Thursday, June 24, 2021

Post 3: Parenting Styles

 It is true that everyone parents their children differently, and I definitely got two separate parenting styles growing up from my mother and father. My mom treated me how her parents treated her as a child and same with my dad and his parents. Looking back, I see that how they were raised really affected their parenting styles. My mom focused on reinforcement while my dad focused more on punishment. A lot of studies show that most punishments are not effective and can actually drive a child away from the parent. 

Physical punishments and things such as yelling and screaming were punishments shown to not be effective. These can affect a child in the long-term as well as their future parenting styles. I believe there are certain ways to punish a child when they are exhibiting bad behavior, like time-outs. As we become more informed on the best ways to parent, physical punishments become more frowned upon. It is definitely something that is more "old-school" and was more frequent in older generations. Older generations can carry that parenting style to today's generation causing a lot more harm than good.

Operant Conditioning


    This conditioning was used as an instrumental for human animals to learn to behave in a way that they would acquire rewards and avoid punishments. This conditioning creates a relation between a behavior and the consequences of that behavior. With operant conditioning, there are three components and the first is, "a response that produces a certain consequence (e.g., lever press-ing produces a food pellet). Secondly, the consequence that serves to either increase or decreases the probability of the response that preceded it (e.g., the consequence of a food pellet increases the rat’s tendency to again press the lever). Then lastly, a discriminative stimulus precedes the response and signals that certain consequences now available (e.g., a tone that signals that a lever press will now produce food."

     In real life, you would use operant conditioning like so when you trying to teach your child to talk or walk. So first you start helping then learn how to stand up with help and then with help and reward them with a kiss and encouragement. Then when they finally stand up you would help them take their first steps to learn how to actually walk by themselves and you would reward them again with love, kisses, and encouragement. So the examples I showed you were positive reinforcement but now let's think about negative reinforcement and that would if you see your child pushing and hitting another child you start to pull them aside and tell them that was not nice and we don't hurt or friends and you would repeat that until they would start to understand but if not you could put them in timeout so they could associate timeout with every time I hit someone. So these reinforcements are everyday events for parents and especially operant conditing is used life for every age at any time. 


1.Introduction to Learning and Behavior. 

Born to Be Reflexive

 Reflexes are a critical aspect of our nervous system and we are born with certain reflexes that are either protect us or help us function. Newborns enter the world with reflexes that help them adapt and survive in their new environment outside the womb. One reflex I remember learning about in Psych101 my freshman year is rooting. This is when you can touch a baby's cheek or corner of their mouth and they will turn their head in your direction and open their mouth.. This is an involuntary response that helps them to find a breast or bottle to be fed. A baby's grip is also super strong if you've ever noticed, and this is an involuntary action too. It is a good way to strengthen a bond between you and a baby by holding their hand. Many of these reflexes gradually disappear as the baby ages, and new reflexes are formed.

Noncontingent Schedules

 I was so glad to see in this book about noncontingent schedules. It is having a fixed schedule regardless of what stimulus we are presented. I have never realized but I do this. Regardless of my time in the morning whether I wake up early or late I spend the the same time with my morning routine. I have a very strict schedule to follow. 

   Many ideas in the book led me to believe that we actually all live the same life with the same concepts just to a higher or harder degree; we all collectively have the same experiences. 

Post 1: Animal Training

Classical conditioning is used a lot when training animals. Rewarding desirable behaviors and punishing undesirable behaviors enables pets to learn how you want them to behave, or maybe just whatever gets them a treat. I have used techniques like this with both my dog and two cats. One of my favorite things I conditioned my dog to do was to ring a bell with her nose whenever she wants/needs to go outside. This was so that if she went to the door to go out when we were in another part of the house, we could at least hear her and come to let her out. It only took a day or two to get her to understand the concept. We kept an eye on her and whenever she went to the door we followed her and put the bell up to her nose making a the sound. We then would try and get her to repeat the movement herself and would reward her with a treat before opening the door. Ten years later and we still hear a bell ring and know she needs to go outside to go to the bathroom. Bells are a common tool for conditioning; the sound can be taught to be associated with many different things. I learned from this post that teaching dogs to ring a bell to signal they have to go outside is actually very common. I attached a link below.

I was very shocked to see that eating disorders can be part of behavior. I had always thought that they were something you were genetically born with and had no choice but to have an eating disorder. I now realize that many things can cause you to eat at such a different than normal pace. 

I think it is beyond sad how as humans one phrase can change the way we deviate from normal. I think we do this simply because of observational learning. We watch and we see what others do and in the end they influence your every move. Eat disorders are formed nowadays from watching the models on social media or the boys who look so perfect. We need to do better as a society promoting healthy lifestyles and habits. 


Punishment involves the weakening of behavior through the application of an aversive stimulus or the removal of an appetitive stimulus. There are varying types of punishment. Positive punishment consists of presenting a certain event after a response, which then leads to a decrease in the future strength of that response. Basically, the behavior results in the receiving of something that the individual strongly dislikes so that they are far less likely to behave that way in the future. Some examples of positive punishment would be receiving a spanking for swearing or a teacher reprimanding a student in front of the class because they misbehaved. 

By contrast, there is also negative punishment. Negative punishment involves removing a certain event after a response, which then leads to a decrease in the strength of that response in future instances. Basically, an individual's behavior results in the removal of something that the individual enjoys so that they are less likely to behave that way moving forward. Examples of negative punishment would be losing your job for being an irresponsible employee or losing out on ice cream for dessert after dinner because you talked back to your parents. 

For me personally, I always felt that negative punishment was the most effective way to get me to behave when I was a kid. I can remember my mother taking away my game console for misbehaving and doing things that I was not supposed to and how that certainly motivated me to not want to do those things in the future. Knowing that I could lose something that I really enjoyed if I behaved poorly was always something that stuck in the back of my mind when I was young and kept me in line. 

One article that I read discussed various ways to effectively discipline a child and teach them to behave in a healthy and nurturing way. Strategies like putting a child in a time-out, listening to them voice their concerns, and setting limits, are all effective and healthy strategies for discipline and teaching a child. The information that I learned from this article is the knowledge that I hope to be able to employ if I have children of my own one day, along with all the things that I have learned from the book and lectures. 

Article reference:

Book reference: Powell, Russell A.; Honey, P. Lynne; Symbaluk, Diane G.. Introduction to Learning and Behavior (p. 347). Cengage Learning. 

Aversion Therapy

    There is a behavior therapy that uses the principle of classical conditioning that stood out to me. It is called Aversion therapy so this is a form of treatment that causes patients to be exposed to a stimulus while being simultaneously subjected to some form of discomfort. This means that a patient has to give up an undesirable habit by causing them to associate it with an unpleasant effect. The first version of this treatment was when Roman writer Pliny the Elder found that people were addicted to wine. So Ply the Elder thought that if you would put a large spider at the bottom of the wine glass people would automatically be traumatized by the bug. So the next time they pick up a wine glass you would only think about the spider and that would cause you to never drink wine again.

    So with this therapy, I feel like a lot of people have done this but not in that type of extreme way like how when mothers try to wean off their babies from drinking from the bottle or having a pacifier in their mouth all the time. I have seen mothers first put hot sauce on the bottle or pacifier and the child might even like and continue to drink or hate it and never drink again. Then I have seen mothers put maybe lemon juice on the pacifier and the child automatically makes this extreme sour face and never touches it again because they only associate the lemon juice with the pacifier. I think it's so interesting how people can just stop doing a habit just from this one traumatic experience they possibly could have. Then just moving past experience and drinking or putting the pacifier in their mouth again. 


1.Introduction to Learning and Behavior.


The foundation of many phobias is the development of a classically conditioned fear response, which then fails to disappear because the person avoids the feared stimulus. However, not all phobias are acquired through classical conditioning. Many individuals who experience phobias are unable to remember any particular event before they started experiencing their phobia. Additionally, it's surprising and interesting to note that most people are fairly resilient when they experience frightening events and do not develop chronic fears as in the case of phobias as well as in PTSD. For example, the vast majority of people exposed to bombings by airplanes during World War II endured them pretty well, having short-lasting fears that were very rationale considering their situation, and those fears dissipated quickly thereafter.  Researchers in the field of psychology have proposed that additional variables likely play a role in obtaining phobias as well. Some of these variables include; observational learning, temperament, preparedness, incubation, US revaluation, and selective sensitization. 

In my own personal experience, I have had what I would categorize as a phobia of heights (acrophobia) for as long as I can remember. I am not quite sure where this fear came from as there is no event that I can recall but I know that any time I am in an elevated setting I get filled with a deep sense of anxiety.


As far as how to tackle phobias, I found a specific article from the Mayo Clinic to be quite intriguing. The article discusses that the best treatment for a specific phobia would be to undergo exposure therapy. This type of therapy focuses on changing the response that you have to the object or situation that you fear. This gradual and repeated exposure to the source of the phobia helps to manage the fearful thoughts, sensations, and emotions that are associated with that source. Through this therapy process, the anxiety that comes from facing your phobia can be drastically improved in a lot of cases. 

As someone of Irish descent myself, I have traveled to Ireland a few times and have also gone to the Cliffs of Moher once or twice. I can remember that I couldn't muster the courage to go within even 100 yards of the edge and seeing people that were brave enough to look over the edge made me feel anxious for them. I found a very entertaining video of a guy who also has a fear of heights and tried to face his fears by slowly approaching the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. Hopefully, I will be able to conquer my own phobia and be able to do this one day!

Book reference: Powell, Russell A.; Honey, P. Lynne; Symbaluk, Diane G.. Introduction to Learning and Behavior (p. 186). Cengage Learning. 

Article reference:

 Classical Conditioning is one of my favorite topics to learn about and understand. Pavlov's dogs is obviously the first story you learn about; this concept where dogs are given a stimulus and in return with that stimulus comes a reward. I have never actually seen this portrayed until one day I was watching the show called "The Office." Seeing Classical conditioning happening versus hearing about it allowed my understanding to be much more deep. 

   During this episode the main character Michael would ring a bell and when the bell was rung Pam would put her hand out and she would be given a mint. This would happen over and over again until anywhere she would hear a bell that she would put her hand out and expect a mint anywhere. I think it is so funny and will want to eventually try this in my office. 

How Can We Tackle Our Self-Control?

 Melioration theory formally states that an animal will invest increasing amounts of energy and time into which option or alternative is better for them. In the field of psychology, this theory is used to help explain why organisms make choices based on the rewards or reinforcement that it receives. Based on the levels of reinforcements that are available relative to an individual's options, among other factors, someone may not always make the most optimal decisions for themself. In fact, it is an often occurrence for individuals to engage in less than ideal patterns of behavior. Additionally, although many people are aware that their choices are suboptimal, they experience difficulty with changing their habits. An example of this would be someone who decides to start eating a healthier diet but continuously consuming junk food instead. Furthermore, someone may want to drop an unhealthy habit such as cigarette smoking but can only stick with it for a few days.  

When it comes to the topic of self-control, American psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner looked at it, not as an issue of willpower but more so as an issue involving conflicting outcomes. For example, when you drink alcohol you may feel more relaxed and social, but you can also experience various health issues and dangerous activities. Skinner theorized several types of controlling responses to deal with self-control; physical restraint, doing something else, self-reinforcement/self-punishment, and depriving & satiating. These strategies focus on controlling one’s own behavior and showing restraint when it comes to self-destructive habits.

Personally, self-control has been a fascinating topic to investigate. Self-control is something that I have failed to practice time and time again and with further research, I have learned some very insightful ways to better control my behavior. I believe that through practice and repetition self-control can be garnered. One article that I read discusses the topic of “ego depletion” as it relates to self-control. The article states that research has found that self-control to be a limited resource. While practicing self-control allows you to improve it over time, in the short term it is still a limited commodity. If you were to Focus all of your self-control on one thing it makes it more difficult to exercise your self-control on subsequent tasks throughout your day. So when a person uses up their reservoir of willpower on one task, it becomes very difficult to have enough self-control to complete the next task. (See article link at the bottom if interested)There is also a very interesting TED Talk on the topic of self-control that goes over innovations in the ways that we can control our behaviors through technology. Jonathan Bricker who gave the talk discusses some of the really interesting research he has conducted and the app that he developed. His app which is calleSmartQuit” was released several years ago and is aimed toward helping people to quit smoking.

Article on self-control:

Book reference: Powell, Russell A.; Honey, P. Lynne; Symbaluk, Diane G.. Introduction to Learning and Behavior (p. 389). Cengage Learning.

Lack of Self Control

 One of the most common issues that everybody faces and everyone struggles with is self control. Self control is the ability to control and avoid temptations. "the ability to delay gratification and resist unwanted behaviors or urges." Human nature seems to be that we gravitate to whatever gives us the most serotonin or what makes us feel happy. Whether that is food, activities, or even substances. Self control goes hand in hand with addiction which is a disease in and of itself.  We often seek out stimulus that will increase our levels of serotonin and that can lead to substance addiction. In a simple definition, addiction is lack of self control. 

As a common thing for my posts, I try to use personal examples in order to give a proper understanding of each topic at and hand for me, I had a serious lack of self control when I used to smoke cigarettes. As smoking is a very common addiction and is the perfect example of succumbing to temptations rather than avoiding them. Being 21 and able to purchase cigarettes legally led to more temptation just due to accessibility and over time I had to gain much more self control and discipline in order to shake the addiction.,resource%20that%20can%20be%20depleted 

Observational Learning

 One of the most natural ways for one to learn, especially within child development is observational learning. It is when one views or witnesses an action, hears certain words or ways of speaking, or sees certain behavior patterns and then does that same action or vocal pattern. This is one of the most important aspects to child development because if the child finds itself in a negative environment or around negative people, the child can learn from those negative behavioral patterns and potentially have those behaviors going into adulthood. 

Pulling from personal experiences, a perfect example of observational learning was when I was in elementary school and I had heard my mother curse the night before on accident, and me being 7 years old thought it was hilarious, so I wanted to let everyone else know how funny that word was the next day at school and repeated it in front of the teacher and lets just say the teacher and my mother were not impressed with my colorful vocabulary. 

Patient HM: Implicit Learning and the Mirror Drawing Test

 This post was inspired by a classmate's post on the Mirror Drawing Test (thanks Angelina!). Their post discussed the Mirror Drawing Test's general use in testing motor skills and development in children and adults. Where my post differs is that it reminded me of patient HM, a man who could not form any long-term or explicit memories due to damage to his Hippocampus. 

In researching patient HM's abilities to form new skills (and therefore, some type of memory that functions outside of the Hippocampus' role), they had HM do the Mirror Drawing Test 10 times a day, everyday for 3 days. To remind anyone who may have forgotten or does not know, the mirror drawing test is a task that require an individual to simply trace a star within the boundaries of two lines. The catch is that they must do this task while looking in a mirror, not their hands directly. This reverses our movements and makes the task fairly difficult. What they found with HM is that, despite not being able to form explicit long-term memories, he became progressively better at the task. Each time he came to the task, he had the impression that it was his very first time performing it, even noting in one later session how it turned out to be easier than he expected.

Below is a video shortly summarizing HM and the Mirror Drawing Test:

Do We Have Free Will?

 Our ability as human beings to recognize and think about ourselves and, perhaps more importantly, other people, is profound. With this level of self awareness comes too our ability to think about thinking itself, also known as metacognition. Much of these abilities seem to be innate for likely all neurotypical people. Much like how a bird cannot help but to forage, build nests, fly away from Winter, etc.; how a plant grows towards sunlight and sucks in water; or how an animal cannot help but express itself in ways that it knows how, so too are humans no different. Human beings act like human beings much in the same way that a dog behaves as a dog, or a cat acts like a cat - the genetic component has determined how the organism is structured, and that structure determines, in large part, how that organism behaves

Even though we are likely the most intelligent species to walk the face of the Earth, our intelligence is still, in large part, an adaptability product of our surroundings. We cannot help but to take in information; categorize; search for new info intentionally; socialize and interact with our relevant temperaments. Likewise, even our own acquisition of language is completely out of our control, as illustrated with Chomsky's Language Acquisition Device (LAD). For those who may not know, a brief aside, Chomsky's LAD suggests that all normally developed human beings have the capacity for acquiring the language of their culture, and that this device is highly useful in adapting. It can be argued that we would never had evolved our higher level thinking skills had language not allowed us to categorize and internalize objects and events more proficiently. Indeed, did any one of us decide to learn to speak a language?

Another way of looking at the issue of whether we have free will or not is to look at exceptional individuals. In the case of savants, that is, people who almost immediately master a skill with little to no practice, did they really have a sense of free will in that action, or are they developmentally and genetically predisposed to be of exceptional talent? In the case of people with intellectual disabilities, is any neuro-divergent person capable of thinking in a way that their brain is not structured to? Likewise then, in the case of average-intelligence neurotypical people, are any of them capable of being anything besides themselves? Even with things you "choose" to do, are you not choosing such things because of your predisposition towards them? Why, too, is it then that other people may have other interests they have "chosen"?

These ideas and more, while not all-encompassing, are in-line with Skinner's ideas on determinism.


Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2017). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (fifth). Cengage Learning.

Operant Conditioning-Sleep Inhibitory/Animals

Operant Conditioning is a method of learning that reinforces the actions behind rewarding and punishment. Its the method that creates a learning system as time progresses, also a method that was developed by B.F. Skinner whom believed that behavior that is prolonged by positive consequences will be continued. According to the article, Sleep supports inhibitory operant conditioning memory in Aplysia, there's a cognitive relation. Sleep is said to support memory consolidation as shown in mammals and invertebrates such as bees and Drosophila (Vorster, A. P. A., & Born, J. (2017)

It is expressed in the article that animals inhibit a repetitive cycle of showing consolidation in their memory. Mammals were subjected using their own energy when they are properly resting at a duration of 17hrs.

Treating Phobias with Flooding

Phobias can be defined simply as an extreme fear of an object, experience, etc. Phobias are something a majority of individuals suffer from and the levels of intensity can vary. Intensive phobias can cause higher levels of anxiety and so much so that individuals can struggle with daily function. They often stem from childhood experiences that were so traumatic, it caused an individual such intense fear and anxiety that they developed a long term phobia. Phobias can vary from small objects or small creatures to things and places that one would not normally find themselves in. An example of an intense phobia is Arachnophobia is one of the most common fears and that is an intense fear of spiders, which is also a phobia I myself have. Another phobia is Acrophobia which is the intense fear of heights. 

Arguably the most extreme treatment for phobias is flooding. Flooding is "rather than exposing a person to their phobic stimulus gradually, a person is exposed to the most frightening situation immediately." Often times this is very effective for long term phobias, due to its extreme nature it can be incredibly traumatic for the individuals being treated. I myself am against flooding but only because if I was put in the situation of trying to treat my fear of spiders, I don't think I would have a very good time and would probably have choice words to those who would put me up to it. 

An example of flooding that was used for humor was on the television show Impractical Jokers in which 4 older men put themselves in uncomfortable situations for humor and if not following what they are told, they get "punished" at the end of every episode. Two such examples of flooding in this show included when one of the individuals was tied down to a platform and had spiders placed on top of him. If this was done to me, I probably would not speak to the friends who would do this to me. Another example and the more extreme of the two was when they surprised one of the individuals who has acrophobia with making him skydive.   The only video example I could find was another level of flooding where they had one of the individuals try and retrieve his passport from the bottom of a shark cage while he had an intense phobia of sharks and his reaction proves how afraid he truly was.

Skinner's Methods for Self-Control

 Despite B.F. Skinner being intensely deterministic, he was incredibly skilled in the art form of self-control. Determinism is the belief that, for the most part, humans are entirely a result of their genetics, or some other cause that supersedes what is commonly called "free will". From Skinner's perspective, organisms and their genes interact with the environment to reproduce behavior that is the most adaptable at the time. Since Skinner so strongly believed in this notion of behavior being a result of environmental interaction, he curated his environment to influence his behavior. 

Skinner often recommended creating spaces for a specific task. Changing one's environment, and restricting that environments use to specific tasks, creates a conditioned response (behavior) to the conditioned stimulus (the room, being paired with the task). To put it more colloquially, Skinner made his environment one in which he could vibe better. 

Skinner also made it a point to do the specific task in the specific room at a certain time, making the pairings of each stimulus even stronger in eliciting a response. That is to say, if we have a writing room, and we are comfortable and enjoy the space, and write at about the same time everyday, the behavior of writing will begin to be elicited much more easily and more consistently. The brain will recognize the time and the room and activate the procedural behavior that has been conditioned over time. There are, of course, many more complications to discuss with regards to self-control and free will, but Skinner was a master of self-control, despite believing humans had very little free will.


Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2017). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (fifth). Cengage Learning.

Self Awareness-Self Regulation

According to the article, Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness, self awareness regulates the mindfulness through systematic mental training of knowing one's self. While self-regulation focuses on one being mindful of their own behavior. Self-transcendence focuses on the upliftment of one's abilities and needs that will increase their own prosocial characteristics about themselves (Vago, D. R., & Silbersweig, D. A. (2012)

Knowing how to control your own thoughts and behavior can be very reinforcing in your life. It prevents negative traits and factors that could possibly impact your own health and mental state. For example, if you speak into existence that you will have a great day, then you have manifested what you know you will have although you don't know. However, if your more "glum" about what your day may consist of then you will manifest that outcome in a negative way. It's the action of what the saying "We are What we Speak" plays in proportion. 

Elicited Behavior

 According to the textbook, elicited behavior (also known as respondent behavior) is a behavior that is drawn out by a preceding stimulus. An example of elicited behaviors is a sneeze produced by a particle  of dust or a startle reaction to the sound of a gunshot.

These examples brought attention to me because of the physical traits that humans express when they respond to these actions. It intrigued me how many times in my life I have sneezed or heard a firearm at target ranges, but never knew the psychological reason behind them.

Post 3: Phobias

 Phobias... A common phobia is the fear of heights. If this sounds like you, I can definitely relate. My fear of heights also known as acrophobia started as far back as I can remember. This is congruent with research, that tells us "phobias can happen in early childhood. But they are often first seen between ages 15 and 20" (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2021). 

Phobias are uncontrollable, and have multiple factors involved in it's development. These factors include biological factors such as genetics, and environmental factors such as a terrible first experience with heights. Although known as a "fear of heights" it is not actually the height the causes the reaction to such situations, instead it is the fear of falling. Phobias are usually linked with an extreme reaction, such as panic attacks, and actions taken to far lengths, to steer clear of heights. It is also common for people to have more than one phobia, do you have any?

Post 2: Negative Punishment

 What is negative punishment? B.F Skinner, American psychologist developed the theory of operant conditioning. This theory states, the behavior of a person (or animal) can be altered (increased or decreased) by adding or removing stimuli following a specific behavior. 

Negative punishment occurs when a positive stimuli is removed following a behavior. For example, a teen boy cheats on his quiz at school, and the teacher informs the parents. The parents decide to negatively punish their son by taking away his video game system. The game system serves as his positive stimuli. The removal of the stimuli will in theory, prevent the behavior (cheating on quiz) from occurring again. Skinner further proclaims that negative punishment must be consistent in order to be the most effective. This means the punishment must be administered every time following such behavior.

The following video shows an example of negative punishment:

Post 1: Classical Conditioning

 As we know, classical conditioning was discovered by Pavlov. This type of conditioning is also known as respondent conditioning and occurs when two linked stimuli produce a newly learn response. Pavlov discovery was a product of his experiment involving two dogs. He rang a bell immediately before feeding the dogs, and therefore the dogs associate the sound of the bell with the presentation of food. The bell(sound) and the food are the two linked stimuli, and the newly learned (conditioned) response was the dogs salvation after the bell was rung.

There is a perfect example of this in my personal life. My cat loves to loudly meow in my face for attention over night. I began to get out of bed to feed him, as he always quiets down after eating. I noticed after a week or so, my cat know associates loudly meowing in my face with getting fed. I am currently trying to figure out how to uncondition this response, as the quality of my sleep has decreased.

Here is a video with a more information, and description of terms associated with classical conditioning.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Post 3: Elicited behaviors

Elicited behaviors are involuntary reactions that happen as a result of a specific environmental stimulus (Daffin, 2021). There are two different types of elicited behaviors, which are reflexes and fixed action patterns. A reflex is a simple automatic response to a stimulus, involving one gland or a set of muscles. In fact, there are three kinds of reflexes, the startle response, the orienting response, and flexion. The startle response is a defensive reaction that takes place given a sudden and or unexpected stimulus. In this case, muscles automatically contract and a change within internal organs and hormone regulation takes place. An example of this reflex is an individual's response to a loud noise, seen in the involuntary movement of limbs, often a bending motion, and an avoidance movement of the head, often drifting down towards the shoulder. The orienting response occurs when an individual automatically positions him or herself to facilitate attending to a stimulus. For example, if a dog locates potential prey, it will redirect its body's position, point its tail, and fixate its eyes. Lastly, flexion occurs when an individual automatically pulls away from hot or sharp object, and is usually accompanied by a startle response. An example of flexion can be identified in the kitchen when an individual is putting a tray in the pre-heated oven, accidentally touching the rack and immediately drawing their hand out to nurse the burn.  

A fixed action pattern is a sequence of responses elicited by a specific stimulus. They are usually unique to a certain species and as a result, are sometimes referred to as species specific behaviors or instincts. These instincts are adaptive responses that have evolved with an animal to provide a form of consistency within their environment, and once they have begun their course, there is no stopping them. Six specific characteristics help to identify fixed action patterns, and they are as listed: stereotyped, complex, species-characteristic, released, triggered, and independent of experience. Some examples include yawning, mating dances or calls, circling and digging behaviors in dogs, nesting, and web spinning. 

Daffin, L. (2021, May 6). Principles of Learning and Behavior.,the%20strength%20of%20a%20response.

Post 2: Extinction in classical conditioning vs. operant conditioning

In psychological terms, extinction is referred to as the progressive weakening of a response that leads to a behavior to either decrease in occurrence or disappear entirely. In classical conditioning, if a conditioned stimulus appears independently, rather than in conjunction with an unconditioned stimulus, the conditioned response will soon pause (Cherry, 2019). This can be seen in Pavlov's dogs, in which they were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a chiming bell. Extinction appeared when the bell would chime and food was not given simultaneously, causing the dogs' salivation response to halt. 

Operant conditioning occurs when an unconditioned stimulus with reinforcement are associated to alter a conditioned response. When looking at extinction in operant conditioning, it can be seen directly following a discriminative stimulus when response reinforcement stops (Cherry, 2019). For example, an individual associates the sound of a certain text tone with a message from a desired person, but upon repeatedly checking their phone given the tone and not seeing a message from that person, the individual stops checking their phone. 

Cherry, K. (2019, May 6). How Is Extinction Defined in Psychology? Verywell Mind.

Treating Phobias With Systematic Desensitization

    Many individuals can have many different phobias that are detrimental to their well-being. Overcoming phobias can be extremely hard and oftentimes, therapy is needed. The type of behavioral therapy used to treat phobias is called systematic desensitization. Systematic desensitization was developed in the 1950s with the intent of removing the fear factor of phobias. In replace of the fear response, the therapy aims to create a relaxation response to treat the phobia at hand. 
    The desensitization process can include the patient imagining the phobic stimulus or they can be directly exposed to it in the therapy session. The patient focuses on relaxation by taking part in activities such as breathing and meditation exercises. By focusing on their fears in a linear pattern from lowest to highest, they will use these exercises to coach themselves through the phobic responses one by one until they are able to work their way to the highest fear response with success.

Self Control (Effective Strategies)

     Self-control relates to an individual's ability to resist temptation and better themselves. The human beings' ability to use their prefrontal cortex to assist in creating decision-making and problem solving strategies is astounding. Self-control is critical to an individual's well-being because a failure to resist temptation and negative habits can result in harmful effects on both mental and physical health. Willpower is the presentation of one's ability to show self-control and resist temptation. 

    It is important that self-control not be a form of punishment. Avoiding temptation may be difficult for many but it should not be in the form of punishment or depriving oneself. In order to avoid it feeling like a punishment, one can find new desires and new ways to pleasure themselves in order to distract from the negative temptations. By focusing in on specific goals at specific times rather than multiple goals at once, one can find it easier to resist those temptations as well.


Bandura Theory

     Albert Bandura's focus on observing, modeling, and imitation provided an avid explanation for behavior and I feel it is most relevant to behavior theory today. By conducting the Bobo doll experiment, Bandura was able to prove that individuals learn behavior by observing and imitating others. Those who are being observed are the models for behavior. Imitation has a great effect on society and how people go about their everyday lives. This theory has a strong foundation and clearly shows the importance of being surrounded by positive models whose behaviors are appropriate to imitate.

    People watch others and surround themselves with people they respect and admire. Because of this, individuals tend to imitate the behaviors of those around them who have acted as models. This is most often seen in children. Children can be observed imitating the behaviors of adults around them or even other children around them. As children grow, they shape into their being and that foundation begins with who they surround themselves with and who are models for shaping their future behavior.

Post 1: Learning and long-term development; a comparison between psychological and social constructivism

Learning is a process in which knowledge, behaviors, skills, and lessons are obtained through either experiences, the action of being taught, and or studying. Development is a process that fosters growth and change, often centered around what has already been learned and the long-term goals in relation to such material. When discussing general psychological constructivism, Piaget is most commonly thought of, as he conceptualized the idea of ways in which long-term development determines a child's ability to learn, rather than the reversal (Sutton). Early stages of a child's development are self-centered and revolve heavily on the his or her environmental interactions. Consider this, as a child immerses him or herself into his or her surroundings, the child's initial skills, whether they be language or behavioral, are limited. With school related resources and peer support, development is encouraged, therefore, improving upon language and behavioral skills, and resulting in a child who is not only teachable, but now capable of continual learning. Regardless of a child's age, his or her ability to learn is dependent on their current stage of development. By looking at each grade level in relation to a stage of development, it is understood that a teacher is responsible for creating a classroom in which certain skills are taught, and also a space in which a child can independently interact and eventually be prepared for more difficult aspects of verbal related learning. 

Vygotsky, a social constructivist, stands in opposition to those such as Piaget, by highlighting the need for social interaction in promoting child development (Sutton). He suggests that language and verbal interactions are primary, and development occurs as a result, the opposite of Piaget's ideas. When a child is born and in the very early stages of development, language skills are limited, which in turn emphasizes the importance of interaction and experiences with experienced individuals who are able to foster a zone of proximal development. In the years prior to schooling, a child's parents are deemed the "experts," and once formal schooling commences, teachers fulfill that "expert" role and continue to expand a child's capability. By providing a child with new conversational experiences and beneficial verbal interactions, a teacher fulfills their responsibility of helping a child to learn skills that promote and progress long-term development. 

Sutton, K. S. and R. (n.d.). Educational Psychology. Lumen. 

Post #3 Reinforcers and Punishers - Angelina Marte

 Reinforcers and Punishers Related to PTSD

    Some people know about the different types of reinforcers and punishers, and how're they're used in psychology. But some people may not know about the long term effects of the usage of these. Both reinforcers and punishers follow a behavior in attempt to either increase or decrease it. Positive reinforcers present a stimulus following a response, that leads to increase of future strength of that response. This is usually pleasant or rewarding. Positive punishment is where the presentation of a stimulus leads to a decrease in future strength of that response. Negative reinforcer is the removal of another stimulus following the response to lead to an increase of future strength. A negative punisher is the removal of a stimulus following a response, which then leads to a decrease in the future strength of that response. 

    Something that people don't typically think about is whether this can affect the child's thought process (if you're using this to raise a child) or actions in the future. According to surveys, post traumatic stress disorder symptoms are strongly related to negative reinforcement. Which is used as an escape behavior resulting in the termination of the aversive stimulus. The first link below shows the connection between negative reinforcers and post traumatic stress disorder. The link below that talks about some behavioral interventions for the trauma. 

Post #2 Mirror Test - Angelina Marte


Mirror Drawing Test 


    In this next post, I will talk about the mirror drawing test. The mirror test is where a subject is asked to trace a star on a piece of paper while looking into a mirror. When subjects first try, it seems as though hand coordination is lost and it's as if the task is nearly impossible. But with more attempts, your brain adapts to the difference of looking through the mirror, and the project becomes easier. The picture above shows how the man makes less mistakes over a period of a few days. 
    The mirror drawing test challenges your visual and motor skills. It also calculates learning progress, coordination, and neuropsychological damage. This is actually a classroom activity given to young kids in school, to help them understand the idea of perception. The video below is a brief clip of how mirror drawing is used as a classroom activity. The website below that is an example packet of what they would give to students. 

Van H. Blog Post 3: Adjunctive Behavior in Rats


What is Adjunctive Behavior? 

Adjunctive behavior is the excessive pattern of behavior that emerges due to the reinforcement of another behavior. Simply out, because of one behavior, another behavior emerges as a result. 

An example of adjunctive behavior, which is also known as schedule-induced behavior, is an experiment with rats. In this experiment, conducted by psychologist John Falk, trained rats to press a lever for food. The food however, was dispensed on an intermittent schedule. To combat this, the rats would drink water during the duration of waiting before pressing the lever for more food pellets. 

The act of drinking water to combat hunger, is the behavior that emerges in adjunction to pressing the lever for food, which is the original act. Within this experiment there were a couple distinction Falk had made about the experiment; 

  • Adjunctive behavior occurs within the period following the consumption of the pellets. This meant that the rats would eat the food pellets instantly as it was delivered, and then quickly went to drink water.
  • Adjunctive behavior is affected by levels of deprivation. The more hunger deprived the rats were, the more they drank!
  • Adjunctive behaviors can function as reinforcers. In other words, using adjunctive behavior, it can act as a reinforcer for an additional behavior. This means that not only would the rat be able to press the lever for food, it can also be trained to press the lever for water. 
  • In adjunctive behavior, is an optimal time between the reinforcer. In this study, there were varying intervals between 5 seconds and up. The optimal time for the rats to engage in adjunctive behavior ranged between 1 to 3 minutes. 


Honey, P., Powell, R., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2016). Introduction to learning and behavior (5th ed.). CENGAGE Learning Custom Publishing

Killeen, P.R., Pellón, R. Adjunctive behaviors are operants. Learn Behav 41, 1–24 (2013).

Post #1 Personality Types - Angelina Marte

    Type A and Type B Personalities

    The two most common and most noticeable personality types amongst people are Type A and Type B. This is because of the drastic difference between them, number one being that people with Type A personalities are more anxious and stressed while people with Type B personalities tend to be more calm, focused, and relaxed. The reason for the drastic difference has to do with a mix physical, mental, and emotional factors. Although, the majority of people tend to actually have a mix of personalities instead of one strict type. For example some people could be a moderate Type A personality with some aspects of Type B, while others can be a moderate Type B, with aspects of Type A. 
    Because Type A traits tend to be more stress related, they also seem to deal with more health deficits. For example they have higher risks of physical diseases such as heart disease, as well as mental health diseases such as anxiety and depression. To an extent, this all means that having Type A personalities may not be the most exciting thing, as there can be a lot of baggage to go with it. The first video below goes more in depth about Type A personality health issues and traits. The video below that one talks more in depth about positive aspects of Type B personality traits. On a positive note, people with Type A personalities can be really good at getting things done, and having them done right! 



Van H. Blog Post 2: Self Control


The Ainslie–Rachlin Model of Self-Control

The Ainslie and Rachlin model focuses on control and reward. Simply put, the model can be defined as the change in preference of having a smaller reward sooner or a large reward later. An example would be how many college students start their day with the intentions to study for an upcoming exam, but later in the day, they find themselves watching Netflix. As time passes, the reward of watching a show or movie seems greater than the reward of studying. This can also be defined as a reversal of preference. To further explain, the value of the reward increases and time decreases. 

Another common example is asking a child if they would rather open their Christmas gifts a few days early or enjoy more presents all at once on Christmas Day. Since the reward of opening a gift earlier is much more appealing in time and value, the child is likely to pick the first choice. However, as Christmas approaches, the value of Christmas Day increases! 


Honey, P., Powell, R., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2016). Introduction to learning and behavior (5th ed.). CENGAGE Learning Custom Publishing.

Ainslie, George. “ A Selectionist Model of the Ego: Implications for Self-Control.” Pico, 

Van H. Blog Post 1: The Simple Mechanisms of Learning!

The Importance of Habituation and Sensitization

    In the process of learning, having a repeated presentation of a stimulus can change behavior. There are two mechanisms used in learning known as habituation and sensitization. 

Habituation is the decrease in the strength of an elicited behavior which is followed by a  repeated presentation of the eliciting stimulus. An example of habituation would be a student reading in a library, tuning out background noises like page flipping, whispering, but once their friend arrives, the unexpected stimulus can elicit a response from that student! 

Sensitization would be the opposite. Instead, it is the increase of strength in the behavior followed by repeating measures of the stimulus. An example of sensitization would be most relevant in trauma survivors. For instance, a veteran with experience in weaponry and bombs, would react negatively to fireworks, as it triggers the same fear and environment. 

These mechanisms are incredibly important functions! Habituation is key as it helps us decrease our response to repeated stimulus. Habituation allows us to tune out irrelevant stimuli in order to respond to important stimuli. The same goes for sensitization. Sensitization is important as it allows to become aware and alert. 


Herman, James. (2013). Neural Control of Chronic Stress Adaptation. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. 7. 61. 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00061. 

Honey, P., Powell, R., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2016). Introduction to learning and behavior (5th ed.). CENGAGE Learning Custom Publishing.

Post 3: Use of Animals in research

There has been some heavy controversy on using animals in research. But, with everything involved in studies, there are pros and cons to using this method of testing. The pros involved are that they are able to control their genetic makeup. They know everything about the animals genetic history and can control whether the animal has children or not. The scientists can also control the animals learning history. If the animal is used from when the animal was a baby, then the scientists can control what has been done to them and when they learn. Another advantage is that the scientists can strictly control the environment that the animal is in. This is more controlled then when the experiments are done on humans, because we cannot fully control a persons environment ethically. Lastly, some research cannot be ethically done on humans. There are some things that animals can endure, like drug addiction, and that the scientists can get them successfully off of it while with humans they would be addicted for life. 

However, for these positive things with animal testing there are some negative arguments to contradict using animals for research is it is morally wrong and that animals have rights similar to humans, which some experiments disregard that. Another argument is that the animals are similar enough to humans, therefore we will not get an accurate conclusion with some experiments. If an experiment findings were too out of touch for humans, then it would be a waste of time. But, it is important to note that scientists do want the welfare of animals to be taken into account, therefore they would not purposely hurt an animal or put them through something completely inhumane. I, Personally are still against animal testing and will even buy cruelty-free makeup. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2015). Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Cengage Learning.

Post 2: Activity Anorexia Nervosa compared to those in humans

 Many of us has heard of the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. But, have we learned the studies about it? There were scientist that compared the Activity Anorexia in rats in an experiment to the human version of this. There are several similarities between activity anorexia in rats and anorexia nervosa in humans. For example, just as activity anorexia in rats can be precipitated by imposing a restricted schedule of feeding, so too anorexia nervosa in humans usually begins when the person deliberately undertakes a diet to lose weight. This can start innocently enough, but an turn a bad turn when they start to obssess over it. Even more significant, anorexia in humans, as with anorexia in rats, is often accompanied by very high levels of activity  This may consist of a deliberate exercise program designed to facilitate weight loss, or it may be displayed as a severe sort of restlessness. For example, we can see it when people have this disease is when they block out their entire day almost dedicating it to exercise. Although clinicians have typically regarded such high activity as a secondary characteristic of the disorder, scientists Epling and Pierce suggest that it is more fundamental than that. Thus, as with activity anorexia in rats, many cases of anorexia nervosa in humans might result from the combined effects of a stringent diet and high activity levels. If someone wanted to really see how this disease affected humans, they can watch the movie "To The Bone" on Netflix. It gives a great idea on what happens to the disease and Keanu Reeves is in it, so that's a plus. You directly see a person's account on the recovery from the disease. It is not a documentary, but a movie based off of a real person. One difference between the Activity Anorexia in rats and Anorexia in humans, is that it is often coupled with Bulimia. This is when they binge, and then purge. It would be hard for the rats to do this as they are incapable of vomiting, but they do not binge. So what is the value in the activity? Such evidence suggests that both activity anorexia in rats and anorexia nervosa in humans might be maintained by what is essentially an addiction to an endorphin high. The people who were interviewed in the book stated that it turns addictive, and it almost makes them enjoy the hungry feeling. There are ways, however to try to avoid it. The activity anorexia model also suggests that people who are dieting and may be susceptible to anorexia should eat several small meals per day as opposed to a single large meal, insofar as rats do not become anorexic when the 1.5-hour meal period is broken up into several shorter meal periods. The more that we learn about the disease, the more we can try to avoid and treat it to avoid losing anyone completely to it. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2015). Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Cengage Learning.

Post 1: Negative punishment

     Negative punishment consists of the removal of a certain event following a response, which then leads to a decrease in the future strength of that response. In everyday terms, the behavior results in the removal of something the person or likes, so the subject is less likely to behave that way in the future. I'm sure we all can remember being punished when we were younger. There are two types of negative punishment, one being time-out and the other being response cost. When you send a child for their time-out, usually you send them to their room or a corner for a pre-determined amount of time. Most parents execute this poorly though, because usually it will have the opposite effect on the child. The example the book uses is that if the child does not want to sit at the table, it will act as a positive reinforcement because then the child knows that if it doesn't want to sit there, they will just misbehave again. If using the punishment correctly, it should be very brief and after the behavior that is wanted should be positively enforced so that the child knows how to behave. 

    The other punishment is response cost. This, I'm sure everyone can remember as well. This is when you remove a specific reinforcer and it will result in the decrease in the strength of behavior. The example the book uses for this one is when it is a negative punishment, if a child starts whining after they receive some cookies, the next time they will receive less cookies. Or, the positive punishment version of this is if every time they whine the child gets a cookie taken away from them. Both of the punishments are effective if used in the right way. 

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2015). Introduction to Learning and Behavior. Cengage Learning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Personality Types A and B (third post)

Type A personalities are high achievers, hardworking, and more aggressive people who constantly work towards their goals. These people are always working at a faster pace and can have a lower level of patience. People with Type A personalities are short-tempered and are highly competitive. Some people with Type A personalities can come off as narcissistic and overly confident. These individuals want to make their presence known. Many people with this personality type are hard on themselves while also being hard on others. Type B personalities are less dominant and more humble, and easy-going. They are more likely to do one thing at a time and are less affected by time constraints. People with Type B personalities are the opposite of Type A, which allows them to be more patient and less hot-headed. Paying attention to these two personality types is necessary because health problems like a heart attack can be caused by too much stress, which is more likely to occur with someone who has a Type A personality. This is another essential factor to pay attention to because this could be the cause of other mental health

disorders like narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. This can lead to therapy and other treatments that involve medications. The best way to avoid stressful situations for people with a Type A personality is to acknowledge their emotions and validate their feelings. It is ok to feel on edge at times, but it is important to develop solutions before lashing out at the wrong people. 

Operant Conditioning/ Rewards and Punishments (Second post) - Kyra Gilligan

 Four-term contingencies are important when studying the concept of behavior and the development of an individual. Operant conditioning is based on the idea that we can increase or decrease a certain behavior by adding a consequence. This includes positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. Providing reinforcement to a situation can cause a behavior to increase and continue, but punishment will show that certain behaviors have consequences. Both reinforcement and punishment can have negative and positive outcomes. These contingencies can be shown a lot through parenting. For example, a more strict parent may enforce certain rules and expectations that a more laid-back parent may not. This will show either a higher or lower level of punishment and reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when something is added to increase the likelihood of behavior, while negative reinforcement has an opposite effect and is caused when a stimulus is removed. Positive punishment is similar to positive reinforcement, but the difference is something is added to decrease the likelihood of behavior when a positive punishment is presented. Negative punishment has a similar aspect, but instead, something is removed to decrease the likelihood of a behavior. Operant Conditioning can help improve or cause more problems in an environment and the growth of an individual. I enjoyed learning about this topic because it is such a huge part of the psychology field, and I will use this in my future career.

Post 3: Observational Learning


    Observational Learning is learning by watching, retaining information, and replicating behavior. There are four stages of observational learning: attention,  retention, reproduction, and motivation. For attention the observer has to be focused and engaged with the model. Retention is when the observer is able to remember what they viewed. Reproduction is when the learner is able to replicate what the model was doing. Motivation is necessary for the observer to learn through observing. 

    Albert Bandura is most associated with observational learning, he argues that we as humans are more naturally inclined to engage in observational learning. Bandura conducted a famous experiment called the "Bobo Doll Experiment". It showed that children may imitate aggressive behavior if that is how an adult is acting. The children watched a film where adults repeatedly hit balloon doll and then the children were able to play with the same doll after watching. It was found that children were more likely to copy the adult's actions when the child saw they were not punished for it. However if the adult was punished they children were less likely to copy the action.  Here  is video of Bobo Doll Experiment.


Cherry, K. (2021, April 28). How Observational Learning Affects Behavior. Verywell Mind.

Powell R. A., Honey P. L., & Symbaluk D. G. (2016). Introduction to Learning and Behavior. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from