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Chapter 15

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McMaster University
Judith Shedden

Psych 2B03: Theories of Personality Chapter 15: Learning to be a Person – Behaviourism and Social Learning Theories Social Learning Theory - Way people think, plan, perceive, and believe are important parts of learning, and that research must address these processes - Behaviourist have concentrated too much on elements of learning that are important for animals, and not enough on aspects that are more important for humans - Social dimensions of learning - We choose our environments and change them as a result of what we do in them - Dollard and Miller’s social learning theory:  Habitat hierarchy: behaviour you are most likely to perform at a given moment resides at the top of your habitat hierarchy, while you least likely behaviour is at the bottom  The effects of rewards, punishments, and learning is to rearrange the habitat hierarchy  Motivation and drives:  Needs produce psychological drives  Drive is a state of psychological tension that feels good when the tension is reduced  Pleasure comes from satisfying the need that produced the drive  Primary drives: food, water, physical comfort, avoidance of physical pain, sexual gratification, etc.  Secondary drives: include positive drives for love, prestige, money, and power, as well as negative drives such as avoidance of fear and humiliation  In the process of development secondary drives come later  There can be no reinforcement without reducing a drive  Drive-reducing theory: for a reward to have the power to encourage the target behaviour, the reward must satisfy a need  In the idea state of existence, all needs have been satisfied  Frustration and aggression:  Frustration-aggression hypothesis: the natural, biological reaction of any person to being blocked from a goal, is to be frustrated, with the resulting urge to last out and injure  Psychological conflict:  Approach-avoidance conflict: o An increase in drive strength will increase the tendency to approach or avoid a goal o Whenever there are two competing responses, the stronger one (i.e., the one with greater drive strength behind it) will win out o The tendency to approach a positive goal also increases the closer one gets to the goal o The tendency to avoid a negative goal also increases the closer one gets to that goal o Tendency 4 is stronger than tendency 3. That is, as a negative goal becomes nearer, the tendency to avoid it becomes stronger more rapidly than does the tendency to approach a positive goal - Rotter’s social learning theory:  Decision making and the role of expectancies  Expectancy value theory:  The theory assumes that behavioural decisions are determined not just by the presence or size of reinforcements but also by beliefs about the likely results of the behaviour  Expectancy and locus of control:  An expectancy for a behaviour is an individual’s belief, or subjective probability, about how likely it seems that the behaviour will attain its goal  It does not matter whether a behaviour is actually likely to bring success or not  The classic view focuses on actual rewards and punishments while Rotter’s social learning variant focuses on beliefs about reward and punishment  Specific expectancy: belief that a certain behaviour, at a certain time and place, will lead to a specific outcome  Generalized expectancies: general beliefs about whether anything you do is likely to make a difference  People with internal locus of control are those with high generalized expectancies and thus tend to think that what they do affects what happens to them  Those with external locus of control have low generalized expectancies and tend to think that what the
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