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Associative learning

Associative learning

learning that certain events occur together; the events may be 2 stimuli (classical conditioning) or a response and its stimulus (operant conditioning)

2 types of associative learning

classical conditioning, operant conditioning


the process of learning associations

classical conditioning

a learned association between 2 stimuli, and to anticipate events

unconditioned response (UCR)

unlearned response that is automatic and require no learning - a reflex

unconditioned stimulus (UCS)

a stimulus that automatically produces the UCR

conditioned stimulus (CS)

a stimulus associated with UCS through learning

Pavolv's experiments

wnated to know ow much saliva dogs would produce in response to eating but he found that after a while dogs produce saliva before they are given food. Before conditioning food in mouth -> salivation; neutral stimulus (tone)-> no salivation; during-food and tone together->salivation; after-tone->salivation

5 processes in classical conditioning

acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, discrimination


the initial stage of classical conditioning where there is repeated presentation of CS & UCS pair (CS should precede UCS by .5 sec)


CR disappears after repeated presentations of CS alone (if nothing happens)

spontaneous recovery

after rest, CS will produce CR, indicating that teaching was retained


the tendency once a response has been conditioned for stimuli similar to the CS to elicit a similar response (baby albert)


only associating the UCS with the CS

exceptions to the rules of classical conditioning

taste aversion, thinking and expectation

taste aversion

learning occurs with only 1 trial and a long delay; you learn to associate feeling sick with a certain food

thinking and expectation

associations dont always produce learning because the person or animal may not always see that the 2 stimuli are related which leads to no response

Operant conditioning

learning associating between actions or behavior and consequences; response -> consequence -> response strengthened; behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher

law of effect

rewarded behavior will reoccur; behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely and behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely

E.L. Throndike

discovered the law of effect using puzzle boxes; we continue to repeat actions that are rewarded; put cats in puzzle boxes and timed the amount of time took to escape

B.F. Skinner

extended throndike's thinking and methods; he built an operant chamber or 'skinner box' used to study operant conditioning on rats; dispenser in chamber connected to lever -> food

method of successive approximations

reward when (using skinner box example): 1. on one side of the cage 2. near bar 3. touching bar 4. pressing bar; reward for more specific things over time getting closer to desired behavior


any event that strengthens the behavior it follows

types of reinforcement

positive/ negative, primary/ secondary, immediate/ delayed

positive reinforcement

increasing behavior by presenting positive reinforers-any stimulus that when presented after a response strengthens that response; add desirable stimulus ex: getting a hug, receiving a paycheck

negative reinforcement

increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli - any stimulus that when removed after a response strengthens the response; removing an aversive stimulus; ex: buckling seat belt to turn off the beeping

primary reinforcement

immediate and unlearned reinforcement; such as one that satisfies a biological need ex: food, water

secondary reinforcement

reinforcement acquired thought learning; ex: value of money

immediate reinforcement

even small rewards can have a strong effect when presented immediately

delayed reinforcement

large rewards can have a weak effect when they are delayed; taking a long time to get an award may lead to decreased importance

types of reinforcement schedules

predictable, unpredictable

predictable reinforcement schedules lead to

fast learning and fast extinction

unpredictable reinforcement schedules lead to

slow learning and slow or no extinction

ratio schedules (partial reinforcement)

fixed ratio, variable ratio

fixed ratio

reinforcement given after a fixed number of responses. Ex: piecework pay, commission pay

variable ratio

reinforcement given after a variable number of responses. ex: gambling, fishing

interval schedules (partial reinforcement)

fixed interval, variable interval

fixed interval

reinforcement given to the 1st response after a fixed amount of time ex: pay day, exams-rewarded for performance of that day

variable interval

reinforcement given to the 1st response after a variable amount of time. ex: training a dog to go out to the bathroom after owner gets home from work, pop quiz


aversive consequence that decreases behavior it follows

criticisms of punishment

desired behavior is not taught, punished behavior is not forgotten, teaches how to avoid punishment, may teach anger and aggression

latent learning

learning without reinforcement or reward that doesn't show until there is an incentive to demonstrate it

over justification

rewarding enjoyable tasks may produce disinterest. ex: basket ball players not enjoying playing after being payed millions of $

biological predispositions

behaviors that are more closely associated with reward are more easily learned


our capacity to learn new behaviors that help us cope with changing circumstances


the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviors


any event or situation that evokes a response

cognitive learning

acquisition of mental information, whether by observing events by watching others or through language


the view that psychology should be (1) an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes; most psychologists agree with 1 but not 2.

neutral stimulus

a stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning

higher order conditioning

a procedure in which the CS in one conditioning experience is paired with a new neutral stimulus, creating a second (often weaker) conditioned stimulus


reinforcers are used to guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior

steps to reinforce desired behaviors

1. state goal in measurable terms and announce it 2. monitor how often you engage in desired behavior 3. reinforce desired behavior 4. reduce rewards gradually as behaviors become habitual

respondent behavior

occurs as automatic response to stimulus

operant behavior

operates on environment producing consequences

biological constraints

predispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive

cognition's influence on conditioning

in classical conditioning it is not just the cs us association that leads to response, but also the thought

cognitive map

a mental representation of the layout of one's environment

intrinsic motivation

a desire to perform behavior effectively for its own sake

extrinsic motivation

a desire to perform a behavior to receive promised rewards or avoid threatened punishment

Bandura's bobo doll study (1961)

by watching a model we experience vicarious reinforcement or vicarious punishment and learn to anticipate a behavior's consequences in situations like those we observe

mirror neurons

frontal lobe neurons that some scientists believe fire when performing certain actions or when observing others doing so. enables imitation and empathy

prosocial behavior

positive, constructive, helpful behavior


a need or desire that directs and energizes our behavior towards a goal

3 types of motivation

instinct, drive reduction, optimum arousal


automatic, uncontrolled and unlearned behavior. ex: birds making nests

drive reduction

physiological needs create a drive to satisfy that need; more human behaviors are motivated by drive reduction than by instincts; need->drive-> drive reducing behaviors

optimum arousal

everyone has a preferred level of arousal that they are motivated to attain; if you have a high level of optimum arousal you will be motivated to do more to attain it

Maslow's hierarchy of motives

pyramid of human needs, beginning at the base with physiological needs that must be met 1st before higher level safety needs & then psychological needs become active


our most basic need; overpowers any other need; hungry individuals will lose other motivations

anorexia nervosa

severe dieting that results in being more than %15 underweight while still feeling overweight; 90% are female; 1 in 200 middle/upper class women

bulimia nervosa

binge-purge eating that results in weight fluctuations, but not necessarily underweight; 5% of college males & 19% of college females; may be genetic; men work out while women throw up

female body image

women see themselves as fatter than ideal which leads to eating disorders

sexual motivation

all animals have a strong desire toward sex

Masters and Johnson (1966) sexual response cycle

excitement (blood flows to genitals)->plateau (sensitivity & excitement peak)->orgasm (all body contractions, sexual release) ->resolution (blood leaves genitals, refractory phase)

external stimuli

environment influences sexual motivation through erotic stimuli

imagined stimuli

dreams and fantasies can be a very strong sexual motivator

erotic stimuli and agression

mild pornography decreases aggression-> arousal + positive feelings = positive behavior; highly erotic pornography increases aggression->arousal + negative feelings (guilt, disgust)= negative behavior (aggressive)

drive reduction theory

an idea that a physiological need creates an aroused tension state (a drive) that motivates an organism to satisfy a need


a tendency to maintain a balanced or constant internal state; the regulation of any aspect of body chemistry around a particular level


a positive or negative environmental stimulus that motivates behavior

physiology of hunger

the body keeps tabs on its available resources


the form of sugar that circulates in the blood and provides the major sources of energy for body tissues; when its level is low we feel hunger

hypothalamus and hunger

performs body maintenance functions such as control of hunger

set point

the point that an individuals weight thermostat is supposedly set. when the body falls below this weight an increase in hunger and lowered metabolic rate acts to restore lost weight

basal metabolic rate

body's reseting rate of energy expenditure

biological influences of hunger

hypothalamic centers in the brain monitoring appetite, appetite hormones, stomach pangs, weight set/ settling point, attracting to sweet and salty tastes, adaptive wariness to novel food

psychological influences of hunger

sight and smell of food, variety of foods available, memory of time elapsed since last meal, stress and mood, unit of food size

sociocultural influences of hunger

culturally learned taste preferences, responses to cultural preference for appearance

obesity and weight control

> 1 billion people are over weight; 300 million of them are morbidly obese

sexual disorder

a problem that impairs sexual arousal of functioning


sex hormones such as estradiol, secreted in greater amounts in females and contributes to female sex characteristics


most important male sex hormone. additional testosterone in men stimulates the growth of male sex organs in the fetus and development of sex characteristics during puberty

biological influences of sexual motivation

sexual maturity, sex hormones, sexual orientation

psychological influences of sexual motivation

exposure to stimulating conditions, sexual fantasies

socio cultural influences of sexual motivation

family and society values, religious and personal values, cultural expectations, media

sexual orientation

an enduring sexual attraction toward members of one's own or opposite sex.

the need to belong

social bonds may be a part of survival (boosted ancestors survival rate), wanting to belong (behavior aims to increase belonging),sustaining relationships, pain of ostracism

sustaining relationships

familiarity breeds liking, when something threatens social ties anxiety, guilt, loneliness or jealousy may overwhelm us.

pain of ostracism

social exclusion threatens ones need to belong; those excluded are more likely to engage in self defeating behaviors and underperform on aptitude tests, display less empathy and more aggression


a completely involved, focused state of consciousness with diminished awareness of self and time, resulting from optimal engagement of ones skills; boosts our sense of self esteem, competence, and well being

personnel psychology

focuses on employee recruitment, selection, placement, training, appraisal and development

organizational psychology

examines organizational influences on worker satisfaction and productivity and facilitates organizational change

human factors psychology

explores hoe people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use.

industrial organizational psychology

the application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in work places; field of psychology dedicated to creating productive work environments

3 subfields of organizational psychology

personnel, organizational, human factors

structured interviews

interview process that asks the same job-relevant questions of all applicants, each of whom is rates on established scales

appraising performance

methods of performance appraisal: checklists, graphic rating scales, behavior rating scales

achievement motivation

a desire for significant accomplishments; for mastery of skills or ideas, for rapidly attaining a high standard


the passionate dedication to an ambitious, long term goal

3 types of employees

engaged, not engaged, actively disengaged

engaged employees

working with passion and feeling a profound connection to their company or organization

not engaged employees

putting in the time but investing little passion or energy into their work

actively disengaged

unhappy workers undermining what their colleagues accomplish

path to organizational success

identify strengths->match to work-> positive managing-> engaged employees-> loyal customers, growth, profits

leadership styles

task leadership, social leadership

task leadership

goal oriented leadership that sets standards, organizes work, and focuses attention on goals

social leadership

group oriented leadership that builds teamwork, and focuses attention on goals

the human factor psychologists

help to design appliances, machines, and work settings that fit our natural inclinations; designers should consider human abilities and behaviors by designing things to fit people

achievement motivation

a drive to succeed; individuals with high achievement motivation are persistent, & disciplined when approaching challenging tasks

testing achievement motivation

play ring toss game; where you stand indicates your level of motivation. right over post=guaranteed success, low achievement motivation. farther away=challenging, boundary of success, high motivation. far as possible=guaranteed failure, low motivation

low achievement motivation

will choose easy tasks that guarantee success without effort or will choose hard tasks in which failure will not carry shame

high achievement motivation

will choose moderately difficult tasks that will challenge them but will also bring honor with success

developmental stages of achievement motivation

infancy, early childhood, adolescence

infancy achievement motivation

infants have an instinctive drive to exert change on their environment; toys they play with often promote high achievement motivation because they teach about cause and effect.

early childhood achievement motivation

young children like to imitate the effective behaviors of other people; they like to imitate adults who are working to make things happen-they are learning about working

adolescent - adulthood achievement motivation

internal values channel energy towards excellence

2 types of motivation

extrinsic, intrinsic

extrinsic motivation

the drive to succeed is based on desire to obtain rewards such as money or grades; it can be a powerful motivation because people will often do anything for money; may sometimes push people away from what they love to do

intrinsic motivation

drive to succeed is based on a love of what you are doing and a desire to do your best; more powerful than extrinsic and leads to more success than extrinsic motivation does

extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation experiment

preschool children who enjoy drawing are divided into 2 groups: 1. receives reward for drawing 2, does not receive reward for drawing. found that the no reward group drew for a longer period of time than the reward group. intrinsic motivation is stronger

additional evidence for power of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

couples reminded of the rewards from their partners report less love; people paid to help others are less likely to offer help; kids given extrinsic reasons to play with another kid will be less likely to play with the kid later.

ways parents foster high motivation in children

1. encouraging independence: teaches a cognitive source for success; success is a function of ones own efforts; if i work i will succeed. 2. employing praise: teaches an emotional source for success; they associate with good feelings;-> adults that want to achieve to feel good about themselves

ways to foster high achievement motivation in employees

cultivate intrinsic motivation, attend to motives, set clear goals, choose an appropriate leadership style, believe in people

cultivating intrinsic motivation

intrinsically motivated employees perform well because they love their job and attribute success or failure to their efforts. 1. trigger curiosity b/c interesting tasks are more intrinsically enjoyable 2. avoid extrinsic rewards b/c they only work when presented & undermine intrinsic motivation

attending to motives

individuals are motivated by different things and should be given different things. those motivated by: achievement need new tasks; recognition need attention; affiliation need group work; power need competition

setting clear goals

specific goals promote high achievement. failure to meet clear, reasonable goals will be attributed to lack of effort, rather than external causes; leads to internalization and harder working employees

choosing an appropriate leadership style

different managers, tasks & employees require different leadership styles. 2 types: task leadership, social leadership. good leaders should adopt both styles

believing in people

every manager make 1 of 2 assumptions: 1. their employes are lazy and error prone. 2. their employees are motivated to succeed; which -> high achievement motivation

how to motivate yourself

do what you love, associate with people who foster success, set clear goals, believe in yourself

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