PSYCHOLOGY: Chapter 9 Learning - Principles and Applications Lecture Notes 

* Bold print denotes an item not in the text.




9-1: Classical Conditioning 


1982 experiment: researchers placed the participants in a room. In this room the participants first viewed purple pens. As the participants sat staring at the purple pens, pleasant music played in the background.  Then the music stopped, and the purple pens were taken away. Suddenly green pens appeared. As the participants sat staring at the green pens, they heard unpleasant music in the background.  Later, the researchers offered the pens to the participants. The participants could pick a purple or green pen. The participants overwhelmingly chose purple pens


        - advertising point: Pairing a product with pleasant sensations motivates consumers to make a choice without an awareness of why they made that



Learning: is a relatively permanent change in a behavioral tendency that results from experience.


        - 7 types:

                1.) Classical conditioning

                2.) Operant conditioning

                3.) Modeling

                4.) Social learning

                5.) Cognitive learning

                6.) Latent learning

                7.) Spatial learning


Classical conditiong: a learning procedure in which associations are made between a natural stimulus and a neutral stimulus.


           - Stimulus: anything that causes a response

- Response: any reaction to a stimulus

- Neutral: causing no effect

- Unconditioned:  natural, automatic

- Conditioned: learned; taught


Ivan Pavlov: Russian physiologist


        - his experiment:  studied digestive process of dogs.  In his

studies, he found that the dog would begin salivating before he was given the meat powder.  In 1927, he took his experiment a step farther.  He would hit a tuning fork just before he gave the dog the meat powder several times in a row.  He then saw that as soon a dog heard the sound, he would begin to salivate. (He associated the sound with getting the meat powder)

Pavlov’s discovery of this type of learning—the principle of classical conditioning—was accidental.


                * psychic secretions:  what he called salivation because it was the dog’s mind making him salivate, not actual food.


Pavlov used the term unconditioned to refer to stimuli and to automatic, involuntary responses.


In Pavlov’s experiment:

     US: meat powder

     UC: salivation

     NS: tuning fork      Hint: In CC, the NS usually becomes the CS.

     CS: tuning fork

     CR: salivation


        - neutral stimulus (NS): a stimulus that does not initially elicit any part of the unconditioned response.


        - unconditioned response (UCR):  an event that elicits a certain predictable response typically without previous training.


                * 5 examples of UCR in humans:

                        1.) blushing

                        2.) shivering

                        3.) being startled

                        4.) salivating

                        5.) pain


        - unconditioned stimulus (UCS): an organism’s automatic (or natural) reaction to a stimulus.


        - conditioned stimulus (CS): a once-neutral event that elicits a given response after a period of training in which it has been paired with

                                       an unconditioned stimulus.


        - conditioned response (CR): the learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus.


2 things CC helps humans do:

        1.) Adapt to the environment

        2.) Avoid danger


Acquisition: is the association between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus which generally occurs gradually in classical conditioning.


Timing in CC: the timing between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus also influences learning.


When is CC most reliable?  Classical conditioning is most reliable and effective when the conditioned stimulus is presented just before the unconditioned stimulus.


Generalization: responding similarly to a range of similar stimuli.


        Example:  A baseball thrown at you, you catch it.  Any other time any type of round object is thrown, you do the same thing.


Discrimination: the ability to respond differently to similar but distinct stimuli.


        Example:  Somehow a huge round rock is being hurled at you head, and you step out if its way.


3 points on generalization and discrimination:

        1.) Generalization and discrimination are complementary processes and are part of your everyday life.

        2.) Both may occur spontaneously in some situations.

        3.) Both can be taught in others.


Extinction: the gradual disappearance of a conditioned response when the conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus.


** Even though a classically conditioned response may be extinguished, this does not mean that you have completely

     unlearned the CR.


Spontaneous recovery: after a period of time in which the conditioned stimulus is not presented, the previously extinguished conditioned response may

                                   reappear when the conditioned stimulus is presented again.


Use of extinction for phobias:  The process of extinction is the basis for many psychological treatments aimed at alleviating irrational fears,

                                   or phobias.

                   The psychologist systematically desensitizes the patient to the feared object or experience until the phobic

                   response is extinguished.




Ivan Pavlov: Russian scientist who discovered what he called the conditioned reflex, and classical conditioning by accident. 


        - dates: 1849-1936


        - education: Pavlov abandoned his family’s hopes that he would become a priest, and instead pursued science.  He received his doctoral degree from

                           the University of  St. Petersburg in 1897.


        - occupation:  He was a physiologist.


        - area of study:  digestion and blood circulation.


        - conditioned reflexes:  a reaction that occurs naturally and automatically when the unconditioned stimulus is presented, in other words, a reflex

                                             (now called a conditioned response)


        - attitude toward psychiatry: He distrusted it.


        - his idea on psychosis:  He thought, that conditioned reflexes could explain the behavior of psychotic people. He believed that those who withdrew

                                             from the world may associate all stimuli with possible injury or threat.


                * psychosis: Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, typically including delusions (false ideas about what is taking place or who one is)

 and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which aren't there).


Watson & Raynor (1920):  used conditioning on a human infant in the case of Little Albert.


        - Little Albert:  11-month-old orphan infant.


        - question:  Watson questioned the role that conditioning played in the development of emotional responses in children.


        - goal of experiment: To make Little Albert fear rats.


        - unethical practice:  because the researchers taught Little Albert to fear things that he previously had no fear of-- and they did not extinguish

                                         the response.


        - what they proved:  that emotional responses can be classically conditioned in humans.


CASE STUDIES (pg. 249)


3 instinctive reflexes: sucking, reaching, and grasping.


3 innate emotional responses:

        1.) Fear at hearing a loud sound or at suddenly being dropped.

        2.) Rage when arm or head movements are forcibly restrained.

        3.) Love when stroked, rocked, or gently patted (touch)


        * innate: Inborn


Watson & Rayner's hypothesis:  Most human behaviors and emotional reactions are built up of conditioned responses.


2 criticisms:

        1.) Watson and Rayner taught a well-adjusted child to be fearful.

        2.) W & R made no attempt to extinguish Little Albert's conditioned fears, and had the time to do so.


Mary Cover Jones: was student of John Watson who developed an extinction procedure called counter conditioning to reduce people’s existing fears.


        - counter conditioning:  Method of fear reduction in which the researcher (or counselor) helps the patient to eliminate his fear by pairing the feared

                                            object with pleasant experiences.  The fear is lessened as the person forms an association with the more pleasurable experience.



Mower & Mower (1938):

        - bell and pad experiment: 2 metallic sheets sensitive to moisture place on bed.  A bell goes off when moisture hits the pad, waking the kid.  The kid learns

                                                 to go to get up and go to the bathroom when he feels his bladder get full.  Later he will go to the bathroom when he feels the

             fullness of his bladder. He doesn’t need bell to wake him up.


        - what they were trying to treat: bedwetting


        - "alarm": is the unconditioned stimulus that produces the unconditioned response of waking up. The sensation of a full bladder is the conditioned

                       stimulus that, before  conditioning, did not produce wakefulness.  After several pairings of the full bladder (CS) and the alarm (UCS), the

                       child is able to awaken to the sensation of a full bladder without the help of the alarm.


                        This technique has proven to be a very effective way of treating bed-wetting problems.


Taste aversions: are created when feelings/behaviors are associated with specific foods.


        * use in chemotherapy: Many chemotherapy patients develop taste aversions to the last thing they ate before receiving treatment. Over the

                               course of  chemotherapy treatment, some patients develop taste aversions to foods they have always enjoyed.


                               To avoid these taste aversions and the accompanying weight loss, chemotherapy patients are now given an odd

                               tasting piece of candy immediately before treatment.


Garcia & Koelling (1966): were the first to demonstrate taste aversions  using rats. The rats were put in a cage containing flavored water. Whenever the rat would take a drink, lights flashed and click sounded.  Some rats were given a small electric shock when they drank.  All these rats showed traditional classical conditioning – the rats would not drink water at all.  They had developed a taste aversion to water… and they died from dehydration.


Gustavson, et al (1974): did a study that made coyotes avoid sheep by giving them a drug to make them sick when they ate sheep.  This application is

                                    important because sheep farmers in the western United States would like to eliminate the coyotes that threaten their flocks, while

                                    naturalists are opposed to killing the coyotes. The psychologists realized that coyotes could be trained to eat other kinds of meat

                                    and thus learn to coexist peacefully  with sheep.


        * canalization: is the process in which people are conditioned to prefer one stimulus over another because they perceive that stimulus as more

                      satisfying, differs from culture to culture.  People in different cultures are conditioned to various preferences of food, color,

                      and beauty.


                For example, most people in the United States do not consider insects to be edible, while other cultures may consider them a delicacy.


3 points on classical conditioning:

        1.) CC helps animals and humans predict what is going to happen.

        2.) CC provides information that may be helpful to their survival.       

        3.) Learning associated with classical conditioning may aid animals in finding food or help humans avoid pain or injury.



Behaviorism: is the attempt to understand behavior in terms of relationships between observable stimuli and observable responses.


        - behaviorists: are psychologists who study only those behaviors that they can observe and measure.


                * 2 points:

                        1.) Behaviorists are not concerned with unobservable mental processes.

                        2.) They emphasize actions instead of thoughts.


CC & OC comparison:

        - Classical conditioning is a process by which a stimulus that previously did not elicit a response comes to elicit a response after it is paired with a stimulus

          that naturally elicits a response.

        - In contrast, operant conditioning is a process by which the consequences of a response affect the likelihood that the response will occur again


Research with Human Participants: Ethical Principles (1992):  an APA designed set of binding ethical principles that govern psychologists’ research.

                                                                   (Revised in 1992)


     - ethics: The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.


     - APA: American Psychological Association


6 Ethical Principles:


          * Planning Research: Using recognized standards of competence and ethics, psychologists plan research so as to minimize the possibility

                                 of misleading results.

          * Responsibility: Psychologists are responsible for the dignity and welfare of participants.

          * Compliance with Law and Standards: Psychologists obey all state and federal laws and regulations.

          * Research Responsibilities: Psychologists reach an agreement regarding the rights and responsibilities of both participants and researchers

                                         before research is started.

           * Informed Consent: When consent is required, psychologists obtain a signed informed consent before starting any research

                                  with a participant.

           * Deception in Research: Deception is used only if no better alternative is available.



9-2: Operant Conditioning


Operant Conditioning:  learning in which a certain action is reinforced or punished, resulting in corresponding increases or decreases in occurrence


        - operant: to cause some change in the environment.  The learner is going to repeat of eliminate behavior either to get reward or avoid punishment.


        - 3 points on operant behaviors:

                1.) The subject must cause some change in the environment.

                2.) The result will influence whether the subject will operate or respond in the same way in the future.

                3.) Depending on the effect of the operant behaviors, the learner will repeat or eliminate these behaviors to get

                     rewards or avoid punishment.


How OC differs from CC:  Operant conditioning is the process of learning from consequences of behavior. Classical conditioning is the process in which

                                        a person’s natural  responses become attached to a new stimulus.


        In other words:

           1.) In CC learning is passive, subject doesn’t make decision.  (you just react.)

           2.) In OC the subject has to engage in behavior for programmed outcome to occur.


alternative definition for operant conditioning: operant conditioning is the study of how voluntary behavior is affected by its consequences.


B.F. Skinner: the psychologist most closely associated with Operant Conditioning.


        - belief:  He believed that most behavior is influenced by a person’s history of rewards and punishments.


                   *quote: "Everything we do and are is determined by our history of rewards and punishments."


        - Skinner Box: The Skinner box is a basic apparatus used to test theories of operant conditioning.  It is a complete, artificially controlled

                       environment in which rewards and punishments can be delivered. 


Reinforcement: stimulus or event that follows a response and increases the likelihood that the response will be repeated.


        - effect of stimulus on learners: Whether or not a particular stimulus is a reinforcement depends on the effect the stimulus has on the learner. 

                                                          Obviously, the more the subject wants/or does not want a reinforcer, the more reinforcing it will be.


        - 3 examples of reinforcers: social approval, money, and extra privileges


        - positive reinforcer: the goal that makes you go through an action to get the reward.  (Anything that makes the subject want to complete the action to get the



        - positive reinforcement: immediately following a particular response with a reward in order to strengthen that response.


        - negative reinforcement: increasing the strength of a given response by removing or preventing a painful stimulus when the response occurs.


        - primary reinforcers: a stimulus that is naturally rewarding, such as food or water.  (Things that that satisfy biological needs.)


        - secondary reinforcers: stimulus such as money that becomes rewarding through its link with a primary reinforcer.


        Reinforcers and conditioning: With conditioning, almost any stimulus can acquire value and become a secondary reinforcer.


Wolfe (1936):  wanted to see if he could make chimps value a poker chip.  Poker chips have no value for chimps....they are not edible and they are not very much

                       fun to play with. He creates Chimp-O-Mat a food dispensing machine.  The chimps would be rewarded for doing correct behaviors with a poker

                       chip.  This chip could be used “purchase” food (primary reinforcers) from the Chip-O-Mat.


        - “Chimp-O-Mat”: machine that dispensed peanuts or bananas, which are primary reinforcers.  To obtain food, the  chimps had to pull down on a heavily

                                  weighted bar to obtain poker chips, then insert the chips in a slot in the machine


        - use of primary reinforcers:  They used primary reinforcers - bananas and peanuts - because the new the monkeys would want food.


        - 3 ways chimps treated poker chips:

                1.) They worked hard to earn them.

    2.) They saved them.

    3.) They even tried to steal chips from other monkeys.


4 examples of secondary reinforcers:

        1.) Money is the best example of a secondary reinforcer in human society.

        2.) Praise

        3.) Status

        4.) Prestige.


One important factor in operant conditioning is the timing and frequency of reinforcement.  This is way we have schedules of reinforcement.  Some work better than others do.


Continuous schedule: type of schedule of reinforcement in which behavior is reinforced every time it occurs.


Partial schedule: type of schedule of reinforcement in which behavior is reinforced only intermittently.


Problem with continuous reinforcement schedules: A person or animal that is continuously reinforced for a behavior tends to maintain that behavior only

                                                                             when the reinforcement is given. If the reinforcement stops, the behavior quickly undergoes extinction.


Benefit of partial reinforcement schedules:  Behaviors that are acquired on partial schedules of reinforcement are established more slowly but are more persistent. Humans that are reinforced on partial schedules of reinforcement cannot always predict when the next reinforcement will occur, so they learn to be persistent.


Ratio: schedule of reinforcement based on the number of correct responses between reinforcements.


Interval: schedule of reinforcement based upon the amount of time before reinforcements.


Fixed: predictable schedule; set; predetermined.


Variable: unpredictable schedule; changing.


4 schedules of reinforcement:


        - fixed-ratio schedule: a pattern of reinforcement in which a  specific number of correct responses is required before reinforcement can be obtained.

                * Example: An example would be dentists who get paid $75 for each cavity repaired or filled.


        - variable-ratio schedule: a pattern of reinforcement in which an unpredictable number of responses are required before reinforcement can be obtained.

                * Example: Slot machines are a good example. They are set to pay off after a varying number of attempts at pulling the handle, or pushing a button.


        - fixed-interval schedule: a pattern of reinforcement in which a  specific amount of time must elapse before a response will  elicit reinforcement.

                * Example: Teachers often give quizzes or tests on a fixed-interval schedule.  It is likely that you will study feverishly the day before a test

                                  but study much less immediately afterwards.


        - variable-interval schedule: pattern of reinforcement in which changing amounts of time must elapse before a response will obtain reinforcement.

                * Example: Phone calls - you know you will get one, but you  may not know exactly when.



10 points on scheduled reinforcement:

        1.) People tend to work hard on fixed-ratio schedules.

        2.) Generally, animals/humans on variable-ratio schedules of reinforcement tend to work or respond at a steady, high rate.  

        3.) Fixed-interval schedules result in regular, recurring periods of inactivity followed by short bursts of responding.

        4.) The usual response rate on a variable-interval schedule is slow, but steady—slower than on any other schedule of partial reinforcement.

        5.) Ratio schedules are based on numbers of responses.

        6.) Interval schedules are based on time.

        7.) Responses are more resistant to extinction when reinforced on a variable rather than on a fixed schedule.

        8.) To be most effective, however, the reinforcement must be consistent for the same type of behavior, although it may not occur each time t

             the behavior does.

        9.) Most reinforcers in human relationships are on a variable schedule.

        10.) How people will react cannot always be predicted.



Shaping: technique in which the desired behavior is “molded” by first rewarding any act similar to that behavior and then requiring ever-closer approximations

              to the desired behavior before giving the reward


        - rat experiment:  The rat was taught to pull a rope to raise a miniature flag in a step-by-step process.  He was rewarded for each step as he got closer

                                    to the desired response.  This was shaping.


Clicker training: is a form of shaping.


        - use: can be used for training animals.


        - process:  The trainer waits for the dog to sit on its own. The instant its rear goes down, the trainer hits the clicker (an audio signal) and the dog gets the

                         treat.   The clicker acts as an acoustical marker to tell the dog, "That's what I’m reinforcing."


Aldous Huxley:  (1894-1963), English novelist and critic (blinded at age 16), best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1931).

                   Besides novels he published travel books, histories, poems, plays, and essays on philosophy, arts, sociology, religion and morals.


     * A dystopian society is usually characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government, or some other kind of

       oppressive social control.


     - Brave New World : Huxley's novel in which individuals are conditioned to think, act, feel, believe, and respond the way the government wants

                            them to.  We have come to have the phrase "Brave New World" to serve as the false symbol for any regime

                            of universal happiness.


        "Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight

     depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight,

     hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship

     with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices

     and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come. - From


Response chains: learned reactions that follow one another in sequence, each reaction producing the signal for the next.


Response patterns: a number of response chains needed to perform a task or skill.


        - swimming example: the complex skill of swimming has three major chains that are combined to make up the whole swimming pattern—an armstroking

                                        chain, a breathing chain, and a leg-kicking chain.


        - simple before complex: It is necessary to learn simple responses before mastering the complex pattern. Therefore, before a person can learn to perform a

                                              particular skill, he or she must learn all the lower skills that make the larger skill possible.


Reinforcement: refers to anything that increases the frequency of an immediately preceding behavior.


Aversive: means unpleasant.


Aversive control: process of influencing behavior by means of unpleasant stimuli.


        - 2 types: Negative reinforcement and punishment.


Negative reinforcement: increasing the strength of a given response by removing or preventing a painful stimulus when the response occurs.


        - negates: to take away.


        - 3 examples: Pain, fear and disapproval.


        - 2 types: Escape and avoidance conditioning


                * Escape conditioning: training an organism to remove or terminate an unpleasant stimulus.  (When the behavior a person engages in causes the

                                                  unpleasant event to stop.)


                ^ Examples:

                        1.) You didn’t study for quiz and you don’t want to fail it, so you use a homework pass to get out of a quiz.

                        2.) You are grounded and you want to go out, so you act as obnoxious as you can to drive your parents crazy and they release you.


                * Avoidance conditioning: training an organism to withdraw from or prevent an unpleasant stimulus before it starts.  (When a person’s behavior

                                                       as effect of preventing an unpleasant situation from happening.)


                        ^ Examples:

                                1.) You have a quiz, so you study so you won't fail it.

                                2.) You know your curfew is 12:00 am, so you come home by midnight so you will not be grounded.


Most obvious form of aversive control: punishment


Punishment: when an aversive consequence occurs and decreases the frequency of the behavior that produced it.



Difference between negative reinforcement and punishment: In negative reinforcement, escape or avoidance behavior is repeated and increases in frequency.

                                                                                             In punishment, behavior that is punished decreases or is not repeated.


Punishers: a negative consequence


        - effect of: negative consequences that decrease the likelihood of a behavior of occurring again.


Importance of consistency in punishment:  Punishment must be consistently enforced in order for the learner's behavior to really be changed.


4 disadvantages of punishment

        1.) Aversive stimuli can produce unwanted side effects such as rage, aggression, and fear.

        2.) People learn to avoid the person delivering the aversive consequences.

        3.) Punishment is likely to merely suppress, but not eliminate, a behavior.

        4.) P punishment alone does not teach appropriate and acceptable behavior.



9-3: Social Learning


Social learning: process of altering behavior by observing and imitating the behavior of others.


        - 2 types: cognitive learning and modeling.


Cognitive Learning: a form of altering behavior that involves mental processes and may result from observation or imitation.


        - concerned with: Such learning is concerned with the mental processes involved in learning.


        - 2 examples of: Latent learning and learned helplessness


Edward Tolman: Psychologist in the 1930's who argued that learning involved more than mechanical responses to stimuli; it involved mental processes.


        - 1930 rat/maze experiment:  Tolman would place a rat in a maze and allow it to explore the maze without giving the rat any reinforcement, such as food.

                                                     Then he would place food at the end of the maze and record which path the rat took to reach the food. The rat quickly learned

                                                      to take the shortest route to the food.  Next, Tolman blocked the shortest path   to the food. The rat then followed the next

                                                      shortest path to the food. Tolman believed that the rat had developed a cognitive map of the maze.


Cognitive maps: a mental picture of spatial relationships or relationships between events.


Spatial learning: knowing where certain things are in environment.  This is not unique to humans, animals learn this way too. 

                  Another name for cognitive maps.


Latent learning: An alteration of a behavioral tendency that is not demonstrated by an immediate, observable change in behavior.


        - when it appears: Although the learning typically occurs in the absence of a reinforcer, it may not be demonstrated until a reinforcer appears.


3 Factors that affect learning: feedback, transfer, and practice


        - Feedback: finding out the results of an action or performance.


- Transfer: when a skill that you have already learned can help or hinder you in performing new tasks


           * Positive transfer: when a previously learned response helps you learn a new task new task.


                * Negative transfer: when a previously learned response hinders you in learning a new task.


- Practice: the repetition of a task


     * Importance of timing: In order to truly learn something, practice it over extended amount of time.


     * Mental practice practicing something in your head



Psychologists have shown that general learning strategies can affect a person’s relationship to the environment.


2 general learning strategies:  Learned helplessness or learned laziness.


Hiroto (1974): In this study students were placed in a room in which they had the power to turn off an unpleasant noise, while another group had no control over it.  Later they were all placed in a situation in which they only had to move a lever to stop a similar noise.  Only the ones who had control over the noise in the first situation tried to turn it off.  The others did not even try.  This demonstrated the concepts of learned helplessness and learned laziness.


        - conclusion: In order to be able to try hard and to be full of energy, people must learn that their actions do make a difference.


Learned laziness: condition that occurs if rewards come without effort, a person never learns to work.


Learned helplessness: condition in which repeated attempts to control a situation fail, resulting in the belief that the situation is uncontrollable.


Martin Seligman (1982): Psychologist who has done extensive research on depression, and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the subject.  Seligman believes that learned helplessness is one major cause of depression.


        - 6 points:

                1.) When people are unable to control events in their lives, they may be less motivated to act and thus stop trying.

                2.) They may experience a lowered sense of self-esteem.    

                3.) They will think negatively about themselves.

                4.) They may feel depressed.

                5.) People who attribute an undesirable outcome to their own inadequacies will probably experience depression along with guilt and self-blame. 

                6.) Seligman also found that animals that were unable to change their situation for long periods of time seemed unable or unwilling to

              change when the possibility was opened to them.


        - 3 elements of learned helplessness:


                * stability: the state of helplessness results from permanent characteristics (as opposed to temporary situations)


                * globality:  the person feels they are not good at anything.


                * internal: failure is caused by internal reasons (as opposed to external)


Modeling: learning by imitating others; copying behavior


        - 3 types:

                1.) "Follow the Leader": the behavior of others simply increases the chances that we will do the same thing.


                2.) Observational learning:  imitation (monkey see, monkey do) An observer watches someone perform a behavior and is later able to reproduce it

                                                          closely, though the observer was unable to do this before observing the model.


                        * Albert Bandura: Psychologist who performed a study in 1961 to demonstrate that the children learned aggressive behaviors simply by

                                                    watching a model perform these behaviors.


                                ^ Bobo doll experiment (1961): Children were told to play while in another part of the room an adult “model”

                                                      aggressively “played” with a 5-foot inflated Bobo doll. The model laid the Bobo doll on its side, sat on it, and punched it

                                                       repeatedly in the nose. The model then raised the Bobo doll, picked up a mallet and struck the doll on the head, then

                                                       kicked the doll around the room. Following this experience, the youngsters were brought to a room that contained

                                                       many attractive toys and the Bobo doll.  The children exhibited a good deal of aggressive behavior toward the Bobo

                                                      doll - behavior resembling that of the adult model.


                                        + conclusion: The experimenters found that children were more likely to act aggressively after they had observed aggressive behavior.


           * Poem Handout: Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Nolte


                   * effect of individual differences Individual differences in personality may help to explain why people act differently when

                                                                                      shown the same movie containing violent material.


                            * The American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Violence and Youth (1993): reported that personal qualities do play a role. 

                                                                    One child may learn that violence is right and another child may view violence as pitiful.  Others have found

                                                                    that more aggressive children seek out violent television and are also more affected by it.


                3.) Disinhibition: When an observer watches someone else engage in a threatening activity without being punished, the observer may find it

                                          easier to engage in that behavior later.


MORE ABOUT… (pg 262)

TV and violence

        - # of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000


        - # of studies on TV violence since the 1960's: Over 3,000 studies have investigated the link between television violence and real violence.


        - Mediascope National Television Violence Study (NTVS-1996):  found that by watching violence on television, viewers  risk the following results.


                * 3 results:

                        1.) They learn to behave violently.

                        2.) They become more desensitized to violence.

                        3.) They become more fearful of being attacked.



Behavior Modification:  The systematic application of learning principles to change people’s actions and feelings


        - 2 points:

                1.) Behavior modification involves a series of well-defined steps to change behavior.

                2.) The success of each step is carefully evaluated to find the best solution for a given situation.


        - task of behavior modifier:  usually begins by defining a problem in concrete terms. For example, Johnnie’s mother might complain that her son is messy.

                                                    If she used behavior modification to reform the child, she would first have to define “messy” in objective terms.

                                                    For example, he does not make his bed in the morning, he drops his coat on the couch when he comes inside, and so on.  

                                                   She would not worry about where his bad habits come from.  Rather, she would work out a system of rewards and

                                                   punishments aimed at getting Johnnie to make his bed, hang up his coat, and do other straightening-up tasks.


        - 3 principles used in behavior modification: Modeling, operant conditioning, and classical conditioning.


                * Classical conditioning principles are particularly useful in helping people to overcome fears, and we shall discuss them when we consider the

                   problem of treating psychological disorders.


                * Modeling is often used to teach desired behaviors.


                * Operant conditioning principles have also been applied to everyday problems.  Examples - CAI, Computer tutorials, and video games.


        - 2 needed elements:

           1.) There must be a true desire to change.

           2.) Self-control


PSYCH AND YOU (pg. 264)


Procrastination: To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness; To postpone or delay needlessly.


        - reason why we procrastinate:  Procrastination provides immediate reinforcement, and the punishment is delayed.


Many bad habits are formed when people follow this pattern of immediate reinforcement and delayed punishment.


        - how to stop: see handout


Overcoming Procrastination Handouts


Computer-assisted instruction (CAI):  method of learning in which the material to be learned in broken down into “frames”.  The learned must master the

                                                         “frame” before he/she is rewarded with choices, or point rewards.


        - 2 psychologists who pioneered programmed learning: S.L. Pressey and refined by B.F. Skinner


        - essential concept:  The essential concept of programmed instruction is based on operant conditioning.


        - how it works:  The material to be learned is broken down into simpler units called frames.  Each time the student shows that she or he has learned the

                                 information  in a frame, the student is given positive reinforcement in the form of new information, choices, or point rewards similar

                                 to those used in video games. Each question, or prompt, builds on information already mastered.  The computer retains

                                 (as does the student) exactly what the learner understands on the basis of the student’s answers to questions.


        -  4 principles of learning used:

                1.) The student is learning complex material through a response chain.

                2.) The student is reinforced constantly.

                3.) Knowledge is being shaped in a systematic and predictable way.

                4.) The student is able to have a dialogue with the instructor on every point, which is often impossible for a class of students in a conventional setting.


     - 6 advantages of CAI

                - There is superior retention of the material.

    - One gets immediate feedback (don’t have to wait until a teacher grades it)

                - One can reviews material that is not understood

                - One has a constant incentive to learn (to get to go on to the next frame)

                - One avoids a sense of failure for wrong answer in class

                - One can progress at individual rate.


     - 4 disadvantages of CAI-

    - The student may not finish course

    - It is a major expense for school districts

                - There is no set timetable  (could take a student a long time to finish)

    - There is a lack of human interaction (no teacher to explain things in another way, and no other students to work, or socialize with.


Token Economy: conditioning in which desirable behavior is reinforced with valueless objects, which can be accumulated and exchanged for valued rewards.


        - 3 operating principles:

           1.) The participant is reinforced with tokens for appropriate behavior.

           2.) The number of tokens is proportional to the requirements of the response.

           3.) The tokens may be cashed in for rewards.


        - Cohen & Filipczak (1971): used a token economic system with extremely disadvantaged boys in Washington D.C.  They found that they boys would work

                                                  hard to gain tokens to purchase items they wanted.  Within a few months, the  boys demonstrated significant improvement.


        - Comparison of token economy to real world:  In token economies, people are systematically paid to act appropriately.  In the real world, behaviorists argue,

                                                                               the rewards are just as real; they are simply less systematic.


        -  4 areas of use: prisons, mental hospitals, halfway houses, and classrooms.





Social theorists' argument:  They argue that much learning results from observing the behavior of others and from imagining the consequences of our own behavior.



Self-control:  Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will.


        - importance:  people must set up personal systems of rewards and punishments to shape their own thoughts and actions.  Without this, no

                             behavior modification program will work.


        - 1st step in any behavior modification program: define the problem.


                * research findings: Researchers have found that just keeping track of behavior in this way often leads a person to start changing it.


        - 2nd step: to set up a behavioral contract. A behavioral contract simply involves choosing a reinforcer  and making it depend on some less desirable

                         but necessary act.


Effective Study Skills Packet


     - studying as an ACTIVE process:  You MUST be actively involved with the material to help your brain sort, store and retrieve the information. 

                                            By using successive approximations and positive reinforcements you can improve your study habits.


                * successive approximations: starting with an easy task and gradually making it more difficult.