Theories of Personality (PSY 225-A01)/Chapter 6

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Behaviorism is all about... = involuntary/reflexive responses

  • UCS - unconditioned stimulus
  • UCR - unconditioned response
  • CS - conditioned stimulus
  • CR - conditioned response
  • NS - neutral

Generalization = When a CS and another NS are so similar, that they illicit the CR.

Discriminate = Tell the difference between 2 stimuli.

Extinction = CR is no longer there (bell with no food? no more saliva waterfalls!!); when the US is no longer paired with the US.

See Learning theories in practice/Overview#Behaviorism.

Example of Conditioning a Personality[edit | edit source]

Why do parties make me feel relaxed ever since I was a little kid?

1-2 is what happened when you were younger, 3-4 is now habitual and natural.

  1. UCS - Friends
  2. UCR - Relaxation
  3. CS - Party
  4. CR - oh yeahhhh

Example of Conditioning a Neurotic Personality[edit | edit source]

Strict parents caused anxiousness, even though you were trying your best!

  1. UCS - getting yelled at
  2. UCR - hella' nervous
  3. CS - trying your best
  4. CR - oh shi* am I gonna mess up??

Complexities[edit | edit source]

  • Biological predispositions - Not all creatures can be equally conditioned using the same stimuli (humans use vision more than smell vs. dogs). Easy to have a fear towards snakes and not flowers.
  • Expectations and experiences - Conducting an interview for someone who wanted to teach. He tried to classic condition the interview, but because of the interviewer's experiences, he wasn't able to succeed.

Origins of Behaviorist Approaches[edit | edit source]

John B. Watson founded the behaviorist approach. He wanted to increase the science behind psychology. He rejected introspection and focus on unconscious. He believed this because they both were measures that could not be scientifically proven.

Conditioning fear in a boy named "Albert" by Waston & Rayner. Prior to the experiment, he was not afraid of the white rat. A loud noise was placed for a white rat, so then he got scared vs. physiological aspects from Pavlov.

Another scientist, Mary K. Jones, counter conditioned a similar fear in Peter. He was afraid of rabbits. They paired the white rabbit with fun stuff, so this fear was removed from Peter.

This can be used to treat PTSD/phobias.

B. F. Skinner[edit | edit source]

"Operant conditioning" - uses rewards and punishments to encourage/discourage behavior.

  • Positive reinforcement - adds money for work
  • Negative reinforcement - removes warnings for good behavior on a forum
  • Punishment - decreases the likelihood of behavior
  • Shaping - Create new behaviors to get a child to stay in bed (train an organism to produce a desired behavior is by reinforcing successively closer approximations to the desired response)

The individual has no free will (deterministic).

We control the reinforcement in order to change the behavior of society.

Skinner wrote Walden 2 & Beyond Freedom & Dignity.

  • Maladaptive behaviors (evil) have been reinforced, adaptive behaviors have been punished. Example being emotions (I have been reinforced for being overly anxious, increased likelihood for anxiety). Freud would say evil exists because of the id, while the biological approach derives from evolution (evil has been evolved). Behaviorism says that its been reinforced by the environment.
  • Personality = set of behaviors reinforced by the environment.

Other Learning Approaches[edit | edit source]

Clark Hull focused on what Skinner ignored: inner drives. Hunger is an internal state--could be a stimulus which enables eating. He also suggested "intervening reinforcements". Intervening reinforcements response pairings [the path to victory, so to say] can explain a far-off goal (ex, rat: eating food at the end of the maze, the IRRP would be all the turns that the rat must take. An IRRP could be how we graduate college).

Dollard and Miller came up with the Social Learning theory. This theory looks in stimulus response pairings.

  • A "que" is a stimulus that provokes a response (stimulus of hunger triggers eating), fairly high on the hierarchy.
  • Eating will be reinforced even more. The more reinforcement, the stronger the habit becomes.
  • ...or if the reinforcement is stopped/punished, then it will be stopped.
  • Secondary drives develop based on their association with a primary drive. Don't exist naturely but become associated with a primary drive.
  • If I get attacked by a dog (experiencing pain), the primary drive of pain avoidance --> acquiring the secondary drive of anxiety. Hierachies can be developed for secondary drives. If a trusted friend gets a dog and I enjoy the dog, then the secondary drive of anxiety for dogs would go down the hierachy. Fluidity exists for habit hierachies.
  • This help explains longer-term goals. How multiple secondary drives develop and influence each other.

They used drive conflict to explain mental illness. If primary drives are conflicting with one another, it may be a result of neurotic problems.

  • Approach-avoidance - both want to approach and avoid a primary drive (a parent has abused a child; love + avoiding pain is a primary drive --> conflict: child needs love, but wants to avoid the parent).
  • Approach-approach - 2 primary drives that we want (we want love, want to avoid pain --> both drives are driving us towards something).
  • Avoidance-avoidance - 2 primary drives are in conflict (rats have two types of repulsive foods when hungry).

Aggression explained using the stimulus-response model. Resulted from frustration (inability to satisfy drives). When the stimulus-response pairing is prevented, creates environmental frustration --> aggression. If you are not given a promo at work, that results in frustration ---> abuse your wife.

Modern behavior approach[edit | edit source]

Reinforcement sensitivity theory - BAS/BIS (sensitive inhibition system), see Theories_of_Personality_(PSY_225-A01)/Chapter_5#Temperament.

Act frequency approach - Tie external behavior to internal traits. Personality is internal. Recording the number of times certain behaviors occur than tie them to certain traits. Observable behavior and tying it with the underworld of man.

Evaluation[edit | edit source]

  • A lot of credit for increasing the rigor of personality psychology.
  • Helps us to understand explaining behavioral inconsistencies.
  • Does ignore internal states, doesn't allow freedom/dignity (reinforcements for these feelings).