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Ch12. S-R Theory

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 370
Robert Ley

Ch12. the Stimulus-Response Theory of John Dollard and Neal Miller April-13-13 5:31 PM I. Introduction • Focus on systematic/controlledstudy of learning • Content theories: psychoanalytictheory and those stemmingfrom it ○ Containsstructural concepts (e.g., id, ego, superego) ○ e.g., feelings of inferiority, self-dynamism, etc. • Process theories: ○ Personality shouldn’tbe studied scientifically → focus on makingunderstandinghow behaviours originate, are maintained,and influenced by whatfactors, etc. ○ Provides theoretical accountsfor how behaviours are acquired,maintained,changes • Some impliesit’s one or the other II. An Introduction to S-R Theory • Clark Hull (learning theorist) guided the way • John Dollard (sociologist)worked on studies of racism/discrimination ○ “the usual human response to frustration is aggression against the frustrating object” ○ Displacement used when one cannot express aggression towards intended object • Dollard + Miller expanded on S-R Theory, pioneering research on aggression & what provokes it → sees frustration as antecedent of aggression ○ Low cottonprices correlated with higher numberof lynching(violence) → displacement from intangible(bankers mad at economy, but can’t attackeconomy) to helpless minority • They studied non/imitativebehaviours in animals/children ○ Just as it won’tmake sense for a scientist to study a rat’s behaviours in a mazewithout knowingwhere the reward lies, a psychologist should consider the cultural rewards/background to investigate an individual’sresponses III. John Dollard and Neal Miller:Personal Histories • Both born in Wisconsin • Dollard (1900): ○ Father wasrailroad engineer who died in train wreck; shortly after schoolteachermother moved ○ Went to university with honoursin 1922 ○ Becameacquaintedwith Max Mason (surrogate father figure) who took him as an assistant. ○ Entered grad studied in sociology ○ Treated patientsunder Horney’s supervision ○ Sapirinvited Dollard to join him in teachingculture-personalityseminar, maderesearch associateat the Institute of Human Relations ○ Got highest level of accomplishmentfor sociology, psychologyAND anthropology& was practicingpsychoanalysis  Was a pioneer for bringing together the disciplines • Miller (1909): ○ Moved to Washingtonwhen father got job as professor of educationalpsychology ○ Graduatedfrom University of Washington ○ Went to Vienna and studied under Hartmann(who was studying under Anna Freud) (studying under Freud was too expensive for him) Returned to Yale/Instituteof Human Relations,conducted work on animalexperiments & ○ Returned to Yale/Instituteof Human Relations,conducted work on animalexperiments & collaboratedwith Dollard IV. Emphasis A. Principlesand Conditionsof Learning • What is learningtheory: study of circumstancesunder which a response and cue stimulus becomes connected ○ Afterwards, they’ll be boundin such a way that cue will elicit response ○ Connection mayonly be strengthened under certain circumstances • Mantra of S-R: drive, cue, response ○ (1) arousal of drive: to make a motivated human/animal ○ (2) stimuli/cuethat indicateswhen/where response is to be made: e.g., cross street when walk sign is on ○ (3) response: occurs when drive is aroused in presence of cue ○ (4) reward: unrewarded responses don’t become part of learned repertoire B. Stimuli of Drives • Drive stimuli: fuels behaviours • Primary drives: e.g., hunger, thirst, sexual arousal • Secondary drives: for approval, achievement, affection; learned through socialization ○ e.g., fear: poundingheart (physiological)and sense of doom (psychological) ○ Intense physical stimulinot needed • Reinforcement: when responses are successful in reducingdrive stimuli, therefore rewarding behaviour C. Concept of Habit • Habit: learned associationbetween a stimulusand a response ○ R = f( DxH) ○ If drive is low (e.g., not hungry), probablywon’t go eat ○ If habitis low (e.g., eating before bed), probablywon’t eat D. Internal Response • Such as increased heartbeat, emotionalarousal, which can then become drives • e.g., getting anxious b/c you’re walkinginto exam room • Primary drives maycause pattern of internal responses, which have drive properties V. Major Concepts of S-R Theory • Psychotherapy is usually administered to those who need it (not psychologicallywell adjusted) --> lots of studies on those with neurosis ○ “normal people have low motivationto talk frankly and extensively about their most significant problems” • View client as a single system of childhoodexperiences, adjustment in social system, emotional intelligence, etc. A. What is neurosis? • Neurotic paradox: at the same time self-perpetuatingand self-defeating; ○ In psychologicallyadjusted individuals,commonsense limits individualsby balancing consequences with acts ○ Those with neurosis see behavioursas havingpredominantlynegative consequences, yet behaviours persist over months/years/lifetime ○ Difficult to explain how behaviour is maintainedeven though it’s not helpful in solving problems → in fact behaviors are resistant to change problems → in fact behaviors are resistant to change • May be explained by fear (learneddrive) • Continuity assumption: looking at neurosis is just taking extreme instances of behaviourthat follow same general laws of learning ○ Normal learning, maladaptivelearning and unlearningbehavioursall follow common set of principles • Some observationsto deal with... ○ Neurotic behaviours are persistent (explain what [events] maintainsit) ○ Behavioursthat result from frustration, disappointment,dissatisfaction,impaired relationships, misery tends to repeat and be resistant to change ○ Behavioursgeneralize from learned conditionto other situationsthat may appearvery different ○ Neurotic P is usuallyunableto explain/describe reason for symptomaticbehaviours B. Variablesin S-R Theories • Behaviours ○ We need to understand topography of responses,that is, learningdoesn’t develop from trial-and-error, but is rather systematic ○ Initial hierarchyof responses: innateresponses (infant sucking, fear to loud noises)  b/c learning takes time to modify it ○ Resultant hierarchy: through learning, a different set/ordering of responses  One metaphoris learning which phonemesyou make are part of languagein your culture  METAPHOR. NOT THE ACTUAL LEARNING PROCESS • Drive ○ Drive is a strong stimulus that produces an action ○ Primary drives: based on tissue needs of organism; are innate(e.g., hunger, thirst, sex, pain) ○ Acquired drives: or secondary drives, developed out of association with reduction of primary drives early in life  e.g., fear, love, approval, achievement, dependency  e.g., primary caretaker soothes various primary needs (pain, hunger, cold)→ need for closeness to caretaker ○ Abrupt loss of intensity of strong stimulusstrengthens association between noticeable/noticedcues & responses  Weak: when sudden reduction in any motivationalstimulus  Strong: when all reward is produced by reduction → drive reduction is the necessary for reinforcement • Reinforcement ○ Reinforced responses are likely to be repeated → if rewarded enough, maybecome habit ○ Learningdilemma:when no responses learner makes are reinforced --> drops out of initial hierarchy & replaced  Unsuccessful/unreinforced responses are extinguished so new responses may occur ○ Primary reinforcement: reinforces primarydrives  e.g., milk for hungry infant, water to thirsty runner, etc. ○ Secondaryreinforcement: acquire reinforcement abilitythrough early associationwith primary reinforcement and primary drive reduction  If developed in infancy/earlychildhood,maintainsand resistant  Otherwise, may extinguish over time • Cues ○ Cues: events/stimuli that guide/direct behaviours, determine when/where individualwill respond, and which response May generalize to other similarsituationsbut may also be discriminated from different ○ May generalize to other similarsituationsbut may also be discriminated from different situations  How people generalize/discriminatedepends on their learninghistory  e.g, someone who’sused to braggingmay not respond to eye rolling in the same manneras a shy individualwho doesn’t normallytalk ○ Response-produced cues: act of responding is a source of cues that guide subsequent responses  e.g., rehearsing what you’ll say in response to something  e.g., if i give you word, you’d give a word associated to it, and quickly come with anotherword associated to the one you gave ○ May vary in manydimensions:  intensity: e.g., how loudly/quietlyyou say something  pattern: e.g., winkingafter comment implies sexual innuendo ○ Secondary generalization: identifyingresponse produced stimuli in a situation(e.g., as afraid) → “afraid”is a now a cue for the responses that you learned in that situation C. S-R Theory Principlesand Explanation of Neurosis • Responses leading to reduction of fear are reinforced (by reduction of fear) • If fear is intense enough, and if situation/responseare repeated → habit that repeat in similar settings ○ May even happen just by thinking about situation • Experimental Model of Fear Arousal, Escape, Avoidance Learning ○ Millerin 1948 tested rats in box with 2 compartments (black/white) ○ At first, the rats showed no signsof fear in either boxes (baseline) ○ Later, rats in white compartment were shocked with electric gridfloor → learned to escape into black door through door  If escape was well learned, shock in white compartment discontinued but rats continue to run to black room when placed in white room & showed signsof fear (crouching, muscular tenseness, urination)  → learnedfear of white room ○ Added contraption: turning wheel to open door to black room  b/c fear reduction was
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