Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Premack Principle

The premack principle is based on the notion that reinforcers can be viewed as behaviors rather than stimuli. This principle states that high probability behavior can be used to reinforce a low probability behavior. For example, if you are hungry you are more likely to eat than work out. In this situation, eating food can be used to reinforce the target behavior of exercising. This video provides further examples of when the premack principle can be applied. 

Reciprocal Determinism

Reciprocal determinism is the assumption that environmental events, observable behavior, and person variables reciprocally influence each other. This term was created by Bandura and according to him, how we think can influence our environment- through environments we are in and how we perceive them. Reciprocal determinism stimulated the development of cognitive- behavior therapy. This therapy treats psychological disorders by altering environmental variables and cognitive processes. Cognitive-behavior therapy can be used to help individuals with disorders such as anxiety and depression. The attached video explains this evidence based therapy it great detail.

Chimps and American Sign Language

Something I found very interesting in this textbook was language and the abilities that animals have when it comes to language. specifically, the experiment with American sign language and chimps is what intrigued me the most. although they did not fully grasp the concept of sign language, they still were able to use what was trying to be taught to them to ask for food meaning they understood at least some of what was being taught to them. after reading about this I decided to look up videos and was very impressed with how smart these animals can be.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

The textbook talks a lot about contingencies and the four different types. Two of them being positive and negative reinforcement. Both of these things most of us should be familiar with from experience, even if you have not heard of it before taking this class. Positive reinforcement is defines as the presentation of a stimulus (one that is usually considered pleasant or rewarding) following a response, which then leads to an increase in the future strength of that response. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, is defined as the removal of a stimulus (one that is usually considered pleasant or rewarding) following a response, which then leads to a decrease in the future strength of that response.
Both of these reinforcements can be beneficial depending on your situation. For example, if you're a teacher and you have a student that does well on a paper and you want her to continue to put forth the same effort, you will praise that student individually on how well she did on the paper. this would be considered positive reinforcement. an opposite situation would be if a student did not do their homework but you want them to do it in the future, for that specific homework assignment you will give them a zero to encourage them to actually do their work the next time. this would be considered negative reinforcement.

Sign Tracking

Sign tracking is displayed when an organism approaches a stimulus that signals the presentation of an appetite event. In 1941, Pavlov reported that during a classical conditioning experiment one of his dogs approached and licked the light that signaled when food was going to be delivered. Not much attention was paid to this occurrence until recently. Sign tracking is referred to as an instance in which classical and operant conditioning overlap. In this video, raccoons in a study with placing poker chips in slots exhibit sign tracking.

Blog Post 2- Escape, Avoidance and Punishment

Blog Post 2- Escape, Avoidance and Punishment 

   Reading through this chapter I have learned that there is a two process theory that goes along with avoidance. Just through reading the chapter I was able to determine that avoidance behavior is basically when people run away from they’re problems and try to avoid it. In all honesty I am able to say I have done this before. One time I ran into a problem that I was personally scared to own up to and instead I avoided it for a couple of days. After doing that, I have honestly learned my lesson to always own up to what you do and never avoid your problems because they will only get worse. Punishment I have learned is being punished for something that you have done that isn’t correct. For example, if you break the law and steal something then as a punishment and a lesson you would spend sometime in jail.

Theory Of Mind

Theory of mind is an important social-cognitive skill that involves the ability to think about mental states, both your own as well as others. Developing this skill gives us the ability to understand that other individuals thoughts and beliefs may be different from your own and consider the factors that have led them to the mental state that they’re in. We evolve skills that help us attribute mental states, including emotions, desires, beliefs, and knowledge. 

In order to interact with others, it is important to be able to apply your existing knowledge to your current situation. Along with having the capability to connect what's going on in someone else's head to infer their intentions which influence their actions. This includes hopes, fears, beliefs, and expectations. Some social interactions can be more complex than others which can lead to misunderstandings, but once you have a firm grip on your bearings then you are able to respond accordingly. This part of a child’s developmental process is vital. 

Theory of mind can be enhanced by opportunities such as:

  • to engage in rich pretend play;

  • to talk about people’s thoughts, wants, and feelings, and the reasons why they act the way they do.

  • to hear and talk about stories, especially those involving surprises, secrets, tricks, and mistakes, that invite children to see things from different points of view (for example, Red Riding Hood doesn’t know that the wolf is dressed up as grandma).

    This video is an example of the false belief test:

    Tuning In to Others: How Young Children Develop Theory of Mind

Fixed Action Pattern

A fixed action pattern is an instinctive activity pattern that causes animals to act in a specific behavior sequence that is unique to their species. It is a pattern that is relatively unchanging within species and normally plays itself out to completion even if interrupted. These action patterns are produced by a mechanism that is called an innate releasing mechanism which is produced within a neural network. Examples of this include ducks flying in a v pattern, squirrels that bury nuts, and spiders making webs.  


Simply put, dishabituation is the way we respond to an old stimulus as if it were new again. When we repeatedly experience a stimulus, we eventually get used to it, and stop responding the same way we did when we first encountered it. We become habituated to it and stop paying attention until we are given a new stimulus.Then when we are once again given the original stimulus, we respond to it with a renewed interest. The previous habituation to it has been reversed.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic

Motivated Behavior is typically driven by one of two forms of motivation.

  • Extrinsic- motivated to perform an activity by gaining a reward and avoiding punishment.

  • Extrinsic comes from within.

  • Intrinsic- motivated to perform and activity due to your own personal reward, goal and/or interest. 

  • Intrinsic comes from outside forces.

( Both are derived from some type of incentive. )


Habituation is a decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentations. It is considered to be one of the simplest and most common forms of learning. Habituation allows people to tune out non-essential stimuli and focus on the things that really demand attention. If the habituation stimulus is not presented for a long enough period before a sudden reintroduction, the response will once again reappear at maximum strength.  This is something that happens regularly in your everyday life and it often goes unrecognized.  

Classical versus Operant Conditioning

    During Classical conditioning, behavior is involuntary and inflexible. The behavior is elicited by the stimulus. Conditioning deals with stimulus-responce. During Operant conditioning ,the behavior is voluntary and flexible. The behavior also is emitted by the organism. This type of conditioning deals with a stimulus-responce, just like Operant Conditioning. This conditioning usually does not involve patterns of behavior that are innate.

Pavlovs Classical Conditioning

Pavlov's Classical Conditioning:

Classical conditioning is thinking by interaction and has been developed by Pavlov. In basic words , two inputs are connected together to produce a new acquired reaction in a human or animal. There are three stages of classical conditioning which are Before Conditioning, During Conditioning and After Conditioning

Negative reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is a term described by B.F. Skinner in his theory of operant conditioning. He explains it as a response or behavior that is strengthened by stopping, removing, or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus. 

Think of this reinforcement as something being subtracted from the situation. 

Negative reinforcement uses two different types of behaviors: escape and avoidance. 

In escape behavior the occurrence of the behavior terminates the aversive stimulus. Where in avoidance behavior, the occurrence of the behavior prevents the presentation of an aversive stimulus. 

Both escape and avoidance are types of negative reinforcement, both result in an increase of the behavior that terminated or avoided the aversive stimulus. Both create emotional responses that say, phew, thank god that is over. 

This reinforcement is seen most effective when reinforcers are presented immediately following a behavior. When a long period elapses between the behavior and the reinforcer, the response is likely to be weaker. 

For example, with animals the beep on the shock collar before the shock. The dog is now aware of what that noise means due to its conditioning history that the beep predicts pain if the current behavior continues. 

Example of Negative reinforcement in the show Big Bang Theory:

Self-Awareness and Differentiating Self From Others

There is a self-awareness test called mark and mirror task designed by Gordon Gallup, an animal behaviorist, and Beulah Amsterdam, a clinical child psychologist. This test was invented to understand the ability to see oneself as separate from others. Both researchers knew that young children and apes had a liking for mirrors, but were curious if they were using them for the same purpose. 

We are not innately self-aware. Once we develop this state of mind we gain the ability to notice our traits, behaviors, and feelings. Changing our focus and applying our attention to ourselves. Allowing us to achieve differentiation so we can truly understand our experience and learn from situations in our environment with people we are connected to.

Quote from Gordon Gallup: 

“Once you can become the object of your own attention, and you can begin to think about yourself, you can use your experience to infer comparable experiences in others.” 

It is found that both humans and animals develop self recognition before the age of 3. 

Video explaining Gordon Gallup mark and mirror task:

Monkeys seem to recognize their reflections : Nature News & Comment

Blog Post 1- Classical Conditioning: Underlying Processes and Practical Aplications

Blog Post 1- Classical Conditioning: Underlying Processes and Practical Applications

               While reading throughout this chapter it has helped me gain not only knowledge about Classical conditioning, but also all of the processes and practical applications that go along with it. One of the things that definitely stood out to me the most in this chapter is "Additional Factors in Phobic Conditioning." As stated on page 186, not all phobias are not always received through  a direct process of what is called classical conditioning. In fact, something that I had learned throughout this chapter that I thought was very interesting and something that I did not know was that many people who have phobias do not particularly recall any symptoms that are related to any classical conditioning as mentioned in this chapter. "Temperament is an individual's level of emotional reactivity, which is to a large extent genetically determined" (powell 187).  I personally believe that this means that when someone gets upset it's dependent on their level of emotions, how badly they react. 

Schedules of Reinforcement

How Reinforcement Schedules Work
Skinner's operant conditioning is based through rewards and punishments for behavior. Either positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement may be used as a part of operant conditioning. In both cases, the goal of reinforcement is to strengthen a behavior so that it will likely occur again. A schedule of reinforcement defines which instances of behavior would be reinforced. As the book states, "a schedule indicates what exactly has to be done for the reinforcer to be delivered. A continuous reinforcement schedule is one in which each specified response is reinforced, while a partial reinforcement schedule is one in which only some responses are reinforced. The occurrence of a reinforcement is critical to the learning process and the likelihood of increasing a response.

Understanding Phobias

A to Z: List of Phobias, From the Strange to the CommonClassical conditioning occurs when a conditioned stimulus (CS) is associated with an unrelated stimulus (US) to produce a behavioral response otherwise known as a conditioned response (CR). This learning process occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. What I found interesting is it's involvement in the development of fears and anxieties. Phobias are "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something." As the book states, "a conditioned fear response can be elicited by a previously neutral stimulus that has been associated with an aversive stimulus. In most cases, this sort of fear conditioning is a highly adaptive process because it motivates the individual to avoid a dangerous situation." Phobias however, occasionally become exaggerated due to this. Irrational fears develop from the CR which lead to over-generalization, "a conditioned fear response can be elicited by a previously neutral stimulus that has been associated with an aversive stimulus. In most cases,this sort of fear conditioning is a highly adaptive process because it motivates the individual to avoid a dangerous situation."

Social Learning Theory

How Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory Works

Albert Bandura's social learning theory acknowledges other behaviorist learning theories such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning. However, he adds behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning and that mediating processes occur between stimuli & responses. As the book states, "Bandura was very much interested in imitation, which he referred to as observational learning. It strongly emphasizes the importance of observational learning and cognitive variables in explaining human behavior." Bandura's social learning theory is especially applicable to children's development. Children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school. They pick up behavior from their environment which is why it is important for those models to display behavior they wish to see in their children.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that results in someone having abnormally low body weight, in fact <85% normal body weight. Someone with this disorder has a constant fear of gaining weight because they fear of becoming fat, or just want to control their weight and shape of their bodies. These people do not eat, or eat very very little throughout the day, to prevent gaining weight, which can impact their health severely. People with this disorder also can exercise excessively, and even if they lose weight, their fear of gaining weight does not go away. Many with anorexia have this drive for thinness and this disorder can be a way to deal with emotional issues. Anorexia is very life threatening and can be super detrimental to someone's health. People with anorexia often have a distorted view of their own body.
However, treatment can help someone develop better eating habits and take away the complications of anxiety. Some of the symptoms include really thin appearance, fatigue, extreme weight loss, low blood pressure, dehydration.