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The Neoanalytic Perspective: Psychosocial Theories The Learning Perspective: Conditioning Theories


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Title: The Neoanalytic Perspective: Psychosocial Theories The Learning Perspective: Conditioning Theories

The Neoanalytic Perspective Psychosocial
Theories The Learning Perspective Conditioning
Theories of Personality Chapters 11 12 April 4,
2003 Class 10
Erik Erikson (1902-1994)
  • Erikson was a follower of Sigmund Freud who broke
    with his teacher over the fundamental point of
    what motivates or drives human behavior
  • For Freud it was biology or more specifically the
    biological instincts of life and aggression
  • For Erikson, who was not trained in biology
    and/or the medical sciences the most important
    force driving human behavior and the development
    of personality was social interaction

Eriksons Biography
  • Erikson was born in 1902 near Frankfort, Germany
    to Danish parents
  • There is a little mystery about his heritage His
    biological father was an unnamed Danish man who
    abandoned Erik's mother before he was born
  • His mother, Karla Abrahamsen, was a young Jewish
    woman who raised him alone for the first three
    years of his life
  • She then married Dr. Theodor Homberger, who was
    Erik's pediatrician, and moved to Karlsruhe in
    southern Germany

Eriksons Biography
  • During his childhood, and his early adulthood, he
    was Erik Homberger, and his parents kept the
    details of his birth a secret
  • So here he was, a tall, blond, blue-eyed boy who
    was also Jewish
  • At temple school, the kids teased him for being
    Nordic at grammar school, they teased him for
    being Jewish

Eriksons Biography
  • He studied art and a variety of languages during
    his school years, rather than science courses
    such as biology and chemistry
  • He did not prefer the atmosphere that formal
    schooling produced, so instead of going to
    college he traveled around Europe, keeping a
    diary of his experiences
  • After a year of doing this, he returned to
    Germany and enrolled in art school
  • After several years, Erikson began to teach art
    and other subjects to children of Americans who
    had come to Vienna for Freudian training

Eriksons Biography
  • He was then admitted into the Vienna
    Psychoanalytic Institute
  • In 1933 he came to the U.S. and became Boston's
    first child analyst and obtained a position at
    the Harvard Medical School
  • Later on, he also held positions at institutions
    including Yale, Berkeley, and the Menninger
  • When he became an American citizen, he officially
    changed his name to Erik Erikson No-one seems
    to know where he got the name
  • Erikson then returned to California to the Center
    for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at
    Palo Alto and later the Mount Zion Hospital in
    San Francisco, where he was a clinician and
    psychiatric consultant

Eriksons Biography
  • He then spent ten years working and teaching at a
    clinic in Massachussets, and ten years more back
    at Harvard
  • After retiring in 1970, he wrote and did research
    with his wife
  • Some of the information and pictures on Erikson
    taken from the following website

Developmental Theory
  • Felt we developed in psychosocial stages
  • Emphasized developmental change throughout the
    human life span
  • In Eriksons theory, eight stages of development
    unfold as we go through the life span
  • Each stage consists of a crisis that must be face
  • According to Erikson, this crisis is not a
    catastrophe but a turning point of increased
    vulnerability and enhanced potential
  • The more an individual resolves the crises
    successfully, the healthier development will be

Eriksons Stages of Psychosocial Development
  • Trust vs. Mistrust
  • Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
  • Initiative vs. Guilt
  • Industry vs. Inferiority
  • Identity vs. Role Confusion
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation
  • Integrity vs. Despair

Trust vs. Mistrust
  • Experienced in the first year of life
  • A sense of trust requires a feeling of physical
    comfort and a minimal amount of fear and
    apprehension about the future
  • Trust in infancy sets the stage for a lifelong
    expectation that the world will be a good and
    pleasant place to live

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
  • Occurs in late infancy and toddlerhood (1-3
  • They start to assert their sense of independence,
    or autonomy
  • They realize their will
  • If infants are restrained too much or punished
    too harshly, they are likely to develop a sense
    of shame and doubt

Initiative vs. Guilt
  • Occurs during the preschool years
  • As preschool children encounter a widening social
    world, they are challenged more than when they
    were infants
  • Active, purposeful behavior is needed to cope
    with these challenges
  • Children are asked to assume responsibility for
    their bodies, their behavior, their toys, and
    their pets
  • Developing a sense of responsibility increases
  • Uncomfortable guilt feelings may arise, though,
    if the child is irresponsible and is made to feel
    too anxious
  • Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage
  • He believes that most guilt is quickly
    compensated for by a sense of accomplishment

Industry vs. Inferiority
  • From about age 5 to puberty
  • Children develop a sense of industry and
    curiosity and are eager to learn
  • Or they feel inferior and lose interest in the
    tasks before them

Identity vs. Role Confusion
  • Adolescents come to see themselves as unique and
    integrated persons with an ideology
  • Or they become confused about what they want out
    of life

Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • Individuals experience this during the early
    adulthood years
  • At this time, individuals face the developmental
    task of forming intimate relationships with
  • Erikson describes intimacy as finding oneself yet
    losing oneself in another
  • If the young adult forms healthy friendships and
    an intimate relationship with another individual,
    intimacy will be achieved if not, isolation will

Generativity vs. Stagnation
  • Individuals experience this during middle
  • A chief concern is to assist the younger
    generation in developing and leading useful
  • This is what Erikson means by generativity
  • The feeling of having done nothing to help the
    next generation is stagnation

Ego Integrity vs. Despair
  • Individuals experience this during late adulthood
  • In the later year of life, we look back and
    evaluate what we have done with our lives
  • Through many different routes, the older person
    may have developed a positive outlook in most of
    all of the previous stages of development
  • If so, the retrospective glances will reveal a
    picture of a life well spent, and the person will
    feel a sense of satisfaction-integrity will be
  • If the older adult resolved many of the earlier
    stages negatively, the retrospective glances
    likely will yield doubt or gloom- the despair
    Erikson talks about

Parenting Styles
  • Authoritarian
  • Relatively strict, punitive, and unsympathetic
  • Permissive
  • Give their children complete freedom
  • Authoritative
  • Reason with their children
  • Firm but understanding
  • Falls between the two extremes

Ainsworth et al. (1978)
  • The "strange situation" is a laboratory procedure
    used to assess infant attachment style
  • The procedure consists of eight episodes

The Strange Situation"
  • 1. Parent and infant are introduced to the
    experimental room
  • 2. Parent and infant are alone. Parent does not
    participate while infant explores
  • 3. Stranger enters, converses with parent, then
    approaches infant. Parent leaves inconspicuously
  • 4. First separation episode Stranger's
    behavior is geared to that of infant
  • 5. First reunion episode Parent greets and
    comforts infant, then leaves again
  • 6. Second separation episode Infant is alone

The Strange Situation"
  • 7. Continuation of second separation episode
    Stranger enters and gears behavior to that of
  • 8. Second reunion episode Parent enters,
    greets infant, and picks up infant stranger
    leaves inconspicuously
  • The infant's behavior upon the parent's return is
    the basis for classifying the infant into one of
    several attachment categories (see next slides)

Secure Attachment
  • Most infants in the Strange Situation display a
    secure attachment to the mother
  • In the unfamiliar room, they use the mother as
    the home base leaving her to explore and play
    but returning periodically for comfort or contact
  • When the mother returns after the brief
    separation, the infants are happy to see her
  • These mother-child pairs are usually have
    harmonious relations at home as well

Anxious Insecure Attachment
  • Some infants display this in one of the following
  • Avioidant
  • They avoid or ignore the mother when she
    approaches or when she returns after the brief
  • Ambivalent
  • They are upset when the mother leaves, but when
    she returns they act angry and reject her efforts
    at contact and dont like to be picked up
  • Disorganized
  • Their behavior is inconsistent, disturbed, and
    disturbing when the mother returns they begin
    to cry again or sometimes they reach towards the
    mother but look away as they do so

  • Compared with insecurely attached children, those
    who are securely attached tend to be more
    socially and emotionally competent, more
    cooperative, enthusiastic, playful, report being
    less lonely, and generally are more successful

Is there such a thing as a midlife crisis?
  • At least for men there seems to be?
  • Many developmental theorists now feel that men
    continue to change, psychologically, during their
    adult life
  • In a sense, men experience two adulthoods
  • The first extends from the end of puberty until
    the forties
  • Then many men experience "the midlife crisis" or
    the "Corvette syndrome" or a psychological "male
  • This can become a very difficult period of
    transition for men and women which, if
    successfully resolved, leads into a man's second

Conditioning Theories Chapter 12
  • Learning is a relatively permanent change in
    behavior due to experience
  • We learn primarily by identifying relationships
    between events and noting regularity of patterns
    in our world

Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)
  • Was a research physiologist, not a psychologist
  • At age 33, earns MD degree
  • Spends next 20 years studying the digestive
  • Russias first Nobel Prize winner in 1904
  • Very impressive stuff but not what hes
    remembered for
  • Rather its his novel work done over the final 30
    years of his life that earns him his place in
    scientific history

Sometimes its just better to be lucky
  • Pavlov serendipitously discovers the conditioning
  • Hes working on digestive system and is measuring
    the amount of saliva his dogs were producing when
    food was presented to them
  • But then psychic secretions start messing up
    his experiments

Ivan Pavlov
  • First, considered them as an annoyance but then
    realized he had stumbled onto something of even
    greater importance
  • Devotes rest of life until his death at age 86
    exclusively to the study of learning

Classical Conditioning
  • Important Terms
  • Acquisition
  • Initial learning of the stimulus-response
  • Neutral stimulus (NS)
  • In classical conditioning, the NS does not
    initially elicit the response that is being
  • Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
  • In classical conditioning, this is the stimulus
    that elicits the unconditioned response (UR)
    without conditioning

Classical Conditioning
  • Important Terms
  • Conditioned stimulus (CS)
  • In classical conditioning, this is the stimulus
    which comes to elicit a new response by virtue of
    pairings with the unconditioned stimulus
  • Unconditioned response (UCR)
  • In classical conditioning, the automatic
    (involuntary), unlearned reaction to a stimulus
  • Conditioned response (CR)
  • A learned response elicited as a result of
    pairings between that NS and an UCS

Classical Conditioning
  • Behaviors that are classically conditioned are
    those which involve the learning of involuntary
    (reflexive) responses -- responses over which
    the learner has no control and to which he or she
    responds reflexively or "automatically
  • Examples include a dog salivating at the sound of
    the dinner bell, a horse flinching or shying away
    at a blowing piece of paper, someone becoming
    nauseous at sight of "creamy-looking" food when
    mayonnaise once made them ill, etc.

Pavlovs Classical Conditioning Experiments
  • UCS -------------------------------------------?
  • (food)
  • NS --------------------------------------------?
  • (tone)
    (no salivation)
  • NS UCS -----------------------------------? UCR
  • (tone) (food)
  • This is repeated several times
  •  CS ---------------------------------------------?
  • (tone)

(No Transcript)
Classical Conditioning Extinction
  • The decline or disappearance of the CR in the
    absence of the UCS

Classical Conditioning Extinction
  • UCS ---------------------------------------------
    -? UCR
  •   NS --------------------------------------------
    ---? NO RESPONSE
  • NS UCS ----------------------------------------
    ? UCR
  • Repeated several times
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ---? CR
  • Extinction process is initiated
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • Eventually we get..
  • NS --------------------------------------------?
  • (tone)
    (no salivation)

Classical Conditioning Reconditioning
  • Quick relearning of conditioned response after
    the extinction trials

Classical Conditioning Reconditioning
  • UCS ---------------------------------------------
    -------? UCR
  • NS ---------------------------------------------
    --------? NO RESPONSE
  • NS UCS ----------------------------------------
    -----? UCR
  • Repeated several times
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • NS ---------------------------------------------
  • Reconditioning process is initiated
  • NS UCS --------------------------------------?
  • CS ----------------------------------------------
    ? CR

Classical Conditioning Spontaneous Recovery
  • An extinguished CR will temporarily reappear if
    after a time delay the CS is presented again even
    without the UCS
  • This is a reappearance of a CR after extinction
    despite no further CS-UCS pairings

Classical Conditioning Stimulus Generalization
  • After a CR is acquired, stimuli that are similar
    but not identical to the CS also will elicit the
    response but to a lesser degree
  • The greater the similarity between a new stimulus
    and the CS the stronger the CR will be

Classical Conditioning Generalization
  • UCS --------------------------------------------?
  • (food)
  • NS UCS ------------------------------------ ?
  • (low tone) (food)
  • Repeated several times
  • NS UCS -------------------------------------?
  • (medium tone) (food)
  • Repeated several times
  • NS UCS --------------------------------------?
  • (high tone) (food)
  • Repeated several times

Classical Conditioning Generalization
  • CS --------------------------------------------?
  • (high tone)
  • CS --------------------------------------------?
  • (low tone)
  • CS --------------------------------------------?
  • (medium tone)

Classical Conditioning Stimulus Discrimination
  • Organisms learn to differentiate among similar
  • In Pavlov's early experiments he could get dogs
    to discriminate between the pitches of certain

Classical Conditioning Discrimination
  • UCS ----------------------------------------------
    --------? UCR
  • (food)
  • NS ----------------------------------------------
  • (low tone)
    (no salivation)
  • NS ----------------------------------------------
  • (medium tone)
    (no salivation)
  • NS ----------------------------------------------
  • (high tone)
    (no salivation)
  • NS UCS -----------------------------------------
    ------? UCR
  • (high tone) (food)
  •   Repeated several times

Classical Conditioning Discrimination
  • CS -----------------------------------------------
    -------? CR
  • (high tone)
  • NS ---------------------------------------------?
  • (low tone)
    (no salivation)
  • NS ---------------------------------------------?
  • (medium tone)
    (no salivation)
  • CS -----------------------------------------------
    ----------? CR
  • (high tone)

Classical Conditioning Second-order conditioning
  • Phase 1
  • UCS (Food) ? UCR (salivation)
  • NS UCS (Tone/Food) ? UCR (salivation)
  • Repeated several times
  • CS (Tone) ? CR (salivation)
  • Phase 2
  • UCS/CS (Light/Tone) ? CR (salivation)
  • Repeated several times
  • Phase 3
  • UCS (Light) ? What do you think

Second-order conditioning
  • Heres a summary of previous slide
  • Phase 1 Phase 2 ____Phase 3
  • Tone ? Food Light ?Tone Light
  • (salivation) (salivation) (?????)
  • Here, a CS that has previously been conditioned
    is now used to condition another CS

Kamin (1968)
  • Experiment 1
  • Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3______
  • Light ----? Shock Light/Tone ----?Shock Tone---???
  • Light---????
  • Note Both phase 1 and Phase 2 are repeated
    several times.

Kamin (1968)
  • Experiment 2
  • Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
  • Eliminated Light/Tone ----?Shock
  • Light---????

Classical Conditioning Drug Tolerance Example
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Drugs have less of an effect when taken
    repeatedly (less of a high)
  • Drug users crave more of the drug despite its
    lessening effects
  • It appears that certain drugs trigger our body to
    call upon its defenses against the effects of the

Siegel (1977, 1983)
  • Demonstrated that classical conditioning
    principles might be in effect during
    drug-injecting episodes
  • Possible reason for overdoses???

Siegel (1977, 1983)
  • UCS ----------------------------------------------
    ? UCR
  • (drug)
    (anti-drug defenses)
  • NS ----------------------------------------------
  • (injection ritual)
    (no defenses)
  • NS UCS --------------------------------------?
  • (injection ritual) (drug)
    (anti-drug defenses)
  • Repeated several times
  • CS -----------------------------------------------
    ? CR
  • (injection ritual)
    (anti-drug defenses)

Siegel (1977, 1983)
  • Familiar setting--------------------? anti-drug
  • (usual time, place, etc) (body
  • New setting ----------------------------? no
  • (place, time are different) (body doesn't
  • The same dosage now becomes an overdose they
    get too high as their bodies have been fooled by
    the new procedure

Atkinson, Krank, and McCully (1982)
  • In this experiment laboratory rats were
    preconditioned to a tolerance of large doses of
  • Trial 1.Room 1.SalineRats okay
  • Trial 1.Room 1.Drug..Rats get
  •  Trials 2-19 are identical to Trial 1
  • Trial 20.Room 2.SalineRats okay
  • Trial 20 Room 2.Drug..Rats are

Atkinson, Krank, and McCully (1982)
  • Results
  • Over 50 increase in death rate in new room
  • Rats show "room-specific" tolerance
  • May explain overdoses in humans????
  • Practical implications as far as detoxification
    is concerned???

John Watson The Father of Behavioralism
  • Born into a poor family in Greenville, South
    Carolina, his mother was very religious
  • John's father, with whom he was closer, did not
    follow the same rules of living as his mother
  • He drank, had extra-marital affairs, and left in
  • The absence of his father took it's toll on John
    and he rebelled against his mother and teachers
    and turned to violence

Watsons Biography
  • John was able to turn his life around with the
    help of his teacher, Gordon Moore, at Furman
  • With Moore's help, John was able to succeed and
    moved on to the University of Chicago
  • It was there that he became interested in the
    field of comparative psychology and studying
  • He wrote his dissertation about the relation
    between behavior in the white rat and the growth
    of the nervous system
  • In 1903 he received his doctorate and later
    became an associate professor of psychology at
    Johns Hopkins University

Watsons Biography
  • In 1913 at Columbia University, Watson delivered
    a lecture entitled "Psychology as the Behaviorist
    Views It
  • Before this speech the field of psychology was in
    disagreement over the ideas of the nature of
    consciousness and the methods of studying it
  • Many questions were raised and few answers had
    been given until Watson spoke
  • He claimed that the problem was the use of
    archaic methods and inappropriate subject matter
  • He cut consciousness and introspection out of the
  • Instead, he proposed the idea of an objective
    psychology of behavior called "behaviorism"
  • He saw psychology as the study of people's
    actions with the ability to predict and control
    those actions
  • This new idea became known as the behaviorists

Watsons Biography
  • Eventually John married Mary Ikes whom he met at
    the University of Chicago
  • Together they had two children, Mary and John
  • Like his father, he had affairs with a number of
    women and the couple eventually divorced
  • Later, he married one of his graduate students,
    Rosalie Rayner
  • They had two more children, James and William
  • Watson focused much of his study of behaviorism
    on his children

Watsons Biography
  • Although Watson's academic star burned brightly,
    it was destined to be short-lived
  • He was forced to resign his chair at John Hopkins
    University because of a sex scandal involving his
    assistant, Rayner
  • He continued to publish books on
    psychology--Behaviorism (1924) and The
    Psychological Care of Infant and Child
    (1928)--but by the 1930s his main career interest
    had shifted to the advertising business, and he
    ended his scholarly pursuits

Watsons Biography
  • After Rosalie's death, his already poor
    relationships with his children grew worse and he
    became a recluse
  • He lived on a farm in Connecticut until his death
    in 1958

A conditioned phobia
  • Watson and Raynor (1920)
  • Behavioralists John Watson and grad assistant
    Raynor taught an 11-month old infant to become
    afraid of a gentle white laboratory rat
  • At the beginning of the study, Little Albert
    was unafraid of the white rat and played freely
    with the animal
  • While he was playing with the rat, the
    experimenters frightened the child by making a
    loud noise behind him
  • The baby was startled and began to cry

Little Albert
  • Thereafter, he avoided the rat and would cry
    whenever it was brought close to him
  • In Pavlovian terms, a bond had been established
    between the sight of the rat (CS) and the arousal
    of Albert's autonomic nervous system (CR)
  • Once this S-R bond was fixed, fear could also be
    elicited by showing Albert any furry object
  • Note Several slides on Watsons biography and
    pictures prepared by http//fates.cns.muskingum.ed

Classical Conditioning Explanation for PTSD
  • This behavioral viewpoint helps to explain why
    people posttraumatic stress
  • This mental disorder involves a variety of
    anxiety-related symptoms that start after a
    particularly traumatic event and then continue
    for a long time

Behavioral Explanation
  • Classically conditioned fear response is taking
    place (see below)
  • UCS ? UCR
  • (traumatic event)
    (fear, terror, etc)
  • NS UCS ? UCR
  • (setting) (trauma)
    (fear, terror, etc)
  • Only takes one pairing
  • CS ? CR
  • (setting)
    (fear, terror, etc)
  • Since it only takes one pairing it doesnt
    fit classical conditioning perfectly.

Systematic Desensitization
  • Wolpe (1958)
  • Attempted to counter-condition people suffering
    from phobias
  • In counter-conditioning the stimulus is paired
    with a new response which is incompatible with
    the old one
  • Wolpe basically utilizes an anxiety hierarchy to
    gradually but systematically desensitize the
    patient over several therapy sessions

Systematic Desensitization of a Spider Phobia
  • Show a picture of a spider to the patient
  • HR goes up but talk to them get them to relax
    eventually they are okay
  • Toy spider that looks fake
  • HR goes up but talk to them get them to relax
    eventually they are okay
  • Toy spider that looks real
  • HR goes up but talk to them get them to relax
    eventually they are okay
  • A real dead spider
  • HR goes up but talk to them get them to relax
    eventually they are okay
  • A live spider
  • HR goes up but talk to them get them to relax
    eventually they are okay

Systematic Desensitization
  • The hypothesis here is that a relaxed state
    cannot co-exist with a state of fear. Its one or
    the othercannot be simultaneously anxious and
  • Therefore, if you can repeatedly relax someone
    (see spider example) when they are faced with
    anxiety-producing stimuli you will gradually
    eliminate their anxiety
  • The trick is to proceed gradually

Criticism of Systematic Desensitization
  • Wolpes critics say there is no attempt to
    achieve insight into the underlying cause of the
  • Wolpe says so what
  • Hes not really concerned about what caused it as
    long as its alleviated
  • Only concern is that the maladaptive behavior is
    cured and that patients feel better about
    themselves and begin acting in ways that will
    bring them greater life satisfaction

Instrumental Conditioning
  • Thorndike (1905)
  • Described the learning that was governed by his
    "law of effect" as instrumental conditioning
    because responses are strengthened when they are
    instrumental in producing rewards
  • Law of Effect
  • Responses that are rewarded are more likely to be
    repeated and responses that are produce
    discomfort are less likely to be repeated

Thorndike's Puzzle Box
  • In his classic experiment, a cat was locked in
    the box and enticed to escape by using food that
    was placed out of the reach from the box
  • The box included ropes, levers, and latches that
    the cat could use to escape
  • Trial and error behavior would lead to ultimate
    success (usually within three minutes)
  • Thorndike felt we learned things through trial
    and error awareness

Operant Conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning
  • A type of learning in which voluntary
    (controllable and non-reflexive) behavior is
    strengthened if it is reinforced and weakened if
    it is punished (or not reinforced)

Skinner (1938)
  • The organism learns a response by operating on
    the environment
  • Notes
  • The terms instrumental conditioning and operant
    conditioning describe essentially the same
    learning process and are often used
  • Basically, Skinner extended and formalized many
    of Thorndike's ideas

Operant Conditioning
  • Response comes first and is voluntary unlike
    classical where stimulus comes first and response
    is involuntary
  • Classical S ? R
  • Operant S ? R ? S
  • that becomes
  • R ? S

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)
  • B. F. Skinner was born in Susquehanna, a small
    railroad town in the hills of Pennsylvania
  • After attending Hamilton college, Skinner decided
    to become a writer (majored in English)
  • Moving back home he wrote little called it his
    "dark year"
  • Moved to New York City for a few months working
    as a bookstore clerk
  • There he happened upon books by Pavlov and Watson
  • He found them impressive and exciting and wanted
    to learn more

Skinners Background
  • In 1928, at the age of 24 Skinner enrolled in the
    Psychology Department of Harvard University
  • Invented Skinner Box while at Harvard
  • In 1936, he got his first job teaching and doing
    research at the University of Minnesota then
    left for Indiana University in 1945 before
    returning to Harvard to teach in 1947

The Skinner Box
  • Soundproof chamber with a bar or key that could
    be manipulated to release a food or water reward
  • Specifically, the conditioning chamber was a
    stable plexi-glass box with a response lever,
    reinforcement delivery tube, and various means
    for stimulus presentation
  • In Skinner's early experiments, a rat was placed
    in the conditioning chamber and when it pressed
    the response lever, it received a pellet of food

In the Lab
Shaping Reinforcing successive approximations
  • Responses that come successively closer to the
    desired response were reinforced
  • Skinner referred to this as his Behavioral
  • Taught pigeons unpigeon-like behaviors
  • Walking in Figure 8, playing ping-pong, and
    keeping a guided missile on course by pecking
    at a moving target displayed on a screenbut most
    proud of getting them to hoist an American flag
    and then to salute it

Terrible Rumors
  • In 1943, while in Minnesota Skinner invented a
    new baby crib for his daughter
  • Proud of his new invention, an enclosed and
    heated crib with a Plexiglas window, he sent an
    article to the popular magazine the Lady's Home

Changing Skinner's title to grab attention, the
article came out as "Baby in a Box"
  • The "baby tender", as Skinner called his crib,
    was used only as a bed for the new baby but
    rumors surfaced accusing him of using his second
    daughter, Deborah, for experimentation
  • To the end of his life Skinner was plagued by
    rumors about his second daughter, hearing even
    that she had committed suicide
  • Skinner claimed that he was an affectionate
    father and never experimented on either of his
    childrenyet to this day there are some who
    believe that the girl hardly ever left the crib
    during her first two years of life
  • By the way, Deborah is a successful artist and
    lives in London with her husband

Dedicated researcher
  • In 1989 he was diagnosed with leukemia, but kept
    as active as his increasing weakness allowed
  • At the American Psychological Association
    convention, eight days before he died, he gave a
    talk before a crowded auditorium
  • He finished the article from which the talk was
    taken on August 18, 1990, the day he died

Operant Conditioning
  • Important terms
  • Primary Reinforcers
  • Secondary Reinforcers
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Punishment
  • Negative Reinforcement

  • Primary Reinforcers
  • Innately rewarding no learning necessary
  • Stimulus that naturally strengthens any response
    that precedes it without the need for any
    learning on the part of the organism
  • Food, water, etc.
  • Secondary Reinforcers
  • A consequence that is learned by pairing with a
    primary reinforcer
  • For people, money, good grades, and words of
    praise, etc. are often linked to basic rewards
  • We need money to buy food, etc.

Positive Reinforcement
  • Behavior is strengthened when something pleasant
    or desirable occurs following the behavior. With
    the use of positive reinforcement chances that
    the behavior will occur in the future is
  • For example The dolphin gets a fish for doing a
    trick. The worker gets a paycheck for working.
    The dog gets attention from his people when he
    barks. The child gets ice cream for begging
    incessantly. The toddler gets picked up and
    comforted for screaming

  • Any stimulus presented immediately after a
    behavior in order to decrease the future
    probability of that behavior
  • For example
  • If your kid runs into the middle of the street
    and you flip out and express to him how bad he
    is this (at least in psychological terms) is
    only considered to be punishment if it does in
    fact lead to a decrease in that childs behavior
    of running into the street

Negative Reinforcement
  • One of the most misunderstood terms in
  • Definitely a problem with semantics here
  • The word reinforcement means that a response is
  • The word negative seems to imply that the
    response is somehow weakened
  • This is not the case here!
  • So how literally can a response be negatively
  • Often, this term is misapplied to term punishment

Negative Reinforcement
  • Positive Reinforcement is a reward
  • Thats easy enough
  • Punishment is something that weakens a response
  • Again, this is pretty basic
  • In an attempt to increase the likelihood of a
    behavior occurring in the future, an operant
    response is followed by the removal of an
    aversive stimulus. This is negative

Negative Reinforcement
  • So we are learning to do something to turn off a
    bad stimulus
  • Example We put on boots to prevent sitting in
    class with wet socks on
  • Increasing a behavior to stop a bad thing from
  • Doing something to remove the reinforcer

Schedules of Reinforcement
  • Continuous Reinforcement
  • Reinforcement delivered every time a particular
    response occurs
  • Intermittent Reinforcement
  • Reinforcement is administered only some of the

Intermittent Schedules of Reinforcement
  • Fixed-Ratio
  • Reinforcement provided after a fixed number of
  • Food every tenth bar press
  • Variable-Ratio
  • Reinforcement after a a variable number of
    responses (works on a average)
  • Unpredictable number of responses are required
    (slot machines)

Intermittent Schedules of Reinforcement
  • Fixed-Interval Schedules
  • Provides reinforcement for the first response
    that occurs after some fixed time has passed
    since the last reward
  • Number of responses doesnt matter only time
  • Example Food is given to rats every 20 min.
  • Variable-Interval Schedule
  • Reinforce the first responses after a certain
    amount of time has past
  • Again number of responses doesnt matter
  • But this time the amount of time changes
  • Might be the first response after ten minutes
    then the next time it is the first response after
    20 minutes, and then the next time it is the
    first response after 30 min

Applications of Operant Conditioning In the
  • Pedalino Gamboa (1974)
  • To help reduce the frequency of employee
    tardiness, these researchers implemented a
    game-like system for all employees that arrived
    on time
  • When an employee arrived on time, they were
    allowed to draw a card
  • Over the course of a 5-day workweek, the employee
    would have a full hand for poker
  • At the end of the week, the best hand won 20
  • This simple method reduced employee tardiness
    significantly and demonstrated the effectiveness
    of operant conditioning on humans

Applications of Operant Conditioning Childrearing
  • "Stop that!" You say this several times, each
    louder and meaner. Your kid continues to scream
    and roll around on the floor looking like a rabid
  • Finally, you say, "No candy until you cut that
  • OK, the kid stops, and you give him candy
  • You reinforced stopping the tantrum, right?

Criticisms Of The Use Of Reinforcement
  • Criticism 1
  • Behavior should not have to rely on persuasion
  • It is manipulative and controlling
  • Appropriate behavior should be the norm
  • Skinner says we are always controlled by rewards
    but often are unaware of these
  • Parents, peers, schools, employers, etc. all use
    rewards to control our behavior
  • So, if its manipulative then everyone is to

Criticisms Of The Use Of Reinforcement
  • Criticism 2
  • Reinforcement undermines Intrinsic Motivation
  • Messes up our inner desire to do something
  • Now we need to do it for a tangible reward
  • Example Child cleaning his/her room
  • Why do they do it?
  • Be careful of overjustification