Friday, June 29, 2012

Animal Testing Ethics

When reading the assigned chapters, I found the text about using animals brought strong feelings to me. Animal research proves to be beneficial because it helps to study a group of almost genetically identical with a similar upbringing. The use of animals helps to expand knowledge of behavior and the quality of human health. However, sometimes in order gain that knowledge, experimentation considered unethical to humans is used on animals.Being an animal lover and someone against cruelty of animals its hard for me to accept this concept. Although many benefits come from this research such as ways to cure illness, it's still morally wrong. Animals are living creatures and performing unethical experiments and using them as test subjects completely disgusts me. Although animal testing is regulated, sometimes seems as if scientists follow these guidelines very loosely. The video below shows both sides of the controversy, but seeing what animals rights activists recorded on hidden cameras makes me question how closely these people follow the guidelines.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I thought B.F. Skinner’s concept of control and counter control in social behavior was really interesting.  Control is when we are victims of our thoughts and feelings.  Control is also when people can influence our emotions, and when they do, they also can control someone’s behavior.  The opposite of control is counter control and that is when we can change our environment and that will effect our behavior. Counter control is a way that people can regain their freedom. It is also considered an escape behavior. I know I mostly have characteristics of control in my life. Usually if someone is upset or mad, it does effect my own emotions. I really can’t get past someone else’s feelings who is close to me, because it does effect myself and how I feel.  I think some people can agree. When you are fighting with your best friend or parent, you probably will feel upset until things are settled.  I also do know some people who follow counter control. A lot of people do this when they want to avoid something completely. They may try to forget about something that happened or the way someone feels so that they feel better about themselves. 

A Different Perspective on Skinner

I found it interesting how this text book sheds a new light on B.F. Skinner. Up to this point I was always under the assumption that he was someone who had some interesting theories, but was eccentric and unethical. A key reason for this was the infamous Skinner Box. Powell, Symbaluk, & Honey (2009) explained that the real reason for the skinner box was to provide filtered air and regulated temperature to the crib. It was a great alternative to the unstable and jail cell like standard cribs (Powell 2009). This was obviously somehow lost in translation and the press assumed he was having his daughter conditioned through the Skinner Box. People assumed Skinner was coldly experimenting on his own daughter, and there were rumors she had a horrible childhood as the result of it. Other psychology classes even led me to believe that he performed unethical experiments on his own daughter. The video below shows Skinner in completely different light from what I pictured him to be. He points out the Skinner Box rumors are far from the truth, and he and his daughter had a great relationship. His daughter is even in the audience during this lecture. Knowing this I am far more interested to learn what Skinner's own theories were.

post one: DARWIN


Throughout my childhood I was taught about the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin. When I saw the name Charles Darwin in the text I thought oh no here is this guy again. I can't read about him again and read the same old thing. To my surprise this book taught me something new about Darwin' theory and got me interested. In the video above it gives a simple summary on what his theory was. This idea is spoken about with the thought of natural selection which is the theory that the things that can adapt to the environment the best are most likely to survive. This is basically saying that people need certain resources to survive and one might have a better trait that allows them to survive. An example of this is giraffe’s long neck. Originally some might have had shorter necks, but these animals couldn't reach the leaves so the ones with the longer necks survived more causing there to be giraffes with longer necks. I thought this all made sense ever since I was little. Then I read this chapter one of Learning and Behavior and found out it can be behaviors too. I never thought about it this way because I didn't understand how behavior could affect one's chances of surviving. Now that I know learning is one of these behaviors it makes sense. If one person learns better than the other they are more likely to survive. Learning to do new things gives someone all new advantages because they are able to do more by knowing more. Evolution is not just based on physical traits, but also behavior and psychological traits.

Classical Conditioning

One of the most common facets of behavioral learning theory is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs between associations in environmental stimulus and naturally occurring stimulus. This type of conditioning involves introducing a neutral or unconditioned stimulus before a naturally occurring response. A famous study, that was conducted to prove this theory, was conducted by Ivan Pavlov and his associations with dogs. This study involved dogs that were introduced to a variety of foods. The experiment was to measure the saliva production each time the dogs were presented with food. It occurred automatically and naturally every time the dogs were presented or thought that they were going to be presented with food.

Classical Conditioning is one of my favorite theories in psychology. Unlike other interesting topics, classical conditioning is the most appealing and fun experiment to view. I have attached a funny clip from The Office. It is a funny video that relates to this topic, I hope you enjoy!



While reading over the chapters that we we assigned too, I found reading about behavior was the most interesting topic that I came across. Reading about  Classical Conditioning really fascinated me. I love how people and animals learn though this learning mechanism.  It is especially interesting how dogs learn.  I love how the dog hears a specific sound and associates it with something such as food. It is interesting how they learn from smell and are able to find their way to food.  Smell seems to be a huge part of our behavior.  Even humans associate smell an experience.  Smell can remind you of someone, some thing, or some place. 
It is interesting how behavior is learned. I love the things that we pick up and learn things from other people as we observe them.  Overall all of the chapters that we read were very interesting and had a lot of new information.  I learned a lot about how behavior works and hoe behavior is learned.    

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Welcome Summer 2012 students!