178 book 5978
It was pointed out in chapter 2 that mechanism was “in the air” in Freud’s Europe. This
also was true in the US in the early 1900s. There was ferment about the general laws of
mechanics, the notion that energy can be transformed in myriad manners ideas that
contributed heavily to the industrial revolution in America. It was in this atmosphere that
Clark Hull, an early robotic engineer, formulated his general theory an linked it with
experiment psychology. The biologically based conceptions of ethology and, much later,
sociobiology were not devised an experiment theories. Rather, they happened to be
applicable to motivational issues. It is even arguable that Freud chiefly had as his goal the
formulation of a motivational theory. In contrast, Hull not only devised an experimentally
based motivational theory, he also had motivation at the center of his thoughts. It is
uncertain whether Hull should be credited with the formulation of the first experimentally
guided motivational theory both Kurt Lewin, discussed in the next chapter, and Edward
Tolman, also considered in this chapter, were developing their theories about the same
time as Hull. But there is no doubt that, In the US, Hull was the first dominant
There also can be no doubt about Hull’s acceptance of the metaphor that the person is a
machine. In 1943 he wrote, ‘’ the behaving organism [is] a completely self maintaining
robot’’; and he later remarked,’’ it has struck me many time of late that the human
organism is on e of the most extraordinary machines and yet a machine.
Freud and Hull: Some Conceptual comparisons
Freud and Hull had dissimilar backgrounds and training: Contrast the culture of Vienna
with a log cabin in Michigan and the study of medicine with mining engineering. In spite
of these historical differences, there are many similarities in the 2 men’s conclusion about
motivated behavior. First of all, both Freud and Hull were determinists. That is, they
assumed that acts are caused and that the cause can be identified. Second, both believed
that physicological and psychological laws complement one another. In addition they
accepted tension (need) reduction as the basic goal of behavior, with organisms striving
to maintain a state of internal equilibrium (homeostasis). They also both believe in the
principle of hedonism, that is, behavior is guided by the pleasurepain principle. And
finally, both were greatly influenced by Darwin and searched for the functional
significance of action.
There also are some fundamental disparities in the theoretical systems and the method
employed by these 2 researchers. Hull did not conceive of the organism as a closed
energy system. Rather, he believed that prolonging deprivation, or needs originating from
multiple sources such as hunger and thirst, increase the total energy available for “work:.
In addition, as indicated in chapter 2, Freud did not place much faith in laboratory
experiment, his data were free associations drawn from therapy, his personal dreams, or
the reported dreams of his patients. On the other hand, Hull’s data were generated in
carefully controlled experimental studies, primarily of rats running through a maze for a
reward of food. Further, Hull was explicitly quantitative in his approach, formulating
behavioral postulates from which exact hypotheses could be derived. The majority of his
concepts were anchored to operational definitions. For example, he defined hunger in
terms of hours of deprivation, indexed habit strength as the number of reinforced responses, and so on. Freud was little concerned with the precision of his concepts and
their measurement. Finally, Hull denied the mental processes are determinants of any
action. Thus, for example, the idea of “ purposive’’ behavior, or action undertaken ‘’ in
order to get something’’, was accounted for entirely by bodily reaction, without appealing
to mental capacities and properties such as foresight and anticipation. As preciously
pointed out, although Freud used many mechanical or physicality concepts in his
discussion of human behavior, he also believed that thoughts do influence action; for
example, the ego can inhibit overt action by invoking a defense such as repression to
prevent a with from entering consciousness. Even instincts were regarded by Freud as ‘’
demands made on the mind’’ thus Hull was much more mechanistic in his approach to
motivation than was Freud.
In this chapter, hulls theory is presents along with some of it precursors and subsequent
elaborations. I will not document the shortcoming of this conception in any detail;
criticisms already have been voiced in numerous sources. Rather , I will portray this
theory primarily from the point of view of it adherents, and focus on it mechanistic roots.
Various phenomena that have been analyzed from a Hullian Framework, including
anxiety, conflict, frustration, social facilitation,, and cognitive dissonance, will be
examined because they are particularly relevant to human motivation.
Mechanistic Learning Theory Prior to Hull
Hullian theory was partly derived from, and is part of the context of, the growth and
centrality of learning theory in the US. This field of study dominated psychology from its
initial experimental beginnings until, perhaps, 1955. In the early 1900s, operant or
instrumental learning was first systematically examined by Edward Thorndike (1911).
Thorndike began his investigations in the basement of William James’ home in the mid
1870. His general procedure was to place an animals, frequently a cat or a chick, in an
enclosed box, outside of which food was placed. If the animal made the ‘’ correct’’
response the one the experimenter had designated as the response that would release it
from the box then it received the food. Thorndike observed that initially the animal
engages in relatively random (trial and error) behavior until it accidentally emits the
response that results in its release. When returned to the box, the animal makes that
response sooner and sooner. Ultimately, the correct response becomes the most
immediate in the animal’s response hierarchy, or repertoire.
To explain this change in response hierarchies, or learning, Thorndike postulated his
wellknown ‘’law of effect’’, which state that when a stimulusresponse bond is followed
by a satisfying state of affairs, the strength of the bond increases. Conversely, when a
stimulusresponse bond is followed by an annoying state of affairs, the strength of the
bond is weakened. This has been called a ‘’hedonism of the past.’’ And is contrasted with
Freud’s formulation, which is a ‘’hedonism of the future.’’ Thorndike believed that
reward or punishment strengthens or weakens the preceding response, while Freud
contented that anticipated pleasure or pain determines future response.
The law of effect has the same consequences on behavior at an individual level as
survival principles have on behavior at a species level. Assume, for example, that an
animals may run into a light or a dark compartment to seek a reward of food, which
always is located in the dark compartment. Over time, the animal will increasing choose
to run toward the dark side; soon, this will be the choice 100% of the time. Now also assume that organisms of a species can search for food during the day or during the night.
However, they are more likely to be caught and killed during the day. Over time, those
with a genetic disposition for night activity will survive; after many generations, only
those with nighttime tendencies will remain and the species therefore will be nocturnal.
Thus individual learning recapture in a short time frame the effects of nature and biology
over a long time frame.
Thorndike’s conception, like the biological account, is indeed mechanistic. No mention is
made of higher mental processes. Rather, the contiguous association of a stimulus and a
response, along with the presence of a reinforce (satisfier), produces a mechanically rigid
coupling, or an adhesion; the satisfier provides the ‘’glue’’ for the stimulusresponse
association. Hull was greatly influenced by Thorndike and accepted that reinforcement
provided the necessary ‘’cement’’ for the establishment of stimulus response connections.
Thorndike knew that if an animal was not hungry that is, was not’’motivated’’ then it
would not engage in the associated action. However, he did not incorporate motivational
rules into his behavioral system. This was precisely the problem that engaged Hull.
The Drive Concept
Prior to the advent of Hull, motivational concepts were used to explain a different set of
phenomena than those focused on by learning theorist. The behaviors seet aside for
motivation were grouped under the term instinct, the socalled inner urges that were
striving for expression. But , as already explained, the instinct doctrine was called into
question in the 1920s, primarily because it was capriciously invoked to account for all
behavior. In the face of severe criticism, the use od instinct as an explanatory principle
began to wana (see beach 1955) however, as is so often true in science, the theory or
construct did not die it was replaced. The concepts od instinct was replaced by the
concept of drive.
Early experimental investigation
Guided by the concept of drive
Various experimental procedures were established in the 1920s to assess the
strength and the consequences of deprivation (drive) on behavior. A number of studies,
particularly those by Richter (1927), demonstrated that deprivation is related to general
level of activity. That is, the greater that level of deprivation, the more active the
organism becomes until enervation from lack of food sets in . of course, id an animal is
active when deprives, it is more likely to find the needed goal object. Thus the
relationship between deprivation and activity was believed to have survival values. The
pervasive influence of Darwin thus again is evident.
In addition, Richter observed cyclical variations in behavior, with a period of
relative activity followed by a period od quiescence. In one investigation of the linkage
between periods of activity and hunger, Richter allowed rats to eat whenever they
desired. Activity level and consumption were measured. It was found that the period of
maximum food intake corresponsed to the time of maximum activity. Thus it was again
concluded that activity is related to specific physiological (tissue) deficits.
Start box▯electric Grid▯Goal object 3.1 the Columbia obstruction box
a second general experimental procedure for studying drive effect made use of what is
known as the Columbia obstruction box (see figure3.1). in investigations using this
apparatus, animals were first deprived of a commodity necessary for survival, such as
food or water. Then an incentive relevant to the drive(for example, food for a hungry
organism) was placed in the goal chamber. Between the organism and the goal object was
an electrical grid. The animal had to cross the grid and receive a shock to obtain the goal.
Investigation making use of the obstruction box varied the strength of the ‘’drive to
action’’ which was considered to be a function of the number of hours of deprivation, and
the strength of ‘’resistance,’’ which, in turn, was a function of the magnitude of shock.
The general finding was that there is a monotonic relationship between deprivation the