Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I enjoy many of the subjects that we touch in this course I thought chapter one was very interesting with the study of behavior in how humans have behavioral excesses, behavioral deficits and inappropriate behaviors. I believe I have a behavioral deficit which is procrastination even though I’m working on it I still lack at it sometimes. I do feel I’m a very motivated person when it comes to things that I enjoy doing. Learning about OCD was very informative, is a interesting subject because it deals with a lot of young people and teenagers that undergo stress. I believe that we can all relate with the stress that young people have to deal with not only adults. Is important to know about all psychological disorders, because maybe one day we could help someone. In conclusion it was a great class and I would recommend to anyone who is interested in psychology.
This video is very interesting about behavior.
Monday, June 13, 2011
The part I think I enjoyed the most was chapter 12, especially the part about Language. I thought all the studies on animal language were interesting and I couldn't believe the story of Kanzi the Bonobo. The following video is about Kanzi
The fact that certain animals can actually communicate in certain ways and express their wants is pretty amazing.
This other video is shows examples of how bonobo monkeys are taught and also shows some diffiult concepts that they are able to communicate through words.
Language is a very fascinating concept, to think that we learn arbitrary symbols (reference), create rules (grammar)that are very complex and then communicate our feelings and thoughts. Language plays such an integral part in our development from infancy to adulthood. There is body language, facial expressions, sign language (formal and informal), spoken and written language. All language impacts our relationships, sense of self, enables self expression and can help reinforce or punish behaviors.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
In this course I've refreshed my knowledge on classical conditioning and variables, learned a lot about how studying animal behavior is key into understanding human behavior. This course should definitely be a pre-requisite for experimental psychology.
In general, my favorite part of the course was definitely the content. It can be applied in every day life and can be used to full advantage to condition people to do the things that you want. The one thing that I did not like about the course though, was the pace. I feel putting 16 weeks of education into 4 is very difficult to accomplish and Berg did an excellent job however as a pupil I found it difficult to keep up with working full time and having another summer class as well. Overall, this course can be used in everyday life to dog training, to pranks.
After taking the Learning: theory and research course I have learned a lot about research methods, elicited behaviors, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning. When we study the effects of certain variables on a behavior, it is important that we properly define behavior. To do this correctly we have to used research methods. Once someone is learned how to develop a hypothesis in some are of interest he or she will employ a research method to obtain behavioral data. Some methods for obtaining data are naturalistic observation, case studies, control group designs and single-subject design.
My favorite part about this course was about the behavioral definitions. I like to see how animals can figure their way out, through a maze, to reach the ending food. I also like how a bird was placed in a box with a square object to step on the reach an object the bird wanted. After watching animals sniff their way to the food, I can observe and record methods. This relates to life on an everyday occurrence and outside of class.
Friday, June 10, 2011
I had the opportunity to take both “Learning Theory and Research” and “Motivation” with Dr. Berg. Both classes had similar layouts, was very interesting, and informative. This particular Psychology class “Learning Theory and Research” was filled with a variety of concepts and historical background of studying learning and behavior. The textbook alone went in to great detail of how each theory stands alone but how each theory was built upon another. This course also reviewed many well-known and important psychologists who had a great impact on learning, behavior, and research such as John Watson, Clark Hull, Albert Bandura, Burrhus Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov. Some of the topics covered were human problems of living (i.e. shyness, procrastination, over eating, inappropriate behavior, phobias, etc), social learning, and conditioning.
I have taken many psychology courses in school since it is my major and I must say that this class and “Motivation” are two of my favorites. I really wish that these classes were lectures; I think I would have loved them even more. I rented the books, but, because I learned so much from them, I want to buy them now. At first, I thought that these books were going to touch on a topic and then move on to another topic like other psychology books I have read. However, I soon found out that these books focused on the concept it was talking about and explained it in great detail. Additionally, before I started reading the books, I flipped through them and I recognized some of the topics. I thought the material was going to be repetitive but I discovered shortly that the text had an array of topics that I never seen or heard of before. For example, I never came across Aristotle's theories and the laws of association before and even though the debate mentioned between Aristotle and Plato eventually boiled down to nature versus nurture, something we have all studied, I thought the way in which the text approached the topic was interesting and refreshing. That is something I experienced many times while reading the book.
I enjoyed classical/ operant conditioning the most. I think it’s the foundation of this whole book because it explains how, when, and why we learn and behave certain ways. Chapter six, the chapter that further explained operant conditioning is the chapter I like the most. In my Intro to Psychology course, I had a hard time grasping the concept of operant conditioning and differentiating the four types of learning processes, but after reading this chapter, I understood everything with ease. I understood it so much that I made my second post about it. This is what I said: According to Powell, Symbaluk, and Honey (2009), operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the future probability of a behavior is affected by its consequences. There are four types of learning processes in operant conditioning: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. It is sometimes hard to differentiate these types of learning processes. However, if you remember key words such as increase, decrease, removal, and addition the concept becomes much easier to understand and you won’t become confused. Positive reinforcement occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior increases as a result of the presentation of something pleasant after the behavior. An example of this is praising a child for good behavior. Negative reinforcement occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior increases as the result of removing something unpleasant after the behavior. This is best exemplified in the following example. John’s mom always nags him about taking out the trash. Once day John decided to take out the trash before his mother could tell him to do it. Subsequently, the nagging stopped and John now takes out the trash without ever being told. Positive punishment occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior decreases as the result of the presentation of something unpleasant after the behavior. An example of positive punishment is putting a child in time out for misbehaving. Negative punishment occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior decreases as the result of the removal of something pleasant after the behavior. An example of negative punishment is when a parent grounds their child because of poor grades. I found two videos that further explain these types of learning processes.
This concept can definitely be used outside of class and relate to real world problems. The examples that I used before proves this. Also, it is a great concept that teachers and parents can use to teach their children.
This psychology class has offered me a small glimpse of how important psychology is to my everyday life. This was a great class and I plan to use what I learned in the future.
Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, P. L. (2009). Introduction to learning and behavior (3rd ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Reinforcment schedules are very important to learning via the operant conditioning route. if someone tries to teach an organism and isnt following a set schedule of reinforcement, it can resul in pain, hunger, nothing at all, and most importantly, learning will not occur without reinforcment. Without reinforcement, a learned behavior will become extinct in the organism's mind. Imagine trying to train a dog with a variable time reinforcement schedule. Giving him treats every five minutes isn't going to help him learn what you want him to do when you say, "sit!". It will confuse him as to what is being reinforced, but he isn't going to do anything to change that since he's a happy eating dog. If the trainer followed a fixed ratio schedule, the dog will only be reinforced when the command is completed, hence improving learning.
In this class, i learned that the majority of our learning is through classical and operant conditioning, and subcategories of them. Even something that would be considered ovservational learning can turn into operant learning. For example, a child observes a behavior, and sees the behavior resulting in reward. The observing child is then going to want the reward pathway of reinforcement, and will imitate this action. Classical conditioning is also a useful learning too , but one that acts more on instinct. For example, getting a stomach illness from an undercooked food would produce the sickness feeling whenever the food is seen, in order to remind the body it is a bad food and potentially dangerous.
My favorite part of this class was its abilitly to connect to life on an everyday basis. It explains how people could've learned their behaviors from many different sources and possibly explains why they do this. Another thing i enjoyed from this coutrse was the overall tone and flow of the slide shows. Most other slide shows have a tendancy to become boring and sluggish. These slides kept me interested and constantly connecting the theories learned to actions that happen in my everyday life. Also, the videos selected to illustrate these topics were sometimes comedic but always entertaining and informative.
Here is a perfect example of Pavlov's dogs, in a more modern and comedic reference. Jim had heard about Pavlov's experiment about classical conditioning, and without telling Dwight, had conducted an experiment. Over the course of time, Jim had offered Dwight an Altoid mint whenever Jim's computer made a noise as it shut down. Eventually, like Pavlov's dogs, Dwight had come to expect the presentation of an Altoid when he heard the shut down noise. I chose this because its always interesting when you hear something concerning your major on TV, and knowing The Office, they would take a funny spin onto a predominately scientific topic, which i found entertaining.
This class went by really fast and I feel like I learned a lot of information in a short amount of time. What I really liked about our textbook is that it went into so much detail about the subject. The text also used plenty of real life concepts which made understanding each subject a lot easier. What caught my attention in the first slides of our notes was, “Human Problems of Living”: Behavioral Excesses- (over-eating, excessive alcohol consumption), Behavioral Deficits- (shyness, procrastination,lack of motivation), Inappropriate behavior- (when a problem is when and where certain behavior occurs).
What I learned about...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. Overall, chapter one was able to give a good historical introduction to learning and behavior.
What I learned about...Classical Conditioning:
It was founded by a Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Classical conditioning is a learning process, “whereby one stimulus that does not elicit a certain response is associated with a second stimulus that does; as a result, the first stimulus also comes to elicit a response.” (Powell, pg. 502) The unconditioned stimulus is one that naturally, and automatically triggers a response. The unconditioned response is unlearned and it occurs in response to the unconditioned stimulus. The conditioned stimulus is previously neutral stimulus that triggers a conditioned response. The conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus.
-Example of Classical Conditioning: I dated this guy for over three years and he always wore the same cologne. When he broke up with me every time I smelled his cologne it made me really miss him.
What I learned about...Observational Learning:
Observational learning is the, “process whereby the behavior of a model is witnessed by an observer, and the observer’s behavior is subsequently altered.” (Powell, pg. 506) It is also known as social learning because it is often referred too in social situations. Observational learning can be involved in classical and operant conditioning.
My Favorite Part of Class...Learning about Phobias:
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm. Phobic symptoms can occur through exposure to the fear object or situation, or sometimes simply thinking about the feared object can lead to a response. Some of the symptoms of phobias are, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, sense of unreality, fear of dying. Sometimes these symptoms can result into a full-scale anxiety attack. Some individuals may begin to isolate themselves, leading to severe difficulties in daily life. Some types of phobias are Social, Agoraphobia and Specific. Social is the fear of social situations. Agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation. Specific is fear of a specific object.
There are many different treatments for Phobias. In exposure treatments, the patient is exposed to the fear object in order to help them overcome their fear. One type of exposure treatment is flooding, this is when the patient is confronted by the fear object for an extended length of time without the opportunity to escape. The goal of this method is to help the individual face their fear and realize that the fear object will not harm them.
The reason I chose Phobias as my favorite part in this class is because of how interesting it is. People have so many different and odd phobias that people don’t always think of. In the future I want to be able to help people that have phobias, obsessive-compulsive and other mental disorders.
I found this video of a lady that has a fear of clowns known as, Coulrophobia.
As college students, we all know about something called procrastination. We have all been subject to its cruel grasps at least once (and I bet you a million dollars it has been more than once). However, procrastination is a bit more than just putting off your school work because you don't feel like doing it. Most believe it is just delaying an action even though one is fully aware of the adverse consequences of doing so. Procrastination all depends on the amount of time between the important event or activity and the moment one becomes "worse off" for not doing the task. Therefore, if you are assigned a psychology project that is due exactly two months from now, the likelihood of procrastination is fairly high, as the consequences of not doing the project is two months away.
One of the things I found interesting that I can tie to by daily life is observational learning. The video at the bottom is a little dry but you get the point. If you watch someone throw trash on the floor and do nothing while you see someone else pick up the trash and dispose of it, you then are more likely to then pick up trash the next time you see someone just throw trash to the side.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I really enjoyed reading the text for this class. I’m really interested in psychology – hence being a psych major – and honestly, learning is one of my favorite subjects of psychology. I feel like I’ve learned an incredible amount within a short time period by taking this class. I feel like the class covered many different topics that had a great flow to them. I reviewed the ideas of Empiricism, structuralism, functionalism, and Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism; I revisited the ideas of research methods (independent and dependent variables, recording methods, and research designs); I reread the many ideas and takes on classical conditioning and how reinforcement effects behaviors, and I went through the many ideas of operant conditioning.
I feel like all of these ideas and concepts are all very important to understanding human behavior. I feel like a person’s identity is a formation of half genetics and half learning; therefore, I deem how humans learn very important for identifying how a person’s environment shapes and molds them. By reading about classical and operant conditioning and the reinforcers and punishments that go with them, I feel like I’ve learned many new reasons as to why certain people think and act the way they do. That’s one of the reasons why one of my favorite parts of the course was learning about positive reinforcement.
FAVORITE PART OF THE COURSE
Positive reinforcement is defined by Powell et al. (2009) 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 response. One of my favorite examples of positive reinforcement is seen in the show The Big Bang Theory. In this show, an Asperger-like character named Sheldon wants to train his friend’s girlfriend to be quiet while watching movies. He begins by telling her to shush, and when she becomes quiet, he offers her a chocolate. Each time she is quiet, he again offers her a candy. Soon, she begins to be quiet without Sheldon asking, he again provides her with a candy. In this scenario, Sheldon provides Penny – the girlfriend – with a reward (the positive reinforcement) to elicit a particular response from her (her being quiet). Penny continues to engage in being quiet because she is unknowingly rewarded with a stimulus – the chocolate candy.
I find that positive reinforcement is seen daily in real life situations. For instance, I have seen many times my sister tell her children that she will reward them if they behave; for example, if all her children do their chores and follow directions, they will be rewarded with a dollar. Even though it is only a dollar, once the children are reminded of it when they start acting crazy, they immediately begin to behave because they want that feeling of pleasure they obtain when they receive that dollar bill. I have also seen positive reinforcement go terribly awry. For example, I was in a store the other day and saw a young girl screaming at the top of her lungs. Instead of her parent ignoring her requests for a stuffed animal, the parent gave in and bought her the toy in order to stop the child’s crying. Unknowingly, the mother reinforced her daughter’s behavior by rewarding her bad behavior with a positive stimulus. So, from now on, the daughter will most likely cry like the crazed maniac she is in order to be rewarded by her mother. I feel like this information is extremely important for current or future parents and current or future teachers.
I couldn’t find an embedded video of the Big Bang Theory video, so here is the link to the youtube video:
Here is a commercial that illustrates how parenting positive behavior works:
Once he examined the results, Bandura found that the children who witnessed the adults acting aggressively copied this behavior and essentially “replicated the same behaviors” as the adults (Powell et al., 2009. P. 472). Powell et al. (2009) asserts, “The children in Bandura’s studies were very precise in some of their aggressive behavior, performing many of the same motor movements toward the same targets, using the same weapons, and uttering the same hostile statements” (p. 472). Powell et al. (2009) goes on to explain that the children’s aggression increased when they saw the aggressive adult’s behavior being reinforced; while as the children who witnessed an aggressive adult being punished for being aggressive were still aggressive, but less so than those who witnessed the reinforcement (p.472). Experimenters then gave incentive to those children who witnessed aggressive adults being punished, and then those very same children became even more aggressive (Powell et al., 2009, p. 472).
I find this experiment very interesting. I have heard on the news a countless number of times that video games and violent television are influencing the youth to act out and create crimes. Although I really do not believe that a video game can cause a person to go out and murder, I do believe -- because of this study and others like it – that witnessing violent acts could create aggression in people that may not have been there if they had not viewed violence. Again, I am not saying violent television creates homicidal maniacs, but maybe it does create aggression. What do all of you think?
Below is a video of the Bandura experiment:
Also, here is a commercial that promotes the idea “children see, children do.” I thought it was pretty interesting to watch.