Saturday, May 28, 2011

Motivation- Post 1- "It's not my fault, it's my parents!"

Genetic predisposition is defined in the lecture slides as "genetically related individuals [who] are similarly vulnerable to drug experimentation and addiction". In fact, many people claim that their addictions to various drugs, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine, can be blamed on their genetics. According to, genetics only contributes half to addiction, while failure to cope is the other half. Also, children of parents who are addicted are eights times more likely to be addicts themselves.

Also, it has been theorized that humans are hardwired for addiction, as it serves as an evolutionary advantage. We are made to pay special attention to salience, or special relevance. Drugs have the ability to take advantage of this "special programming" by heightening our decision making skills, conditioning, memory, thus sending the aforementioned salience into high gear. This, my friends, is what causes the craving. And although some people are more susceptible to addiction, if anyone is exposed to an addictive substance for too long, genes won't matter anymore. At that point, the other side of addiction, failure to cope, is to blame.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Post 1-Learning

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

Post 1 Chapter 3

In Chapter 3 we discussed Elicit Behaviors, Simple Mechanisms of Learning, and Classical Conditioning. An elicit behavior is one that is automatically drawn out by a certain stimuli. A reflex is the most basic form of these. Several noteworthy reflexes are the Startle Response, a defensive reaction to a sudden unexpected stimulus, and the orienting response, when we automatically position ourselves to facilitate attending to a stimulus (turning around when something taps your shoulder). A good example of these reflexes is demonstrated in the video at this link.
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 and PTSD

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" (

Sources -- very interesting had a list of the basic ways people react to startling stimuli

Stimulus and Response for Animals

Stimulus is any change in an organism’s environment that causes the organism to respond. An example can be an animal that is cold has to move into the sun to get warm. Response is how the organism reacts to a stimulus and results in a change in behavior. An example can be getting a drink when you are thirsty. Plants also respond to their environment when they grow with the help of the sun which is called phototropism. There are two types of stimuli; external is a stimulus that comes from outside an organism. Internal is stimulus that comes from inside an organism. Animals respond to stimuli in two ways, a way that they learned which learned behavior. A way that they were just born with it which we call instinct. An example of a learned behavior can be a Lion teaching his puppies how to hunt for food, another can be teaching a dog a trick. An example of an instinct can be when an animal runs away from danger this a natural reaction for the animal to get away from danger and get to safety. Animals will find themselves a home or make a home because they need shelter to survive. Animals will naturally look for food and water. Is very interesting to learn about animals we always have them around us but sometimes we don’t understand some of their responses and actions. In this video that i found in you tube talks about what i was talking about in relation to stimulus and response.

Post #1 - Humans Problems

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.

POST #1 - Observational Learning

OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING: Albert Bandura became the dominant researcher in this field of Social Learning. Observational learning is defined as learning by observation and imitation of others. This is one of my favorite methods of learning. As a future teacher, I have noticed this a lot during the observation of my a fourth grade class.

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!

Bandura is famous for the concept of observational learning ENJOY!

.eron ladia

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.

Post One

Skinners version of behaviorism was know as radical behaviorism which emphasizes the influence of the environment on overt behavior, he believes that thoughts and feelings are behaviors that need to be explained. On the other hand sometimes our physical behaviors are difficult to explain and can't be backed up by our feelings. For example in chapter one, when there is an emergency we act on impulse or just do something without knowing why we did it. There are three different ways in which a person can react to an emergency, emergency ->feelings of concern ->provide help or provide help -> emergency -> feelings of concern, or emergency -> provide help -> feelings of concern. Personally, I was encountered with an emergency where a man driving on his motorcycle in front of me got in an accident, and without though I jumped out of my car and tried to pull the motorcycle off of him and then reacted. I would compare this example to the third type of situation.

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.

Post One - Research Methods

Chapter two discusses research methods. All scientific research involves a variable, which is something that can take on value - variables can be both manipulated and measured. A variable is a characteristic person, place, or thing that can vary (is changeable) over time; some examples includes height, weight, etc. (powell, 51). When experimenting, it is often important to include both an independent and a dependent variable to show how the change in one variable may or may not affect the other variable. During the experiment, the independent variable varies when subject to the different conditions. The independent variable is manipulated throughout the experiment. On the other hand, the dependent variable is the measurable part of the experiment and varies (freely, not manipulated) and thus shows us if it was affected by the manipulation of the independent variable. Depending on the changes of the independent variable, the dependent variable may change (powell, 52).

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.


  Behavior and what drives us to do the things we do. Why do we behave the way we do, why do we all behave and react to things differently, and what stimulates us to do what we do weather positive or negative. After reviewing slide shows one, two and three; could thoughts be studied without observing behavior? In my opinion no because you think to take action therefore action which can be translated into behavior can allow a person to understand or assume what the individual was thinking and/ or feeling. It is in fact people’s behavior that matters it dictate whether or not you want to be around the person. Someone who executes themselves in a particular fashion maybe similar to yours one in a way in which you admire encourages you to continue to be around that person.  Also mentioned that what we say is also behavior; verbal behavior. This also dictates whether or not you wish to surround yourself by the individual because it also is a judge of character and the overall behavior of the person.
     The flaws in behavior are Behavioral Excesses, Behavioral Deficits, and Inappropriate behavior. Behavioral Excesses as in over-eating, excessive alcohol consumption, which in itself alters behavior especially excessive alcohol consumption. These behavior excesses can also be the result of over compensation and used as a way to deal and cope with difficult life experiences. Behavioral Deficits as in shyness, procrastination, Lack of motivation, can isolate someone therefore lacking interacting skills. This behavior down fall can also be the result of an illness or disorder.  Inappropriate behavior when a problem is when and where certain behavior occurs, rather than what it is -- as in exhibitionism. I believe anyone can experience inappropriate behavior at someone point or situation in their life. Technology of behavior I believe is influence through time and maturity, situations and experiences and the overall of wanting to change any which of these behavioral flaws.
     Anything can influence behavior. ANYTHING! “Control; we are victims of our thoughts and feelings, when others influence our emotions they gain control of our behavior. Counter control; we can deliberately change our environment and circumstances which will in turn effect our behavior.” It is so easy, especial as a female (stereotypically), to allow your emotions to gain power of you. It then not only effects your overall domineer it can then affect relationships, work behavior, driving, etc to where you have absolutely to control over what is going on in your life. Everyone has their own way of coping, while some may struggle to gain control of their emotions. On a more positive note, some believe the myth that when you are truly in love in influences your behavior, it make you “stupid” and you become a selfless person and you have this new obsession in which your life now  revolves around. That can manipulate your behavior; drastically, whether it is for better or worse. To counter control your emotions is not always easy but is an opinion. You can get out of the situation, vacation, therapy whatever tactic that allows you to regain control over your emotions and behavior.
     I believe we are essentially driven by emotions. Male or female, it is our emotions that inspire us to create our lives and to behave in a certain fashion. Why do we behave the way we do, why do we all behave and react to things differently; our past and the way it which it affected us determines how we will handle and cope with similar situations. What stimulates us to do what we do weather positive or negative; emotions effect behavior, and depending on different responses to our behavior then with determine how we will want to behave.
A simple and brief example;

Post One- Observational Learning

"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." - Albert Bandura, 1977

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.

Bandura, along with his developing theory, created steps that are necessary to complete the observational learning process. The first, being attention, explains that in order to learn something, one must be paying attention. Retention is the second step, where storage of the observed practices is crucial to reproduce such actions, which is step 3. This is where one actually performs the observed behavior, which is guided by motivation (which is step 4). A person has to be motivated to repeat the action that has been retained and reproduced. These abilities are seen in even very small children, as shown in this video:

Observational learning is something that every person does in their lifetime. Learning from only your own behaviors wouldn't get you very far, would it?

One - Animal Behaviorism

When talking about behavior and controlling it there has to be two kinds of variables: independent and dependent. The depended variable is something that is consistant like kind of animal and the independent variable is the kind of stimulus. The kind of relationship between these two factors is a cause and effect relationship. B.F. Skinner used classical conditioning to control the response of dogs when they heard a bell to salivate in response to the presentation of food. After enough repeated trials, the dogs salivated by hearing the bell alone without the food being present.

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

Post One-Radical Behaviorism

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:

Post One: Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism

According to Powell et al. (2009), Skinner’s “version of behaviorism, known as radical behaviorism, emphasizes the influence of the environment on overt behavior, rejects the use of internal events to explain behavior, and views thoughts and feelings as behaviors that themselves need to be explained” (p. 30). Powell et al. (2009) then go on to explain, “Radical behaviorism does not completely reject the inclusion of internal events in a science of behavior; it merely rejects the use of these events as explanations for behavior (p. 30). Unlike Watson, Skinner does not reject “internal events;” therefore, he has two branches of events to count for (Powell et al. p. 30). These two branches are covert and overt. Covert – which are “internal events, such as sensing, thinking, and feeling,” are defined as “private behaviors that are subject to the same laws of learning as ‘overt’ or publically observable behaviors (Powell et al. p. 30). This definition gave Skinner the ability to include internal events for “analysis of behavior” (Powell et al. p. 30).

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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Post Three - Extinction

Through operant conditioning we have learned that reinforces are used to strengthen a behavior. Those same behaviors can also be weekend though a process called extinction.  Extinction “is the nonreinforcement of a previously reinforced response”.   As a result of extinction, the probability of the behavior decreases until it does not occur any longer.
Once the correct reinforcer is discovered and eliminated, extinction will occur over time.  There is a possibility that side effects will appear in the beginning, and it is important to note that they do not necessarily mean that the missing reinforcer was the wrong one. The first and most common side effect is called extinction burst.  At first, when the behavior does not produce the normal response, the subject will react by performing the behavior more frequently and forcefully in an effort to make create the missing behavior.
Extinction causes increases in variability as well. When the behavior does not occur, the subject will do different things, such as using the other hand to press a button that delivers food, hoping to cause the desired outcome.  When this tactic does not work, the subject suffers emotional behavior, mostly aggression.  Animals and humans alike will often times act out by yelling or becoming more aggressive towards others, when the reinforcers are absent. Lastly, when nothing successfully stops the extinction, the subject may become depressed. “Depression following the loss of a major reinforcer should be regarded as a normal aspect of disengagement from that reinforcer.”

In the video, a young man exhibits extinction bursts that most of us have probably experienced (especially the soda machine!!). 

Post Two - Elicited Behavior

To fully understand classical conditioning in chapter three, one must have a grasp on elicited behaviors. An “elicited behavior is one that is automatically drawn out by a certain stimulus.” The reaction to the stimulus can be viewed as involuntary, or unlearned. The book uses an example of a gunshot.  When a person jumps in response to the loud noise, they are experiencing an involuntary reaction.
There are different types of elicited behaviors that we experience. Reflexes such as salivating are the most basic since they can be brought about by only one gland or a small set of muscles. Other reflexes, such as the startle response and the orienting response, employ coordinated action of many body parts to be successful. The startled response causes automatic tightening of skeletal muscles. The defensive reaction occurs when we are exposed to sudden and unexpected stimuli; it is the body’s way of preparing for “fight or flight” mode.  This reflex and many others are thought to enable survival.
The structure that underlies many of our reflexes is called a reflex arc.  The arc consists of a “sensory neuron, an interneuron, and a motor neuron.”  Together, these neurons work to understand and react to stimuli without our awareness or help.  When we touch something hot, our reaction to let go happens before our mind is told that we are experiencing pain.  It is the reflex arc that interprets the danger message and reacts to it without our knowledge.

Babies are born with reflexes, some that will disappear as the get older, in order to help them survive. The rooting reflex occurs when the baby feels stimulus on one side of their cheek and turn toward that direction.  This reaction is supposed to help them find the nipple, which is their source of food. 

Post One - Independent and Dependent Variables

Chapter two deals with Research methods.  When working with a hypothesis, data from research is collected and the findings are applied to the theory.  There are many ways to conduct an experiment but “all scientific research involves the manipulation and or measurement of certain variables”.  It is important therefore, to understand what a variable is and how to manipulate or measure it in order to get usable results.
            A variable is a “characteristic of a person place or thing” that is possible to change over time or circumstance.  The book cites marital status as an example of a variable since there is a possibility for change. Over time, a person may go from single to married or perhaps from married to divorced. 
            “Two types of variables are particularly important in setting up an experiment.”  An independent variable is autonomous, meaning it is not affected by the other variables in an experiment. It is the variable that we have control over and we are most often able to manipulate it in order to create different results.   A dependent variable is left alone in order to view its reactions to the change in the independent variable.  The book wants us to remember this by thinking that “changes in the dependent variable are dependent upon changes in the independent variable.”  In an experiment, the dependent variable is what is being measured.


Hypothesis: Studying results in good grades.

To conduct the experiment the person would manipulate the independent variable (time spent studying) and measure the dependent variable (grades) in order to see if the hypothesis was plausible.

Try out this fun Worksheet  to see if you understand the terms independent variable and dependent variable!