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PSYC 2330 (89)
Chapter 1

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PSYC 2330
Francesco Leri

Chapter 1: Introduction - learning- is one of the biological processes that facilitate adaptation to ones environment - learning also involves the acquisition of new behaviour - learning to withhold responses is just as important as learning to make responses (eg, not to shout when someone is taking a nap, not to take from other people) - procedural learning- does not require awareness - Declarative or episodic learning – requires awareness - People are relatively inaccurate in reporting about their own behaviour - Behaviour psychology- how features of the environment gain the capacity to trigger behaviour whether we like it or not - Most of our behaviour is learned or habituated so that we do not have to think about it on a daily basis Historical Antecedents - Rene Descartes o Created the idea of dualism  that most things we do are a combination of involuntary and voluntary actions  involuntary behaviour consists of automatic reactions to external stimuli and is mediated by reflex  voluntary does not have to be triggered by external stimuli and occurs because a person as conscious intent to act in a certain way o believed that nerves transmitted info from the sense organs to the brain and from the brain to the muscles o animals have no free will and only act on reflex where as humans do have conscious thought o mentalism- content and workings of the mind o reflexology- mechanisms of reflective behavior Historical Developments in the Study of the Mind - Descartes believed in nativism- we are born with innate ideas - John Locke- believed that people started as a blank slate (tabula rasa) also called empiricism - Descartes believed that the mind did not function in a predictable way - Thomas Hobbes- believed in Descartes theory of involuntary and voluntary action but believed that the mind operated as predictably as a reflex o Believed that the voluntary behaviour was governed by hedonism- people do things in the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain - Empiricists- believed that the mind functioned on the concept of association o They believed this to be true because when you hear the word car you already have an idea in your head as to what the car looks like but there are several rules to associations o Rules of Associations  Two sets of rules for associations: primary and secondary  Primary- Aristotle believed there were three principles for the establishment of associations: 1. Contiguity, 2. Similarity and 3. Contrast. Continuity being the most important and it means that if two events repeatedly occur together they will become associated. Similarity and contrast state that two things will become associated if they are similar in some respect (Both are red) or are contrasting each other (one is tall and one is short)  Secondary- Thomas Brown (empiricist) proposed that the intensity of sensations and how frequently or recently the sensations occurred together have to deal with associations that are made.  To study how associations formed, Hermann Ebbinghaus created non-sense syllables- three letter combinations devoid of any meaning that might influence how someone would react to them and studied how well he was able to remember the words under various conditions. Historical Development in the Study of Reflexes - Descartes o Believed that sensory messages going from sense to organs to the brain travelled along the same nerves and that nerves were hollow tubes and neural transmission involved gases called animal spirits o The animal spirits flew through the neural tubes and caused the muscles to swell to create movement o Considered all reflexive movements to be innate o ALL of his ideas were incorrect - Charles Bell o Showed that separate nerves are involved in the transmission of sensory information from one point to another o They found this because if a motor nerve is cut, you are still able to register sensory information and if a sensory nerve is cut the animal remains able to perform muscle movements - John Swammerdam o Irritation of a nerve is sufficient to produce muscle contractions therefore animal spirits from the pineal gland were not necessary and muscle contractions were not produced by swelling from infusion of a gas as Descartes had said - the more intense the stimu
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