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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Introduction.docx

8 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 2330
Francesco Leri

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Chapter 1 – Introduction Historical Antecedents  Much of our behaviour occurs without awareness  Cognitive psychology doesn’t tell us how good or bad habits and emotions are aquired or modified Descartes  Before him people believed behaviour and decisions were completely conscious and deliberate  He believed many things we do are automatics reactions but still believed in conscious behaviour which led into the development of dualism Dualism  There are two classes of behaviour, voluntary and involuntary  Involuntary is an automatic reaction to external stimuli and mediated bu reflex response  Voluntary is conscious intent  The physical world causes involuntary while the mind causes voluntary  Stimuli produce involuntary through neural circuits, Descartes assumed only one set of nerves were involved and believed involuntary is the only mechanism available to non-human animals  Believed non-humans lack freewill and humans have the unique attribute of being able to have free will and conscious behaviour Historical Developments in the Study of the Mind  Descartes believed the mind is connected to physical body through the pineal gland and that is how the mind keeps track of involuntary motions but also initiates voluntary actions – this keeps the involuntary mechanism independent of the voluntary  He believed that the mind developed some contents from sense experiences but also that we are all born with innate ideas o Concept of good and bad, concept of self, fundamental axioms of geometry Nativism (Descartes)  We are born with innate ideas about certain things Empiricism (John Locke)  Disagreed with Nativism, he believed we are born as a clean slate and acquire ideas through experiences  Popular through 17 -19 century in groups of British philosophers  Descartes believed the mind was not predictable and orderly Hobbes  Agreed with Descartes on the idea of voluntary vs involuntary and that the mind controlled voluntary but also believed the mind is just as predictable as reflex  He suggested voluntary mechanisms are governed by hedonism – people will do things in pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain  Empiricists also believed in association – simple concepts are combined into more complex ideas by associations – once they are established it will activate all aspects of that which you have experienced o Ex. car – you drive one to work, you have seen one, you have sat in one – the word car will activate all aspects of it that you have experienced Rules of Associations  Two sets of rules – primary and secondary  Primary consists of contiguity (most studied), similarity, and contrast (contrasting characteristics – very tall and very short) o Contiguity if the two events repeatedly occur together they will become associated o Evidence for similarity confirmed by modern studies but none for contrasting  Secondary laws have many factors which influence the association between two sensations (Brown) o Include intensity, frequency/recentness o Also involves how many other associations the event is already involved in and the similarity of past associations to the newest one  British empiricists did not conduct experiments to determine if these rules are valid and didn’t know which rules would take precedence Ebbinghaus  First to use experiments to determine how associations are formed  Used non-sense syllables, 3 letter combinations which have no meaning  Used himself as a subject and measured his ability to remember them  Looked at many issues including how the strength of an association increases with training, and if nonsense syllables that appeared close together in a list were associated more than those far apart Historical Developments in the Study of Reflexes  Descartes believed there was one neural path that delivered messages to the brain and relayed the responses from the brain, also thought that there were gases called animal sprits involved in neural transmission which were released buy the pineal gland which in turn swelled muscles which resulted in movement  Bell and Magendie showed evidence of sensory and motor neurons by cutting one type and showing that the animal is capable of the opposite  Descartes believed that reflexes were simple o Stimulus’ energy is converted into energy for the response so the more intense the stimulus is, the more intense the response Sechenov and Pavlov  Primarily responsible for the understanding of physiological processes which are responsible for reflex behaviour  Sechenov believed faint stimulus’ could trigger large responses (dust and sneezing) – proposed complex forms of behaviour which occur without obvious eliciting stimuli were actually reflexive responses but we often don’t notice the stimuli because they are faint o He used experiments and obtained real results but based his ideas off of philosophical ideas – he did not address how our behaviour varies with age and experience  Pavlov used experimentation to show not all reflexes are innate and some can be established through association The Dawn of the Modern Era  Research in animal learning came from three sources Comparative Cognition and the Evolution of Intelligence  Interest was sparked by Darwin – he argued that we evolved from animals and so, the evolution of our psychological traits or mental abilities is a continuity from nonhuman animals o The mind is a product of evolution o Suggested animals have the same mental ability as us in the sense of wonder, memory, curiosity, attention, etc. o He collected evidence of intelligent behaviour in animals which would not hold up in present day research but was important because of the research question  What is “intelligent behaviour”? Romanes – whether or not the animal adjusts or models its behaviour according to its individual experiences, also can be considered whether or not they have the ability to learn Functional Neurology  People wanted to gain insight into how the nervous system works, Pavlov initiated this research  Pavlov became committed to the principle of nervism – all key physiological functions are governed by the nervous system – especially became interested in how the nervous system controls the digestion mechanisms o Research continued for a couple of years until two British investigators proposed that the pancreas is under partial hormonal control rather than neural o Instead of giving up on nervism, he abandoned research on the digestion and began work on conditioning reflexes and how the nervous system is involved Animals Models of Human Behaviour  A more recent concept is that research on animals can provide information to understand humans  In order for the model system to work it must be understood – models are cheaper, simpler, and more controlled in most situations o Consider an architect who uses a model for a new building o In order for a model to be valid, it must have the relevant feature/functions which is comparable to the target in terms of its feature or function o If you are looking at one feature, the other ones are irrelevant – example, if an architect is looking at the exterior walls of a builiding, the structural beams will not be relevant  It is important to identify the relvant similarity between the animal modeal and human behaviour of interest – this involves the causal factors responsible for the behaviour Animal models and Drug Development  Drug development relies on animals o Cognitive decline is a big issue with increasing age, using animal models of learning and memory is a central part of research o Drug abuse and anti-anxiety Animal Models and Machine Learning  Machine learning is also relevant to animal models of learning  Artificial intelligence should learn from experiences so using animals to learn about these characteristics of that learning is important  These commonly use associative mechanisms The Definition of Learning “Learning is an enduring change in the mechanisms of behaviour involving specific stimuli and/or responses that results from prior experience with those or similar stimuli and responses”  Not a universal definition but captures many of the main ideas/concepts The Learning-Performance Distinction  There is an important distinction in the previous definition – learning is defined by the change in mechanisms of behaviour, not the actual change in behaviour – this is because a change in behaviour can be due
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