continue to ring the bell but do not present the food, Deke will start to salivate less and less until the response is completely gone - If you come back the next day and ring the bell, it is likely that Deke will salivate, even if only a little bit - Spontaneous recovery: The reappearance of a learned response after its apparent extinction - Higher-order conditioning: Aprocedure in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus through association with an already established CS - Ex. Deke has learned to salivate to the sight of his food dish; if you flash a bright light before presenting the dish repeatedly, Deke may learn to salivate when he sees the light because he associates it with the food - Ex.Achild may learn a positive response to the word “birthday” because of its association with gifts and attention - Stimulus generalization: After conditioning, the tendency to respond to a stimulus that resembles one involved in the original conditioning - In classical conditioning, it occurs when a stimulus similar to the CS fails to evoke the CR - Ex. Teach Deke to salivate to C on the piano, he may also salivate to D because they sound similar - Stimulus discrimination: The tendency to respond differently to two or more similar stimuli - In classical conditioning, it occurs when a stimulus similar to the CS fails to evoke the CR - Ex. Teach Deke to salivate to C on the piano by following it with food; play C on the guitar without food - Deke will eventually learn to tell the difference to the two sounds - What isActually Learned in Conditioning? - Many theorists believe that what an animal/person learns in classical conditioning is not just an association between a US and a CS - Instead, it is information conveyed by one stimulus about another - Considered to be an evolutionary adaptation that allows an organism to prepare for a biologically important event (food, survival, etc.) - Evidence shows that a neutral stimulus doesn’t become a CS unless it reliably signals or predicts the US - Quick Quiz 1. Gregory’s mouth waters whenever he eats anything with lemon in it. One day, while reading an ad that shows a big glass of lemonade, Gregory finds that his mouth has started to water - US = the taste of lemon - UR = salivation elicited by lemon taste - CS = picture of glass of lemonade - CR = salivation elicited by picture 2. Five-year-old Samantha is watching a storm from her window.Ahuge bolt of lightning is followed by a tremendous thunderclap, and Samantha jumps at the noise. This happens several more times. There is a brief lull and then another lightning bolt. Samantha jumps in response to the bolt. - US = thunderclap - UR = jump elicited by thunderclap - CS = sight of lightning - CR = jumping elicited by the lightning Classical Conditioning in Real Life - CC helps account for positive emotional responses to particular objects and events, fears and phobias, reactions to particular foods and odours and reactions to medical treatments and placebos - John B. Watson showed many fears may be learned and then may be unlearned through a process of counterconditioning - Counterconditioning: The process of pairing a CS with a stimulus that elicits a response that is incompatible with an unwanted CR - Pair CS with something that brings pleasant feelings/will be incompatible with CR, slowly incorporate CS into environment with pleasant object - Because of evolutionary adaptations, humans are biologically primed to acquire some classically CR easily, such as taste aversions and certain fears - Learning to Fear -Aperson can learn to fear just about anything if it is paired with something that elicits pain, surprise or embarrassment - Far easier to establish fear of spiders, snakes and heights than butterflies, flowers or toasters - The former is hazardous to health and survival; in the process of evolution, humans acquired a tendency to learn quickly to be wary of them and to retain this fear - Some theorists believe that evolution also instilled a fear of unfamiliar members of ethnic groups other than their own; may contribute to the emotional underpinnings of prejudice - Phobia: When fear of an object or situation becomes irrational and interferes with normal activities - Accounting For Taste - Researchers have taught animals to dislike foods or odours by pairing them with drugs that cause nausea or other unpleasant symptoms - “The Garcia Effect ”: The tendency to associate sickness with taste rather than sights or sounds - Reacting to Medical Treatments - Ex. Cancer patients that suffer from nausea from chemotherapy often associate it with the place that the chemo takes place; it could be the waiting room, the smell of rubbing alcohol or the nurse’s voice - Mental images of the sights and smells of a clinic can become CS for nausea - Biology and Classical Conditioning - Researchers of classical conditioning are now integrating findings on motivation, learning and biology - Ex. Brain changes occur in response to CS for appetite or pleasure; changes may affect people’s motivation to eat even when they are already full Operant Conditioning - Operant conditioning: The process by which a response becomes more likely to occur or less so, depending on its consequences - Responses are generally not reflexive; much more complex - Research in this area is closely associated with B.F. Skinner who called his approach “radical behaviourism” - B.F. Skinner - Stated that reinforcement strengthens or increases the probability of a response and punishment weakens or decreases the probability of a response - Immediate consequences generally have a greater effect on a response than do delayed consequences - Edward Thorndike - Cat experiment - Rewarded cats with good/behaviour, did not reward them with bad/wrong behaviour -Also into radical behaviourism - Consequences of Behaviour 1. Reinforcement strengthens the response or makes it more likely to recur - Ex. Dog begs for food at the table, and you give her the lamb chop off your plate, the begging is likely to increase - Reinforcers: Treatments, rewards, etc. that increases the likelihood of a response 2. Punishment weakens the response or makes it less likely to recur - Punishment/punisher: Process by which a stimulus or event weakens or reduces the probability of the response that it follows - Ex. Dog begs for food and you shout “no”, the response becomes less likely - The sooner a consequence/reward follows a response, the less/more likely it is to recur - Primary + Secondary Reinforcers - Positive reinforcement: Something pleasant follows a response - Response becomes stronger or more likely to occur - Positive punishment: Something unpleasant follows the response - Becomes less likely to occur - Negative reinforcement: Something unpleasant is removed - Response becomes stronger or more likely to occur - Negative punishment: Something pleasant is removed - Becomes less likely to occur - Primary reinforcer: Astimulus that is inherently reinforcing, typically satisfying a physiological need - Ex. Food, water, light stroking of the skin, etc. - Primary punisher: Astimulus that is inherently punishing - Ex. Electric shock, pain, extreme heat or cold, etc. - Criticism of primary reinforcers/punishers: - May be ineffective if animal/person is not in a deprived state - Ethical reasons stop psychologists/researchers from using force or taking away necessities from volunteers - Secondary reinforcer:A stimulus that has acquired reinforcing properties through association with other reinforcers - Secondary punisher: Astimulus that has acquired punishing properties through association with other punishers - Principles of Operant Conditioning - Skinner box: Acage equipped with a device that delivers a reinforcer when an animal makes a desired response, or a punisher when the animal makes an undesired response - Extinction, stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination is present - Learning on schedule - Continuous reinforcement:A reinforcement schedule in which a particular response is always enforced - Intermittent (partial) schedule of reinforcement: A reinforcement schedule in which a particular response is sometimes but not always reinforced - Once a response is reliable, it will be more resistant to extinction - Helps account for persistence of odd rituals/superstitions - Fixed, variable, ratio, interval - Shaping: Procedure in which successive approximations of a desired response are reinforced - Successive approximations: Procedure of shaping, behaviours that are ordered in terms of increasing similarity or closeness to the desired response - Reward as progress is made, opposed to rewarding only when the ultimate desired response is made - Biological limits on learning -All principles of classical conditioning and operant conditioning is limited by an animal’s genetic dispositions + physical characteristics - Ex. Teaching a fish to salsa - Operant conditioning procedures always work best when they capitalize on inborn tendencies - Instinctive drift: The tendency for an organism to revert to instinctive behaviour - Ex.Animal trainers Keller and Marian Breland found that their pet pig would play around/bury/push a wooden coin with its snout when it was supposed to be dropping it into a bowl for food; realized that the pig’s natural instinct was to use its snout to uncover and dig up edible roots - B.F. Skinner: The Man and the Myth - Determinist view: Our behaviour is determined by the environment and our heritage - If we knew all stimuli, all punishment/reward they have received, you could fix them - Free will is a myth - History has told you what to do, everything is predetermined - Environment should be manipulated to alter behaviour - “Air crib” - Crib provided for environmental well-being for child - Created crib, put daughter in it Operant Conditioning in Real Life - Behaviour modifications: Techniques to teach new responses or to reduce/eliminate maladaptive or problematic behaviour; also called applied behaviour analysis - Has helped mentally unstable live life as normal as possible - Has helped parents potty train children in very few sessions - Group homes generally use “token-society”/operant conditioning - The Pros and Cons of Punishment - When it works - Can deter some young criminals from repeating offences - Can be effective when applied correctly: - Punishment most effective when it occurs immediately after undesirable behaviour - Consistency of punishment is more important than severity - Ex. Fines, if applied consistently, are as effective as jail time - When it fails 1. People often administer punishment inappropriately or mindlessly - Misunderstand the proper application of punishment - Ex. Parents discipline children before leaving for the evening for “all the things they are going to do” - children don’t bother to behaviour 2. The recipient of harsh or frequent punishment often responds with anxiety, fear or rage - Emotional side effects may generalize to entire situation in which punishment occurs - place, person and circumstances - Negative emotional reactions can cause more problems than it solves; strike back, run away, etc. - Extreme punishment is a risk factor for development of depression, low self- esteem and violent behaviour 3. The effectiveness of punishment is often temporary, depending heavily on the presence of the punishing person or circumstances - Still carry out behaviours, just not around certain people to avoid being caught - Ex. Don’t act in a certain way around parents, but once parents leave, we act differently to avoid punishment/getting caught 4. Most misbehaviour is hard to punish immediately - Works best if it quickly follows a response - Ex. Punish dog when you get home from work - dog’s behaviour has already been reinforced by all the treats he received 5. Punishment conveys little information - Communicates what not to do, but not what to do - Ex. Scolding a student for learning slowly will not teach him to learn quickly 6.Action intended to be punishment may instead be reinforcing because it brings attention - Person wants a reaction out of punisher - If they get little attention from parents, they will do bad things to get attention even though it’s negative - Psychologists believe that punishment is a poor way to eliminate unwanted behaviour - Instead, extinguish by ignoring - Solution: Combine extinction of undesirable acts with reinforcement of alternative ones - Ex. Ignore child’s plea for “one more video game” but praise child for doing something else that is incompatible with video game playing like reading or playing sports - The Problems With Reward - Misuse of rewards - Ex. Grade inflation, unauthorized marks, etc. to make a student “feel good about themselves” + succeed - Why rewards can backfire - Extrinsic reinforcers: Reinforcers that come from outside sources and are not inherently related to the activity being reinforced - Psychologists have found that extrinsic reinforcement can be too much of a good thing; kills the pleasure of doing something for its own sake - Intrinsic reinforcers: Reinforcers that are inherently related to activity being reinforced - Ex. Enjoyment of the task, satisfaction of accomplishment - When we are rewarded with something, we think of the task as work Learning and the Mind - Most learning theories held that learning could be explained by specifying behavioural ABC’s; antecedents, behaviours and consequences - Compare the mind to an engineer’s “black box”; a device whose workings must be inferred because they cannot be observed directly - Latent Learning - Latent learning: Aform of learning that is not immediately expressed in an overt response; occurs without obvious reinforcement - Ex. Edward Tolman studied latent learning, in which no obvious reinforcer is present during learning and a response is not expressed until later on, when reinforcer becomes available - What appears to be acquired in latent learning is not a specific response but rather knowledge about responses and their consequences - Social-Cognitive Learning Theories - Social-cognitive theories: Emphasize how behaviour is learned and maintained through observation and imitation of others, positive consequences, and cognitive processes such as plans, expectations and beliefs - Share emphasis on importance of beliefs, perceptions and observations of other people’s behaviour in determining what we learn, what we do at any given moment and the personality traits we develop - Differences in beliefs and perceptions help explain why two people who live through the same event may come away with entirely different lessons - Observational learning: Process in which an individual learns new responses by observing the behaviour of another rather than through direct experience; sometimes called vicarious conditioning - Albert Bandura - Bobo the clown doll experiment Chapter 8: Behaviour in Social and Cultural Context - Social psychologists study how social roles, attitudes, relationships and groups influence individuals - Cultural psychologists study the influence of culture on human behaviour -Many cultural rules, such as those governing correct conversational distance, are unspoken but nonetheless powerful Roles and rules - The environment influences people in countless, subtle ways - Observing that others have broken rules or laws increases the likelihood that a passerby will do the same - Two classic studies illustrate the power of norms and roles - Milgram’s obedience study (shocking person in another room) - People were more like to disobey if: 1. The experimenter left the room 2. The victim was in the room with them 3. Two experimenters issued conflicting demands 4. The person ordering them to continue was an ordinary man 5. The participant worked with peers who refused to go further - Stanford prison experiment - Norms (social): Rules that regulate social life, including explicit laws and implicit cultural conventions - Role:Agiven social position that is governed by a set of norms for proper behaviour - Culture: Aprogram of shared rules that govern the behaviour of people in a community or society, and a set of values, beliefs and customs shared by most members of that community Why people obey - Obedience to authority contributes to the smooth running of society, but obedience can also lead to actions that are deadly, foolish or illegal - People obey orders because they can be punished if they do not, out of respect for authority or to gain advantages - Even if they do not want to comply, they likely will because they are entrapped - Entrapment:Agradual process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of action to justify their investment of time, money and effort - Ex. In Milgram’s study, participants that gave a 15-volt shock had committed themselves to the experiment; each increment was small, before they knew it, most people were administering what they believed were dangerously strong shocks - at this point it was hard to find a reason to quit Social influences and beliefs on behaviour - Researchers in the area of social cognition study how people’s perceptions affect their relationships and how the social environment affects their beliefs and perceptions - Social cognition: An area in social psychology concerned with social influences on thought, memory, perception and beliefs -According to attribution theory, people are motivated to search for causes to which they can attribute their own and other people’s behaviour - Attribution theory: The theory that people are motivated to explain their own and other people’s behaviour by attributing causes of that behaviour to a situation or disposition - Falls into two categories: 1. Situational attribution: Identifying the cause of an action as something in the situation or environment - Ex. “Joe stole the money because his family is starving.” 2. Dispositional attribution: Identifying the cause of an action as something in the person, such as trait or motive - Ex. “Joe stole the money because he is a born thief.” - Fundamental attribution error: The tendency, in explaining other people’s behaviour, to overestimate personality factors and underestimate the influence of the situation - The primary reason for fundamental attribution error is that people rely on different sources of information to judge their own behaviour and that of others - Self-serving bias: Habits of thinking that make us feel good about ourselves, even when we shouldn’t - Two concepts relevant to attribution and misattribution 1. The bias to choose the most flattering and forgiving attributions of our own lapses - Take responsibility for good things, blame environment for shortcomings - Group serving bias: Our tendency to view the groups to which we belong, or the individuals in these groups, favourably - Group serving biases result from the degree to which one’s culture is collectivist or individualist 2. The bias to believe that the world is fair - Just-world hypothesis: The notion that the world is fair and that justice is served, that bad people are punished and good people rewarded - Blaming the victim: Used to restore faith in a just world; literally blame the victim - “They must have done something to deserve [insert unjust treatment].” Attitude - People hold many attitudes about people, things and ideas - Attitude: Abelief about people, groups, ideas or activities - Explicit attitude (conscious): We are aware of them, they shape our conscious decisions - Implicit attitude (unconscious): We are unaware of them, they may influence our behaviour in ways we do not recognize, and they are measured in indirect ways -Attitudes may change through experience, conscious decision or as an effort to reduce cognitive dissonance - Cognitive dissonance: Astate of tension that occurs when a person simultaneously holds two cognitions that are psychologically inconsistent or when a person’s belief is incongruent with their behaviour -Apowerful way to influence attitudes; take advantage of: - Familiarity effect: The tendency of people to feel more positive toward a person, item, product or other stimulus the more familiar they are with it - Validity effect: The tendency of people to believe that statement is true or valid simply because it has been repeated many time - Do Genes Influence Attitudes? -Attitudes are combination of learning/genetics - Religious affiliations is not heritable; religiosity has a genetic component - Political affiliation is not heritable; political conservativism is - Identical twin studies suggest that while genetics accounts for some attitudes, most result from “nonshared environment” - Nonshared environment: Individual life experience - Persuasion or “brainwashing” - Brainwashing implies a person is unaware of why they change their minds - Is actually coercive persuasion - Designed to suppress an individual’s ability to reason, think critically and make choices in his or her own best interests Key processes of coercive persuasion 1. The person is subjected to entrapment 2. The person’s problems are explained by one simple attribution 3. The person is offered a new identity and is promised salvation 4. The person’s access to disconfirming (dissonant) information is severely controlled Individuals in groups - The need to belong is so powerful that the pain of social rejection and exclusion is greater and more memorable than physical pain, which is why groups use the weapon of ostracism and rejection to enforce conformity Conformity - The first thing people in groups do is conform, taking action or adopting attitudes as a result of real or imagined group pressure - SolomonAsch line experiment (1952, 1965) - Only 20% remained independent on their answer - Conformity permits the smooth running of society and allows people to feel in harmony with others like them -As theAsch experiment shows, many people conform to the judgements of others even though the others are wrong - Groupthink: The tendency of group members to think alike, censor themselves, actively suppress disagreements and feel that their decisions are invulnerable; most common with close-knit groups - Often produces faulty decisions because groups members fail to seek discomforting evidence for their ideas - Groups can be structured to counteract groupthink - Symptoms of groupthink 1.An illusion of invulnerability 2. Self-censorship 3. Pressure on dissenters to conform 4.An illusion of unanimity - Groupthink has led to disastrous decisions in military and civilian life - Can be minimized if the leader rewards the expression of doubt and dissent, protects and encourages minority views, asks group members to generate as many alternative solutions to a problem as they can think of and has everyone try to think of the risks and disadvantages of the preferred decision The wisdom and madness of crowds - Diffusion of responsibility: In groups, the tendency of members to avoid taking action because they assume that others will - Bystander apathy: In groups, people often fail to take action because they think someone else will do it - Deindividuation: In groups or crowds, the loss of awareness of one’s own individuality; mob mentality - More likely to feel like this if you are in a large city, where no one recognizes you - Masks, uniforms used to enact this - Long been considered a prime reason for mob violence - Anonymity and responsibility - Should people in a crowd be held responsible for their actions? Altruism and dissent - Altruism: The willingness to take selfless or dangerous action on behalf of others - Situational factors involved in deciding to behave courageously: 1. You perceive the need for intervention or help - Must realize that action is necessary 2. Cultural norms encourage you to take action - Some cultures place a higher value on helping strangers than other cultures do 3. You have an ally - Reassures a person of the rightness of the protest 4. You have become entrapped Us versus them: group identity - Social identities: The part of a person’s self-concept that is based on his or her identification with a nation, religious or political group, occupation or other social affiliation - Ethnic identity: Aperson’s identification with a racial or ethnic group - Identify with the group, feel proud to be a member, feel emotionally attached to group, behave in ways that conform to the group’s rules, values and norms - Acculturation: The process by which members of minority groups come to identify with and feel part of the mainstream culture Ethnocentrism: The belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation or religion is superior to all others - Is universal - Embedded in some cultures - Ex. The Chinese word for China means “the centre of the world” - Robber’s Cave experiment Stereotypes: Asummary impression of a group, in which a person believes that all members of the group share a common trait or traits (positive, negative, neutral) - Help us quickly process new information, retrieve memories, allow us to organize experience, make sense of differences among individuals and groups and predict how people will behave - Three cons of stereotypes: 1. Exaggerate differences between groups - Makes stereotyped group seem odd, unfamiliar or dangerous; not like “us” 2. Produce selective perception - People tend to see only the evidence that fits the stereotype and reject and perception that does not fit 3. Underestimate differences within the stereotyped group - Creates the impression that all members of that group are the same Group conflict and prejudice - Prejudice:Astrong, unreasonable dislike or hatred of a group, based on a negative stereotype - Has so many sources and functions: 1. Psychological causes - People puff up their own feelings of low self-worth by disliking or hating groups that they see as inferior - Allows people to use target group as scapegoat - Terror management theory: States that prejudice may also help people defend the existential terror of death - People in every culture hold political or religious worldviews that provide them with a sense of meaning, purpose and hope of immortality (afterlife); fear anything that contradicts or goes against this belief - According to the theory, many people manage that threat by denigrating opposing groups, attempting to convert them or, if the threat they pose is perceived as strong enough, trying to exterminate them 2. Social causes - Some prejudices arise out of pressure to conform from friends, relatives, etc.; if you do not agree with prejudices, you may asked to leave the group 3. Economic causes - Prejudice makes official forms of discrimination seem legitimate by justifying the majority group’s dominance, status or greater wealth - Noticeable when two groups are in competition for jobs or income - Hostile sexism: Reflects active dislike of women - Benevolent sexism: Puts women on a pedestal 4. Cultural and national causes - By disliking an ethnic or national group, we feel closer to our own group - Justifies whatever we do to “them” as preserving our customs and national policies - War causes prejudice - Middle eastern were not viewed as scary terrorists before 9/11 Measuring prejudice 1. Measures of social distance - How close will you let “those people” into your social life, work life, etc.? 2. Measures of what people do when they are stressed or angry 3. Measures of brain activity - Negative associations with ethnicity depend on context and learning 4. Measures of implicit attitudes - ImplicitAssociation Test (IAT): Measures the speed of people’s positive and negative associations to a target group Reducing conflict and prejudice 1. Both sides must have equal legal status, economic opportunities and power 2.Authorities and community institutions must provide moral, legal and economic support for both sides 3. Both sides must have opportunities to work and socialize together, formally and informally - Contact hypothesis: States that prejudice declines when people have the chance to get used to another group’s rules, food, customs and attitudes, thereby discovering shared interests and shared humanity and learning that they are not all alike 4. Both sides must cooperate, working together for a common goal Chapter conclusion - Human nature - Behaviours listed in this chapter occur when a government feels weakened and vulnerable - By generating an outside enemy, rulers create us-them thinking to impose order and cohesion among their citizens and to create a scapegoat for the country’s economic problems Chapter 9: Thinking and Intelligence - Thoughts: Using What We Know - When we take action, we physically manipulate the environment; when we think, we mentally manipulate internal representations of objects, activities and situations - Thoughts: Elements of Cognition - Concepts:Amental category that groups objects, relations, activities, abstractions, or qualities having common properties - Ex. Golden retriever, cocker spaniel and border collie are all instances of the concept “dog” - Simplify and summarize information about the world so that it is manageable and so that we can make decisions quickly and efficiently - Basic concepts: Concepts that have a moderate number of instances and that are easier than those having few or many instances - Ex. “Book” is more basic than either “printed matter” or “novel” - Children seem to learn basic-level concepts earlier than others - More commonly used by adults - Prototype: An especially representative example of a concept - Used when deciding if something belongs to a concept - Ex. Which activity is more representative of sports, football or weight lifting? - Most people within a culture can easily tell you which instances of a concept are most representative or prototypical - Benjamin Lee Whorf - Suggested that language moulds cognition and perception - Ex. English only has one word for “snow” where was Inuits have several (powdered snow, slushy snow, etc.) - the Inuit notice differences in snow that English speakers do not - Also argued that grammar affects how we think of the world - Ex. Masculine/feminine labeling of objects in different languages such as Spanish and German - Germans describe a key (masculine) as hard, heavy, jagged and serrated whereas Spanish describes a key (feminine) as golden, intricate, lovely, little and shiny - Proposition: Aunit of meaning that is made up of concepts and expresses a single idea - Used to add limitations to concepts - Can express nearly any sort of knowledge - Cognitive schema: Integrated mental network of knowledge, beliefs, and expectations concerning a particular topic or aspect of the world - Serve as mental models of aspects of the world - Ex. Gender schemas represent a person’s beliefs on what it means to be male or female - Mental images: Mental representation that mirrors or resembles the thing it represents - Important in construction of cognitive schemas - Studies suggest that mental images are much like an image on a computer screen - We can manipulate them; they occur in a mental space of a fixed size, and small ones contain less detail than larger ones - Concepts →Propositions/mental images →Cognitive schemas - How conscious is thought? - Subconscious thinking - Subconscious processes: Mental processes occurring outside of conscious awareness but accessible to consciousness when necessary (e.g. driving a car) - Allows us to handle more info and to perform more complex tasks than if we depended entirely on conscious, deliberate thoughts - Nonconscious thinking - Unconscious processing: Mental processes occurring outside of and not available to conscious awareness - Difference between subconscious and nonconscious processing is that in subconscious processing, consciousness can enter with some effort - it cannot do so in nonconscious processing - Ex. Finding a solution to a problem right after you’ve given up trying to find one - Insight and intuition involve several stages of mental processing: 1. Clues in the problem automatically activate certain memories or knowledge 2. This leads you to a hunch/hypothesis 3. Eventually thinking becomes conscious - At this stage the revelation occurs even though nonconscious mental work has already occurred - Implicit learning: Learning that occurs when you acquire knowledge about something without being aware of how you did so and without being able to state exactly what it is you have learned - Ex. Discovering the best strategy for winning a card game without ever being able to consciously identify what they are doing - Ex. Walking up a flight of stairs, learning our native language, etc. - Mindlessness - Mindlessness: Mental inflexibility, inertia and obliviousness to the present context - Keeps people from recognizing when a change in a situation requires a change in behaviour - Ex. Study: Researcher approached people as they were about to use a photocopier - Made one of three requests: “Excuse me, may I use the Xerox machine?”, “Excuse me, may I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” or “Excuse me, may I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” - Normally people let someone go before them if they have a legitimate excuse; in this study, people also complied when the reason sounded like an authentic explanation but was actually meaningless “May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” - Formal Reasoning: Algorithms and Logic - Reasoning: The drawing of conclusions or inferences from observations, facts or assumptions - In formal reasoning problems (found on IQ tests or entrance exams), there is a single right answer - Algorithm:Aproblem-solving strategy guaranteed to produce a solution even if the user does n
More Less

Related notes for PS102

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.