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Chapter 15

Chapter 15 Summary

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Richard B Day

CHAPTER 5 (579-601): Social Learning Theory Social Learning Theory -behaviourism boasts high standards of scientific rigour and practical applications -missing stuff though: cognitive aspect -Wolfgang Kohler, studied chimpanzees, came to the conclusion that they gained insight about their situation: once the chimps figured out which behaviour would get them the banana, they did it immediately, not gradually -the application of insight to behaviourism opened the doors for social learning theory -dealt with some of shortcomings of behaviourism a) behaviourism ignores motivation, thought, and cognition (social learning theorists, in contrast, claim that how people think/perceive are important parts of learning and should be researched b) classic behaviourism is based on research using animals: they want to make laws that apply to all species, but sometimes animals are different (chimpanzees gave different ideas than dogs): so much research on learning that is important for animals like reinforcement, as opposed to problem-solving c) behaviourism ignores social dimension of learning d) behaviourism treats the organism as passive (put rats in a box); however, animals, and humans, can choose their situation which in turn changes reinforcement contingencies (rules for what will and will not be rewarded); this will complicate analysis of behaviour in a certain environment -social learning theory welcomes these challenges! -three main social learning theories (all called that too): Dollard and Miller, Rotter, and Bandura Dollard and Miller’s Social Learning Theory Habit Hierarchy: the behaviour you are most likely to perform at a given moment resides at the top of your habit hierarchy, while your least likely behaviour is at the bottom Ex: at the moment, highest is reading, one likely much lower is dancing, somewhere higher might be eating -Dollard and Miller theorized the effects of reward/punishment and learning is to rearrange habit hierarchy -different from classical behaviourism: learning changes the arrangement of an unobservable psychological entity (basically, personality) -understanding someone is best done through understanding someone’s habit hierarchy MOTIVATION AND DRIVES -according to Dollard and Miller, answer found in needs, which produce psychological drives Drive: state of psychological tension that feels good when the tension is reduced -pleasure comes from satisfying the need that produced the drive Primary Drives: those for food, water, physical comfort, sexual gratificationphysiological Secondary Drives: positive drives for love, prestige, money, and powerlearned -secondary comes later;the things for which you are secondarily driven are learned during socialization -there is no reinforcement, and therefore no behavioural change, without reducing a drive Drive-Reduction Theory: for a reward to have the power to encourage the target behaviour, the reward must satisfy a need -raises an important question: is the goal of all behaviour just to get to a ‘zero-need’ state? -doesn’t make sense: often people go out of their way to increase their need (don’t eat so that you are hungry in time for a meal, go out of their way to increase sexual arousal/need so gratification is better, etc) -secondary drives: seeking more work after finishing some (eudaimonic well-being (y) ) -these observations require a theory modification: perhaps true enforcement is the movement from a state of high need to low need FRUSTRATION AND AGGRESSION -why does a person vent anger on targets unrelated to the source of the problem? Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: the natural, biological reaction of any person (or animal, for that metter) to bring blocked from a goal, is to be frustrated, with the resulting urge to lash out and injure. The more important the blocked goal, the greater the frustration, the greater the aggressive impulse. -use displacement when attacking something that isn’t source of the frustration PSYCHOLOGICAL CONFLICT -fun things can be frightening Approach-Avoidance Conflict: conflict between fear and desire, and how it can change over time, as addressed by five key components 1. An increase in drive strength will increase the tendency to approach or avoid a goal. 2. Whenever there are two competing responses, the stronger one (i.e. the one with greater drive strength behind it) will win out. 3. The tendency to approach a positive goal increases the closer one gets to the goal. 4. The tendency to avoid a negative goal also increases the closer one gets to the goal. 5. Most important, tendency 4 is stronger than tendency 3. As a goal becomes nearer, the tendency to avoid it becomes stronger more rapidly than does the tendency to approach a positive goal. The avoidance gradient is steeper than the approach gradient. -interesting for things which you both need and dread (giving a practice speech, for example) -application: schedule people’s time way ahead of time (make ticket refunds difficult, etc) Rotter’s Social Learning Theory -primarily concerns decision making and the role of expectancies Expectancy Value Theory -interview: 50% chance for better wage, 100% for lower -mathematically, 0.5 x $35 000 < 1 x $20 000, so person will go for $20 000 interview Expectancy Value Theory: assumes behavioural decisions are determined not just by the presence or size of reinforcements, but also by beliefs about the likely results of behaviour -if something looks great but low chance you’ll get it, more likely to go with something less but better chances of getting it EXPECTANCY AND LOCUS OF CONTROL Expectancy (for a behaviour): an individual’s belief, or subjective probability, about how likely it seems that the behaviour will attain its goal -the expectancy is your belief about whether an action will pay off -can be right or wrong, as it is a belief -if you think it will, you will try -here is the differentiation from classic behaviourism: classic focuses on actual rewards and punishments, while Rotter focuses on beliefs about rewards and punishments -shape behaviour even if inaccurate (phenomenology: an individual’s perspective is more important/influential than reality!) Specific Expectancy: the belief that a certain behaviour, at a certain time and place, will lead to a specific outcome General Expectancies: general beliefs about whether anything you do is likely to make a difference -some people believe they have very little control over what happens to them; they have low generalized expectancies -others believe the reinforcements they enjoy (and punishments they avoid) are directly a function of what they do (generalized expectancy can be considered a trait: high is linked to energy and motivation) -Rotter sometimes referred to general expectancy as a locus of control -people with internal locus of control tend to think what they do affects what happens to them -external locus of control: tend to think what they do will have little effect on what happens to them -can vary across domains on one’s life Ex: internal locus of control over academics (control over academic outcomes), external locus of control otherwise Bandura’s Social Learning Theory -based directly on Rotter’s -focuses less on individual differences, and more on the social nature of learning and the ways people interact with situations in their lives EFFICACY EXPECTATIONS -what Rotter called expectancies, Bandura reinterpreted as Efficacy Expectations: refer to belief that one can accomplish something successfully, but also carry the phenomenological implication that one’s interpretation of reality matters more than reality itself -Rotter refers to belief that if you do something, what are the chances of attaining a goal, whereas Bandura’s efficacy is the perceived probability you can do something in the first place -someone with a snake phobia thinks they could never approach a snake; if they could though, they could get over their phobia -the issue for Bandura is not what happens after handling the snake, but if he handles the snake in the first place Self-Efficacy: belief about the self; what the person is capable of doing. -efficacy expectations can interact with, or be determined by, other kinds of self-judgements Ex: if you think you are hot (self-concept), you are more likely to attempt to date someone you’re interested in self-concept affects your efficacy expectation in this domain -these can both be independent of truth of attractiveness -Bandura thought efficacy expectations should be the target of therapeutic interve
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