Motivation and Emotion – Midterm 1 (Chapter 1-4)
CHAPTER 1 – THEMES IN THE STUDY OF MOTIVATION
The ability to delay short-term gratification is an important element of achievement and
• E.g., Children who can delay immediate gratification are better academically and can
deal with stress when they reach adolescence
To delay gratification is related to personalimpulsivity. People who are high in
impulsivity engage in activities that have an immediate short-term appeal. Difficulty in
delaying short-term gratification. Some people are attracted to novelty – anything new or
different captures their attention. Both elements are inherited. Therefore, the ability to delay
gratification involves more than just self-control.
Our environment we were raised in also shapes our ability to delay gratification.
However, people can learn to self-regulate, which involves altering patterns of thinking. It
starts with self-monitoring – helps us to correct faulty thinking.
Hot and Cool Theory of Delay of Gratification
2 underlying systems control behaviour.
The hot emotional system is designed for quick emotional responding to triggers. Tells us to
go when we think of doing something we like, such as hanging out with friends. System is
based on feelings and is largely under stimulus control. Thus, this system is readily activated
should we encounter a stimulus promises us a reward.
The cool system is designed for complex representation and thought. It is devoid of emotion.
This system develops later in life and needs to be strengthened and practiced.
Key aspect is to develop our cool system. Using the cool system more may cause it to
become the main system and dominate behaviour. However, we often fail to exert willpower
because we yield to temptation. How to deal with these tempatations?
When the stimulus is hidden from view it is easier to delay gratification, but when it is
present it is harder. Distance ourselves from temptation, mentally and physically.
The hot takes charge if there is faulty thinking (failure to develop contingency plans).
Identify all triggers and have a plan to deal with those situations. We need to learn how to
create plans that will help us overcome temptationthis is called willpower.
Stress tends to shift control to the hot system. When we are stressed we tend to give into
temptations. Don’t try to implement a behaviour such as quitting smoking unless stress is
What Causes Behaviour? For every behaviour there is a cause. Motivational theorists want to know what instigates
behaviour. What causes action?
Multiple causes of actiobiological, cognitive, learning, etc.
Approach and Avoidant Causes
Approach behaviour people do things because of something they want, desire, or need.
Specific goal object. Ex. I eat a sandwich because I am hungry. Want and desire does not
always immediately give rise to a specific goal object- ex. Independence is a variety of
Avoidant behaviour people do things to avoid something. Can also be a specific goal
object. Ex. Fear of snakes. Anxiety in contrast may not immediately elicit a specific goal
object. May not be able to specify the source of anxiety. Tend to be difficult to ignore. Afraid
of snakes distance themselves from goal objects. Involve threats to our survival.
Biological perspectivegoals are to 1. Survive and 2. reproduce
Some people are born as more anxious meanwhile Sensation seekers spend more time in
approach behaviours. There is a biological component to whether a person is more motivated
to approach (seek rewards) while others are more motivated to avoid (avoid punishment).
It has been suggested that people have different temperaments that fall along a continuum
ranging from an approach temperament to having an avoidant temperament. Temperament
we approach life with a particular orientation that can affect everything we do and say.
Basic Themes of Contemporary Motivation Theories
Behaviour Represents an Attempt to Adapt
Behaviour represents an attempt to adapt to the environment
Evolutionary psychology roots in Darwinian theory. Why certain behaviours evolved in
the first place.
The Importance of Determining What Arouses and Energizes Behaviour
Humans interact with the environment in 2 ways: 1) master the environment 2) survival.
Conflict do we put survival needs first or put mastery needs first? Survival needs will take
precedence, especially when I am threatened.
Sensory input into the brain travels along 2 routes: 1)takes message to the part of the brain
that deals with threats. 2) takes message to part of brain that deals with rational analysis.
Route 1 gets message first. Sometimes the survival route is wrong and the rational will
analyze the situation to shut down the emotional system. Understanding What Governs the Direction of Behaviour
Need theory suggests that needs are what give direction to behaviour. When need is aroused
we are more or less automatically pushed in the right direction. But past learning and how we
think about things also play a role.
Goal theory suggets that goals give rise to actions. Goals create tension and we move
toward goals to reduce that tension. Both direction and energy for behaviour are the result of
the goals. Contains biology, our learning, and our tactions.
Persistance more than anything else distinguishes motivation from other branches of
Persistance is one of the main predictors of success.
Traditional reward theory we are inclined to repeat behaviours that make us feel good
(positive reinforcement) and discontinue behaviours that make us feel bad (negative
reinforcement). Events that make us feel bad will be avoided.
“No pain, no gain” frustration cues that arise when we reach a goal actually become
conditioned to the approach response. Negative feelings come to act as a signal that reward is
Cognitive explanation persistence grows out of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic theory –
reward comes from mastering or developing competence that sustains the goal-directed
behaviour. Progressing toward the goal provides motivation for the behaviour.
Optomistic and hope learned to dismiss or manage adversity and failure. Ego involvement
and extrinsic reward as well contribute to why people persist even when they show no
Understanding the Role of Emotions
Affect theories people approach things to experience positive affect and avoid things to
guard against experiencing a negative affect.
Approach and avoidant behaviourfeelings are important for determining behaviour.
Feelings are real and not imagined as they are chemical reactions in body/brain
Feelings linked to survival?
Negative feelings undermine goal-directed behaviour. Positive feesustain goal-
Accounting for Individual Differences Evolutionary psychologists are interested only in general principles of behaviour, where as
motivation theorists are interested in why individuals behave the way they do.
Evolution ex. sexual behaviour is biological. Reward and pleasure. Males use one strategy
females use another. Males are more promiscuous. Explains gender differences, but not
individuals differences. A female could still be promiscuous.
Motivation theorists say both learned and cognitive factors can modify the way people
behave as well as biological. We form relationships, not just sex, which gives us happiness.
Self-Regulation of Behaviour
People who succeed at things learned self-regulation – learned to set attainable goals, manage
negative emotions, selective attention.
Key aspect is that they enagage in planning. Form a path/plan.
Can be learned by everyone.
Learning to self-regulate strengthens one’s sense of control and self-determination.
Happiness and success is achieved through self-regulation. Happiness does not just happen.
You must work for it.
Do Humans Have a Will?
The idea of will (volition) implies that people can create their own destiny.
One theory suggests people are merely products of biology or the environment in which
they live. Instead of being passive people reacting to forces about them, people actively
construct a world in which they see themselves succeeding and achieving. Can dream about
possible selves – goals, becoming different, etc. Then they adopt one of these possible selves
as their goal and couple it with knowledge about how to achieve goals: leads to reality.
Volition few limits on what we can do or become. HOWEVER: psychologists say we are
limited by our biology, our ability to learn, and our ability to think and solve problems.
Limited view of volition called self-regulation behaviour. Despite being limited in certain
aspects we can still learn to maximize our skills we already possess, or we can learn to
develop new skills through practice.
Theories of Motivation: A Historical Survey
Motivation focus is defined by: arousal, direction, and persistence of behaviour
6 MAJOR THEORIES OF MOTIVATION: 1) instinct theories. 2) need/personality theories.
3) drive/learning theories. 4) growth and mastery motivation theories. 5) humanistic theories.
6) cognitive theories Instinct Theories
Thomas Aquinas believed animals have instincts that cause behaviour, but that humans
didn’t. He thought humans had a dual nature – physical and non-physical/ body and mind.
But the physical side was controlled by different laws than animals. This idea came from the
idea that humans were created from God. We also had a soul, rational thought.
Descartes: argued that body and mind interacted and the site of interaction was the pineal
gland. Sex controlled by both. With his view humans could be held responsible for their
moral actions. But their instincts could also control their actions. The catholic church was
threatened by this and no research was continued.
Raises an issue: Does our cognitive side have ultimate control? Or does it lose control
sometimes? What about insanity (understand if their actions were wrong)?
Descartes said humans share the same instincts as animals. But unlike animals we could
control these instincts.
Charles Darwin that animals and humans behaviours were caused by their biological
structure and were constantly changing as a result of environmental presschallenged
the idea of “special creation”. This change was caused by natural selecphysical or
behavioural attributes that allowed them to better deal with environmental pressures would
survive and reproduce and thus, would pass on this biological structure to their offspring.
Gregor Mendel – advanced the idea of genetics. Genetic theory – new genes emerge
through a process called mutation. Species thus evolve over tiex. More
aggressive/intelligence, etc. Change takes time.
Instincts and Motivation
Early instinct theories: behaviours predetermined by our biological structure. Instincts
thought to account for arousal, direction and persistence of behaviour. Behaviours are said to
Freud’s Instinct Theory
Biological side of humans provide the energy/impulse for behaviour.
Said that all instincts draw their energy from a general source called libido. He viewed
instincts as energy sources with the direction of behaviour subject to some of the principles
of learning and cognition. When the energy of one of the instincts built up, it would become a source of tension for the
person. To reduce the tension, the person would be inclined to seek out the appropriate goal
object. He also said that humans could substitute goal objects that could partially drain off
the goal energy – ex. Painting, music, etc.
2 things can happen when the goal objects have been blocked: 1) person can learn to make
alternative plans for attaining those goal leads to the development of the ego. 2) if
ego is not fully developed or the prohibitions associated with the goal object are rigid, the
person may redirect energy along routes that will reduce tension but not lead to the
appropriate goals object. However the tension will continue to surface in the form of neurotic
anxiety (fear that their instincts will get out of control).
Only way to achieve a happy self is to satisfy your instincts. He said that many young
children learn inappropriate ways to deal with their instincts.
Individual differences are the result of learning. How do differences arise? Need theories say
that we are born with a limited set of needs that can be modified through learning.
Needs give rise to dispositions not action. Whether these dispositions lead to action depends
on the situation such as past rewards.
Murray’s Need Theory
Henry Murray said humans can be characterized by a limited set of needs. Individual
differences are due to mainly learning.
Accepted the idea that needs could be acquired.if all human behaviour could be
explained by a limited number of needs.
Invented the Thematic Apperception Tesppl presented a picture and asked to tell a story
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy
Argued that the basic physiological needs are associated with deficiency and the high-order
needs with growth. Consistent with the approach/avoidant.
Basic/primary needs at bottom of hierarchy. The basic needs must be satisfied before the next
needs are relevant.
People are ultimately motivated by the need for self-actualization.
Physiological needs safety needs belongingness and love needsesteem needs
cognitive needs aesthetic needs self-actualization needs These needs are linked to the biological system
Deficiency needs are more compelling than growth needs
Strengthening and Acquiring Needs
Early: humans born with certain set of basic needs and these needs can be strengthened
Coupling the concept of need and reward environment is important in shaping human
Some needs caused mainly by environmental influences.
David McClelland worked on achievement motive- if you reward achievement for
children they will grow up to have strong achievement motive. Brought up the idea that
parenting styles can change a child’s achievement motive. Rewards do strengthen needs.
The Factor Analytic Tradition
A statistical procedure that establishes whether different people group a certain set of items
in the same way. If different people group things in a similar way it may be because they are
operating out of similar psychological structures.
Costra and McCrae’s five-factor model five basic factors that underlie all personality
measures: OCEAN 1) s to experience – intellect. Wide range of experiences. 2)
Conscientiousness – productivity, ethical behaviour, responsibility. 3) Extraversion – positive
emotionality. Gregarious, assertive, excitement-seeking. 4) Agreeableness – warmth,
compassion, sympathy. 5) Neuroticism – negative emotionality. Anxiety, angry, hostility,
There can be a wide range of interaction among these 5 factors which can account for the
complexity and diversity of behaviour.
Watson’s School of Behaviorism
Behaviour is better explained by principles of learning than by instinct
John B. Watson founded school of behaviourism. Stated there were 3 innate emotional
reactions: fear, rage, and love – from which all other emotions were learned.
Cultural differences suggests that behaviour is shaped by the environment (modeling), not
Behaviour can be largely explained by classical conditioning/ instrumental learning (reward
learning) Hull’s Drive Theory
Clark Hull the activation of a drive leads to random behaviour. Organism accidentally
performs a response that reduces a drive. The behaviour leading to drive reduction is
strengthened. Over time with repeated reduction of that drive, a habit is formed.
Freud suggests that instincts give rise to representations of goal objects, BUT Hull says that
goal object is discovered in the course of random behaviour. The reduction of a drive
produces reinforcement. Drives activate habits. Behaviour = drives x habits.
When a habit is weak, it takes a strong drive to produce behaviour. However if a habit is
highly developed a weak drive can activate it.
Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory
Said it was not necessary for a drive to be reduced for learning to occur.
Behaviour is under the control of external rewards. Positive rewards increase the probability
of a behaviour, and negative rewards decrease its probability.
Called himself and empiricist. Only talked about observable behaviour. (No theory)
Persistence is often greater if an organism is rewarded only some of the time, rather than
each time it makes a desired response (partial response).
Partial reinforcement contingencies (schedules of reinforcement) produce different forms of
persistence. Thus, persistence could be explained without reference to biology.
Behaviour modification possible to alter widely diverse behaviours through rewards
associated with drug use and eating patterns, etc.
The energy, direction, and persistence of behaviour are due to reinforcement contingencies
Social Learning Theories
People can also learn by modeling the behaviour of another person. We can acquire a new
behaviour simply by observing that it produces some desired outcome for another person.
1) The tendency to view behaviour as occurring independently of environmental
contingencies. 2) The assumption that organisms can acquire experiences (habits) in the
absence of direct experience or reward.
Vicarious motivators – can learn to avoid making certain mistakes and design an optimal
course of action for achieving desired ends.
Social learning – able to explain behaviours that had no immediate survival value.
Model aggression partially. Information can account for the source (energy), direction, and
persistence of behaviour. Introduced rudimentary cognitive concepts. People develop
expectations. Ex. What situations would aggressive behaviour be appropriate in. People also
learn through consequences. Observing a person engage in a certain behaviour and attain a desired goal provides vicarious
reinforcement to the observer = liklihood of observer to imitate behaviour increases.
Growth and Mastery Motivation Theories (Pull Theories)
Exploration, Curiosity, and Mastery
Animals and humans are motivated by their need to successfully interact with the
environment. Humans are not born with fully developed abilities. To adapt and succeed we
must develop these abilities. Humans need to process info and acquire skills/develop
The mechanism that motivates growth and mastery is a discrepancy between where the
individual is and where the individual needs to be to successfully adapt to the environment.
This discrepancy creates tension inside organism. To reduce tension, person must reduce the
discrepancy by developing skills and intellect. Negative affective state is associated with
discrepancy (itch/hunger pang). Must develop cognitive structures – ability to process info
quickly and efficiently. Development of higher-order mental processes such as categories.
Optimal level of incoming stimulation for people to process – if environment doesn’t provide
enough stimulation people will seek out novel environments to satisfy their need for
Tensions motivate the person to do things that will return them to tension-free state. These
tensions are only reduced when skills are developed or cognitive structures are sufficient to
deal with the environment.
Disagreement about approach or avoidant mechanisms. Thus there are master-oriented (want
to learn everything about environment) people and ego-oriented (environment that is
immediate use to them and their survival).
Maslow and Rogers humans are good and possess an innate (biological) tendency to grow
and mature. Each of us is unique. Key concept is self-actualization, which depends on a
highly developed self-concept. Rogers organisms actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing self. To actualize is
innate, but the route is frequently characterized by pain and suffering. People have ability to
judge what is good for them and what is not. What we approach and what we avoid depend
on our perception of what promotes the development of self (positive or negative
experiences). Need for positive regard need to receive approval, to be accepted, to be
loved. Sensitive to critisism of others. Internalize this and develop positive self-regard.
Organismic valuation process – listen to inner voice: innate capacity to judge what is good
for the self.
Mental representations formed by humans play a central role in guiding their behaviour. Ex.
Rats who were preexposed to the maze did mental mapping to find the cheese quicker.
One type of mental representation is an expectancy: a judgement about the likely outcome of
behaviour , formed because of past experiences. Provides motivation construct when coupled
with value. People also assign a value to the outcome.
These theories are hedonisticassume we will select the alternative likely to arouse the
greatest feeling of pleasure (positive affect). If all the alternatives are unattractive, we will
choose the option that produces the least pain. Which of the 2 options will a person choose
with the probability of achieving a certain outcome (lottery) and the reward magnitude
(amount of money). What is the tradeoff.
Humans can motivate themselves by setting future goals.
Locke and Latham goals affect behaviours in 4 ways: 1) direct attention. 2) mobilize
effort to the task. 3) encourage persistence. 4) facilitate development of strategies.
Goals should be difficult and specific. Commitment is key. To get commitment it is better for
people to set their own goals.
Social-Cognitive Theories of Goal Setting
Whether people set difficult goals or are committed depends on how they perceive their
abilities to attain the goals.
Self-Efficacy expectations that focus on their beliefs about their capabilities to organize
and execute the behaviours requisite for attaining the outcome.
Expectancy-values is related to amount of effort. Self-efficacy is our beliefs of our capacities. Chapter 2 – Components of Motivation
Components of behaviour/motivation behaviour is caused by the interaction between
biological, learning, and cognitive processes.
The Biological Component
Origins of Human Brain Design
Evolutionary psychology Dawinian evolutionary theory can be summarized in 4 basic
assumptions: 1) Human community as we know it today has resulted from years of evolution.
Species tend to evolve rapidly for some time and then stabilize without evolving further. 2)
Just as we have adapted physically, we also have an adapted mind (learning and problem
solving). Mind is designed to help us survive and reproduce. Mind is different than brain as
we have multiple intelligent systems that work with the body to produce our actions. 3) Our
bodies and minds are adapted for a world in which we no longer live. 4) Under new
circumstances, adaptations of the brain can be used for purposes other than those for which
they were designed. E.g., Remembering phone numbers or driving a car, we have adapted to
do these things.
Evolution is incapable of looking forward and prepares us for a life to come. Helps us
survive the present and carry our brain design forward.
Don’t get this confused with the Sociobiology theory/ the selfiswe are motivated to
propagate our own genes in future generations to preserve ourselves in some way. In
evolutionary theory genes are said to spread themselves. The most selfish things a gene can
do is build a selfless brain.
2 central complementary drives (minds): one being self-preservation and the other being
preservation of the species.
The Example of Temperament
Temperament how we react to the world (reactivity) and how we self-regulate ourselves
(self control) in the face of certain environmental demands. We are born with a certain
temperament and only change throughout life in subtle ways. Temperament described as 3 broad factors: 1) having a disposition toward high activity, a
preference for intense stimulation (loud noises), and a proclivity for taking risks. These ppl
are at ease in social situations. 2) Disposition toward negativity – to be fearful and/or sad and
to be angry when frustrated. Ppl low in negativity tend to be curious, open to new
experiences, happy, not frustrated. 3) Ability to regulate attention and behaviour – “effortful
control”. Ppl who focus their attention/behaviour are likely to achieve and experience
Personality can be described by 3 to 5 underlying factors : OCEAN. Each of these
dimensions are in our genes. Diversity is adaptive.
What starts out as temperament becomes personality.
Monozygotic and Dizygotic Twins
Mono one egg. Di 2 eggs.
The genetic processes and environment both play a huge role in determining temperament
Brain Structure and Brain Curcuits
Brain circuits different structures, working together with connecting pathways that are
Brain circuits cause emotions. Each emotion has a distinct brain circuit. The activation of
brain circuits does not cause action, but rather creates the disposition to action. How the
individual acts depends by both learned and cognitive variables.
Some Important Brain Circuits in Motivation
“Extended Adaptation” most brain systems are general systems, but they can also have an
extended capacity meaning they can be used for other things like make a high tech society.
Use our “old” brain to adapt to our present environment.
Approach and Avoidant Motivation: The Behavioural Activation System (BAS) and the
Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS)
BAS activated by conditioned signals of rewards and nonpunishment. When the system is
activated, arousal is enhanced, and together they promote increased approach behaviour.
BIS is activated by conditioned signals of punishment and nonreward, and novel stimuli.
When the system is activated arousal is enhanced, and together they lead to an inhibition of
on-going behaviour. Serves to promote the suppression of inappropriate behaviour. These 2 systems can vary in strength. One may be more active than the other. Anxious
people tend to be people whose BIS is more active than their BAS. Sensation seekers tend to
be ppl who have a more active BAS.
We are born with either an overactive BIS or BAS, but with training we can learn (self-
regulation) to overcome the costs associated with having an overactive BAS/BIS.
The Disposition to Experience Pleasure and Punishment
Different brain circuits for reward and punishment
The Reward Pathway (Dopaminergic Pathway)
Brain circuits for adaptive behaviours.
E.g. of reward pathways electrodes on brain to treat depression – electrical stimulation
produces positive feelings. Drugs such as amphetamines produce feelings of euphoria.
Evidence indicates that these pathways reinforce behaviour. Organisms will quickly learn
behaviours that activate this sytem. Humans are motivated to perform actions that produce
positive feelings (positive affect). Ability to learn highly adaptive behaviours like finding
foor and less adaptive like taking drugs.
Limbic system interconnected structures deep within brain that regulates emotions such as
fear, love, anger and is involved in the activation of behaviour (dispositions) and its
reinforcement. Triggered differently than dopamingernic pathway.
Right prefrontal cortex activated more when ppl are presented with a stimuli that provokes
withdrawal negative affect (fear, disgust)
Left prefrontal cortex activated more when ppl are presented with a stimuli that evokes
approach-related positive affect.
People tend to have great activation in one of the prefrontal cortex. Thus, some ppl have a
bias towards experience negative affect or positive affect. Measured intensity of affect.
When the amygdala is more reactive, individuals tend to report greater negative affect.
High amygdala metabolic rate – highly reactive to negative pictures.
The Concept of Plasticity
Plasticity whether or not the basic structure of the brain can be altered as the result of
certain experiences or thought processes. There are short-term changes in brain activation as the result of voluntary emotion regulation.
Self-Regulation of Behaviour and the Prefrontal Cortex
Well developed prefrontal cortex complex integration of goals, plans, and feedback so
that humans are able to pursue goal directed behaviour by focusing our attention.
Self-regulation is an acquired behaviour that comes from learning the “rules of the
game”/designing a plan.
We are not at the mercy of our biology. Through learning and planning we can redirect our
behaviour so we can achieve self-made goals.
The Role of Neurotransmitters in Information Processing
Nerve pathways are made up short lengths of nerve fibers separated by gaps called synapses.
Information must cross these gaps to travel along the pathway. When the nerve pathway is
activated, nerotransmitters are released and carry info across the synapse.
For each neurotransmitter there are several different receptors. 10 for serotonin, 5 for
dopamine. The combination of different neurotransmitters and different receptors accounts
for the ability of the brain to perform wide arrange of complex functions.
Once neurotransmitters have carried a message across the synapse they are typically
inactivated. This ensures that they do not excite the postsynaptic neuron indefinitely. The
inactivated neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the presypnatic neuron, synthesized back into
an active state, and stored for release.
Diet can play a role in the availability of neurotransmitters as protein helps synthesize
Neurotransmitters and Moods
Involved in the regulation of moods.
Norepinephrine is linked to feelings of euphoria and depression. High levels = euphoric. Low
levels = depressed. Cocaine can cause this positive mood.
GABA regulates anxiety and information processing.
Endorphins and substance P = role in experience in pain. Painkilling properties.
Heroin and morphine trigger endorphine release.
Seotonin low levels linked to depression. High levels linked to euphoria.
Dopamine low levels linked to depression. High levels linked to euphoria. Many
recreational drugs such as amphetamine trigger dopamine release.
Negative moods are associated with attention to or memories of threating stimuli. Positive
moods linked to attention to or memories of opportunities and possibilities. Moods might have been evolved to help us self-regulate.
Becoming Aware of Your Biological Processes
Under conditions of sensory isolation we attend to our physiological responses because we
have nothing else to get our attention. Less affected by stress at a later time because they
learned relaxation techniques. First step in learning to control your physiological responses is
to become aware of them. Relaxed state = producing alpha waves. We can indirectly be
aware of certain system like our reward pathwabe aware of your moods. Firing
neurotransmitters causes a physiological response.
Dualistic Paradigm aware of our biological responses when we understand that they are
directly linked to our mental processes.
Buck affective states can be viewed as voices of the genes. 2 classes of affect: selfish
affect and prosocial affect.
The Learned Component
Attention and Learning
Attention consists of 3 interrelated processes: 1) humans needs to focus their sensory
receptors on a source of information to analyze that info. We call this attending or receptor
orientation. 2) when organisms focus their attention on a given source of info, they
selectively process only part of the incoming info. This is called selective attention. 3)
limited in our ability to process info, so we cannot effectively deal with vast amounts of info
or complex topics. Thus, we look for underlying organizations. Group things together.
Perception, meaning, and understanding.
Good teaching involves all 3 attentions.
Associative and Cognitive Learning
Associative learning connection of stimuli and responses. Depend on first 2 types of
attention. Make sense of the world using associative learning. But as things become more
complex we rely on cognitive processes.
Is Attention Under Voluntary Control
Attention is only partially under voluntary control. Managing attention is key to effective
Teaching: present material at an optimum pacenot so fast that they lose the slow learner
and not so slow that they lose the fast learner.
Intentional = purposeful learning. Incidental = passive, unintentional learning. Because our info processing is limited, we often shift our attention back and forth to learn
two things simultaneously. Our ability to learn depends on the amount on info in the 2
Ivan Pavlov dog can salivate at the sound of a bell if the bell was rung whenever food was
presented. Unconditioned stimulus (food) naturally leads to the unconditioned response
(salivation). When the dog salivates when food isn’t presented the bell is the conditioned
stimulus. This leads to the conditioned response.
The conditioned response is not as strong as the unconditioned response. If the conditioned
stimulus (bell) is repeatedly presented in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (food) it
will eventually lose its ability to elicit the response. The procedure of repeatedly presenting
the conditioned stimulus in the absence of a reward or the unconditioned stimulus is called
Conditioning and Adaptive Behaviour
Classical conditioning is crucial for adaptive behaviour. Depend on signals to warn of threats
Context and Conditioning
Drug addiction is under situational control. Urge to use drugs appears to be triggered by the
environment. Change the environment and the urge disappears. Users needs a greater amount
of the drug to feel high in a familiar environment than a new one. This is called the opponent
Organisms learn that certain environmental events, such as receiving rewards or
punishments, depend on their own behaviour.
Fig. 2-5 compares classical conditioning and instrumental learning. Pg. 41.
Rewarded behaviour will continue at a high rate even when the reward is removed. A
nonreward response will eventually diminish. This is called extinction. One way to make a
response continue in the absence of reward is to offer partial reinforcement of the behaviour.
Secondary Rewards and Instrumental Learning
If a reward is to be effective, it must be applied as soon as possible after the desired
behaviour has occurred. Primary reinforcers (food) are very effective as rewards for behaviour. Something with the
capacity to increase a response independently of an previous learning.
Secondary rewards A+, “veryy good!” may be more effective. Works because: 1) forms of
praise acquire reward value because they have been associated with the presentation of a
primary reward. “Conditioned incentives”. 2) A “very good” we know means that we are
acquiring a skill that has value.
Social Incentive Theory
Positive (rewarding) experiences often occur when we do what others want us to do.
Approval signals that other primary rewards are forthcoming. Disapproval takes on
significance as well. Avoid disapproval because it signals the withdrawal of primary rewards.
Seeking approval and avoiding disapproval are central motivators for humans. They are
Imitation and Observation Learning
Children learn through imitation and observation. 14 to 24 month children usually imitate
Once we have acquired certain habits it is not always easy to replace those old habits with
new more desired habits. Intentions by themselves often fail to produce the desired response.
The Cognitive Component
Involves the 3 aspect of attention: humans are unable to process limitless amount of info.
Thus, we find higher-order relationships, structures, and rules. Memories have to do with
order and structure. We get this organization and structure from our sensory system, learning,
personal discovery. We are equipped to find redundancy, able to discard everything but the
Piaget theory of development: children are motivated to develop cognitive structures
because they need to interact with and master the environment. We first start with
assimilation process info by whatever structures they have. When these structures are not
complex enough for the child to make complete sense of his interactions with the world, he
begins to experience confusion which is known as disequilibrium. This stage motivates the
child to develop new cognitive structures to make sense of the complexity, which is
accommodation. Development is a lifelong process. The Nature of Cognitions
Cognitions are based on past learning. We model parents and modify those structures by
Our cognition has the tendency to make things consistent. We modify beliefs with our values.
According to attention theory we see the world as consistent and predictable.
Once our cognitive structures are formed they are very resistant to change.
Categories and Labels
Brain has evolved to identify the main characteristics of incoming stimulation. Infants
recognize face of parents.
Schema = contains the essential or defining features of a category. Categories allow us to
summarize complex info into generic forms, so have less info to remember.
Categories help us identify objects, dispositions, emotions, behaviours.
We also categorize and label our own behaviour. Ppl who label themselves as alcoholic begin
to behave like alcoholics. We define what label means just as we redefine our beliefs and
Beliefs, Attitudes, and Values
As we develop we learn many of our beliefs, attitudes, and values from our parents. Many of
our beliefs attitudes and values are also based on our own experiences. Children are actively
involved in their own development. Some beliefs, attitudes and values come from learning
(imitation/modeling), whereas some come from cognitive processes (active construction. To
change behaviour we often need to change beliefs, attitudes and values. One way of doing
this is to become more mindful.
One important feature of learning is the tendency to generalize a response learned in one
situation to other situations.
Stereotypes = response generalization. They arise from a limited number of instances.
Stereotypes arise in the absence of relevant personal knowledge. Adopt the beliefs and
attitudes of other people. They are relatively stable, but they can change.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
People need to experience cognitive consistency. This theory helps to explain why
categories, beliefs, attitudes, values, and stereotypes are highly resistant to change. Cognitive Dissonance Theory humans are inclined to process info in such a way that it
will be consistent with existing categories, beliefs, attitudes, values, stereotypes, and
behaviour – and to ignore info that doesn’t fit with existing beliefs and to seek info that does
Action-based model of cognitive dissonance theorystate of dissonance interferes with the
ability to act. Not being able to choose between two equally attractive suitors. Ultimately
concerned with self regulation and executive function.
These are hypotheses, models, and beliefs, about the nature of the external world (world
theories) and what we need to do to satisfy our desires in this world (self theories). These
theories exist at the preconscious level.
Implcit theories involve more irrational and intuitive thinking. Experiential system
implicit theories come out of this different system for processing info. Result mainly from
our own experiences.
Habits, Automatic Behaviour, and Cognition
Habits result from the repetition of some response or sequences of responses. Hull argued
that drive must be reduced for a habit to be strengthened. Others say habits form from
repeating a response over and over and that rewards act as an incentive for engaging in
repitition. Learning theories say that habits grow from existing behaviours.
Automatic behaviour has its origins in intentional or planned behaviour. Is highly
adaptive. Allows you to use limited attention to do other things. Driving, listening to music,
An Example: What Causes Happiness?
Happiness depends on whether or not the environment is providing us with satisfying
rewards. Perfect environment = happiness.
Cognitive theorists say that we need to change the way we view the environment. What you
see or feel depends on your beliefs, attitudes, values, and implicit theories. Thus, happiness is
subjective. Happiness is a state of mind; it’s a result of the decisions that we make. Gain
happiness through our senses, exercising skills, through mastery, and social interactions.
Becoming Mindful of Your Cognitive Processes Mindfulness automatic behaviour and it frees our conscious mind. We also get into ruts;
we don’t change habits even when we should. If we want to change we need to be more
mindful of our cognitions.
Mindful power to change and to control things. 1) Generate alternatives. 2) Gain a sense
of control. 3) learn how to make decisions. 4) Learn to gain control of your thinking process.
Humans differ by age, gender, temperament, past conditioning, cognitive structures,
momentary stress, goals, and recent failures and successes.
Attribution Theory: Perceiving the Causes of Behaviour
Attribution theory concerned with how humans come to perceive the causes of behaviour.
If someone’s perceptions about the cause of behaviour affect subsequent behaviour, then we
have good evidence that cognitive factors play a central role in the arousal, direction, and
persistence of behaviour.
People are inclined to look for reasonable explanations for their behaviour, including
Locus of Control Theory: Internal and External Causes
Internal people perceive that the cause of their behaviour lies within themselves.
External people it lies outside themselves.
Both differ in locus of control. Only actions with internals can b