Tuesday, July 13, 2010
As a psychology major I thought “Learning Theory and Research” was a great class. I was familiar with the basics of classical and operant conditioning but I never realized how much more depth there was to the topic. In addition to the history of how these theories came to be, I found it interesting to learn about different ways psychologists do their research and how they form their ideas. Even if you did not want to study psychology in depth the class still explains many things that would help even the ordinary person, whether a parent, teacher, or student through challenges that are presented daily.
What I liked Best:
The thing I liked best about the class was definitely how easy the textbook is to follow. I like the way the author explains it with the definition and then gives you real life examples to illustrate how the concepts can be seen every day. Also, “Advice for the Lovelorn” and “And furthermore” sections were great and keep you involved in the reading. My favorite part that we learned about was how even some disorders are learned. I never realized that due to behavior and learning people develop some of the problems talked about in the book. I thought the concept of avoidance and escape were the most fascinating since they begin to explain repression and dissociative identity disorder.
Monday, July 12, 2010
This particular Psychology class “Learning Theory and Research with Professor Berg was filled with a variety of concepts from Historical Background of studying learning and behavior to Classical Conditioning. The textbook alone went in to great detail of how each theory stands alone but how each theory was built upon another. Research methods as well as its results were greatly noted and later tested for their validation. This course also reviewed many well-known and important psychologists that posed great impact on learning, behavior, and research. That was needed to further and promote success throughout history. A few of these very such psychologist are Hull, Skinner, Pavlov, among many others. I feel that this psychology class has offered me a small glimpse of how important psychology is to my everyday life and for its ultimate existence. Like it was written in the first few lines in our classroom textbook that many principles will be discussed and learned and that those very principles will alone me to improve in so many facets of my life and that learning about them in this course will make be better all together.
My favorite topics that I enjoyed in this course were in Operant Conditioning, because it best describes how I at this point in my life approach situations that being college, my marriage, and most importantly parenting. This involves a type of learning that is greatly affected by consequences. Along with Reinforcement, positive is always what one strives for but we also learning and change behavior through either form of reinforcement. Shaping is also a great procedure that helps any such person grow, learn and improve their present and future behaviors. Shaping behavior by reinforcing small steps toward a future goal is one of great importance. This course also covered how Punishment can be used and put into effect to bring about great influence and consistent episodes of good behavior. I feel that this course helped me to grasp the importance of Learning and how it is a behavioral adaptation that allows an organism to survive or thrive in its environment. And how Behavior can be observed, and how theories can allow us to learn and foster growth.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
This course addressed the workings of some of the most well known psychologist such as Albert Bandura, B.F. Skinner, Freud, Darwin, and Watson. We touched base with a bunch of different topics and received a lot of insight pertaining to each of them. The breakdown of vocabulary was very helpful also because in order to completely understand the material you had to know what certain words meant such as convert behavior, functional relationships, appetitive stimulus, contiguity, and the list continues. Also abbreviated words that were introduced, US, CS, UCS, CR. The different chapters went in depth with information but I really enjoyed the chapter that covered operant conditioning. Operant conditioning was mainly proposed by B.F. Skinner and the use of his Skinner box. He had an experiment with a bird that should learn that certain stimuli and reactions result in a positive outcome (being fed). Reinforces then took place, being positive or negative, and primary or secondary. There was then the breakdown schedules of reinforcement, and how they are classified as continuous or intermittent. There were different type’s schedules which included fixed duration (FD), variable duration (VD), three types of response rate schedules, and two types of noncontingent schedules.
There were many chapters that I enjoyed but the one that interest me the most was about punishments because as a child I was familiar with if I did something good I was rewarded (positive reinforcement "consists of the presentation of a stimulus following a response, which then leads to an increase in the future strength of that response"). If I did something bad I had a negative punishment (negative reinforcement is the removal of an unpleasant stimulus that leads to an increase in the future response). Another chapter that interest me was high order conditioning. High order conditioning is defined as when a stimulus is associated with a conditioned stimulus, it can become a conditioned stimulus itself. My parents used these tactics to keep me away from things that they foreseen to be dangerous or simply didn’t want me near.
Life is all about operant conditioning from everything around us. From the time we wake up from the sound of an alarm clock makes us wake up, to the point where we are driving down the road waiting for a read light to turn green we are conditioned to these aspects as to where we have to wait to proceed. This is a simple video of teaching your dog behavior.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
This course was definately eye-opening and interesting. I learned a lot about different types of research methods and different types of reinforcers and punishments. As as parent, learning about these different methods are important to me and it was interesting to see what different types of punishments are positive and negative and how they affect those being punished. This course seemed to cover more material than most psychology courses that I have taken and has also been a lot more appealing to read the information and I actually wanted to know more about it. I enjoyed learning about different types of conditioning and responses to stimuli. Everything that I have learned in this course can easily be applied to real life situations and as a result of taking this course, I feel that I will be more readily able to handle such situations.
My favorite part of the course by far has been learning about the different types of punishments. I picked this topic to do a previous post on because it related to my role as a mother. As a parent, you never quite know the correct way to discipline your child. Going over the types of punishment: time out and response cost, made me realize that as my son gets older, i am going to use the time out method of punishment for him. I found that i would also like to use an intrinsic form of punishment and if my son does something that I do not approve of, then the punishment (time out) will be given because of the activity that he did.
I am so glad I chose this course because it gave me insight into parenting styles that I can use throughout the years and inform those who may be doing something wrong about the more acceptable way of doing things.
I love the good old days from Jon & Kate Plus 8 : )
A great example of TIME OUT! : )
My favorite part of the course would have to be classical conditioning. I know that classical conditioning is part of almost every college psychology course you will take but it still interests me everytime. I am actually in the process of classical conditioning my kitten. My fiance and I just recently got a kitten for our daughters third birthday. We got the kitten around the same time that I started this course, which sort of provoked me to classically condition my kitten. So, I have started a very simple experiment where I ring my guniea pigs bell rite before I feed the kitten. So far it has not worked but I am sure that it will with much persistance. I also have come to the conclusion that it probably has not worked because first, it is too soon and two because she has been wearing a bell around her neck on her collar since the day that we got her.
Here is a video of a cat being classically conditioned and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed this class.
I believe this theory is especially relevant when raising children. Children want to mimic and be just like their parents. They can not tell right from wrong yet, so they look to their parents to set the example. This seems easy enough, but we all know this is not the case since every parent unfortunatley does not act responsilbly. I attached a video clip that depicts social learning theory well and I feel everyone can relate to their own lives.
**This video is harsh, but shows what growing children can observe from their parents**
The topic I found to be most interesting was the section of chapter 5 on understanding phobias. As I mentioned in a previous post both myself and my sister have had to deal with a phobia for a large part of our lives so it was great to see how these fears may have developed or how I could go about treating them. Until taking this course I never thought of any fear I had as something that could have been conditioned but I learned that the fear response that I felt was most likely caused by the association of a previously non-harmful or minimally harmful stimulus which can lead to irrational fear.
This video discusses phobias in children and how it may be treated or transferred from their parents. The treatment process described in the video is similar to that of systematic desensitization. If you are interested youtube has a ton of videos on phobias, both on how to cure them and just showing people's crazy reactions to their fear.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my fascination with this course and psychology in general is the idea of observational learning. I support Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory, which relates to behaviors of imitation and mostly states that one's environment and internal events influence behavior. This means that whomever raises a child will most likely influence the child's behavior depending on what the child witnesses in younger years. In other words, a child witnessing harmful behavior by a guardian may act out such behavior towards others because this is what the child has learned as the way to behave. This, of course, is only one example as to how observational learning can develop. Many positive things can come from this as well and the following video shows how observational learning can sometimes teach good qualities.
The course content can be applied to real-life situations through the ideas of Bandura and this video, but also how there are positive or negative reinforcements for every action taken. For example, a negative reinforcement happens every time you swat away a fly. The fly flies away and, therefore, you learn to swat whenever there is a fly around you. Another example is operant conditioning that can be found in many situations. The way a parent disciplines a child can show operant conditioning. For example, a parent assigning the child to a "time-out" will most likely make the child not repeat the afore behavior. This course directly applies to real-life situations in mainly all ways.
Shaping was the most interesting part of the text. Positive and negative reinforcement is a good tool, but what happens when the stimulus never occurs? If it doesn't happen naturally, it seemed there isn't a way to reinforce the behavior. But shaping is a solution to that problem because it gradually creates a new operant behavior through reinforcement of successive approximations to that behavior.
I enjoyed this topic the most because it can apply to everyday life, not just laboratory settings. It used to seem that things such as behavior could never be an exact science because of the gift of free will, but now I see that human tendencies are similar. You could take reinforcement into any situation past the obvious child raising. It could be applied to a roommate situation, trying to set a stimulus and reinforce a clean habit. It could be applied to a work situation as the boss trying to shape a new employee.
Friday, July 9, 2010
One of my favorite topics covered in the text was Extinction. I had never heard of the term like this before. Extinction is defined as “the non reinforcement of a previously reinforced response, the result of which is a decrease in the strength of that response.” This can be a helpful tool when it comes to time outs. Instead of yelling at the child causing more of a scene and giving the child the attention they want when they’re misbehaving, simply placing them calmly into time out can help in eliminating the behavior. The child will know that if they behave badly they will be placed in time out, which results in nothing beneficial from their viewpoint, so their behavior will improve. Although, it may take several tries for the behavior to improve, over time the bad behavior will subside.
Another topic of interest to me was the Premack Principle. It says that “a high –probability behavior can be used to reinforce a low-probability behavior.” For example if a child wants to go outside and play with his friends he has to clean his room first. The lower probability of cleaning his room is done first so that he can go outside and play with his friend which is the higher probability. The Premack Principle can be utilized in so many different ways. Here is a video that applies to dog training.
I have been able to take the topics and subjects that were learned in this class and apply them to my everyday life. The topics of Positive and Negative reinforcement as well as punishment have helped me understand better ways of using them for not only discipline, but also using them to build self esteem, independence, and responsibility when it comes to raising children. Being that I am expecting my first child in December I will definitely use what I have learned from this class when utilizing these tools.
On the other hand, he also talks about punishment. He views it very unlikely for children to learn their lessons in a time-out situation. He comically rattles off the scenerios of what might be going on in a childs mind during these punishments to show how they are ineffective.
Alfie Kohn believes that a student that has already recieved the A that they were looking for, all the motivation to keep going is lost. They seem to be less interested in learning the material and more interested in the A to show their parents.
The meaning of self-control is one's ability to control one's emotions, behavior and desires in order to efficiently manage one's future. I would have to state that returning to college after years away, which labels me as a Non-traditional student here at Stockton has been very stressful but in many ways, but in other ways very satisfying and personally fullfilling. I feel that as an adult student I am able to maintain self-control better then if I were to have attended college at a younger age.My self-direction has proven to be a very significant attribute that has allowed me to maintain a 3.6 . Most college students are experiencing "Erikson's 'identity vs. role diffusion" stage were maintaining self-control is a little bit more diffucult. Were for explain a student such as myself (36) seek education for personal fufillment or financial requirements such as family commitments.
For each groups of the traditional and non-traditional students are biggest task is to allow our emotions to be present but to be maintained under good management. Students most also learn appropriate channels to release any frustration or irritations before they become unruly or take over or worst compromise one's academic journey in a negative way.
I have grown throughout this journey along with my family. I have been able to show my children that maintaining good self-control can bring about great success. That managing emotions, developing great relationships, establishing a great identity that includes purpose will in return develop integrity.
I feel that through this experience I have learned and my family as well that the underlining meaning of self-control is that we all most learn that there are consquences to one's actions, both good or bad, but still consquences and that to always strive for more postive then negative ones. To always remember that learning self-control is a life-long process.
Here is a video that relates to self control,
Thursday, July 8, 2010
There is also more information on a typical experiment that is done involving rats and poisoning them if you would like to read more about it. I understand why they are necessary but I am still trying to get past all the horrible animal tests.
Latent inhibition occurs because we are more likely to associate a relatively novel item, such as an usual liquor, with sickness than we would a more familiar item such as beer. After I read about taste aversion conditioning I actively payed attention to how many times it effected myself or someone I knew. My sister has had many instances with limes in her drinks that ended unfavorably and instead of recognizing the real problem, she believes if she removes the lime flavor that she will avoid the sickness to follow. This is just one of many examples, if you ask anyone I am sure they will be able to give you many ways taste aversion conditioning has effected their lives as well.
There are some videos on Youtube showing taste aversive conditioning but nothing I could find was scholarly. If you are interested there is a video "Why I hate bananas"(a girl singing about taste aversion). I doubt anyone will learn from this but it is pretty funny.
Treating a phobia is normally done with 1 of 2 techniques. Systematic desensitization or flooding. Systematic desensitization works by exposing the patient to increasing levels of stressful stimuli while at the same time using relaxation techniques. This is counter conditioning. Flooding simply works by exposing the patient to the stressful stimuli, and taking away the option of avoiding the stimuli. These techniques can be gradual and take a certain amount of time. I'm assuming the length of the treatment depends on the level of stress the patient feels when exposed to the stimuli. However the video I found shows a therapist who claims to be able to treat a phobia in as little as 3 hours. I found this very interesting and thought you might too. This is the first of a 3 part video. I am only posting the first in order to save room on the blog but if you are interested the other parts can be found on youtube.
WARNING!!! This video has a snake in it, if you happen to have a fear of snakes you may not want to watch it. I know I wouldn't want to watch a video of a giant spider...
One of the most interesting topics to me, covered in the text, was high order conditioning. High order conditioning is defined as when a stimulus is associated with a conditioned stimulus, it can become a conditioned stimulus itself. For example, my 2 year old son, Ryan was always told to stay away from the water at my mom's house. She lives right on the bay and feels it is dangerous for the kids to be near. So since he was walking, she would tell him, don't go near the water, their are crabs in it and they will pinch you. My father followed this up by showing him a crab, which scared him. Now, a year from when this began, when he sees water, he immediately associates it with the crabs that he is afraid of. This hold true when it comes to a pool, the ocean, or water at a water park. His aversion to water isn't a phobia, because he eventually will go in the water. It is more of a hesitation. Regardless, it stems from his fear of the crabs "pinching his toes."
Another topic that I truly enjoyed was on positive punishment and reinforcement as well as negative punishment and reinforcement. So much of it I can apply to the way that I discipline and teach my own children. Positive reinforcement is something that I have always tried to implement with my kids and after reading the text on the subject, I feel even stronger about using it more often. It is something that really works and anything that will help make my job as a parent any easier is something that is of great value to me. Below is a great youtube video that illustrates these terms perfectly.
When I signed up for this course, I really didn't expect that it would be so applicable to daily life. In each chapter, I found a way to relate to different terms, experiments and ideas. Just yesterday, I took my kids to the water park and noticed that when an alarm sounded, a bucket dumped water and the children that liked getting wet ran toward it and the children that didn't like being splashed ran away. It took one or two times of this happening before my kids made their decisions and knew which way to go as soon as they heard that alarm. I stopped for a minute to really take note of the fact that operant conditioning is all around us. For me, this shows how valuable this course really was and walking away from it, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot.
A typical example is getting your child to sleep through the night. You put your baby to bed in their crib and, at some point, they begin to cry. A lot of parents implement an extinction method of letting the child "cry it out." Instead of running to their child's whimper, they allow the child to see that their mom or dad is not going to jump every single time, and this signals that it really is bedtime. This method takes a few days to fully implement but, as with any extinction, day by day it gets easier, and the child cries less. Eventually, you will have a child that sleeps through the night. Everyone seems to win, parent and child.
On the other side of the coin, what other behavior are you extinguishing. A baby comes to rely on its parents and is secure in the fact that their mom or dad will be there for them when needed. By using the cry it out method, are you teaching your children the opposite? Are you conditioning your kids to not trust the fact that you will always be there? Some believe that this is far-fetched and that they are only babies, while others strongly believe the opposite. Either way, this is a prime example of a method of extinction that is commonly used in many households today.
People have always said yawns are contagious, but who knew that there was actually something called contagious behavior! Contagious behavior is defined as a more or less instinctive or reflexive behavior triggered by an occurrence of the same behavior in another individual. The first example in the text was yawning. (pg 459) Contagious behavior is apparent in humans and also in some animals. Fear is another thing that is ‘contagious.’ Ducks are another example, when a flock of ducks are together and one duck flies off, all the other ducks follow, even if there is not potential danger. Laughing can also be seen under contagious behavior. People usually do not laugh all that much when they are alone for example watching a funny movie, but when with a group or crowd of people laughing is contagious. Television programs know this and that is why there are laughing tracks or live audiences laughing in comedy shows.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Here is an interesting video that discusses this topic:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
But what if the CS are memories and thoughts? In the "and Furthermore" section in the textbook on pages 346-347 the author talks about the idea of repression as avoidance. It suggests that the classically conditioned response of fear to the stimulus of traumatic memories will cause the operant conditioning, that avoiding these types of thoughts by removing them from conscious awareness will negatively reinforce the repression. I never thought that something like repression would be learned the same way that Pavlov and Skinner taught their animals.
Monday, July 5, 2010
There are videos on youtube that use a lab rat to illustrate this type of stimulus but I'm not too familiar with uploading videos to blogs. Check it out if you can.
Many protest this, feeling that it is inhumane and unethical, to the point where the UN has stepped in debating whether or not this is a form of torture. Many parents back the Center up, claiming that their children have benefited from this type of treatment. I personally feel that this crosses a line and that behavior can be modified in ways that are not painful to the child.
**The clip doesn't seem to be working. You can watch the entire report on Nightline at this link
The title of the piece is "Treatment or Torture"