Terms in this set (56)
How is classical conditioning related to survival
Classical conditioning allows us to learn which stimuli signal the presence (or absence) of biologically significant events.
How is operant conditioning related to survival
Operant conditioning allows us to learn appropriate reactions to signals.
What is evolutionary psychology
The discipline that considers psychological and behavioral phenomena as products of natural selection. Explores the implications of Darwinian theory for explaining behavior.
What are ethologist
Pointed out that learned behavior is related to survival as much as unlearned behaviors
What do they study
The relationship between survival and species-specific behaviors
Explain natural selection
There are changes in species over time. The mechanism for these changes according to Darwin is natural selection. There is natural variability in organism within a species. This natural variability is the building block of natural selection. Some of this variability is due to heredity. The organism is placed in an environment in which certain heritable traits allow for higher rates of survival. Organisms with these traits are more likely to survive (and thus reproduce) and pass on these characteristics to their offspring. Organisms without these traits are more likely to die. Pretty soon most of the species has the adaptable characteristic.
What are adaptations
The new characteristics of a species that were perpetuated because they helped the organism to survive
Explain the concept of the survival of the fittest
Darwin defined fitness as the ability to produce offspring. Animals that live longer are the ones that produce the most offspring. Length of life is connected to whether or not the animal has characteristics that allows it to effectively interact with the environment. Therefore, survival of the fittest has to do with survival of those animals who have the characteristics that allow them to effectively interact with the environment
Explain the concept of inclusive fitness
An organisms ability to engage in behaviors that perpetuate the genes that they share with other members of the species
What do animals learn in S-S learning
Through classical conditioning animals learn that one kind of event predicts another
What do animals learn in R-S learning
Operant conditioning animals learn that some responses lead to certain outcomes
According to Bolles, does learning require reinforcement
Expectancy learning does not require reinforcement, but is influenced more by temporal order and contiguity between the S and S or the R and S
What is the law of equipotentiation
The notion that any S-S or R-S expectancy can be learned in any species
Did Bolles agree with this law?Why or why not
No. Some expectancies can't be learned because of the evolutionary histories of the organism, while others are learned easily. Expectancies that are easily learned in one species may not be easily learned in another species because of differences in the evolutionary histories of the two species
How can motivation restrict response flexibility in learning situations
The R-S expectancies that can be learned are limited because the motivation that is involved in this type of learning (hunger, thirst, the need to escape painful stimuli) produces innate response bias
According to Bolles, when will an animal have a difficult time learning a certain behavior to achieve a certain outcome
An animal will have great difficulty learning a behavior to obtain an outcome if that behavior conflicts with a behavior that naturally occurs in the situation (e.g., you can't teach an animal to perform an "approach" behavior in order to escape an aversive stimulus)
Explain Bolles' concept of niche. What did he say about the relationship between niche and learning
Learning must be understood with the organism's evolutionary history. Animals are obligated to learn some things and not to learn others depending on their niche. Teaching the animal a task that capitalizes on its niche will be met with success. Teaching the animal a task that violates its niche will be met with difficulties
Explain how Thorndike discovered that there were biological boundaries to learning
Thorndike could teach cats to do a number of things with their paws to get freedom, but he could not teach them to do other things (groom)
Discuss the Petrinovich and Bolles study
Phase 1: learning to turn left or right for water or food, water group performed better. Phase 2: learning to alternate turns in order to get water or food, food group learned faster.
What were the results
How did they explain the results? Rats are not prepared to keep going back to the same place for food, they are prepared to keep going back to the same place for water.
Why don't animals display a lot of response flexibility in escape/avoidance learning
Because they have innate species specific defense reactions (SSDR) that they display in threatening situations
What type of responses can the animal learn in order to escape or avoid a stimulus
In order for a response to be learned in one of these situations it needs to be in line with these SSDR: freezing, fleeing, screaming, leaping, aggression
What is escape conditioning
The animal experiences a painful stimulus and is allowed the opportunity to perform a response to terminate the stimulus
What is avoidance conditioning
A neutral stimulus precedes an aversive stimulus and an animal is allowed to perform a response in order to avoid the aversive stimulus
Provide evidence that there are biological boundaries to what can be learned in operant conditioning
The work of the Brelands. Work with Finches-they will peck for food, but will not peak to hear another birds song. Rats can learn to anticipate food on an FI schedule, but cannot learn to anticipate shock.
What is autoshaping
When a bird will peck a lighted disk if it lights up prior to the delivery of food.
Why does autoshaping occur
Because the food elicits species/specific responses that occur to a factor that is related to food.
What was demonstrated in Garcia and Koelling sweet/bright/noisy water study
This study demonstrates that certain associations are easier to learn within a species
What was demonstrated in the Wilcoxon, Dragoin and Kral study
This demonstrates that certain associations are easier to learn between species.
What is the biogrammar
An innate structure that guides behavior.
What is a phobia
Strong, fearful reactions to stimuli.
Describe the nature of phobias
They are extreme in response. They typically emerge full-blown.
What about phobias cannot be explained by classical and operant conditioning
Why people fear things that they haven't had a bad experience with. Why phobias emerge full blown. Why certain phobias are so common. Why phobias are so resistant to change.
According to Ohman and collegues, why are phobias learned so easily
They claim that phobias are learned easily because they are mediated by unconscious automatic learning processes.
Provide evidence from their research that phobias can be learned in this way. Fears appeared to only the naturally dangerous stimuli.
Describe the Ohman and Soares study (1993)
Masked photos of certain stimuli elicited fear reactions in those that already feared that certain stimuli.
What does this indicate about the nature of the things towards which we develop phobias? That we have a neural mechanism that provides us with an automatic predisposition to learn to fear responses to evolutionary significant stimuli. Evolutionary stimuli easily capture our attention. We can learn to fear these stimuli without conscious awareness of them.
What is mate selection typically based on
We tend to establish relationships with those that are most attractive to us
What are some characteristics that all people define as attractive
Kindness, understanding, intelligence. In general, evolutionary psychology says that we should look for mates that have characteristics that tell us that they will help to ensure our survival as well as produce, and enhance the survival, of our children
How do qualities that men find attractive vary from the qualities that women find attractive
Men: good looks, youth. Women: good earning capacity, industriousness
What is altruism
How do evolutionary psychologist explain altruism among those who share genes
Inclusive fitness-kin selection-the idea that evolutionary fitness involves perpetuating the genes of those to whom we are related.
According to Hamilton's rule, who are we most likely to help
Who are we second most likely to help
We are mostly likely to help our children, siblings, parents
Who are we third most likely to help
We are likely to help our cousins, aunts, uncles
Why are we more likely to help certain kin than others
The closer they are related to us the more likely we are to help them
According to evolutionary psychologist, why are women often more involved in parenting than men
Women have more invested in their offspring than men. Women are sure of their parentage of their offspring.
If kin selection exerts an effect on family violence, which members of a family are most likely to be aggressed upon
People should be more likely to aggress upon a member of the family to whom they are not kin.
Who are the most aggressed upon
Spouses are more likely to aggress upon each other than are parent and child (20 times more likely). Stepchildren are more likely to be aggressed upon than genetic children (at least 50 times more likely)
What is reciprocal altruism
Altruistic behavior towards others
Why does reciprocal altruism occur according to evolutionary psychologist
Cooperation among members of a society enhances the survival of it members.
According to Chomsky, how are we predisposed to acquire language
We have an innate predisposition to learn language. We have a LAD (language acquisition device) that helps us to acquire language.
What is necessary in order for us to acquire language
All that we need in order to acquire language is to be placed in natural language situations
What is a critical period
That we have to have language experiences during a certain period of our life or we won't learn language at all
Is there evidence that there is a critical period in language acquisition
Based on evidence from children who have been deprived of early language experience, there does seem to be critical period for language acquisition. There is a genetic based disorder in which people can't seem to learn the rules of language (Specific Language Impairment).
Provide some evidence for Chomsky's ideas
Cross cultural babbling-during infancy children are prepared to learn any language. Children tend to learn the rules of language without any formal instruction. Children tend to use the rules of language to say novel things. Children will take a non-grammatical communication system (pidgin) and add grammatical rules to it, thus making a new language (creole)
What are some contributions of evolutionary psychology
They have focused on ultimate explanations for behavior-explanations that focus on traits and behaviors of the organism that have been shaped by natural selection. They have explained learning that otherwise seem to violate learning principles-autoshaping, learned taste aversions, why some associations are learned easier than others.
What are some criticisms
Evolutionary arguments are circular. It adopts the notion of genetic determinism-the notion that we are the products of out genes. It justifies a return to social Darwinism. It precludes the notion of learning
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