Online Journal Entry 2: Chapter 9
Chapter 9 focuses on the behaviorists, which were primarily known for their experiments on animals and how the results of those experiments could influence our understanding of human minds. These experiments asked what happens to our consciousness when we sleep, could nonmaterial essence influence the body, and does nonmaterial essence survive even if the body dies. Edward Lee Throndike was a behaviorist who ran experiments on chickens. The chickens ran through mazes until they were able to find the exist which contained other chickens, eventually getting better and better at completing the main. He concurred that pleasure stamps in the route the chicken needed to take, which explains why they got better. Through other experiments, he came up with the Law of Effect, which says that the effect of an action determines if it becomes the response to the given stimulus or not, and the Law of Exercise, which says that the more a stimulus and response are paired, the more often that response will follow that stimulus. Ivan Pavlov famously studied conditioned reflexes through his experiments on dogs drooling by just the sound of a bell signifying food itself. Pavlov fleshed out timing, extinction, generalization, and differentiation. A famous neobehaviorist is B. F. Skinner, who studied rewards and punishments. Overall, behaviorists largely contributed to the understanding of our behaviors are motivated.
An idea I want to focus on in this chapter is Pavlov’s experiments on dogs that led to the understanding of classical conditioning. The Elements of Thought I’m using for this idea are question at issue, information, and inference. The question at hand is how conditioned reflexes work and how in-depth the practice could be. For information, Pavlov completed these experiments many times and came up with noteworthy findings. He discovered that the timing of stimuli is important, such as ringing the bell before giving the food, not the other way around. He found that if the conditioned stimulus is then given without the reinforcement, the conditioned response will be forgotten. He also saw that the dogs could generalize and differentiate the stimuli. For inference, Pavlov concluded that he had discovered the fundamental way humans and animals learn. This would mean that behavior is nothing more than conditioned responses.