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The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach.

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Presentation on theme: "The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach The Psychology of the Person Chapter 13 Behavioral-Social Learning Approach Naomi Wagner, Ph.D Lecture Outlines Based on Burger, 8 th edition

2 The Beginning of Behaviorism John B. Watson ( ) was a member of the faculty at John Hopkins University. He started his academic work in philosophy, but then switched to psychology, and In 1913 published his milestone paper:” Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it”

3 Watson’s Main Idea in His 1913 paper Watson argued that if psychology were to become a science, psychologists must stop their engagement in such topics as mental processes and states of consciousness, which were the main topics of the earlier schools, such as structuralism and Functionalism Watson argued that if psychology were to become a science, psychologists must stop their engagement in such topics as mental processes and states of consciousness, which were the main topics of the earlier schools, such as structuralism and Functionalism Only observable behaviors can be the subject matter of science. Emotions, thoughts, etc, were of interest to behaviorists only if they could be defined in terms of observable behaviors Only observable behaviors can be the subject matter of science. Emotions, thoughts, etc, were of interest to behaviorists only if they could be defined in terms of observable behaviors

4 Watson’s main Ideas (cont-d) Thinking, according to Watson, was simply a variant of verbal behavior, a “sub- vocal speech”, as evident by small vocal- cords movements he claimed accompanied thoughts. Watson claimed that observed behavior can be predicted, and eventually controlled by scientists. Watson claimed that observed behavior can be predicted, and eventually controlled by scientists.

5 Watson was Influenced by Ivan Pavlov At that time Watson was influenced by Pavlov and his demonstration of classical conditioning, and proposed a model of learning based on Stimulus- Response relationship, that would imply that “given the response, the stimulus can be predicted; given the stimuli, the response can be predicted

6 Pavlov’s Work and the Principles of classical Conditioning Ivan Pavlov: ( ) was a physiologist who studied the digestive system and experimented on dogs He performed surgery in the cheek of the dog and inserted there a little glass vial that served to collect the saliva of the dog. He noticed one day that the dog started to salivate before the food was introduced, as a response to the footsteps of the experimenter. This observation brought Pavlov to try all types of stimuli (Conditioned stimuli) that were paired with the food (the unconditioned stimulus). He performed surgery in the cheek of the dog and inserted there a little glass vial that served to collect the saliva of the dog. He noticed one day that the dog started to salivate before the food was introduced, as a response to the footsteps of the experimenter. This observation brought Pavlov to try all types of stimuli (Conditioned stimuli) that were paired with the food (the unconditioned stimulus).

7 Examples of Classical Conditioning Pavlov presents the food (Unconditioned stimulus) to the dog ( UCS) The dog salivates (unconditioned response) to the sight of the food (UCR) The bell, a neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus) is paired with the food (CS) After a couple of presentations, the dog salivates to the bell (conditioned response) CR

8 Classical Conditioning Con-d The neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus, and the response it elicits is called conditioned response.

9 The Original Pavlov Experiment A class-vial is inserted on the dog’s cheek to collect saliva elicited by food

10 Basic Model of classical conditoning

11 The Law of Effect (Thorndike) Thorndike at that time identified the principles of operant conditioning— behaviors that are rewarded tend to be repeated, and those behaviors that are punished or ignored decrease in frequency Thorndike at that time identified the principles of operant conditioning— behaviors that are rewarded tend to be repeated, and those behaviors that are punished or ignored decrease in frequency

12 Modification of Behavior via Learning Principles The list of topics using learning principles includes attitude change, language acquisition, overcoming phobias and more Behavioral accounts of personality had gone through transitions over the years From observable behaviors to non- observable concepts, such as thoughts The line between behavioral and cognitive approaches is blurred

13 Watson’s Conclusions The work of Pavlov convinced Watson that these leaning principles would suffice to explain almost any human behavior. Personality, he said was “the end product of our habit system”. That is, over the course of our lives we are conditioned to respond to certain stimuli in more or less predictable ways, which explains the consistency observed in personality characteristics. Personality, he said was “the end product of our habit system”. That is, over the course of our lives we are conditioned to respond to certain stimuli in more or less predictable ways, which explains the consistency observed in personality characteristics.

14 Control over the environment Watson is famous (or infamous) that given enough control over the environment, he can take any baby, and regardless of the child innate abilities and features, he can mold the child into becoming anything or anyone that he, Watson, wanted. (see next slide) (see next slide)

15 Watson’s Infamous Statement He made his infamous statement: “ Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I will guarantee to take any one at random, and train him to become any type of specialist I might select– doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even a beggerman and a thief” (1924).

16 Little Albert Watson was interested in the conditioning of emotional responses, and his “experiment” with Little Albert is well- known. He devised a procedure to classically- condition in Albert fear of the little rabbit (most of you remember this event).

17 Little Albert (cont-d) Watson’s perspective is deterministic people can be conditioned to react (emotionally or behaviorally) to stimuli without their awareness people can be conditioned to react (emotionally or behaviorally) to stimuli without their awareness In this sense, referring to the old philosophical question whether we have control over out life, he seems to advocate the position that we do not have FREE WIILL. In this sense, referring to the old philosophical question whether we have control over out life, he seems to advocate the position that we do not have FREE WIILL.

18 Little Albert was a Hoax

19 Watson’s View of Human Nature Watson’s view of human behavior can be described as being reductionist- - in the sense that complex behavioral patterns could be reduced to simple Stimulus- response connections, that were formed on the basis of classical (Pavlovian) conditioning – which is learning by association

20 Watson’s Legacy Watson’s main legacy is seen in the shift from subjective introspection into a system of explanation that advocated the operational definition of variables- that is- any variable studied needs to be defined in terms of specific operations that can be used to measure it and to quantify it. In addition, his idea that learning is the core of psychology has become quite prevalent.

21 History German scientists working at the Universities of Leipzig and of Heidelberg became interested in the connection between events or stimuli in the physical world, and their perception in the mind. German scientists working at the Universities of Leipzig and of Heidelberg became interested in the connection between events or stimuli in the physical world, and their perception in the mind. They were the first to use laboratory experiments, and indeed the first lab in experimental psychology was established by Wundt in 1879 at the University of Leipzig (Germany). They were the first to use laboratory experiments, and indeed the first lab in experimental psychology was established by Wundt in 1879 at the University of Leipzig (Germany).

22 History (cont-d) The field of psychophysics was engaged in understanding how the physical properties of stimuli in the external world (e.g. the intensity of light, or the pitch of a sound) are related to our sensory experience This field was seeking for laws that would describe the relationship between the objective physical world and the subjective inner experience of the human mind. This field was seeking for laws that would describe the relationship between the objective physical world and the subjective inner experience of the human mind.

23 Wundt and the School of Voluntarism Wundt’s school of thought has come to be known as Voluntarism He was interested in describing the immediate conscious experience of a person, using systematic introspection. He was interested in describing the immediate conscious experience of a person, using systematic introspection. Wundt described consciousness as composed of sensations, affect (feelings), and ideas (the thinking mind).

24 Skinner and Radical Behaviorism Burrhus Frederic Skinner ( ) published in 1938 his view of learning. He maintained that the Pavlovian classical conditioning paradigm could not explain all behavior Skinner suggested that type R conditioning, operant conditioning, is better able to explain behavior Skinner suggested that type R conditioning, operant conditioning, is better able to explain behavior

25 Skinner cont-d) Skinner in the 1930’s introduced radical behaviorism, stating that all behavior can be explained on the basis of operant conditioning principles. Skinner in the 1930’s introduced radical behaviorism, stating that all behavior can be explained on the basis of operant conditioning principles. He did not deny the existence of inner causes of our behavior, but challenged the extent we can observe them. He did not deny the existence of inner causes of our behavior, but challenged the extent we can observe them. Very much like Freud, he said that people often are not aware of the causes of their behaviors. They are manipulated by operant conditioning of which they are not always cognizant. Very much like Freud, he said that people often are not aware of the causes of their behaviors. They are manipulated by operant conditioning of which they are not always cognizant.

26 Operant Conditioning The basis for operant conditioning is a behavior emitted by the organism, sometimes at random The consequences of that behavior determine whether it will be repeated in the future (under similar conditions) A consequence that increases the frequency of behavior is called a reinforcement, one that decreases the likelihood of the behavior is called a punishment.

27 Changing behaviors via rewards and punishment

28 Positive Reinforcement Rewarding behavior increases its frequency

29 Punishment Introducing unpleasant stimulus (punishment) decreases the behavior

30 Negative Reinforcement The elimination of unpleasant stimulus rewards the behavior She nags him (unpleasant) until he cleans the dishes and then she stops.

31 Operant Conditioning (cont-d) The other side of operant conditioning is the reduction of unwanted behavior The most efficient method is to cease reinforcement and thereby allow the behavior to extinguish The most efficient method is to cease reinforcement and thereby allow the behavior to extinguish Though it seems quite simple, we seldom can abide by this idea- especially when we give attention to undesirable behaviors. Though it seems quite simple, we seldom can abide by this idea- especially when we give attention to undesirable behaviors.

32 Con-d Negative Reinforcement: When behavior is reinforced by the elimination of a negative stimulus. For example, you are in the mall and your child nags and screams, wanting a toy You buy the toy, the child stops screaming Your behavior was “negatively reinforced”

33 Effects of Punishment Though punishment worked quite well with animals in the lab, studies show that the effectiveness of punishment is limited for several reasons. Though punishment worked quite well with animals in the lab, studies show that the effectiveness of punishment is limited for several reasons. First, punishment does not teach the desired behavior. First, punishment does not teach the desired behavior. Second, to be effective punishment must be delivered immediately and consistently Second, to be effective punishment must be delivered immediately and consistently In addition, through a process of classical conditioning, negative feelings that accompany the punishment may be associated with the person (often the parent) delivering the punishment. In addition, through a process of classical conditioning, negative feelings that accompany the punishment may be associated with the person (often the parent) delivering the punishment. What’s more, punishment teaches the child to behave aggressively. The negative emotions associated with punishment may interfere with learning appropriate responses. At the mist, punishment can temporarily suppress behavior.

34 Shaping In many situation we want to use reinforcement to increase desirable behavior, but the behavior is not emitted by the subject In many situation we want to use reinforcement to increase desirable behavior, but the behavior is not emitted by the subject We use shaping, or the method of successive approximations We reward small increments toward the final (desirable) behavior

35 Skinner and Utopia Skinner’s position was deterministic- he maintained that the perception of personal freedom in an illusion, and that our behavior is controlled by environmental factors, through processes of operant conditioning often unbeknownst to us. His position in regard to the ancient question was that there was no free will.

36 Current Status of Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism Skinner’s form of behaviorism is considered today as radical and as inappropriate to explain the complexity of our behavior It rejects the usefulness of examining our feelings and inner thoughts, and it ignores completely the role of heredity in human behavioral mechanisms It has also been claimed that human beings are more complex that the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. We humans are capable to consider alternative courses of action, looking at long-term goals. It has also been claimed that human beings are more complex that the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. We humans are capable to consider alternative courses of action, looking at long-term goals.

37 The Over-Justification Effect An interesting finding that emerged in social psychology regarding reinforcement is, that when you pay (reinforce) people to do something that they anyhow enjoy doing, the reward decreases the frequency of the behavior. This is called the over-justification effect Explanation: We perceive our behavior as motivated by the reward, not by our inherent interest!

38 Social-Learning Theory Around the 1960’s psychology transitioned toward social-learning theory Around the 1960’s psychology transitioned toward social-learning theory The main concept was that not only does the environment affect our behavior, but that our behavior determines the type of environment we find ourselves in. Social-Learning theorists also claimed that people provide their own inner reinforcers, in the absence of external ones Social-Learning theorists also claimed that people provide their own inner reinforcers, in the absence of external ones

39 Rotter’ s social learning theory Rotter argued that the causes of human behavior are much more complicated than conditioning principles. Rotter introduced several “unobservable” concepts to account for human behavior and personality In any situation we have different options for behavior. The key to predicting what we will do in a given situation depends on the behavioral potential for each option—it is the likelihood of a given behavior occurring in a given situation.

40 Rotter’s Social-Learning (cont-d) The strength of the behavior potential depends on expectancy—which is the probability that the behavioral option will result in a given reinforcer, and reinforcement value—the degree to which we prefer one reinforcer over another. If you do not like candy, offering you candy after you have done something that is desirable will NOT affect you.

41 Rotter (cont-d) Expectancies- What are they? Rotter introduced the term “expectancy” to suggest that we decide to behave in a given manner if we expect our behavior to bring the desired result and if we value the result- if it is important to us. For example: Whether we decide to study all night long before a test depends on our expectancy (belief) that such behavior will give us good results

42 Behavioral Potential depends on… The extent to which we expect our behavior to bring a reward The extent to which we care about this reward

43 How do we form expectancies about the potential result of our behavior? The idea is that we are going to emit (display) a given behavior when we EXPECT is to bring us rewards We form expectancies usually on the basis of past experience of being rewarded What about situations that we encounter for the first time? What about situations that we encounter for the first time? We rely of generalized expectations Rotter refers to those as Locus of Control

44 “Generalized expectations” and Locus of Control (LOC) These are beliefs we hold about how often our actions typically lead to rewards or punishments “Locus of Control” is a concept introduced by Rotter, referring to the extent to which we believe that what happens to us is the result of our own actions or attributes (Internal LOC), or the results of forces outside of our control (External LOC) LOC is found to be related to emotional well- being vs. depression

45 LOC beyond Rotter Was found as important for emotional well- being and achievement motivation

46 Cognitive elements: Social- Cognitive theory: Bandura (1970’s) rejected the traditional behaviorist views of personality that presented humans as passive recipients of environmental stimuli. Bandura argued that there were both internal and external determinants of behavior, and introduced the concept of reciprocal determinism. Bandura argued that there were both internal and external determinants of behavior, and introduced the concept of reciprocal determinism.

47 Bandura (cont-d) Albert Bandura (1925-) illustrates the transition from traditional behavioral views to incorporate internal variables For him, we are not passive recipients of rewards and punishment from the environment For him, we are not passive recipients of rewards and punishment from the environment Bandura argues that there are both external and internal determinants of behavior- and these two sets interact in a mode that he labeled as reciprocal determinism. Bandura argues that there are both external and internal determinants of behavior- and these two sets interact in a mode that he labeled as reciprocal determinism.

48 Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism That is, external factors and internal factors, such as beliefs, thoughts and expectations, are parts of a system of interacting influences. Not only can the environment affect behavior, but our behavior affects the environment. Bandura draws a distinction between potential environment, which is the same to everyone in a situation, and the actual environment, the one we create with our behavior.

49 Reciprocal Determinism Constant movement back and forth

50 Self-Efficacy One of Bandura’s most important concepts is self-efficacy The term refers to the extent to which one believes that he/she can bring about a certain therapeutic outcome The term refers to the extent to which one believes that he/she can bring about a certain therapeutic outcome Whether people make an effort to cope with problems and how long they persist in their efforts to change are determined by whether they believe that that are capable to achieve the change, that is, their perception of self-efficacy Whether people make an effort to cope with problems and how long they persist in their efforts to change are determined by whether they believe that that are capable to achieve the change, that is, their perception of self-efficacy

51 Self-Efficacy Seems simple, right?

52 Self-Regulation Bandura also argues that most behavior is performed in the absence of external reinforcement and punishment. Bandura also argues that most behavior is performed in the absence of external reinforcement and punishment. Most of our daily actions are controlled by self- regulation. Most of our daily actions are controlled by self- regulation. We often work toward self-imposed goals with inner rewards. The rewards come from feelings of accomplishment and self-wroth, that Bandura labeled- self-efficacy. We often work toward self-imposed goals with inner rewards. The rewards come from feelings of accomplishment and self-wroth, that Bandura labeled- self-efficacy.

53 Observational Learning Bandura argued that learning is not limited to classical or operant conditioning. Bandura argued that learning is not limited to classical or operant conditioning. We can also learn by observing other people, or by reading about other people’s actions. We can also learn by observing other people, or by reading about other people’s actions. Many behaviors are too complex to be learned through the slow process of reinforcement and punishment. Many behaviors are too complex to be learned through the slow process of reinforcement and punishment.

54 Learning vs. Performance Bandura draws an important distinction between learning and performance. Bandura draws an important distinction between learning and performance. Behavior learned through observational methods needs not be performed. Behavior learned through observational methods needs not be performed. The performance is dependent on the expectations of rewards or punishment. The performance is dependent on the expectations of rewards or punishment.

55 Application: Behavior Modification Operant Conditioning Despite all the criticism, Skinner’s ideas have been successfully translated into therapeutic procedures labeled behavior modification Despite all the criticism, Skinner’s ideas have been successfully translated into therapeutic procedures labeled behavior modification The focus is on changing few, well-defined and maladaptive behaviors and habits The procedures were used quite effectively in the case of autistic children. The procedures were used quite effectively in the case of autistic children. Lovaas in UCLA used techniques based on operant conditioning, especially shaping through successive approximations (rewarding small increments toward the final goal) to teach language and social skills to Autistic Children Lovaas in UCLA used techniques based on operant conditioning, especially shaping through successive approximations (rewarding small increments toward the final goal) to teach language and social skills to Autistic Children

56 Application Classical Conditioning Systematic desensitization is a technique used in treating phobias, where images or real-life encounters of the feared object or situations are gradually introduced, while the person is in a state of relaxation In Aversion Training therapists try to rid clients of problem behaviors while by pairing aversive stimuli with the behavior

57 Assessment: behavioral observations Direct observation: In order to change behavior (for example- to reduce a child’s temper tantrum), we need first to assess the problematic behavior- how often it occurs, what are the conditions that precede it, what are the consequences of the behavior)- this stage is called baseline Next- offer the treatment/intervention Last- observe the behavior again, to assess any changes that can be seen as the result of the treatment/intervention.

58 Assessment: Self-Monitoring This technique asks the client in a behavior-modification program (for example, wants to quit smoking), to engage in self-monitoring, in order to obtain a base-line for the target behavior (quit smoking) For example- how often one smokes, under what circumstances

59 Self-Monitoring (cont-d) Weakness of this method: In most cases clients have distorted ideas as to how often the behavior (e.g. smoking) occurs Therefore, therapists ask clients to keep records as to how often the behavior occurs, under what situations, etc Watching your own behavior can be therapeutic in itself! However, sometimes people cheat!

60 Observations by Others Some clients are unwilling or unable to provide accurate information about themselves (e.g. children) Parents and teachers can often record the frequency of a child’s problem behavior Children sometimes act differently in the presence of the therapist than at home That is why it is good to use several observes in different settings

61 Current Status Though the behavioral perspective is regarded as to simplified to explain the complexity of human behavior, strategies derived from this approach are quite effective in psychotherapy Behavior modification interventions are based on behavioral principles, both classical and operant conditioning Observational learning is also used in psychotherapy.

62 Strengths Foundations in research- need to define the variables and to measure them, rather than use general terms such as “self-actualization” or “unconscious” Behavioral principles are translated into therapeutic procedures (Behavior Modification) that use objective criteria when wanting to change behavior Behavior modification procedures are suitable for children or severely delayed persons

63 Limitations Skinner’s form of behaviorism is considered today as radical and as inappropriate to explain the complexity of our behavior It rejects the usefulness of examining our feelings and inner thoughts, and it ignores completely the role of heredity in human behavioral mechanisms It has also been claimed that human beings are more complex that the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. We humans are capable to consider alternative courses of action, looking at long-term goals. It has also been claimed that human beings are more complex that the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. We humans are capable to consider alternative courses of action, looking at long-term goals.


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