Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Chapter 1 discusses various types of learning. According to Powell, Symbaluk, and Honey (2009), learning is a relative permanent change in behavior that is brought about by experience. In other words, as we learn, we alter the way we perceive our environment, the way we interpret the incoming stimuli, and therefore the way we interact, or behave. Watson and Hull believed that learning is has a direct connection between the stimulus and response (Powell, Symbaluk, & Honey, 2009, pg 19). This theory is called the S-R theory.
The first type of learning that was introduced in book is latent learning. This theory of learning was proposed by Tolman and Honzik. Powell et al. (2009) said latent learning is learning that occurs despite the absence of any observable demonstration of learning and only becomes apparent under a different set of conditions. In other words, it’s a type of learning that occurs, but you don't really see it (it's not exhibited) until there is some reinforcement or incentive to demonstrate it. An example of latent learning is learning how to drive a car to get around. Children often watch their parents drive and the sometimes have the steering wheel toy and mimic what their parents are doing. Once they are older though and want their license, they read the driving manual and/or go to driving school to reinforce what they learned when they watched their parents and further learn how to drive. Another example of this is when you learn your way around an area without consciously doing much more than noticing things when you pass through it.
The second type of learning that was introduced in the book is social/observational learning. According to Powell et al. (2009), this theory, which was proposed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes the importance of behavioral learning and cognitive learning. Observational learning is learning by observing or mimicking people. People portray observational learning when they watch music videos and learn the songs and dances by mimicking what the people in the video are doing. Another great example of observational learning is depicted in the video below.
Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, P. L. (2009). Introduction to learning and behavior (3rd ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Simple Mechanisms of learning that I found most interesting were Habituation and Sensitization.
Habituation is a decrease in strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus. The best example I can think of in my everyday life is when I drive by the gas pumps. The price at the pumps would be the stimulus and the behavior was a knee jerk reaction, then you get used to it. Eventually, dishabituation ensues. Dishabituation is a return of the habituated response following the presentation of a seemingly irrelevant stimulus. The irrelevant stimulus in my continuing example is when gas goes down 2 cents. Its really irrelevant, because then you realize that it costs $66 dollars to fill our tank instead of $67.
Sensitization is the opposite, its an increase in the strength of an elicit behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus. The following video is a good example of sensitization
Startle responses according to the textbook "Introduction to Behavior and Learning" (Powell et al, 2009) is a defensive reaction to a sudden unexpected stimulus. Startle responses cause an automatic tightening of muscles as well as hormone and internal organ changes (Powell et al, 2009.) We have all felt this as some point I am sure, it isn't a pleasant feeling at the time, but if lucky enough to be caught on video watching the response can be quite entertaining. The video I included is my favorite example of startle responses, it also shows how our protective instincts kick in with startle responses.
Our startle responses are tied to our basic instinct to survive, we feel threatened so we respond. When you view the video, how do you think you would have responded? All depending on our own backgrounds and living environments we react differently. From the sources I have listed at the end they talk about how people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or high anxiety are more likely to have a higher startle response then someone without either of the two. In a study done by Arieh Y. Shalev, M.D., Tuvia Peri, Ph.D., Dalia Brandes, M.A., Sara Freedman, M.Sc., Scott P. Orr, Ph.D., and Roger K. Pitman, M.D, "they looked at the auditory startle response in trauma survivors with post traumatic stress disorder." The study proved that "differences in physiological response to startling tones develop along with PTSD in the months that follow a traumatic event. This pattern supports the theories that associate PTSD with progressive neuronal sensitization" (http://ajp.psychiatryonline.
In chapter one we wonder why we study behavior, what are human’s problems of living and what we can do to help this. To break down human’s problems of living it consists of behavioral excesses, behavioral deficits and inappropriate behavior. For example, dealing with behavioral excesses, some people are motivated to excessive alcohol consumption; they reach to this as their “problem solver.” Another example of behavioral excesses could be over eating. Many people reach out to food if he or she is depressed and all they do is eat, eat, and eat to try to make their problems go away.
Another problem some humans seem to have is behavioral deficits. Those can lead to lack of motivation. Some of us just don’t feel like getting up or even doing anything, which is not good. Everyday is a new day and we have to motivate ourselves on getting through the day. Procrastination, is another big problem us humans have today, including myself. When I’m trying to get homework done I find myself doing other little things on the side; checking my facebook, reading my mail, or even checking my work schedule online to see when I have to work. That is one big thing I have to work on myself.
Lastly, what our problems are is inappropriate behavior. The next time you go out to eat take a look around you; you can see all the little inappropriate behavior around you. To the right of you, you might have little kids screaming or even throwing food around. To the left of you, you might hear a costumer complaining about a meal and hearing them asking for a manager.
This youtube video below very interesting, it is all about procrastination.
Paying attention, retaining information or impression, producing behaviors, and being motivated to repeat the behavior are the four keys to observational learning. In terms of education, you must have be able to have the student look over your shoulder as you work. Seeing your hands from the same perspective as they see their own directs their attention to the right features of of the situation and makes the learning experience easier. This is the first element. Next is the retention... Involving mentally representing the models actions in some way, probably as verbal steps, visual images or both. Mental rehearsal or actual practice helps the process of retention. For students, motivation and reinforcement is important to their progress. They go hand in hand. Reinforcement helps maintain learning. The anticipation of being reinforced yields to being more motivated to pay attention, remember, and reproduce the behavior. The reinforcement can be direct (i.e. - saying something positive after a specific action is performed) or indirect, AKA vicarious reinforcement. Here, there is an increase chance that the individual will repeat a behavior by observing another person being reinforced for that behavior. For example, if one complements a student's illustration in a lab report, several other students who observe your compliment may mimic that action in their lab report. Self-reinforcement, controlling your own reinforces is the final form of reinforcement - both important for student and teachers. The goal is to produce people who are capable of educating themselves, then students must learn to manage their own lives, set their own goals, and provide their own reinforcement. It keeps the wheels turning for the educator.
This is just one of many ways one learns. Some of the student were not able to download a picture for their report. To resolve this issue, I taught them how to take a screenshot of their desired picture. With a screenshot, one can capture any image that is presented on the computer screen. It took a few steps, but they eventually learned it. I explained what the commands where, where the picture goes once the photo is saved, and how to add the picture to their report. Each step I took with the student was complimented with a rationale. The next week, only a few students remembered how to perform the task, but with some additional practice, they easily remembered how to do it again. Smart students!
Here is an example of observational learning. It is a video that is a little over two minutes. It is about the 1:10 mark where child understand the purpose of the toy.
Some issues are easier to learn if one observes. One great example is me and the pallet jack at work. This pallet jack is used to life a pallet and move it. Initially, it seemed like a simple concept. Please keep in mind that I had no clue how to use a pallet jack. I knew how to pull it, push it, and turn it. I did not know how to lift the two protruding arms of the jack. I made a fool of myself. I stood there for about a minute trying and couldn't figure it out. I left the jack in the parking lot and took a little walk to find another co-worker that was using one. I watched him do it. And I quickly learned the appropriate method. BAM! OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING!
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Powell, A., Symbaluk, D.G., Honey, P.L. (2010). Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational Psychology. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill.
My example goes along with the problem with using feelings to explain a situation. My feelings did not explain why I felt the need to help this man. A good point that the book mentioned was that with using internal events to explain behavior is problematic because we do not have any means of directly changing these internal events. Tolman's theory of cognitive behaviorism would better define what happened in this example, which Tolman makes use of intervening variables, and to help explain the relationship between environment and behavior. The behavior and environment is what explained the post feelings. The usual order of this is the environmental events -> the internal cognitive processes, such as expectations and hypothesis -> then the observable behavior.
One example of independent and dependent variables, is that one may believe (or hypothesize) that eating breakfast before school results in good grades. Therefore, since we know the independent variable needs to be manipulated (which would be eating breakfast or not eating breakfast) then, we would relate the grades to whether or not the student ate breakfast. If the student received good grades when eating breakfast before school, we would assume that the statement is true and that the grades (dependent variable) varied on the manipulation of whether or not the student ate breakfast (independent variable).
Here is another breakdown of an example of independent and dependent variables.
Observational learning, a part of Bandura's social learning theory, is when a person learns new behaviors through integrating behaviors of others. Bandura conducted an experiment in which he video taped a woman acting aggressively towards a Bobo doll, doing things such as kicking, punching, throwing, and hitting it with little hammers (as can be seen here). Bandura then showed the film to a group of children before letting them into a play area with the same Bobo doll. As seen in the youtube video, the children act on the doll in the same way that the woman had acted. Through this experiment, Bandura was able to look at novel acts of aggression and further theorize that many behaviors are acquired through modeling.
This video shows Skinners ideals and is actually really funny because I work at Hooter's and I'd do anything for a 50 dollar tip as well.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The early founders of behaviorism include, William James who believed that ideas and theories become true through proving their utility in an applied situation. John Watson who rejected introspective methods and wanted to restrict psychology to experimental methods in order to understand a persons "true" behavior and B.F. Skinner who conducted research on operant conditioning
Radical behaviorism is the science of behavior, it is a belief that animal behavior can be studied efficiently when compared to human behavior. It also involves that the environment can be a cause of behavior. It is different from other forms of behavior in the sense that it focuses on operant conditioning, and the use of idiosyncratic terminology.
B.F. Skinner, a psychologist was the developer of “Radical Behaviorism.” He believed that in order to better understand psychology one must study the experimental analysis of behavior. His work was focused on operant conditioning, with an emphasis on the schedule of reinforcement as an independent variable, and the rate of responding as a dependent variable.
The components of operant conditioning involve, reinforcement which is any event that strengthens or increases the behavior it follows. There is also punishment, which is the presentation of an opposite event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behavior it follows. There are both positives and negatives to reinforcement and punishment.
Today Skinner’s work is used in schools of animal training, management, clinical practice, and education.
B.F. Skinner- Modelagem Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm5FGrQEyBY
The text (2009) argues that at first, Skinner did not like the inclusion of internal events (p. 31). Personally, I find the internal events to be intriguing and useful, but Powell et al. (2009) argues you a crucial point – you cannot rely on what a person conveys as their internal behaviors as truth (p. 31). The text (2009) provides an example of children relaying their pain endurance as a way of illustrating unreliability of internal behaviors descriptions; I personally had a similar experience to the text (p. 33). One day I went over my girlfriend’s house while she was babysitting. She was taking care of a six year old boy, and that day he feel and cut open his knee. Upon asking him how bad it hurt, he said, in a whiney voice, “It feels like it was run over by a truck!” Now, I have scraped my knee before, and although it does hurt, I feel as though it pales in comparison to being run over. With that said, I feel like I have experienced a prime example as to why we cannot put full trust in the accuracy of what others tell us are their true internal behaviors/thoughts.
Because of the above mentioned problem, and many more, Skinner decided to reject “internal events as explanations for behavior; instead, he focused on the environment – in particular, the environmental consequences of our behavior – as the ultimate cause of both observable behavior and internal events” (Powell et al. p. 33). Essentially, Skinner is arguing for operant conditioning; however, Skinner believes that present behavior is incited because of past behavior that resulted in a positive reward (Powell et al. p. 35). Below is a video that may help explain the operant conditioning a bit better. I found it quite useful for my response and understanding of what was meant by response due to past experience rather than thought.