PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Orbitofrontal Cortex

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2 Mar 2011

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Chapter 13: Motivation and Emotion
Human behaviour is notoriously inconsistent
The reasons for inconsistent human behaviour are aspects of motivation
Motivation refers to a driving force that moves us to particular action
Motivation is a general term for a group of phenomena that affect the nature of an
individuals behaviour, the strength of the behaviour and the persistence of the
There are many approaches to approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioural,
cognitive and social.
Categories of motivated behaviours: eating, sexual behaviour, and aggression. These
behaviours are particularly important to the survival of the individual and of the
Motivation plays and especially important role in social behaviours
Our behaviour is motivated by situations that we tend to approach or to avoid
situations that are important to us.
oThese situations evoke behaviours that other people can recognize, including
facial expressions, changes in posture, and alteration in tone of voice
oThey also affect the way we feel
oSituations that motivate our behaviour also provoke emotions
What is Motivation?
We behave in a particular way to get something
Motivation is proactive, or forward-looking.
oThe proactive sense of motivation is very similar to concepts of reinforcement
oWe are motivated to perform a behaviour to gain a reinforce or to avoid an
aversive event
oSome events that proactively motivate, such as food or pain, are obvious
oOthers, such as smiles or frowns, are subtle.
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It is also reactive, or in response to conditions present at the time
oApplies to why reinforcers might have their effect
Biological Needs
Complex organisms possess physiological mechanisms that defect deficits or
imbalances associate with these needs and related regulatory behaviours that
bring physiological conditions back to normal (ex: eating, drinking, shivering,
hunting, etc.)
Homeostasis: The process by which physiological characteristics are regulated so
that they remain at their optimum values,
a regulatory system has four essential features:
1.system variable, the characteristic to be regulated
2.set point, the optimum values of the system variable
3.detector that monitors the value off the system variable
4.correctional mechanism that restores the system variable to the set
Negative feedback: a process whereby the effect by an action serves to diminish or
terminate that action.
Drive reduction hypothesis: the hypothesis that a drive (resulting from
physiological need or deprivation) produces an unpleasant state that causes an
organism to engage in motivated behaviours. Reduction of drive is assumed to be
Drive: a condition (such as hunger), often caused by physiological changes or
homeostatic disequilibrium, that energizes an organisms behaviour.
oNot all drives are based on homeostasis, for example, sexual behaviour.
Two problems with the drive reduction hypothesis:
1.Drive is almost always impossible to measure.
2. If we examine our own behaviour, we find that many events we experience
as reinforcing are also exciting, or drive increasing
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Physiology of Reinforcement
Electrical stimulation of the brain activates the reinforcement system, which is the
same system activated by drugs that people commonly abuse
The normal function of this system is to strengthen the connections between neurons
that detect the discriminative stimulus and the neurons that produce the operant
An essential component of the reinforcement system consists of neurons that release
dopamine as their transmitter substance; therefore, all reinforcing stimuli appear to
trigger the release of dopamine in the brain.
Optimum-Level Theory
Avoidance of exciting stimuli can also motivate us (depending on the situation)
Optimum-level hypothesis: the hypothesis that organisms will perform behaviour
that restores the level or arousal to an optimum level
oEx: when an individuals arousal level is too high, less stimulation is
reinforcing; when it is too low, more stimulation is desired
Two forms of exploration related to arousal:
1.Diverse exploration is a response to under stimulation (boredom) that
increases the diversity of the stimuli the organism tries to come in contact
2.Specific exploration is a response to overstimulation (usually because of a
specific need, ex: hunger) that leads to the needed item, thereby
decreasing the organisms drive level
At the optimum-level of arousal, the mid-range behaviour is organized and effective
At the suboptimum-level of arousal, too little arousal leads to ineffective behaviour
because the person is not sufficiently motivated
Any kind of activity eventually produces satiety, where something that was once
reinforcing becomes bothersome
Perseverance: the tendency to continue to perform a behaviour even when it is not
being reinforced
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