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Conditioning’s Course Change and Observational Learning

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  1. Conditioning’s Course Change and Observational Learning

  2. The Case of the Miserly Raccoons Read the following true account. Why do you think the conditioning experiment failed? Write a hypothesis. Raccoons condition readily, have good appetites, and this one was quite tame and an eager subject. We anticipated no trouble. Conditioning him to pick up the first coin was simple. We started out by reinforcing him for picking up a single coin. Then the metal container was introduced, with the requirement that he drop the coin into the container. Here we ran into the first bit of difficulty: he seemed to have a great deal of trouble letting go of the coin. He would rub it up against the inside of the container, pull it back out, and clutch it firmly for several seconds. However, he would finally turn it loose and receive his food reinforcement. Then the final contingency: we put him on a ratio of 2, requiring that he pick up both coins and put them in the container. Now the raccoon really had problems (and so did we). Not only could he not let go of the coins, but he spent seconds, even minutes, rubbing them together (in a most miserly fashion), and dipping them into the container. He carried on this behavior to such an extent that the practical application we had in mind - a display featuring a raccoon putting money in a piggy bank - simply was not feasible. The rubbing behavior became worse and worse as time went on, in spite of nonreinforcement.

  3. Changes in Our Understandingof Conditioning • Biological Constraints on Conditioning • Instinctive Drift- The case of the miserly raccoons. You can condition organisms, but if the learning goes against instinct, the responses will be inconsistent. • Conditioned Taste Aversion- Food is an exception to the usual rules of Classical Conditioning because of natural selection • Preparedness and Phobias- Phobias that protected our ancestors are more easily trained into us (e.g. fear of snakes)

  4. Changes in Our Understandingof Conditioning • Evolutionary Perspectives on learning- basic mechanisms of learning are similar across species but these mechanisms have sometimes been modified as species have adapted to the specialized demands of their environments • Cognitive Influences on Conditioning- Giving ourselves more credit • Signal relations- species predict (which requires thinking) whether the UCS is a good predictor of the CS and react accordingly. EX: Rats, flashing lights (CS), and (UCS) electric shocks • Response-outcome relations- people are capable of seeing whether certain stimuli are logically related to certain responses. EX: The Smash Mouth song and the final exam

  5. [Packet] Observational Learning • Step #1: Watch this 4-minute You-Tube clip that was filmed in the central train station of Antwerp, Belgium. • Step #2: Write and answer the following questions in complete sentences in your spiral: • How many people do you think were “in on this”? Why? • What techniques did the people who staged this use to catch the attention of the passersby? • Describe the different reactions of onlookers. Why did people react so differently from each other? • What portion of the people in the station had no previous knowledge of what was going on and simply joined in? • Do you think that the ability of those who joined in to retainand reproduce the behavior of the dancers impacted whether or not they decided to participate? Why or why not? • For those who joined in, what was their motivation for doing so?

  6. Observational Learning: Basic Processes • Albert Bandura (1977, 1986) • Observational learning- an organism’s responding is influenced by the observation of others (models) • Vicarious conditioning- classical and operant conditioning can take place vicariously through observational learning • 4 key processes • attention- pay attention to another person’s behavior and its consequences • retention- store a mental representation of what you have seen in your memory • reproduction- convert your stored mental representation into behavior • motivation- you encounter a situation where the observed response will pay off, so you perform the behavior • acquisition vs. performance- people emit only those responses that they predict will be reinforced

  7. Applying Observational Learning • Watch this 4-minute clip from the movie Anna and the King. Here’s the background you need to know. • Anna and her son, Louie, are British citizens from India living in Siam (old name for Thailand) during the 19th century, when 1/3 of the world was under British rule. • The King of Siam (the guy on the elephant) has hired Anna to give a British education to the crown prince and the other royal children. • The King realizes that Siam must “modernize” many of its customs to take its place among the great nations of the world, which is why he has hired Anna to give his children a European education. However, as a careful ruler, he knows that these practices cannot take place over night without destroying his country. • Slavery and indentured servitude were still practiced in Siam at this time. When the crown prince asked Anna what she though about this, she gave him the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin to read. • Be prepared to answer the following question: How does Bandura’s 4-step process of observational learning apply to this clip?

  8. Anna and the King Clip Analysis • attention- How did the King grab Louie’s attention? • retention- What was memorable about the way the King offered the cigar to Louie and how he justified that offer? • reproduction- How did Louie and the crown prince reproduce the King’s behavior? • motivation- Why did Louie and the crown prince reproduce the King’s behavior? • Do actions speak louder than words? • YES! And actions + words speak even louder!

  9. Observation: A Friend Bargains Assertively Group Question Minute: Think of a time when you have taken on a trait or behavior because of your observation of someone else.

  10. [Packet] Physical Punishment • A Case Against Spanking: : • A Case For Spanking: • Directions: Read each one. Make a t-chart with 3 items on each side. • Against For

  11. Does physical punishment work? • Group Question Minute: Did your parents spank? How effective has “spanking” as a punishment been in your family? • When does spanking backfire? • When a child needs attention; positive reinforcement • When the parent has an aggressive temperament; child sees parents as “models” and becomes aggressive • When spanking is used frequently • Depends on child’s personality • Is there a difference between “spanking” and “hitting?”

  12. Spanking Article Feedback: Question Prompts • Cons • How effective is spanking in controlling a child’s behavior? • Can I hit people I don’t like in day to day life? • How does this issue relate to human rights? • What impact does spanking have on a child’s current and future violent behavior? • How does spanking impact a child’s view of problem solving? • Pros • How does the frequency of spanking positively impact the child’s future behavior? • How did Sweden’s spanking ban immediately impact parents’ behavior toward their children? • How did the spanking ban in Sweden impact children's future behavior • Have anti-spanking studies really indicated that any spanking causes undesirable consequences in children?

  13. When Do Punishments and Reinforcements Work? • Group Question Minute: What are some effective punishments and reinforcements you have seen that deal with disobedient children in homes and schools? Why are they effective? • Guiding Principles • The child does not derive any benefit from the punishment • The child derives great benefit from the reward of being good • Regression toward the mean- “It can’t get any worse.” Fig. 6-21, p. 237

  14. Observational Learning and Violence in the Media • Group Question Minute: Is there a cause/effect relationship between media violence and violent behavior? • Yes and no! • It depends on who is doing the research and what KIND of research it is (experimental? correlational?) • It depends on the child’s disposition to violence. • It depends on the child’s other “models” in life.

  15. Observational Learning and Violence in the Media

  16. Observational Learning and Violence in the Media • Will violent media make you more violent? • Probably, if you also have live models who are violent, such as physically or emotionally-abusive parents or guardians. • Probably, if you have an aggressive, impatient temperament. You were high-strung, short tempered and heavy-handed even as a small child. You liked to break the rules and you disregarded the feelings of others. • Likely, if you have a steady diet of media violence for an extended period of time such as video games, visual media, and/or music. Consuming such media is your major hobby, and you find meaning in your life because of it. • Maybe, if you regularly and actively participate in media violence (like in video games) instead of just passively listening to or viewing it. • Probably not, if you recreationally view or participate in violent media every once in awhile. You are not desensitized. Realistic and real violence still upsets and disgusts you to a great extent.

  17. [Packet] Behavior Modification Plan • Read the article on pgs. 252-255.

  18. Behavior Modification Plan: Follow these steps to make a behavior modification plan of your own. CHOOSE ONE!

  19. Example: To acquire: 1. Target Behavior: I want to make phone calls immediately after discovering that I’m going to have to make them, because they stress me out. 2. Analysis - Antecedents: I realize that I want to acquire this behavior when I put off phone calls for days, become stressed out, waste mental and emotional energy, and then have to make them anyway. After I make the calls, whether or not they go well, I feel relieved. - Frequency: At least a couple times per month, the calls start building up from youth group, school, and business. - Consequences: Stress, lack of sleep, lack of focus (getting distracted easily), under-eating, anxiety 3. Design -Avoidance Learning: Email, text, or have face-to-face conversations when possible. This is possible for all areas of calls I can make. -Escape Learning:-Do deep breathing exercises to decrease anxiety when I receive an assignment. -Conditioned Stimulus: Write down the time I receive the assignment and determine to make it within the first 24 hours. The act of writing down the assignment will therefore cause me to associate the call period as “24 hours.” -Positive Reinforcement: Immediately come up with a written plan of what I’m going to say, so I’ll feel prepared. The written plan will add a sense of security and control to the situation. -Positive Punishment: If I procrastinate the call, I will force myself to apologize to the person for waiting so long to call them. This will add awkwardness to the situation. -Negative Punishment: This is also an UCR. It’s natural to the situation (for me, anyway). If I procrastinate a call, I feel anxiety (see #2). -Observational Learning: I can use my Mom, who is a master on the phone and of getting things done, as a mentor. I will observe purposeful phone calls she makes. I will observe at least 3 phone calls over the next 2 weeks, and I will come up with a list of at least 5 questions that will be directed at finding her secret for being so calm. 4. Start -Next Sunday