“Coffee Talks” 20130114
What: Meet the PSY 101 teaching team up & other students in the class while drinking a
FREE beverage of your choice.
When: Wed 1/16 1011am, Thurs 1/17 12:301:30pm, and Fri 1/18 11am12pm.
Where: Canyon Coffee in the Student Union (formerly known as Canyon Café)
1. Typical errors in hindsight, overconfidence, and coincidence
2. The scientific attitude and critical thinking
The need for Psychological Science
When our natural thinking st…
• Hindsight bias: “I knew it all along.”
• Overconfidence error: “I am sure I am correct.” (Performance, Accuracy)
• The coincidence error, or mistakenly perceiving order in random events: “The
dice must be fixed because you rolled three sixes in a row.”
If psychology is a science, how do I go about being scientific?
• You’ll need to be systematic.
• But to guide you, you’ll need a scientific ATTITUDE.
Scientific Attitude Part 1: Curiosity
• Definition: always asking new questions.
• “That behavior I’m noticing in that guy… is that common to all people? Or is it
more common when under stress? Or only common for males?”
• Hypothesis: Curiosity, if not guided by caution, can lead to the death of felines
and perhaps humans.
Scientific Attitude Part 2: Skepticism
• Definition: not accepting a ‘fact’ as true without challenging it; seeing if ‘facts’
can withstand attempts to disprove them.
• Skepticism, like curiosity, generates questions: “
Scientific Attitude Part 3: Humility
• Humility refers to seeking the truth rather than trying to be right; a scientist needs
to be able to accept being wrong.
• “What matters is not my opinion or yours, but the truth nature reveals in response
to our questioning.”
Critical Thinking: analyzing information to decide if it makes sense, rather than simply
accepting it. Goal: getting at the truth, even if it means putting aside your own ideas.
• Examine different assumptions.
• Assess different conclusions.
• Look for hidden assumptions. • Look for bias.
• Put your own assumptions and biases aside.
• Was there a flaw in the method?
• Are there any other possible explanations?
Critical thinking refers to a more careful style of forming and evaluating knowledge than
simply using intuition. ▯In addition to the scientific method, critical thinking will help us
develop more effective and accurate ways to figure out what makes people do, think, and
feel the things they do.
How Do Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions?
• The scientific method is the process of testing our ideas about the world by:
o Setting up situations that test our ideas.
o Making careful, organized observations.
o Analyzing whether the data fits with our ideas.
o If the data doesn’t fit our ideas, then we modify our ideas, and test again.
A. The Scientific Method
o A theory, in the language of science, is a set of principles, built on
observations and other verifiable facts, that explains some phenomenon
and predicts its future behavior. (Ex. “All ADHD symptoms are a reaction
to eating sugar.”)
o A hypothesis is a testable prediction consistent with our theory. (“Testable”
means that the hypothesis is stated in a way that we could make
observations to find out if it is true.”) (What would be a prediction from
the “All ADHD is about sugar” theory?)
To test the “All” part of the theory: “ADHD symptoms will
continue for some kids even after sugar is removed from the diet.”
• Operational Definitions
o Danger when testing hypothesis: theories can bias our observations.
o WE might select only the data, or the interpretations of the data, that
supports what we already believe. There are safeguards against this:
Hypotheses designed to disconfirm
Operational definitions: Guide for making useful observations:
How can we measure “ADHD symptoms” in the previous
examples in observable terms?
Impulsivity = # of times they “blurt out”
The next/final step in the scientific method: replication. ▯
o Replicating research means trying it again using the same operational
definitions of the concepts and procedures. o You could introduce a small change in the study, e.g. trying the
ADHD/sugar test on college students instead of elementary students.
Research Process: the depression example
• Example: Low selfesteem feeds depression.
Research goals/types: 20130116
B. Research goal and strategy: description
• Strategies for gathering this information:
o Case Study – observing and gathering information to compile an indepth
study of one individual.
1. Examining one individual in depth.
2. Benefit: can be a source of ideas about human nature in general
3. Example: cases of brain damage have suggested the function of
different parts of the brain (e.g. Phineas Gage)
4. Danger: overgeneralization from one example: “he got better after
tapping his head so tapping must be the key to health!”
o Naturalistic Observation – gathering data about behavior; watching but not
1. Observing “natural” behavior means just watching (and taking
notes), and not trying to change anything.
2. This method can be used to study more than one individual, and to
find truths that apply to a broader population.
o Surveys and Interviews – having other people report on their own attitudes
1. The Survey Definition: A method of gathering information about
many people’s thoughts or behaviors through selfreport rather
2. Keys to getting useful information.
Be careful about the wording of questions
Only question randomly sampled people
Random sampling is a technique for making sure
that every individual in a population has an equal
chance of being in your sample.
C. A possible result of many descriptive studies: • Discovering a correlation
o Correlation – General Definition: an observation that two traits or
attributes are related to each other (thus, they are “co” – related)
o Scientific definition: a measure of how closely two factors vary together,
or how well you can predict a change in one from observing a change in
1. In a case study: the fewer hours the boy was allowed to sleep the
more episodes of aggression he displayed.
2. In a naturalistic observation: children in a classroom who were
dressed in heavier clothes were more likely to fall asleep than
those wearing lighter clothes.
3. In a survey: the greater the number of Facebook friends, the less
time was spent studying.
• Finding Correlations: Scatterplots
o Place a dot on the graph for each person, corresponding to the numbers for
their height and shoe size.
o In this imaginary example, height correlates with shoe size; as height goes
up, shoe size goes up.
• [Fictional] Negative Correlation Facebook and Studying
o These are two factors that correlate; they vary together.
o This is a negative correlation; as one number goes up, the other number
• Correlation Coefficient
o The correlation coefficient is a number representing the strength and
direction of correlation.
o The strength of the relationship refers to how close the dots are to a
straight line, which means one variable changes exactly as the other one
does; this number varies from 0.00 +/ 1.00.
o The direction of the correlation can be positive (both variables increase
together) or negative (as one goes up, the other goes down)
• Correlation is not Causation!
D. So how do we find out about causation? By experimentation.
• Experimentation: manipulating one factor in a situation to determine its effect.
• Example: removing sugar from the diet of children with ADHA to see if it makes
• In the depression/selfesteem example: trying interventions that improve self
esteem to see if they cause a reduction in depression.
Just to clarify two similar sounding terms…
• Random sampling is how you get a pool of research participants that represents
the population you’re trying to learn about.
• Random assignment of participants to control or experimental groups is how you
control all variables except the one you’re manipulating. ***First you sample, then you sort (assign).
The Control Group
• If we manipulate a variable in an experimental group of people, and then we see
an effect, how do we know the change wouldn’t have happened anyway?
• We solve this problem by comparing this group to a control group, a group that is
the same in every way except the one variable we are changing.
o Example: two groups of children have ADHD, but only one group stops
eating refined sugar.
• How do we make sure that the experimental group doesn’t experience an effect
because they expect to experience it?
• Example: An experimental group gets a new drug while the control group gets
nothing, yet both groups improve.
• Placebo effect: experimental effects that are caused by expectations about the
• Working with the placebo effect: Control groups may be given a placebo – an
inactive substance or other fake treatment in place of the experimental treatment.
• The control group is ideally “blind” to whether they are getting real or fake
• Many studies are doubleblind – neither participants nor research staff knows
which participants are in the experimental or control groups.
Naming the variables
• The variable we are able to manipulate independently of what the other variables
are doing is called the independent variable (IV).
• The variable we expect to experience a change which depends on the
manipulation we’re doing is called the dependent variable (DV).
• The other variables that might have an effect on the dependent variables are
III. From data to insight: statistics
1. Measures of central tendency
• Mode – most common
• Mean – average
• Median – middle
2. Measures of variation: how spread out are the scores?
• Range: the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution
• Standard Deviation
Skewed vs. Normal Distribution
The Biology of Mind 20130123
• “How does the brain work? Five words or less.”
o Colbert with Pinker: “Brain cells fire in patterns.”
o With action potential. o Chemicals make it work.
o Neural transmitters.
o Fire together wire together.
Who wants to be a Neuroscientist?
Biology, Behavior & Mind
• Which psychological perspective is concerned with the links between the biology
o The biological perspective.
• The branching extensions of nerve cells that receive incoming signals from
sensory receptors or from other neurons are called the:
• The part of a neuron that transmits neural messages to other neurons or to muscles
and glands is called the:
• Some axons are encased by a fatty tissue called a:
o Myelin sheath.
• An action potential refers to a:
o Neural impulse.
• A neural impulse is generated only when excitatory minus inhibitory signals
exceed a certain:
• The spatial junction between the axon of the sending neuron and the dendrite or
cell body of the receiving neuron is called a(n):
• What are the chemical messengers called that traverse the synaptic gaps between
• A neurotransmitter’s reabsorption by the sending neuron is called:
• Endorphin are most directly involved in the control of:
o Physical pain.
The Nervous System
• The body’s nervous system consists of all the nerve cells of the _____ & _____
o Central; peripheral.
• The central nervous system consists of:
o The brain and the spinal cord.
Nervous System • Neural “cables in the P that contain many axons are called
• _____ neurons carry information from the body’s tissues and sensory receptors to
• _____ neurons carry information from the CNS to muscles and glands.
• _____ neurons are part of the NCS and communicate between sensory inputs and
• The peripheral nervous system consists of _____ that connect the CNS to the rest
of the body.
o Sensory and motor neurons.
• The PNS is made up of two parts:
o Autonomic and somatic.
• The somatic nervous system controls the
o Body’s skeletal muscles.
• The autonomic nervous system controls the
• The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two parts: the _____ NS arouses
the body, and the _____ NS calms it.
o Sympathetic; parasympathetic.
• The simplest neural pathways are those that govern our
The Endocrine System
• Chemical messengers of the endocrine system are called:
• The _____ is/are located on top of the kidneys and release/s hormones that arouse
the body in times of stress:
o Adrenal gland.
• Which endocrine gland regulates body growth?
o Pituitary gland.
Older Brain Structures
The oldest and innermost region of the brain is called the
The base of the brainstem, which controls heartbeat and breathing is called the
The thalamus serves as a: • Sensory switchboard.
Which nerve network in the brainstem plays an important role in controlling arousal?
• Reticular formation.
The _____ is the “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem, which helps
coordinate voluntary movement and balance.
These two almondshaped neural clusters are linked to emotion.
A neural structure lying below the thalamus, which directs several maintenance activities,
helps govern the endocrine system, and is linked to emotion.
The Brain: Cerebral Cortex
This portion of the cerebral cortex lies just behind the forehead, and is involved in
speaking, muscle movements, planning, and judgment.
• Frontal lobes.
This portion of the cerebral cortex lies at the top of the head and toward the rear, and
receives sensory input for touch and body position.
• Parietal lobes.
This portion of the cerebral cortex lies at the back of the head and receives visual
• Occipital lobes.
This portion of the cerebral cortex lies roughly above the ears and includes the auditory
• Temporal lobes.
**Each lobe does many more things, and each one also interacts with the others.
The area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements is called the
• Motor cortex.
The area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body sensations is
• Sensory cortex.
Areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in higher mental functioning are called
• Association areas. Chapter 3
I. Consciousness is…
• Alertness; being awake vs. being unconscious
• Selfawareness; the ability to think about self
• Having free will; being able to make a “conscious” decision
• A person’s mental content, thoughts, and imaginings.
To explore the nature of consciousness, it helps to first choose a definition.
• In the text, consciousness is defined as: “our awareness of ourselves and our
o Aren’t animals aware of their environment?
o If so, is our awareness different?...
o Possibly…because we have (uniquely?) a narrative experience of that
A. Forms of Consciousness
• Some occur spontaneously
• Some are physiologically induced
o Food or oxygen starvation
• Some are psychologically induced
o Sensory deprivation
B. Psychology’s Relationship to this Topic
• Psychology was once defined as “the description and explanation of states of
• Now, consciousness is just one topic among many for psychologists.
• Cognitive neuroscience allows us to revisit this topic and see how the brain is
II. Brain States of Consciousne s
• Finding: Some rare “unconscious” patients have brain responses to conversation.
• Implication: Don’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to consciousness.
• Debate: What is going on in the brain that generates our experience of
• One View: Synchronized, coordinated brain activity generates consciousness, or
at least is a sign that conscious activity is occurring.
A. The DualTrack Mind • Conscious “high” track: our minds take deliberate actions we know we are
doing. (Examples: problem solving, naming an object, defining a word)
• Unconscious “low” track: our minds perform automatic actions, often without
being aware of them. (Examples: walking, acquiring phobias, processing sensory
details into perceptions and memories)
B. Think before you act?
• In one study, students showed brain activity related to pushing a button BEFORE
they were aware of their decision to push the button.
• Does this mean the “decision” is an illusion?
• What experiment from the beginning of the semester does this remind you of?
• Why Have Two Tracks?
o Possible benefit: not having to think about everything we do all at once.
(Example: You can hit or catch a ball without having to consciously
calculate its trajectory.)
While out for a bike ride, you can think about what you’ll make for dinner rather than
concentrate on how to operate the bicycle. This illustrates:
• Parallel processing.
C. Unusual Consequences of Having a DualTrack Mind
o Case Study: A woman with brain damage, but NO eye damage, was unable
to use her eyes to report what was in front of her. BUT, she was able to use
her eyes to help her take actions such as putting mail in slots.
o Describing the mail and the slot: the “high road”, or conscious track, in
this case known as the visual perception track.
o Judging size and distance well enough to put the mail in the slot: the “low
road”, or unconscious, automatic track……….
• Selective Attention
o There are millions of bits of information coming at our senses every
o So, we have the skill of selective attention; our brain is able to choose a
focus and select hat to notice.
o Selective Attention and Conversation.
The good news: we can focus our mental spotlight on a
conversation even when other conversations are going on around
us. This is known as the cocktail party effect.
The bad news: we can hyperfocus on a conversation while driving
a car, putting the driver and passengers at risk.
• Selective Inattention – refers to our failure to notice part of our environment
when our attention is directed elsewhere.
o Inattentional blindness Various experiments show that when our attention is not focused,
we miss seeing what others may think is obvious to see (such as a
Some “magic” tricks take advantage of this phenomenon.
o Change blindness
The Switch: Twothirds of people didn’t notice when a similar
looking person replaced the person they were giving directions to.
o Choice blindness
I. Sleep as a State of Consciousness
• When sleeping, are we fully unconscious and “dead to the world”?
• Consider that:
o We move around, but how do we stop ourselves from falling out of
o We sometimes incorporate realworld noises into our dreams.
o Some noises (our own baby’s cry) wake us more easily than others.
• How Do We Learn About Sleep and Dreams?
o We can monitor EEG/brain waves and muscle movements during
o We can expose the sleeping person to noise and words, and then
examine the effects on the brain (EEG waves) and mind (memory).
o We can wake people and see which mental state (e.g. dreaming)
II. Daily Rhythms and Sleep
• The circadian (“about a day”) rhythm refers to the body’s natural 24hour
cycle, roughly matched to the day/night cycle of light and dark.
• What changes during the 24 hours?
o Over the 24 hour cycle, the following factors vary, rising and falling
over the course of the day and night:
• “Larks” and “Owls”
o Daily rhythms vary from person to person and with age.
o General age trends in alertness:
Evening peak – 20year old “owls”
Morning peak – 50year old “larks”
III. Sleep Measurement via Polysomnography (PSG)
• Left eye movements • Righty eye movements
• EMG (muscle tension)
• EEG (brain waves)
IV. Stages and Cycles of Sleep
• Sleep stages refer to distinct patterns of brain waves and other bodily activity
that are associated with different types of consciousness and sleep.
• Sleep cycles refer to …
V. Falling Asleep: From Alert to Alpha
• Awake, attentive
o Beta waves
• Awake, nonattentive (eyes closed)
o Alpha waves
Alpha waves are the relatively slow…
VI. Falling Asleep
• Yawning creates a brief boost in alertness as your brain metabolism is slowing
• Your breathing slows down.
• Brain waves become slower and irregular.
• You may have hypnagogic (while falling asleep) hallucinations.
• Your brain waves change from alpha (relaxed wakefulness) to theta (NREM
VII. REM Sleep
• Eugene Aserinsky’s discovery (1953): dreams occurred during periods of
wild brain activity and rapid eye movements [REM sleep].
• What happens during REM sleep?
o Heart rate rises and breathing becomes rapid.
o “Sleep paralysis” occurs when the brainstem blocks the motor
cortex’s messages and the muscles don’t move. This is sometimes
known as “paradoxical sleep”; the brain is active but the body is
VIII. States of Sleep: The 90 Minute Cycles Through 8 Hours of Sleep
• The length of REM sleep increases the longer you remain asleep.
• With age, there are more awakenings and less deep sleep.
IX. Why do we sleep? What determines the quantity and rhythm of sleep?
• The amount and pattern of sleep is affected by biology, age, culture, and
o Age : in general, newborns need 16 hours of sleep, while adults need 8
hours or less. o Individual (genetic) variatio : some people function best with 6 hours
of sleep, others with 9 hours or more.
o Culture : North Americans sleep less than others, and less than they
used to, perhaps because of the use of light bulbs.
• Light and the brain regulate sleep.
o The circadian rhythm is hard to shift (jet lag).
o This rhythm can be affected by light, which suppresses the relaxing
X. Sleep Theories: What does sleep do for us?
• Sleep protected our ancestors from predators.
• Sleep restores and repairs the brain and body.
• Sleep builds and strengthens memories.
• Sleep facilitates creative problems solving.
• Sleep is the time when growth hormones are active.
XI. Effects of Sleep Loss/Deprivation
• Research shows that inadequate sleep can make you more likely to:
o Lose brainpower.
o Gain weight.
o Get sick.
o Be irritable.
o Feel old.
• Sleep Loss/Deprivation = Accident Risk
o Sleep loss results in more accidents, probably caused by impaired
attention and slower reaction time.
XII. Sleep Hygiene: How to Sleep Well
• Use bed only for sleeping and only when tired.
• Turn the lights low and turn all screens off.
• Eat earlier, and drink less alcohol and caffeine.
• Get up at the same time every day.
• Exercise (late afternoon is best).
• Don’t check the clock; just let it happen.
• Get counseling for anxiety and depression.
XIII. Sleep Disorders
• Insomnia: persistent inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
• Narcolepsy (“numb seizure”): sleep attacks, even a collapse into
REM/paralyzed sleep, at inopportune times.
• Sleep apnea (“with no breath”): repeated awakening after breathing stops;
time in bed is not restorative sleep. • Night terrors refer to sudden scaredlooking behavior, with rapid heartbeat
and breathing. (Intense emotional experience; normally do not occur during
REM [not to be confused with nightmare, which normally happen during
• Sleepwalking and sleeptalking run in families, so there is a possible genetic
XIV. Dreams: The stream of images, actions, and feelings, experienced (usually) while
in REM sleep
• What We Dream About
o Dreams often include some negative event or emotion, especially
XV. Theories about Functions of Dreams
• Wish fulfillment (psychoanalytic theory)
o Dreams provide a “psychic safety valve”; they often express otherwise
unacceptable feelings, and contain both manifest (remembered)
content and a latent content (hidden meaning).
o Dreams help us sort out the day’s events and consolidate our
• Physiological function
o Regular brain stimulation from REM sleep may help develop and
preserve neural pathways.
• Cognitivedevelopmental theory
I. Another Possible State of Consciousness: HYPNOSIS
• Text definition: hypnosis is a social interaction in which one person (the
hypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings,
thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur.
• Alternate definition: hypnosis is a cooperative social action in which one person
is in a state of being likely to respond to suggestions from another person.
o This state has been called heightened suggestibility as well as a trance.
o Controversy: does this social interaction really require an altered state of
1. Types of Hypnotic Suggestions
• Perceptions – “the headache is fading away.”
• Behavior – “
• Emotions – “
• Attitudes – “ • Memory – “
2. Induction Into Hypnosis
• Hypnotic induction, the inducing of a hypnotic state, is the process by which
a hypnotist leads someone into the state of heightened suggestibility.
• A swinging watch and recitation of the words “you are getting sleepy” are not
• The Highly Hypnotizable 20 Percent
o How do some people get so hypnotized that they can have no reaction to
ammonia under their noses?
o These people seem to be more easily absorbed in imaginative activities.
3. Theories Ex… Hypnosis
• Divided Consciousness Theory – hypnosis is a special state of dissociated
(divided) consciousness of our dualtrack mind.
• Social Influence Theory – Hypnotic subjects may simply be imaginative
people who go along with the “subject” role they have agreed to play.
4. Benefits of Hypnosis for Some People
• Blocking awareness of pain, even enough for surgery without anesthesia
• Reducing obesity, anxiety, and hypertension
• Improving concentration and performance
5. What Hypnosis Cannot Do:
• Work when people refuse to cooperate
• Bestow ‘superhuman’ abilities or strength
• Accurately boost recall of forgotten events (it is more likely to implant false
The social influence theory of hypnosis receives support from evidence that:
• Behaviors produced through hypnotic procedures can also be produced without
Court systems frequently ban testimony from witnesses who have been hypnotized
because the procedure often encourages:
• False memories.
In order to help patients control their undesired symptoms or unhealthy behaviors,
clinicians would be most likely to make use of:
• Posthypnotic suggestion.
II. Altering Consciousness – DRUGS
• Psychoactive drugs are chemicals introduced into the body, which alter
perceptions, mood, and other elements of conscious experience. • Dependence/Addiction
o Many psychoactive drugs can be harmful to the body.
o Psychoactive drugs are particularly dangerous when a person develops an
addiction or becomes dependent on the substance.
o Factors related to addiction:
o Impact on daily life of substance use
o Physical and psychological dependence
1. Tolerance, Dependence & Addiction
• Tolerance of a drug refers to the diminished psychoactive effect after repeated
• Tolerance feeds addiction because users take increasing amounts of a drug to get
the desired effect.
• After the benefits of a substance wear off, especially after tolerance has
developed, drug users may experience withdrawal (painful symptoms of the
body readjusting to the absence of the drug).
• Withdrawal worsens addiction because users want to resume taking the drug to
end withdrawal symptoms.
• In physical dependence, the body has been altered in ways that create cravings
for the drug (e.g. to end withdrawal symptoms).
• In psychological dependence, a person’s resources for coping with daily life
wither, as a drug becomes “needed” to relax, socialize, or sleep.
• On a substance (or activity?)
o Tolerance: the need to use more to receive the desired effect
o Withdrawal: the distress experienced when the “high” subsides
o Using more than intended
o Persistent, failed attempts to regulate use
o Much time spent preoccupied with the substance, obtaining it, and recovering
o Important activities reduced because of use
o Continued use despite aversive consequences
• Chemicals that reduce neural activity and other body functions.
• Ex: alcohol, barbiturates, opiates.
Exam One Review Chapter 1
• Scientific Attitude
o Skepticism – not accepting a ‘fact’ is true without challenging it; seeing if
‘facts’ can withstand attempts to disprove them.
• Critical Thinking
o Analyzing information to decide if it makes sense, rather than simply
accepting it. (Goal: getting at the truth, even if it means putting aside your
• The Scientific Method
o Hypotheses: informed predictions
A hypothesis is a testable prediction consistent with our theory.
“Testable” means that the hypothesis is stated in a way that we could make
observations to find out if it is true.
o Operational Definitions
A statement of the procedures used to define research variables.
Guide our observations when doing research.
o Descriptive Research
• Case Study
Benefit: can be a source of ideas about human nature in general.
Ex. Cases of brain damage have suggested the function of different
parts of the brain
Danger: overgeneralization from one example; “he got better after
tapping his head so tapping must be the key to health!”
• Naturalistic Observation
Observing “natural” behavior means just watching (and taking
notes), and not trying to change anything.
This method can be used to study more than one individual, and to
find truths that apply to a broader population.
• The Survey
A method of gathering information about many people’s thoughts
or behaviors through selfreport rather than observation.
Keys to getting useful information: be careful about the wording of
questions, and only question randomly sampled people.
Cannot determine cause and effect through descriptive research.
Population: the entire group you are interested in studying
Can’t interview the entire population so instead we sample!
Sampling saves time
Random sampling is preferred because it allows us to generalize our
findings to the population.
Random sampling is a technique for making sure that every individual in a
population has an equal chance of being chosen.
o A possible result of many descriptive studies: Discovering a Correlation An observation that two traits or attributes are related to each other.
o Correlation Coefficient
The correlation coefficient is a number representing the strength and
direction of correlation.
Correlation is not Causation!!!!
Manipulating one factor in a situation to determine its effect
Allows us to determine causation
Naming the variables:
• The variable we are able to manipulate independently of what the
other variables are doing is called the independent variable (IV)
• The variable we expect to experience a change which depends on the
manipulation we’re doing is called the dependent variable (DV)
• The other variables that might have an effect on the dependent
o Measures of variation: How spread out are the scores?
Range: the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a
Standard deviation: a calculation of the average distance of scores from
Normal curve: symmetrical, bellshaped curve that describes the
distribution of scores.
• Neural Communication
o Neuron : a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
o Dendrites : a neuron’s bushy, branching extensions that receive messages
o Axons : the neuron extension that passes messages through its branches to
other neurons or to muscles or glands.
o Myelin sheath : a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many
neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the
impulse hops from one node to the next.
o Threshhold : the level of stimulation needed to trigger a neural impulse
Excitatory signals minus inhibitory signals must exceed a minimum…
o The neurons reaction is an allornone response
• Neurotransmitters that Influence us
o Endorphins : give us good feelings, painkilling effects
o Acetylcholine (Ach) : involved in learning, memory, and muscle action
o Dopamine : influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion.
o Serotonin : affects mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal
o Norepinephrine : helps control alertness
o GABA : major inhibitory neurotransmitters • Nervous System
o Central – (brain and spinal cord)
o Peripheral – (sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of
• Types of Neurons
o Sensory neurons
o Motor neurons
• Sympathetic (arousing)
• Parasympathetic (calming)
• Endocrine System (glands that secrete hormones)
o Key Players
• Oldest part, at the central core of brain, automatic survival functions
• Brain’s sensory switchboard, directs messages
• Nerve network, controls…
o Lies just behind the forehead, and is involved in speaking, muscle movements,
planning, and judgment.
o Top of the head and toward the rear, and receives sensory input for touch and
o Back of the head and receives visual information
Sensory and Motor Cortex
• Motor – controls voluntary movement
• Sensory – receives info from skin senses and movement of body parts. Other Topics Covered
• Split Brain
o C.C. is cut, personality and intellect not affected
o How speech is affected
• Corpus Callosum
o Large band of neural...
• Cognitive Neuroscience
o Interdisciplinary study of brain activity linked with cognition
o Awareness of ourselves and our environment
Spontaneous, physiologically, psychologically
• Dual Processing
o Examples of this is Blindsight
o Info is processed simultaneously via
Conscious – deliberate
Unconscious – automatic
• Selective attention: what we focus on, what we notice
• Selective inattention: what we are not focused on, what we do not notice
o Inattentional blindness
Failing to see a visible object when attending elsewhere
o Change blindness
Failing to notice change in environment
o Choice blindness
Reversible loss of consciousness, form or unconsciousness
o Circadian Rhythm
Biological clock, regular body rhythms, 24hr cycle
o Sleep States
• Slow brain waves of relaxed, awake state
Rapid eye movement, heart rate rises, rapid irregular…
o Sleep Paralysis
o Effects of Sleep Loss
Irritable Feel old
o Inattention/Slow Reaction TimeREM
Restores and repairs brain
o Steps for Sleeping Well
o Sleep Disorders
• Dream On
o Wish Fulfillment (psychoanalytic)
o Information Processing
o Physiological Functioning
o Divided Consciousness Theory – Hypnosis is a special state of dissociated
(divided) consciousness of our dualtrack mind.
o Social Influence Theory – Hypnotic subjects may simply be imaginative
people who go along with the “subject” role they have agreed to play.
o Psychoactive drugs are chemicals introduced into the body, which alter
perceptions, mood, and other elements of conscious experience.
o Tolerance of a drug refers…
o Dependence (physical or psychological)
Chapter 5 20130211
I. Issues in Developmental Psychology
a. Nature and Nurture
b. Change and Stability
c. Continuity vs. Stages II. Starting the Path the Personhood: Prenatal Development and the Newborn
i. Sperm and egg unite to bring genetic material together and form
one organism: the zygote (the fertilized cell).
b. Prenatal Development
i. The Zygote Stage: First 10 to 14 Days
1. After the nuclei of the egg and sperm fuse, the cell divides
in 2, 4, 8, 16, 100, 1000…
2. Milestone of the zygote stage: cells begin to differentiate
into specialized locations and structures.
ii. Implantation: The Embryo, 2 to 8 weeks
1. This stage begins with the multicellular cluster that
implants in the uterine wall.
2. Milestone of the implantation stage: differentiated cells
develop into organs and bones.
iii. The Fetus
1. At nine weeks, hands and face have developed; the embryo
is now called a fetus (“offspring”).
2. At 4 months, many more features develop.
3. Milestone of the fetal stage: by six months, the fetus might
be able to survive outside the womb.
iv. Fetal Life: The Dangers
1. Teratogens (“monster makers”) are substances such as
viruses and chemicals that can damage the developing
embryo or fetus.
2. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) refers to cognitive,
behavioral, and body/brain structure abnormalities caused
by exposure to alcohol in the fetal stage.
v. Fetal Life: Responding to Sound
1. Fetuses in the womb can respond to sounds.
2. Fetuses can learn to recognize and adapt to sounds that they
previously heard only in the womb.
3. Fetuses can habituate to annoying sounds, becoming less
agitated with repeated exposure.
c. The Competent Newborn
i. Inborn Skills
1. Reflexes are responses that are inborn and do not have to
2. Newborns have reflexes to ensure that they will be fed.
a. The rooting reflex – when something touches a
newborn’s cheek, the infant turns toward that side
with an open mouth.
b. A fingertip can trigger the sucking reflex.
c. Crying when hungry is the newborn talent of
using just the right sounds to motivate parents to
end the noise and feed the baby. ii. More Inborn Abilities
1. Newborns (one hour old!) will look twice as long at the
image that looks more like a human face.
2. What can we conclude from this behavior?
III. Infancy and Childhood
a. Infancy: Newborns growing almost into toddlers
b. Childhood: toddlers growing almost into teenagers.
c. Maturation: not the meaning you might think!
I. Infancy and Childhood 20130213
• In psychology, “maturation” refers to changes that occur primarily
because of the passage of time.
• In developmental psychology, maturation refers to biologically
driven growth and development enabling orderly (predictably
sequential) changes in behavior.
• Experience (nurture) can adjust the timing, but maturation (nature)
sets the sequence.
i. Brain Development: Building and Connecting Neu…
1. In the womb, the number of neurons grows by about
750,000 new cells per minute in the middle trimester.
2. Beginning at birth, the connections among neurons
proliferate. As we learn, we form more branches and more
3. In infancy, the growth in neural connections…
ii. Motor Development
1. Maturation takes place in the body and cerebellum enabling
the sequence below.
2. Physical training generally cannot change the timing.
a. Sitting unsupported (6 months)
b. Crawling (89 months)
c. Beginning to walk (12 months)
d. Walking Independently (15 months)
iii. Infant Memory
1. Infantile Amnesia
a. In infancy, the brain forms memories so differently
from the episodic memory of adulthood that most
people cannot really recall memories from the first
three years of life.
b. A birthday party when turning three might be a
person’s first memory.
2. Learning Skills
a. Infants can learn skills (procedural memories). b. This three month old can learn, and recall a month
later, that specific foot movements move specific
b. Cognitive Development
• Cognition refers to…
i. Jean Piaget (18961980)
1. We don’t start out being able to think like adults.
2. Jean Piaget studied the errors in cognition made by children
in order to understand in what ways they think differently
1. An infant’s mind works hard to make sense of our
experiences in the world.
2. An early tool to organize those experiences is a schema, a
mental container we build to hold our experiences.
3. Schemas can take the form of images, models, and/or
ii. Assimilation and Accommodation
1. (How can this girl use her “dog” schema when
encountering a cat?)
2. She can assimilate the experience into her schema by
referring to the cat as a “dog”, or
3. She can accommodate her animal schema by separating
the cat, and even different types of dogs, into separate
iii. Jean Paget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
1. *Chart in the Textbook*
2. Sensorimotor Stage (From Birth to Age 2)
a. In the sensorimotor stage, children explore by
looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping.
b. Cool cognitive trick learned at 6 to 8 months,
coming up next: object permanence.
i. Through games like “peekaboo”, kids learn
object permanence – the idea that objects
exist even when they can’t be seen.
3. What can kids do in the preoperational stage?
a. Represent their schema, and even some feelings,
with words and images.
b. Use visual models to represent other places, and
perform pretend play.
c. Picture other points of view, replacing egocentrism
with theory of mind.
d. Use intuition, but not logic and abstraction yet.
4. Egocentrism: “I am the World.”
a. What mistake is the boy making?
i. Do you have a brother? ii. Yes. Jim.
iii. Does Jim have a brother?
b. How does this relate to our definition of
5. Maturing beyond Egocentrism: Developing a “Theory of
a. Theory of mind refers to the ability to understand
that others have their own thoughts and
6. Examples of Operations that Preoperational Children
Cannot Do Yet
a. Conservation refers to the ability to understand
that a quantity is conserved (does not change) even
when it is…
7. The Concrete Operational Stage
a. Begins at ages 67 (first grade) to 11.
b. Children now grasp conservation and other concrete
c. They also understand simple mathematical
transformations the reversibility of operations
(reversing 3+7=10 to figure out that 107=3).
8. Formal Operational Stage (Age
a. Concrete operations include analogies such as
“my brain is like a computer.”
i. Includes arithmetic transformations
b. Formal operations include allegorical thinking
such as “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t
throw stones” (understanding that this is a comment
i. Includes algebra
Exam WILL NOT cover adulthood and aging.
I. Social Development 20130215
a. Stranger anxiety
i. Develops around age 9 to 13 months. In this stage, a child notices
and fears new people.
b. Explaining Stranger Anxiety
i. How does this develop
1. As children develop schemas for the primary people in
their lives, they are more able to notice when strangers do
not fit those schemas. However, they do not yet have the
ability to assimilate those faces.
ii. Why does this develop 1. As evolutionary psychologist would note that a child is
learning to walk at this age. Some of the children who
walked toward unfamiliar creatures might have died before
having a chance to pass on genes.
c. Attachment refers to an emotional tie to another person.
i. In children, attachment can appear as a desire for physical
closeness to a caregiver.
ii. Origins of Attachment
1. Experiments with monkeys suggest that attachment is
based on physical affection and comfortable body contact,
and not based on being rewarded with food.
a. Most creatures tend to attach to caregivers who
have become familiar.
b. Birds have a critical period, hours after hatching,
during which they might imprint. This means they
become rigidly attached to the first moving object
they see. (Humans don’t imprint)
d. Attachment Variation: Styles of Dealing with Separation
i. The style of parentchild attachment has been tested by Mary
Ainsworth in the strange situatio ” test. In this test, a child is
1. A mother and infant child are alone in an unfamiliar
(“strange”) room; the child explores the room as the
mother just sits.
2. A stranger enters the room, talks to the mother, and
approaches the child; the mother leaves the room.
3. After a few moments, the mother returns.
ii. Reactions to Separation and Reunion
1. Secure attachment: most children (60 percent) feel
distress when mother leaves, and seek contact with her
when she returns.
2. Insecure attachment (anxious style): clinging to mother,
less likely to explore environment, and may get loudly
upset with mother’s departure and remain upset when she
3. Insecure attachment (avoidant style): seeming indifferent
to mother’s departure and return.
e. Parenting Styles
i. Authoritarian “Too Hard”
1. Parents impose rules “because I said so” and expect
ii. Permissive “Too Soft”
1. Parents submit to kids’ desires, not enforcing limits or
standards for child behavior.
iii. Authoritative “Just Right” 1. Parents enforce rules, limits, and standards but also explain,
discuss, listen, and express respect for child’s ideas and
II. Brain Development
a. During puberty, the brain stops automatically adding new connections, and
becomes more efficient by “rewiring.”
i. “Pruning” away the connections not being used.
ii. Coating the wellused connections in myelin, in order to speed up
b. This makes early adolescence a crucial time to learn as much as you can!
c. Frontal Lobes are Last to Rewire
i. The emotional limbic system gets wired for puberty before the
frontal judgment centers of the brain get wired for adulthood.
ii. As a result, adolescents may understand risks and consequences,
but give more weight to potential thrills and rewards.
iii. Teens have developed a mental accelerator, but are not in the habit
of using the brakes.
III. Cognitive Development
a. According to Jean Piaget, adolescents are in the formal operational stage.
They use this reasoning to:
i. Think about how reality compares to ideals.
ii. Think hypothetically about different choices and their
iii. Plan how to pursue goals.
iv. Think about the minds of others, including “what do they think of
b. Building Toward Moral Reasoning
i. Adolescents see justice and fairness in terms of merit and equity
instead of in terms of everyone getting equal treatment.
ii. Adolescents may strive to advocate for ideals and political causes.
iii. Adolescents think about god, meaning, and purpose in deeper
terms than in childhood.
iv. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral Reasoning
1. Pre conventional morality (up to age 9): “follow the rules
because if you don’t, you’ll get in trouble; if you do, you
might get a treat.”
2. Conventional morality (early adolescence): …
3. Post conventional morality (later adolescence and
IV. Social Development
a. Erik Erikson’s model of lifelong psychosocial development sees
adolescence as a struggle to form an identity, a sense of self, out of the
social roles adolescents are asked to play.
b. Adolescents may try out different “selves” with peers, with parents, and
with teachers. c. For Erikson, the challenge in adolescence was to test and integrate the
roles in order to prevent role confusion (…
V. Influences on Identity: Parent and Peer Relationship
Chapter 6: Sensation and Perception 20130218
I. Basic Principles of Sensation & Perception
a. Sensation vs. Perception
1. “The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous
system receive and represent stimulus energies from our
2. The brain receives input from the sensory organs.
1. “The process of organizing and interpreting sensory
2. The brain makes sense out of the input from sensory
b. Making sense of the world
i. What am I seeing?
1. Bottomup processing: taking sensory information and
then assembling and integrating it.
ii. Is that something I’ve seen before?
1. Topdown Processing: using models, ideas, and
expectations to interpret sensory information.
c. From Sensory Organs to the Brain
i. The process of sensation can be seen as three steps:
1. Reception – the stimulation of sensory receptor cells by
energy (sound, light, heat, etc.)
2. Transduction – transforming this cell stimulation into
3. Transmission – delivering this neural information to the
brain to be processed.
i. The absolute threshold refers to the minimum level of stimulus
intensity needed to detect a stimulus half the time.
ii. Anything below this threshold is considered “subliminal”.
e. When Absolute Thresholds are not Absolute
i. Signal detection theory – refers to whether or not we detect a
stimulus, especially amidst background noise. This depends not
just on intensity of the stimulus but also on psychological factors
such as the person’s experience, expectations, motivations, and
f. Subliminal Detection i. Subliminal: below our threshold for being able to consciously
detect a stimulus.
ii. Although we cannot learn complex knowledge from subliminal
stimuli, we can be primed, and this will affect our subsequent
iii. We may look longer at the side of the paper that had just showed
a nude image for an instant.
g. The “Just Noticeable Difference” (JND)
i. Difference threshold refers to the minimum difference (in color,
pitch, weight, temperature, etc.) for a person to be able to detect
the difference half the time.
ii. Weber’s law refers to the principle that for two stimuli to be
perceived as different, they must differ by a constantthinimum
percentage and not a constant amount (e.g. 1/100 of the weight,
not 2 ounces).
h. Sensory Adaptation
i. To detect novelty in our surroundings, our senses tune out a
ii. The rocks in your shoe or the ticking of a clock are more difficult
to sense after a while.
iii. We don’t notice this visually because normally our eyes are
iv. However, if you concentrate on keeping your eyes on one spot,
you’ll see the effects, as your eyes adjust to stimuli in the
i. Perceptual Set
i. Perceptual set is what we expect to see, which influences what
we do see. Perceptual set is an example of topdown processing.
j. Context Effects
i. In which picture does the center dot look larger? Perception of
size depends on context.
k. Emotion and Motivation
i. Experiments show that:
1. Destinations seem farther when you’re tired.
2. A target looks farther when your crossbow is heavier.
3. A hill looks steeper with a heavy backpack, or after sad
music, or when walking alone.
4. Something you desire looks closer.
I. Vision: Energy, Sensation, and Perception 20130220
We encounter waves of electromagnetic radiation.
Our eyes respond to some of these waves.
Our brain turns these energy waves sensations into colors.
a. Color/Hue and Brightness a. We perceive the wavelength/frequency of the electromagnetic waves as
color, or hue.
b. We perceive the height/amplitude of these waves as intensity, or
b. The Eye
a. Light from the candles passes through the cornea and the pupil, and gets
focused and inverted by the lens. The light then lands on the retina, where
it begins to process of transduction into neural impulses to be sent out
through the optic nerve.
b. The lens is not rigid; it can perform accommodation by changing shape
to focus on near or far objects.
c. Photoreceptors: Rods and Cones
a. When light reaches the back of the retina, it triggers chemical changes in
the receptor cells, called rods and cones. The rods and cones in turn send
messages to ganglion and bipolar cells and on to the optic nerve.
b. Rods help us see the black and white action in our peripheral view and in
the dark. Rods are about 20 times more common than cones, which help
us see sharp colorful details in bright light.
d. The Blind Spot
a. There is an area of missing information in our field of vision known as the
blind spot. This occurs because the eye has no receptor cells at the place
where the optics nerve leaves the eye.
b. To test this, walk slowly up to the screen with one eye closed and the other
eye fixed on the dot, and one of the phones will disappear.
e. Color Vision
a. YoungHelmholtz Trichromatic (ThreeColor) Theory
i. According to this theory, there are three types of color receptor
cones – red, green, and blue. All the colors we perceive are created
by light waves stimulating combinations of these cones.
f. Color Blindness
a. People missing red cones or green cones have trouble differentiating red
from green, and thus have trouble reading the numbers to the right.
b. Opponentprocess theory refers to the neural process of perceiving white
as the opposite of perceiving black; similarly, yellow vs. blue, and red vs.
green are opponent processes.
g. Perceptual Organization
a. We have perceptual processes for enabling us to organize perceived colors
and lines into objects:
i. Grouping incomplete parts into gestalt wholes
ii. Seeing figures standing out against background
iii. Perceiving form, motion, and depth
iv. Keeping a sense of shape and color constancy despite changes in
v. Using experience to guide visual interpretation
b. The Role of Perception i. Our senses take in the blue information on the right. However, our
perceptual processes turn this into:
1. A white paper with blue circle dots, with a cube floating in
2. A white paper with blue circle holes, through which you
can see a cube.
3. A cube sticking out to the top left, or bottom right.
4. Blue dots (what cube?) with angled lines inside.
c. FigureGround Perception
i. In most visual scenes, we pick out objects and figures, standing out
against a background.
ii. Some art muddles this ability by giving us two equal choices about
what is figure and what is “ground”.
d. Grouping: How We Make Gestalts
i. “Gestalt” refers to a meaningful pattern/configuration, forming a
“whole” that is more than the sum of its parts.
ii. Three of the ways we group visual information into “wholes” are
proximity, continuity, and closure.
II. Depth Perception
Visual Cliff: A Test of Depth Perception
Even newborn animals fear the perceived cliff.
a. Perceiving Depth From a 2D Image: Binocular Methods
a. Binocular (using both eyes) cues exist because humans have two eyes in
the front of our head. This gives us retinal disparity; the two eyes have
slightly different views, and the more different the views are, the closer
the objects must be. In an extreme example, your nose is so close that each
eye sees a completely opposite halfview of it.
b. Monocular Cues
i. When one object…
c. Perceptual Constancy
a. Our ability to see objects as appearing the same even under different
lighting conditions, at different distances and angles, is called perceptual
constancy. Perceptual constancy is a topdown process.
i. Ex) Color and brightness constancy, shape and size constancy.
I. Hearing/Audition: Starting with Sound
a. Frequency – corresponds to our perception of pitch.
i. Length of the sound wave; perceived as high and low sounds
b. Amplitude – corresponds to our perception of loudness.
i. Height or intensity of sound wave; perceived as loud and soft
(volume). II. The Ear
a. The outer ear collects sound and funnels it to the eardrum.
b. In the middle ear, the sound waves vibrate the eardrum and move the
hammer, anvil, and stirrup in ways that amplify the vibrations. The
stirrup then sends these vibrations to the oval window of the cochlea.
c. In the inner ear, waves of fluid move from the oval window over…
III. The Middle and Inner Ear
IV. Sound Perception
i. Loudness refers to more intense sound vibrations. This causes
a greater number of hair cells to send signals to the brain.
ii. Soft sounds only activate certain hair cells; louder sounds
move those hair cells AND their neighbors.
i. Place theory – at high sound frequencies, signals are generated
at different locations in the cochlea, depending on pitch. The
brain reads pitch by reading the location where the signals are
ii. Frequency theory – At low sound frequencies, hair cells send
signals at whatever rate the sound is received.
i. How do we seem to know the location of the so……….
V. Other Senses
i. Touch is valuable for…
1. Expressing and sensing feelings.
2. Sharing affection, comfort, and support.
3. Detecting the environment in multiple ways, such as
pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.
ii. Four Components of Touch
a. Stroking adjacent pressure spots creates a tickle.
a. Adjacent warm and cold feels searing hot.
a. Adjacent cold and pressure sensations feel wet.
b. Pain…what is it good for?
i. Pain tells the body that something has gone wrong. Pain often
warns of severe injury, or even just to shift positions in a chair
to keep blood flowing.
ii. Not being able to feel pain, as in Ashley’s case, means not
being able to tell when we are injured, sick, or causing damage
to our bodies. c. Biological Factors in Pain Perception
i. The Pain Circuit
1. Nociceptors are sensory receptors whose signals are
interpreted by the brain as pain.
2. The pain circuit refers to signals that travel to the
spinal cord, up through small nerve fibers, which then
conduct pain signals to the brain.
ii. GateControl Theory – this theory hypothesizes that the
spinal cord contains a neurological “gate” that blocks pain
signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The “gate” is
opened by the activity of pain signals travelling up the small
nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by
information coming from the brain. Stimulating large nerve
fibers in the spinal cord through acupuncture, massage, or
electrical stimulation seems to close that gate.
iii. Endorphins – these hormones can be released by the body to
reduce pain perception.
iv. Phantom Limb Sensation – as the brain produces false sounds
(tinnitus, ear ringing) and sights (aura, lights with migraines), it
can produce pain or other perception of amputated/missing
arms or legs.
d. Psychological Influences on Pain
i. Distraction, such as during intense athletic competition, can
limit the experience of pain.
ii. Pain and Memory
1. Memories of pain focus on peak moments more than
2. Tapered pain is recalled as less painful than abruptly
e. Social and Cultural Influences on Pain Perception
i. Social contagion – we feel more pain if other people are
experiencing pain. This occurs either out of empathy/mirroring,
or a shared belief that an experience is painful.
ii. Cultural influences – we may not pay attention as much to
pain if we see a high level of pain endurance as the norm for
our family, peer group, or culture.
a. Taste – our tongues have receptors for five different types of taste,
each of which may have had survival functions.
i. Sweet : energy source
ii. Sou : potentially toxic acid
iii. Bitt : potential poisons
iv. Salty : sodium essential to physiological processes
v. Umami : (Savoriness) proteins to grow and repair tissue
b. Neurochemistry of Taste i. There are no regions of the tongue, just different types of taste
receptor cells projecting hairs into each taste bud’s pore.
ii. These cells are easily triggered to send messages to the
temporal lobe of the brain.
iii. Burn your tongue? Receptors reproduce every week or two.
But with age, taste buds become less numerous and less
iv. Topdown processes still can override the neurochemistry;
expectations do influence taste.
VII. Mixing the different sense together
a. Sensory interaction occurs when different senses influence each
b. For example:
i. A burst of sound makes a dim light source more visible.
ii. Flavor is an experience not only of taste, but also of smell and
c. Synaesthesia is a condition when perception in one sense is triggered
by a sensation in a DIFFERENT sense.
d. Some people experience synaesthesia all the time,…
a. Odor Receptors
i. Humans have a poor sense of smell for an animal, so, humans
b. The Shortcut Sense
i. Sensations of smell…
ii. Information from the nose goes not only to the temporal lobe
but also to the limbic system, influencing memory and
iii. Smell links lovers, parent and child, and other creatures to each
other through chemistry.
Chapter 7 20130225
Learning is the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or
behaviors due to experience.
I. How do we learn?
a. Classical Conditioning: learning to link two stimuli in a way that helps us
anticipate an event to which we have a reaction.
i. Associative Learning: learning to associate one stimulus with
b. Operant Conditioning: changing behavior choices in response to
i. Associative Learning: learning to associate a response with a
consequence. c. Cognitive Learning: acquiring new behavior information mentally, rather
than by direct experience.
II. Classical Conditioning
a. Pavlov’s Experiments
i. While studying salivation in dogs, Ivan Pavlov found that
salivation from eating food was eventually triggered by what
should have been neutral stimul such a :
1. Just seeing the food
2. Seeing the dish
b. Before Conditioning
i. Neutral stimulus: a stimulus that does not trigger a response.
ii. Unconditioned stimulus and response: a stimulus which triggers
a response naturally, before/without any conditioning.
c. During Conditioning
i. The bell/tone (N.S.) is repeatedly presented with the food (U.S.).
d. After Conditioning
i. The dog begins to salivate upon hearing the tone (neutral stimulus
becomes conditioned stimulus).
III. Processes of Classical Conditioning
a. Acquisition – refers to the initial stage of learning/conditioning.
i. What gets “acquired”?
1. The association between a neutral stimulus (NS) and an
unconditioned stimulus (US).
ii. How can we tell that acquisition has occurred?
1. The UR now gets triggered by a CS (drooling now gets
triggered by a bell).
1. For the association to be acquired, the neutral stimulus
(NS) needs to repeatedly appear before the unconditioned
stimulus (US)…about a halfsecond before, in most cases.
The bell must come right before the food.
i. The strength of a CR grows with conditioning.
ii. Extinction refers to the diminishing of a conditioned response. If
the US (food) stops appearing with the CS (bell), the CR
c. Spontaneous Recovery: Return of the CR
i. After a CR (salivation) has been conditioned and then
1. Following a rest period, presenting the tone alone might
lead to a spontaneous recovery (a return of the
conditioned response despite a lack of further
conditioning). 2. If the CS (tone) is again presented repeatedly without the
US, the CR becomes extinct again.
d. Generalization and Discrimination
1. Please notice the narrow, psychological definition.
ii. Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to drool when rubbed; they then also
drooled when scratched.
1. Generalization refers to the tendency to have conditioned
responses triggered by related stimuli.
a. MORE stuff makes you drool.
iii. Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to drool at bells of a certain pitch;
I. Operant Conditioning 20130227
a. Operant Conditioning
i. Organism learns associations between behavior and consequences.
ii. Behavior is operant (operates on the environment, producing
rewarding or punishing stimuli).
b. Skinner’s Experiments
i. Skinner’s experiments extend Thorndike’s thinking, especially his
law of effect. This law states that rewarded behavior is likely to
c. Operant Chamber
i. Using Thorndike’s law of effect as a starting point, Skinner
developed the operant chamber, or the Skinner box, to study
d. Shaping Behavior
i. Shaping is the operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers
guide behavior toward closer approximations of a desired goal.
e. Types of Reinforcers
i. Reinforcement: any event that strengthens the behavior it follows.
1. Positive or Negative
f. Examples of Negative Reinforcement
i. Taking asprin to relieve a headache.
ii. Hurrying home in the winter to get out of the cold.
iii. Leaving a movie theater if the movie is bad.
iv. Faking a stomachache in order to avoid school.
g. Primary and Conditioned Reinforcers
i. Primary Reinforcer
1. Innately reinforcing stimulus
2. Satisfies a biological need
3. (Things that babies would know about)
ii. Conditioned Reinforcer
1. Stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its
association with primary reinforce
2. AKA secondary reinforce
3. (Things that babies would not know about) h. Immediate and Delayed Reinforcers
i. Immediate Reinforcer: a reinforce that occurs instantly after a
ii. Delayed Reinforcer: a reinforce that is delayed in time for a
i. Reinforcement Schedules
i. Continuous Reinforcement
1. Reinforcing the desired response each time it occurs.
ii. Partial (Intermittent) Reinforcement
1. Reinforcing a response only part of the time
2. Results in slower acquisition
3. Greater resistance to extinction
j. Types of Partial Reinforcement
i. Fixed Ratio (FR)
1. Reinforces a response only after a specified number of
2. Faster you respond the more rewards you get
3. Very high rate of responding
ii. Variable Ratio (VR)
1. Reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of
2. Very hard to extinguish because of unpredictability
iii. Fixed Interval (FI)
1. Reinforces a response only after a specified time has
2. Response occurs more frequently as the anticipated time for
reward draws near
iv. Variable Interval (VI)
1. Reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals
2. Produces slow steady responding
I. Punishment 20130301
a. Any event that decreases or weakens the behavior it follows.
i. Positive punishment – administer an aversive stimulus
1. Ex: spanking; a parking ticket
ii. Negative punishment – withdraw a desirable stimulus
1. Ex: timeout from privileges (such as time with friends);
revoked driver’s license.
II. Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment
a. Desirable stimulus
i. Supply stimulus
1. Positive reinforcement
2. Negative punishment
b. Undesirable stimulus
i. Remove stimulus 1. Positive punishment
2. Negative reinforcement
III. Biology, Cognition and Learning
a. Role of Biology
i. Classical Conditioning
1. John Garcia and others found it was easier to learn
association that makes sense for survival.
2. Food aversions can be acquired even if the UR (nausea)
does NOT immediately follow the NS. When acquiring
food aversions during pregnancy or illness, the body
associates nausea with whatever food was eaten.
3. Males in one study were more likely to see a pictured
woman as attractive if the picture had a red border.
4. Quail can have a sexual response linked to a fake quail
more readily and strongly than to a red light.
ii. Operant Conditioning
1. Can a monkey be trained to peck with its nose? No, but a
2. Can a pigeon be trained to dive underwater? No, but a
3. Operant conditioning encounters biological tendencies and
limits that are difficult to override.
4. What can we most easily train a dog to do based on natural
a. Detecting scents?
b. Climbing and balancing?
c. Putting on clothes?
b. Role of Cognitive Processes
i. In classical conditioning
1. When the dog salivates at the bell, it may be due to
cognition (learning to predict, even expect, the food).
2. Conditioned responses can alter attitudes, even when we
know conditioning causes the change.
3. However, knowing that conditioning causes our reactions
gives us the option of mentally breaking the association,
e.g. deciding that nausea associated with a food aversion
was actually caused by an illness.
4. Higherorder conditioning involves some cognition; the
name of a food may trigger salivation.
ii. In operant conditioning
c. Latent Learning
i. Rats appear to form cognitive maps. They can learn a maze just by
wandering, with no cheese to reinforce their learning.
ii. Evidence of these maps is revealed once the cheese is placed
somewhere in the maze. After only a few trials, these rats quickly catch up in maze solving to rats that were rewarded with cheese all
iii. Latent learning refers to skills or knowledge gained from
experience, but not apparent in behavior until rewards are given.
IV. Learning, Rewards, and Motivation
a. Intrinsic motivation refers to the desire to perform a behavior well for its
own sake. The reward is internalized as a feeling of satisfaction.
b. Extrinsic motivation refers to doing a behavior to receive rewards from
c. Intrinsic motivation can sometimes be reduced by external rewards, and
can be prevented by using continuous reinforcement.
d. One principle for maintaining behavior is to use as few rewards as
possible, and fade the rewards over time.
V. Learning by Observation
a. Observational Learning – learning by observing others
b. Modeling – process of observing and imitating a specific behavior
c. Mirror Neurons
i. Frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or
when observing another doing so.
ii. May enable imitation, language learning, and empathy.
VI. Bandura’s Experiments
a. Bandura’s Bobo doll study (1961) indicated that individuals (children)
learn through imitating others who receive rewards and punishments.
VII. Positive Observational…
VIII. Negative Observational…
Exam 2 Review 20130304
I. Issues in Developmental Psychology
a. Nature and Nurture
b. Change and Stability
c. Continuity vs. stages
II. Prenatal Development
a. The zygote (the fertilized cell).
b. The zygote stage: first 10 to 14 days
i. Milestone of the zygote stage: cells begin to differentiate into
specialized locations and structures.
d. Life Dangers
i. Teratogens (“monster makers”) are substances such as viruses…
ii. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)