27 Jul Module 3: The Psychological Level
Read the all module 3 and at the end of the pdf fill out the review and reflect part. and there is some questions in the pdf we need to answer them as well.
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Module 3: The Psychological Level Tuesday, July 18 – Monday, July 24
Principles of Psychology, Chapters 5, 6, 7 (Pages
194-229; 240-271; 291-309)
Module 3 online content
JLC CHAIRS (2020, April 18). Discovering
psychology: “The Developing Child” Produced by
WGBH Boston with the American Psychological
Association. (1990, 2001) [Video]. Annenberg
JLC CHAIRS (2020, April 18). Discovering
psychology: “Language Development” Produced by
WGBH Boston with the American Psychological
Association. (1990, 2001) [Video]. Annenberg
Discussions: Module 3 Discussion
Initial responses due Friday, July 21, 9:00 AM
Two peer response due Monday, July 24, 9:00
Leader response due Wednesday, July 26, 9:00
Assignments: Research Article Paper Topic and Reading
Indication Form due Friday, July 21, 9:00 AM
Film Response worksheet 2 (based on the two
Discovering Psychology films) due Monday, July
24, 5:00 PM ET
Live Classrooms: Tuesday, July 18, 7:30–9:00 PM ET
Activity: Complete Module 3 Review and Reflect, due
Tuesday, July 25, 11:59 PM ET
Welcome to Module 3
cas_ps101_19_su2_mtompson_mod3 video cannot be displayed
1. Describe the classical conditioning model and give two examples.
2. Describe the operant conditioning model and give examples.
3. Compare and contrast positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.
4. List the four schedules of partial reinforcement and describe their impact.
5. Describe the stage model of memory.
6. List strategies for enhancing memory.
7. List stages of sleep and describe the activities during each stage, including body position, type of stage, presence of dreaming activity, and
restoration of body and mind.
8. Explain the difference between dyssomnias and parasomnias and give an example of each.
Good day! Today we are going to focus on learning. If you go back to the first lecture, you may remember the
second of the concentric circles from our overall framework—the psychological level. We can think of the study of
learning as fitting within that level. At the same time, learning often takes place between individuals, so the
concentric circle above the psychological level—small interpersonal interactions—is also relevant here.
How Do Psychologists Define Learning? General Types of Learning
For the purposes of psychology, I’m going to define learning as a lasting change in behavior caused by experience. The study of learning is very tied
with the study of memory, which is our next section. Because scientists have studied learning separately in laboratories, we are going to talk about it
separately. Learning is essential as we adapt to a complex environment.
We can separate learning into two broad types associative and non-associative learning. We will spend the bulk of our time talking about associative
learning, but let me spend just a minute talking about non-associative learning. Non-associative learning focuses on a single stimulus. There are
two types of non-associative learning.
The first is habituation:
Habituation is a decrease in response after repeated exposure to a stimulus.
You may remember about sensory adaptation from our discussions of sensation and perception. Sensory adaptation is a specific type of
habituation—habituation of the sensory systems. But the idea of habituation is more general.
One example: exposure to a new toy is quickly followed by habituation. Once a child has played with the new toy, it often ends up under the bed,
at the bottom of the toybox, or on the floor of the closet. The child habituates to the new toy, losesa interest and moves on to something new.
This can be a good thing because once you’ve learned everything you can about the new toy, experience, situation, you need to move on to other
Another example: walking on a new surface takes a while to adjust to, but over time you cease to have difficulty. Your body has habituated to this
new stimulus and you’re able to manage it with little attention paid to it.
You might notice that sometimes it’s very hard to habituate to a sound or an experience. For example, babies and toddlers have a lot of trouble
habituating to loud noises, and they often do not like fireworks. Their neural systems have not developed in a way that allow them to habituate to
noise of this type. Also, habituation does not occur when the situation/stimulus is constantly changing.
Habituation is adaptive. We only have so much attention to allocate, and we don’t want to allocate it in areas where we don’t need to. Once you’ve
learned everything you need to know about a particular stimulus, you can move on to the next thing.
Sensitization is a somewhat different process from habituation:
Sensitization leads to an increase in response.
One example: think about a time when you were young and perhaps had stayed alone in an empty house at night, and you heard a noise that
startled you. You began to become more sensitive to noise, and you may have become startled more and more easily. Your neural systems have
become sensitized to that noise.
As another example: imagine you are out walking alone in the woods and you hear a branch snap as if something had stepped on it. Your
“antennae” are up! Now you are more sensitive to the little sounds around you. You can imagine how this could be adaptive in situations of
danger, where the sound of a branch snapping might indicate the presence of some kind of predator.
I think it’s important to remember that this kind of learning is essential for survival. We soon learn what is important to pay attention to (sensitization)
and what is important to ignore (habituation).
Non-associative learning has been studied a lot in very simple animals (e.g., sea slugs). As I noted before our focus will be primarily on associative
learning. Associative learning is then we make connections between stimuli, and this type of learning happens in many situations. Think about
learning song lyrics or the rules to a game. Think of the times that a song reminds you of a particular situation or occurrence in your life or of a
particular person or activity. These are all examples of associative learning.
Perspectives for Understanding Learning
In this lecture, I’m going to focus on three perspectives on the study of learning. This is not because these are the only ones, but these are influential
ones. The first is the behavioral perspective, and I will spend most of our time on that one. The behavioral perspective arose in the middle of the
last century and was highly influential. After a brief period where it lost some of its influence, it has resurged in importance in the field of psychology.
The behavioral perspective focuses on outwardly observable behavior. The second is the cognitive perspective. This perspective focuses more on
internal events (e.g., thoughts, ideas). The final perspective is the ecological perspective. The ecological perspective focuses on species-specific
So, let’s start with the behavioral perspective. In talking about the behavioral perspective I’m going to focus on two basic types of learning referred to
as conditioning. Conditioning really is another word for learning. The two types of conditioning are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. I
will talk about each of these in turn.
Source: ©2006 Mark Stivers stiverscartoons.com. Used with permission.
Many of you may have heard of Pavlov’s dog, but I’m going to focus on this again. I hope you enjoy this cartoon! I think it illustrates that maybe, while
Pavlov was training his dog, the dog was also training Pavlov. Pavlov was a physiologist and he was interested in understanding digestive processes,
and the dog was his subject. The dog was restrained (not uncomfortably) and Pavlov was observing their salivation. (I’m assuming here that the dog
was a boy, but perhaps it was a girl). In any case, Pavlov thought of salivation as a reflex. You put food in the mouth, and the body produces saliva to
help moisturize that food and make it easier to swallow and digest. So Pavlov was giving the dog meat powder (doesn’t that sound unappetizing?) and
then studying its salivation. However, Pavlov noticed something odd—the dog began to salivate before the food was placed in its mouth! Now why is
that odd? Well, a reflex should not occur before the stimulus has impacted it—salivation shouldn’t occur before the introduction of the meat powder.
Indeed, the dog began to salivate when Pavlov entered the room. It is from this observation that Pavlov began to develop his idea of classical
If you look at this image below it shows you the classical conditioning model.
In this model an unconditioned stimulus is one that provokes a certain kind of response without any previous learning history. An unconditioned
response is the response that is naturally produced by the unconditioned stimulus. I want to emphasize here that no previous learning is required. So,
meat powder (yuck) when placed in the dog’s mouth naturally produces salivation. Meat powder is an unconditioned stimulus producing salivation
which is an unconditioned response. It helps to think of unconditioned as unlearned. What happens here though is interesting—the presence of the
experimenter (Pavlov) is a neutral stimulus and certainly shouldn’t produce salivation. However, the presence of the experimenter is repeatedly
paired with the presentation of the food. Over time, due to this repeated pairing, the presence of the experimenter becomes
a conditioned stimulus and produces a conditioned response, the salivation. Now Pavlov need only enter the room and the dog salivates.
From a mental health professional licensed in the US
What is classical conditioning? Share
The Psych Show
After watching the YouTube video on classical conditioning, do the following matching exercise to test your knowledge.
1. The word "can"
2. Flinching of the face
3. A squirt of water to the face
a. Conditioned stimulus
b. Unconditioned stimulus
c. Unconditioned response
There are many examples of classical conditioning, and the more that you can think of on your own, the better off you’ll be in trying to remember this
idea. Let me give you a few examples:
Example 1: How many of you have ever had what is called an acquired taste aversion? I bet many of you have. Are there foods that you avoid
because just the thought of them makes you feel a little queasy? Here’s how it typically works. You have a stomach virus, but you don’t know it yet,
and you eat a certain kind of food, let’s say meatloaf. A little while later you become violently ill, and from that point on you hate meatloaf; just the
thought of it makes you sick. This is an acquired taste aversion and an excellent example of classical conditioning. The stomach virus is an
unconditioned stimulus, and it produces the unconditioned response of nausea and vomiting. You don’t have to have any learning history at all to have
this happen. It’s unconditioned. Unfortunately, you have paired the unconditioned stimulus (the stomach virus) with the meatloaf. Now the meatloaf
has become a conditioned stimulus that produces nausea.
Example 2: I had a friend who hated the smell of lilies. They made her feel so depressed. Here’s why. When her father was dying in the hospital,
friends often sent lilies to the hospital room. Each time she would go in to see her father, she would smell those lilies. Now just smelling those lilies
makes her feel sad. So, in this case, seeing someone you love ill and dying is an unconditioned stimulus producing sadness, which is unconditioned
response. In her case seeing someone she loved ill and dying was paired with a neutral stimulus, the smell of lilies. Over time that smell became the
conditioned stimulus, and just that odor would make her feel sad.
Example 3: Drug addiction is a big problem in our society, leading to many ruined lives, overdoses, and anguish for many families. Classical
conditioning can help us understand some aspects of drug addiction. For an individual who is addicted to heroin, the typical way to take the drug is
through injection. Heroin is an unconditioned stimulus; it affects certain neurochemicals that produce an unconditioned response known as “euphoria”
or an intense high. This effect is short-lived, and individuals often increase their use quickly to keep chasing that high. Interestingly, some individuals
who are addicted to heroin would tell you that the high begins a little bit before the injection. The heroin user prepares the needle to inject, and that
preparation is quickly followed by the injection. So, what we have here is an unconditioned stimulus, heroin, that produces an unconditioned response,
euphoria. The heroin is paired with a neutral stimulus, the syringe. As a function of this pairing, the syringe can become a conditioned stimulus
producing some euphoria on its own. This doesn’t last, and the heroin user eventually needs the heroin for that euphoria, but it’s an interesting
example of classical conditioning.
Example 4: Let me tell you about the case of little Albert. An early behaviorist named John Watson conducted an experiment, a highly unethical one,
to see if he could condition a fear in a 9-month-old child. He sounded a very loud noise behind the child’s head. In a 9-month-old child, a very loud and
unexpected noise is an unconditioned stimulus producing an unconditioned response of severe distress and upset. Watson did this repeatedly and each
time before the loud noise he showed the child a little white rabbit. Soon the little white rabbit, previously a neutral stimulus, became a conditioned
stimulus and elicited severe upset and fear in the child. Little Albert would cry when he saw the little white rabbit. This is clearly an example of classical
conditioning, but it is also an awful example of the misuse of power and was unethical.
Example 5: On a much lighter note, I’d like you to watch the video where I explain how potty training can be understood from a classical conditioning
perspective and how treatments for kids who have trouble with bedwetting work by using a urine alarm to establish a classically conditioned response.
video cannot be displayed here
Here are some factors that impact classical conditioning:
The first is timing. For classical conditioning to be optimal the neutral stimulus should just precede the unconditioned stimulus in time. For
example, in the case of Pavlov’s dog, the experimenter (neutral stimulus) showed up right before the meat powder (unconditioned stimulus) was
put in the dog’s mouth. In the case of my friend who hated the smell of lilies, that smell (neutral stimulus) always preceded, by only a few
seconds, her seeing her father lying in bed ill and dying (unconditioned stimulus). In the case of the heroin user, the syringe (neutral stimulus)
always preceded the heroin injection (unconditioned stimulus). In the case of the urine alarm (as illustrated in the video), the bladder sensations
(unfortunately, neutral stimuli) indicating a need to urinate preceded the activation of the alarm and subsequent loud noise (unconditioned
Stimulus generalization can happen. Sometimes, depending on one’s learning history, an individual can demonstrate stimulus generalization
whereby not only the conditioned stimulus but other similar stimuli will produce the conditioned response. For example, in the case of little Albert,
he became fearful not only of a little white rabbit but also a little white rat and a fluffy white pillow. He had demonstrated stimulus generalization.
In the case of the heroin user, sometimes other aspects of the drug set up (not just the syringe) can also become conditioned stimuli; another
example of stimulus generalization.
On the other hand, depending on one’s learning history, an individual can demonstrate what we call stimulus discrimination. My friend only
associated the smell of lilies with death and sadness. She still loved the smell of roses, carnations, and many other flowers. In her experience it
was ONLY lilies that became a conditioned stimulus. The pairing of that smell with that sad situation was very specific.
Extinction is what happens when the neutral stimulus is presented over and over again without the unconditioned stimulus. For example, let’s
say that, had he been ethical, John Watson had begun to present little Albert with the little white rabbit without the accompanying loud noise.
Over time the classically conditioned response would begin to weaken and hopefully disappear. This idea of extinction underlies the treatment of
certain kinds of phobias. A phobia is an irrational fear. So, for example, say someone has a phobia of snakes. Through classical conditioning (and
potentially other mechanisms), the person sees a snake and is extremely fearful. Using exposure methods, the person stays in a room with a
snake, and the classically conditioned fear response eventually weakens. This assumes of course that the snake really is a harmless one (as most
are) and not a cobra!
Spontaneous recovery is when a conditioned response that has undergone extinction reappears. Let’s say that Pavlov stopped feeding the dog.
For arguments sake we’ll pretend that he invented a dog feeding machine and no longer needed to come into the room to give the dog food. Over
time, the conditioned response (salivating) would no longer be linked to the conditioned stimulus (the presence of the experimenter, Pavlov). In
this case extinction would have occurred. However, one day Pavlov again brings in the meat powder and gives it to the dog (maybe his machine
wasn’t working that day), and we see spontaneous recovery of the conditioned response—the dog again begins to salivate every time he sees
I want you to write down your questions so that when we meet we can clarify the classical conditioning model and answer any concerns or questions that you might have.
Compose your thoughts below and click "save" for the option to review your response later.
Compose your thoughts here
Jot Your Thoughts
Now let’s move on to another type of conditioning. This one we call operant conditioning. This type of conditioning was described in studies by B. F.
Skinner. Operant is a strange word, and Skinner used it to describe voluntary behavior in which an individual acts or operates upon the world. The
major idea of operant conditioning is that the likelihood of behavior occurring is influenced by the past consequences of that behavior.
BF Skinner did a lot of his research with pigeons, which are some of the dumbest creatures in the world. I hope you don’t think I’m being biased, but
I’m really not crazy about pigeons. Skinner recognized that when he gave a pigeon a treat for pecking at a disk, pecking would increase. So he did
research with pigeons, giving them treats and observing the impact on their behavior.
B.F. Skinner – Operant Conditioning and Free Will Share
Based on the video and what Skinner is saying about the role of reinforcement and directing behavior,
what do you think of the idea of "free will"?
Type your response here
Let’s define some terms. The first is reinforcement. Reinforcement is defined as a consequence which increases the likelihood that a behavior will
occur again. There are two types of reinforcement. The first is positive reinforcement. When we use positive reinforcement, we add a reinforcing
stimulus and the result is that the behavior is more likely to occur again. For example, Skinner used pigeon treats to increase pecking behavior. Each
time the pigeon pecked a disc, he or she would receive a treat.
You can probably think of many examples where this works. One thing about classical and operant conditioning is that if you can think of an example
you are more likely to understand the concepts. So I encourage you to generate your own examples. But I will also provide some! Let’s say that you
love M&M's candy, as so many of us do. So let’s say I gave you a worksheet of math problems to solve. For each math problem I would give you an
M&M’S candy. You would increase the rate and productivity of your math solving problems very rapidly. Let’s say I want to teach my dog to sit when I
say “sit.” Each time the dog sits when I say “sit,” I give him a little treat. He soon learns to “sit” using this kind of positive reinforcement.
On the other hand, negative reinforcement is when I take away a punishing stimulus and it increases the behavior. For example, think about when you
go to drive a car and you sit down in the driver seat and start the engine. The first thing that happens is you hear a very irritating (I’ll call it
“punishing”) stimulus—that buzzing sound. When you fasten your seatbelt, that sound goes away. The idea here is to train you to immediately fasten
your seatbelt when you get in the car. By using negative reinforcement—the removal of the punishing stimulus—we increase the seatbelt-using
behavior. The key feature of reinforcement is that, and I want to emphasize this strongly, it increases the behavior in question. Both positive and
negative reinforcement increase the behavior.
Punishment on the other hand decreases the likelihood of behavior will occur. As with reinforcement, there are two types of punishment. The first is
punishment by addition, also called positive punishment, where a punishing stimulus is added. For example, if every time you talk in class I walk over
and hit your hand with a ruler, ouch, you are likely to decrease your talking in class. As another example, there’s a device some people use to decrease
barking in a dog. You strap it to the dog’s neck, and when the dog begins to growl or bark, they get a very mild (not painful but certainly
uncomfortable) shock. This leads to a decrease in growling and barking behavior. Some of you might think this is not the best way to go, and you may
be right, but it is an example of a punishment. Another type of punishment is punishment by removal, also called negative punishment. In this case
we take away a reinforcing stimulus to decrease behavior. Let’s say that you drive your car too fast, and the police catch you and take away your
driver’s license. The idea here is punishment by removal, and hopefully you are less likely to drive your car too fast in the future. I think probably all of
you can think of examples of where punishment by removal, or negative punishment, was used to try to change your behavior when you were young.
I think people often get confused by the idea of punishment and reinforcement—the important thing to remember is that in reinforcement behavior
increases, and in punishment behavior decreases. When we say positive reinforcement or positive punishment, we are not using “positive” as a value
judgment but rather positive means the addition of the stimulus. Similarly, when we talk about negative reinforcement or punishment, we are not using
“negative” as a value judgment but rather negative means that we take away or subtract a stimulus.
I think this all begs the question of what is a reinforcer? Well, some stimuli have natural reinforcing properties, for example, food when we are hungry
or a drink when we are thirsty. These are what we call primary reinforcers—they have natural reinforcing properties for our species. Another primary
reinforcer for human beings is what we call social reinforcement. When we are praised, when someone smiles at us, when we get attention from
others we care about—these are very reinforcing stimuli for us. Social reinforcement is very powerful for our species. Some of my students questioned
whether reinforcement really works for adults. I can tell you without question it works. One of my teaching fellows told me a story about a professor. In
this case the class decided to play a trick on the professor during his lecture, and each time he would walk forward a step they would smile and nod.
Unfortunately, he was lecturing from a stage. Each time he stepped forward, they smiled and nodded, and eventually he stepped right up the front of
the stage! Now obviously this is not a nice thing to do. But I do think it illustrates the power of positive reinforcement, and social reinforcement in
particular. Even more clear to many of us, it the power on social media of “likes”. The developers of social media have created a system whereby
individuals spend increasing amounts of time on social media because they are getting these “likes”. Your attention is a product, and companies are
using behavioral (reinforcement principles) to shape your behavior!
Learning: Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment Share
Learning: Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment
Based on what you know from the course and from the preceding video, complete the blank parts of this table:
GOAL STRATEGY OUTCOME REINFORCEMENT OR PUNISHMENT
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE
Make him pay $1 dollar for every missed assignment
Fewer missed assignments
Take away an hour video games for each test grade less than
Fewer test grades under 90%
Robert A Rescorla
Edward C. Tolman
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