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Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2 NOTES - Motivation

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PSYC 2230
Frank Marchese

CHAPTER 2: GENETIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO MOTIVATED BEHAVIOUR • Genetically motivated behaviours have often been analyzed under the topic of instinct • An instinct can be regarded as a genetically programmed bit of behaviour that occurs when circumstances are appropriate and that requires no learning of the behaviour Early Instinct Theories • Instinct as an explanation for motivated behaviour in both humans and animals reached its peak of popularity in the late 1800s and early 1900s • As the concept of instinct grew in popularity, it became fashionable to explain all behaviours as instinctive • This led to what has been called the nominal fallacy (i.e. simply naming something an instinct not explain the behaviour) • E.g. if we saw someone behaving aggressively, we might try to explain that behaviour in terms of an aggressive instinct • We really have no explained anything though; we have merely labeled the behaviour • To explain the behaviour, we must do more • We must understand what conditions led to the behaviour and what consequences resulted from it • Explanation presumes a cause-and-effect relationship and labeling a behaviour does not give causal information • Also, instinctive behaviours were not clearly separated from learned behaviours because a confusion of definition existed • These problem, along with several others, eventually led to virtual eliminate of the instinct concept William James • He believed that instincts are similar to reflexes, and are elicited by sensory stimuli, and occur blindly the first time • Occurring blindly meant that the behaviour occurs automatically under appropriate conditions and without knowledge of the end or goal toward which the behaviour leads • “every instinct is an impulse” which puts instinct into the domain of motivation (i.e., a force acting on or within the organism to initiate behaviour) • Instincts can be altered by experience • James explained the variability of instincts through two principles: 1) That habit (i.e., learning) can inhibit an instinct CHAPTER 2 page 1 o James proposed that learning may inhibit an instinct by restricting the range of objects involved in an instinctive activity o Learning was thought to limit the extent to which an instinct can develop or be used o E.g. the triggering of the instinct of fear by a teacher might lead to a student’s poor academic performance because another instinct, such as inquisitiveness, could become block by learning 2) Proposed that some instincts are transitory, useful only at certain times or during certain developmental periods o A newly hatched chick follows the first moving object it sees on its first day of life, but if not exposed to that object until later in life it will run away from the object • James saw instinctive behaviour as intermediate between reflexes and learning, shading into each at the extremes • He did not propose to explain all behaviour through instinctive processes • In his view, instincts provide a base upon which experience can built through the development of habits • The concept of instinct was not reserved for nonhuman animals • He believed that people possess all the instincts of other animals plus many exclusively human ones • He thought that by describing various instincts and how these might have been adaptive during the evolution of humans, he was explaining how behaviour is motivated • Unfortunately, he did not clearly describe how one could distinguish between a reflex, an instinct, and a learned behaviour William McDougall • McDougall argued that instincts are more than just dispositions to react in a particular way • He saw every instinct as consisting of three components: 1) The cognitive o Knowing of an object that can satisfy the instinct o Thoughts about those goals that will satisfy the motive 2) The affective o The feeling/emotion that the object arouses in the organism o Emotions that are aroused by the behaviour CHAPTER 2 page 2 3) The conative (striving) o Striving toward or away from the object o Purposive striving aimed at reaching the goal • Using this approach we would except that a hungry rat would have some understanding of an object that would satisfy his hunger, would show an emotional arousal when hungry, and would strive persistently toward obtaining the object that would relieve its hunger • McDougall saw striving toward a goal as an example of the purposiveness of instinctive behaviour • He believed that one can identify the activated instinct by determining the goal toward which the behaviour is directed • E.g. monkey take apart a puzzle, one can conclude that the behaviour aroused was the instinct of curiosity • Teleology is the idea that a behaviour serves some ultimate purpose • This has not been a very popular explanation for animal behaviour, and many theorists (including Freud) have argued that even humans are often largely unaware of the reasons for their behaviour • McDougall compiled a long list of instinctive behaviours some of which include: parental care, combat, curiosity, food seeking, repulsion, escape According to McDougall, an instinct can be altered in 4 ways: 1) An instinct may be activated not only by some specific external object but also by the idea of that object or by other external objects or their ideas o E.g. milk might initially activate food seeking in the infant. As the child grows, other foods would also activate this instinct 2) The movements through which the instinctive behaviour occurs can be modified o E.g. the instinct of curiosity may initially be involving the local environment but as you grow older it might be satisfied by reading in the sciences o The curiosity instinct remained, the behaviour involved in its expression changed 3) Several instincts may be triggered simultaneously, and the resulting behaviour will be a blend of the excited instincts o E.g. sexual behaviour of teenagers is a blend of curiosity and mating instincts CHAPTER 2 page 3 4) Instinctive behaviours may become organize around particular objects or ideas and thus become less responsive in other situations o E.g. people can be self-assertive in their jobs but submissive at home, so that the instinctive behaviour occurs only in certain situations o This is similar to Freud’s conception of fixation • Anthropomorphism is inferring the feelings of other organisms by asking yourself how we would feel in the same situation • E.g. if a dog was licking another dogs wound, we might conclude that the first dog was feeling sympathy for the other • Whether they feel sympathy (or any other trait) in the human sense is questionable • Anthropomorphism is generally recognized today as an inadequate method of analysis Criticisms of the Early Instinct Theories • Kuo attempted to destroy the concept of instinct completely in an article titled “giving up instincts in psychology” • Of the several criticisms he leveled at the instinct concept, among the most important are the following three: 1) There is no agreement concerning what types of or how many instincts exist o He maintained that compiled lists of instincts are arbitrary and depend upon each writer’s interests 2) Kuo argued that all behaviours called instinctive are not innate but learned o He felt that behaviour is built from random responses, some of which are reinforced and retained, others of which are unreinforced and extinguished 3) Kuo insisted that instincts are not the motive forced underlying behaviour because behaviour is aroused by external stimuli o He rejected the fact that others thought behaviours are largely the result of genetic programming Tolman noted: 1) The arbitrary designation of behaviours as instinctive robs the concept of any explanatory value CHAPTER 2 page 4 o In other words, instincts such as curiosity, playfulness, and pugnacity are merely descriptive labels (the nominal fallacy) that do not explain the causes of behaviour 2) No clear criteria exist for determining which behaviours are instinctive and which are not (unclear definitions of instinct and learning) o The theorists had not bothered to state clearly how one could identify an instinctive behaviour 3) He noted that Plato’s doctrine of innate ideas is incorrect (that all knowledge I present in every individual and only awaits discovery) o This is not a valid criticism because instinctive behaviour may have evolved to such an extent that it now appears intelligent 4) Finally he pointed out the confusion between instincts and habits (learning) that we have already seen in the theories of James and McDougall • His emphasis was on the behaviour ends toward which the behaviour is directed; he believed that those ends/goals are fixed/instinctive but that the means of obtaining them can vary and are thus modifiable through learning • Behaving in order to get food when hungry is instinctive, but the behaviour necessary to obtain the food is flexible and learned Classical Ethology • Ethology, a specialized branch of biology, is concerned with the evolution, development, and function of behaviour • Most ethological research has emphasized instinct • Much of the early work in ethology as confused by Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tingbergen • Lorenz argued that we must observe organisms in their natural setting if we are to understand their behaviour • Considerable time is spent compiling lists of observed behaviours for each species studied, this list is called an ethogram Ethological Terms • Ethological approach is firmly based on Darwin’s theory of evolution • Instinctive behaviours exists because they had survival value • Wallace Craig noted that behaviours can be divided into 1) Consummatory behaviour o Fixed patterns of responding to specific stimuli CHAPTER 2 page 5 o Innate and stereotyped (e.g. the chewing and swallowing of food) 2) Appetitive behaviour o Restless, searching behaviour that is flexible and adaptive to the environment o Is subject to modification through learning (e.g. when a rat learns where food can be found in the environment • The ethological approach also assumes that each behaviour has its own source of energy called action specific energy (ASE) • Each behaviour is inhibited from occurring by the innate releasing mechanism (IRM) which works much like a lock that can be opened by the proper key  The key allows the behaviour to occur is a biologically important stimulus that may be either environmental or the result of the behaviour of a species member • Environmental stimuli are called key/sign stimuli • Stimuli that involve behaviour of another member of the species are called releasers/social releasers  Social releasers are key stimuli that serve a communicative function between species members  E.g. postures, colouration indicating sexual readiness etc. Key Stimuli • Key stimuli are usually simple stimuli • For example the red belly of the male three-spine stickleback releases aggressive behaviour in other male sticklebacks that have set up territories; yet the same males will tolerate a female in their territories because she does not have the red colouration • Sometimes the normal key stimulus is not the optimal stimulus for releasing a given behaviour • Oystercatchers prefer abnormally large eggs over their own smaller eggs • This example is quite interesting because they show not only that an artificial stimulus may be preferred to a natural on but also that the stimulus may be configurational (e.g., dark spots on a light background) rather than single stimuli • Activation of behaviour triggered by an unnatural stimulus also indicates the rigid nature of the behaviour; the behaviour occurs when a stimulus releases it and does not depend upon the organism learning about the stimulus CHAPTER 2 page 6 • Stimuli that release behaviour more effectively than the normal stimulus are called supernormal key stimuli or super-optimal key stimuli • Rowland provides an interesting example of a preference for supermodel stimuli • Sexually receptive female three-spined sticklebacks were presented with two dummy male stickle backs, one of normal side and one 1.4 times larger • The females showed a significant preference for the larger one 1) Large males compete more successfully for breeding territories 2) Larger males might be expected to fan the eggs more effectively 3) Larger males might be less subject to predation and would therefore be more likely to survive to provide paternal care to the offspring until their interdependence • In a related study he found that the male ones prefer dummy female with excessive body size • Thus is appears that mate size is an important variable in the mating behaviour of sticklebacks • His research suggests that supernormal stimulus effects may occur more often in nature than had been formerly assumed and in that preference for supernormal stimuli may, in some cases, provide an evolutionary change • Fixed action patterns are responses that a key stimulus releases and they are species specific patterns that are rigid, stereotyped, and “blind” • This occurrence of an FAP depends upon a key stimulus and is not influenced by learning • The FAP for ethologists is the instinctive behaviour, it is hardwired into the nervous system and released by a specific set of conditions (the key stimulus) Moltz noted 4 empirical properties of a fixed action pattern: 1) The FAP is stereotyped o Thought this term implies that the behaviour itself is invariable, some variability in the performance of FAPs exist 2) The FAP is independent of immediate external control o Once the FAP is activated, it continues to completion, regardless of changes in the external environment  The graylag goose for example, retrieves eggs that have rolled from its nest  This behaviour consists of two components: CHAPTER 2 page 7 i. An FAP involving the drawing of the egg toward the nest with the bill ii. Lateral (side to side) movements of the bill that keep the nonsymmetrical egg from rolling off to one side o Taxes are similar to FAPs in that they are unlearned, however, unlike FAPs they are responsive to environmental change o These lateral movements depend upon sensory feedback from the egg as it rolls unequally, they compensate and keep the egg in line with the nest o These movements are in the class of behaviour known as taxes o The FAP components of the behaviour, however, continues to completion o Once released, the FAP appears to be independent of external changes in stimulation o Some mechanism must exist that can short-circuit or stop an FAP when environmental conditions demand (e.g. if a sparrow is attacked by a cat, it does not continue to feed on grain) 3) FAPs can be spontaneous o In addition to external stimulation, internal motivation is necessary for the occurrence of a FAP o The longer the interval since the last occurrence of the FAP, the more “ready” it is to occur o Spontaneity refers to the fact that when energy has built up sufficiently, the behaviour may occur in vacuo (i.e., without being released by a key stimulus also called vacuum activity) 4) FAPs are independent of learning o The FAP appears to be non-modifiable through learning o Hailman has shown that this may not be entirely true o His analysis suggests the close interaction of innate and acquired patterns of behaviour o For example he believed that the gull chick has only a rough innate representation of the parent that becomes sharpened through experience o Newly hatched chicks respond primarily to the parents bill and initial do not discriminate between models of their own parents and those of a related species o After a week of age the chicks become more sensitive to small differences in the details of beak and head o This discrimination seems based on a type of learning known as classical conditioning o It is also possible that some of the changes noted by Hailman could be due to maturational development rather than learning Intention Movements and Social Releasers • Lorenz pointed out that before an FAP occurs, one can often observe intention movements CHAPTER 2 page 8 • These movements are low-intensity, incomplete responses indicating that energy is beginning to accumulate in an instinctive behaviour system • These intention movements may also become social releasers over the evolutionary history of the species • Initially the intention movements are not communicative, but through a process termed ritualization they begin to serve a communicative function o For example, may threat gestures such as baring the teeth in canines seem to have evolved from attack responses and serve to indicate the motivational readiness of the organism for combative behaviour o Intention movements that have become social releasers are usually exaggerated forms of the original response o The movements then serve as key stimuli for the release of FAPs in the conspecific (member of the same species) toward which they are directed • Do humans make intention movements that serve as social signals? • Researchers recorded the postural stance of persons who were engaged in conversation with another person • At the beginning of a social interaction, the two people tended to stand with their weight distributed equally on both leg, near the close of the interaction the subjects stood with most of their weight on one leg • This resulted that the shifts in weight may serve as an intention movement for departure • The frequency of unequal weight stances increased before departure, as did weight shifts in general • Weight shifts that increased the distance between the individuals also occurred just prior to departure • Shifts in weight then are apparently intention movements that serve as a signal that an individual is about to leave • Weight shifts were exaggerated in situations where people departed alone, as compared to situations where the two persons departed together • Intention movements are adaptive because they communicate motivational intent • The ability to recognize the intent of another member of your species would have been advantageous, especially if hat recognition is innate so that it does not have to be learned over several exposures to the intentional behaviours CHAPTER 2 page 9 • Lorenz has maintained that relationships between species members tend to be instinctive, with learning playing a minor role Motivational Conflict • An interesting question arises if we consider the possibility that two or more key stimuli could be present at the same time • Which FAP would occur? Such situations involve a motivational conflict • Conflict behaviour has been divided into four categories: 1) Successive ambivalent behaviour o Involves the alternation of incomplete responses representing the two motivational sates o A male stickleback may alternate between attack and escape responses when it meets an intruding male stickleback at the border of its territory 2) Stimulus ambivalent behaviour o Occurs in conflict situations where both motivational states can be expressed in behavior at the same time o For example Leyhausen has argued that the arched back of the cat is the result of the simultaneous expression of the motives to attack (rear feet forward) and to flee (front feet drawn backward) 3) Redirected behaviour o Very similar to the Freudian concept of displacement o The appropriate responses (e.g., attack) occur, but not to the appropriate object, because of a conflicting motive (e.g. fear) o Such redirected behaviour is often focused on a nearby organism or an inanimate object o E.g. child mad at mother but takes it out on the cat instead 4) Ethological displacement o Occurs when two equally strong motives are in conflict and are inhibiting each other o The energy associated with the with the two motives continue to accumulate but cannot be expressed through their normal behavioural outlets o This type of displacement behaviour is a response that differs from either of the motives in conflict o The displacement activities are themselves, FAPs CHAPTER 2 page 10 o For example, the motives of attack and flight balanced against each other in the male stickleback may lead to displaced nest-building behaviour, an FAP normally released by different stimulus conditions than the conflict between flight and attack o According to Tinbergen, the energy accumulating in the blocked instinctive behaviours may spark over to another instinct center and find its outlet through that centers FAPs o He also notes that displacement behaviours may take on communicative value, just as intention movements do o Displacement nest building becomes a ritualized threat gesture in male sticklebacks Reaction Chains • Quite complex sequences of behaviour may be built from simplex key stimuli, FAP combinations • Most behaviours are more complex than a single FAP released by a single key stimulus • Behaviours frequently involve a sequence of responses in which each response is released by its appropriate key stimulus • Such a situation is known as a reaction chain o A reaction chain consists of alternating key stimuli and FAPs in a particular sequence until the behaviour comes to an end, as in the case of the stickleback mating behaviour o The release of an FAP often causes the next key stimulus to appear; thus the next part of the sequence is released, and so on o In figure 2.3 the appearance of the female releases the zigzag dance in the male, which in turn serves as a social releaser for courting behaviour in the female o Courting behaviour then release leading behaviour in the male, and the chain of releasers and FAPs contributes until fertilization of the eggs occurs o Lorenz pointed out that sometimes there are gaps in these chains of behaviour that can be filled by learned behaviours such as imprinting (see next section) o These special situations result in a series of behaviours, some learned and others innate o These sequences of instinctive and learned behaviours have been termed instinct- conditioning intercalcation Imprinting • One area in which instinct and learning seem to intermingle is in the process known as imprinting • Imprinting is generally considering a socialization process in which a young organism forms an attachment to its parents • The process of imprinting has been most studies in birds CHAPTER 2 page 11 • The imprinting process itself seems to include both instinctive and learned components • E.g. a newly hatched chick will try to follow the first moving object it sees • The chick follows and forms an attachment to the object to which it is exposed • Thus the object of the attachment is learned; however, the process of becoming attached appears to be innate • Lorenz described what he believed to be the major characteristics of imprinting: i. The attachment process occurs only during a very limited, critical period in the organism’s life o E.g. the strength of imprinting peaks between 13-15 hours for duckling o Instead of a critical period when the learning does or does not occur, there seems to a be a sensitive period within which imprinting occurs more readily than before or after ii. The imprinting process is permanent and irreversible; once established, it does not extinguish o Lorenz suggested that the initial attachment formed by imprint leads to intraspecific identification and that the sexual preference so the adult result from this attachment o Lorenz imprinted some graylag geese on himself at the time of hatching o As adults, these geese ignored sexually receptive members of their own species but made sexual displays toward Lorenz! o Formation of an irreversible bond is the except in imprinting rather than the rule o The reversibility of imprinting in birds may depend upon where the species is nidifugous (leaves the nest shortly after hatching) or nidiculous (remains in the nest for an extended period) o The ones that remain in the next have a more permanent attachment to the imprinted object, sometimes preferring that object sexually to members of their own species o Imprinting to non-species members in the birds that leave the nest shortly after hatching does not prevent them from mating with their own species iii. Independence from reward o The process of imprinting occurs automatically rather than in a trial-and-error fashion that would suggest a gradual process of learning to follow o This finding has been generally supported, and several studies have shown that a response (e.g. following) is not even necessary for imprinting to occur, an imprinted stimulus can be used to reinforce other behaviours, such as jumping on a lever in order to obtain a brief appearance of the imprinting object CHAPTER 2 page 12 • Not all stimulus objects are equally effective in establishing imprinting • In a study of stimulus generalization in imprinting in chicks, concluded that colour is a more dominant aspect of the imprinting objec
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