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63 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Explain the meaning of Thomas Henry Huxley's opening quote. (p. 35) Comment: Huxley's quote strikes at the heart of what it means to be a scientist, especially a behavioral scientist. The ability to be guided by one's observations above all else is essential to scientific progress.
We cannot enter study of any subject with preconceived notions, or we may skew the data we find.
How long have people applied scientific methods to the study of learning?
about 100 years
Who was interested in learning before this period (when sci method was used to study learning)?
Poets, educators, philosophers
Why did John B. Watson identify learning as the paramount problem of human psychology? (p. 35)
Learning explains why we behave the way we do.
What common elements exist between different fields within the natural sciences?
Emphasis on physical events
Give examples of prescientific explanations in physics and botany.
Falling objects wanted to return to earth, plant turning toward the sun was an act of will.
How are such prescientific explanations similar to explanations for behavior such as door slamming (inresponse to anger) or pressing a lever to acquire food (rats)?(pp. 35-36)
Anger and hunger are abstract concepts, just like the desire/will of the objects/plants. They have nothing to do with physical events
Define a circular explanation.
the evidence for explanation is the thing being explained.
Provide an original example (one that is not in the textbook or study guide) of a circular explanation of human behavior. Why it is circular? (p. 36) Comment: Life is full of circular explanations of behavior. For example, if you ask a boy why he is eating, he will tell you, “Because I'm hungry.” If you ask him why he is riding his bicycle, he might say, “Because I want to.” These are circular explanations because they do not explain the causes of hunger or the causes of a want or desire. Evolutionary processes have not given people the tools they need to describe the causes of their behavior accurately and with scientific precision. As a result, we observe tendencies within ourselves to engage in behavior, and mistake self-observations (tendencies) for the causes of behavior. So, for example, a child can observe himself riding a bike, call that observation a want, and mistake that want for a cause (of bike riding). One of the purposes of a scientific approach to behavior—and one of the purposes of this course—is to get people to stop explaining behavior in terms of inner causes—wants, desires, etc.—and instead focus on identifying environmental causes for behavior. (is this a just cause? Or does it ignore critical parts of what it means to be human? This sounds to me like a psychologist who is desperate to be a hard scientist).
Why are you putting on your coat? Because I am cold.
Review: Define learning. (pp. 36-37) Some theorists prefer to define learning as a change in the capability of an organism to engage in a behavior, due to experience.
Change in behaviour due to experience.
Not aquired, because sometimes learning means to lose behaviours (like smoking)
Anything an organism does that can be measured.
exposure to events (stimuli) that affect or can affect behaviour
What is constructivism? (p. 36)
Belief that scientific method is outmoded, because it is just a debate about unknowable reality. Attributed to Thomas Kuhn, who denied that interpretation of his work.
What problems are there in defining learning in terms of neural change? The author defines behavior in two ways, one for general purposes and one for purposes of scientific analysis. (pp. 37, 40) Comment: Yet another approach to defining behavior is sometimes known as the dead man's test: if a dead man can do it, it is not behavior. So for example, lying face-up would not be behavior because a dead man could do it, but sitting up would be a behavior because a dead man can't do it. For general purposes, behavior can be defined in terms of what a living organism can do, but for experimental purposes behavior must usually be defined operationally through reference to a set of measurable operations.
If learning is just a change in nervous system, behaviour is a symptom of that. However, nervous changes cannot be measured and connected with behaviour yet. Behaviour is the only reliable measurement.Besides, behaviour is important even if we understand everything about the nervous system. (Getting at a deep truth here)
What is an operational definition?
A definition that specefies the procedure (operation) by which a term will be measured.
Give an original example of an operational definition.
An operational definition of addiction to tobacco could be how many cigarrettes a person smokes in a day.
What problems are there in operationally defining thinking and feeling? (pp. 38-39)
If they can be measured, they can be studied. There a wide variety of ways we could try to measure thought/emotion, but it is difficult to make these measurements objective.
What is a stimulus?
An event that affects of can affect behaviour
Provide original examples of a stimulus. (pp. 40-41)
A cow getting poked by a cattle prod.
What is experience?
exposure to events (stimuli) that affect or can affect behaviour
Are all changes in behavior due to experience? Give original examples.
No. Changes due to anging, injury, drugs or disease do not count. A child with severe autism may mimic a phrase in a movie (echolalia) but we do not say the behaviour is due to learning. A smoker may cough, but we do not say the behaviour is learned.
Are all experiences learning experiences? Give original examples (p. 40)
No. Experiences that do not change behaviour are not learning experiences. E.g. Reading a book about cooking to an infant will not enable the baby to cook. Better: if I hit my thumb with a hammer and keep swinging the hammer the same way, my experience has not been a learning experience.
Describe the following ways of measuring learning:
Reduction in errors, topography, intensity, speed, latency, rate/frequency
Describe: reduction in errors, Give original example
Measure the number of mistakes made to complete a task: number of times I get the wrong answer for the back of a flashcard. Number of times a person smokes in a day?
Describe: changes in topography, Give original example
The form a behaviour takes: ie. The path a rat follows the first time through a maze, compared with the second time.
Describe: changes in intensity, Give original example
How hard a smoker sucks on a cigarette (cm3 of air?), how loud a baby cries for/asks/yells for food.
Describe: changes in speed, Give original example
How long it takes to read one page
Describe: changes in latency, and Give original example
How long it takes to write an essay? How long it takes the dog to come when called, or the baby to respond when asked to do something.
Describe: changes in rate or frequency. Provide original examples of each. (pp. 41-45)
Number of pages read in one minute
What is a cumulative recorder?
An apparatus (or software) that records every occurrence of a behaviour, thereby producing a cumulative record.
What is a cumulative record?
a graphic record of behaviour, each point of which reflects the total number of times a behaviour has been performed as of that time.
What device has replaced cumulative recorders in contemporary research?
Computer software (such as Med Associates' Med-PC)
Explain how to interpret the slope of cumulative records. (pp. 45-46)
The steeper the slove, the higher the rate, the flatter the line, the lower the rate.
What is fluency? Provide an original example. (p. 46)
Number correct per minute. E.g. The number of words typed without error in a minute. (Cognitive psychologists call this automaticity.
What is anecdotal evidence?
First or second hand reports of personal experiences
What problems are there with anecdotal evidence? (pp. 47-48)
Exaggeration, ignorance of unseen variables, personal bias, dependence on common wisdom, which is not always right
What are case studies?
Examines a particular individual in considerable detail.
What problems are there with case studies?
1 Takes lots of time, 2 few participants may not represent group, 3 cannot answer some questions about behaviour (ie. Cannot establish causation with it), 4 often data does not come from direct observation
What advantages do case studies have over anecdotal evidence? (pp. 49-50) Comment: One problem with psychology textbook criticisms of anecdotal evidence is that they portray those using anecdotal evidence as foolish, assuming that better evidence is available. They fail, however, to acknowledge that there are no sources of pristine scientific data available for making many day-to-day decisions. For example, selecting a marriage partner is undoubtedly a significant decision, but it isn't feasible or practical to do experimental research on prospective partners to select the most suitable one. The issues surrounding the use of anecdotal evidence in day-to-day life have not been properly understood within psychology. Anecdotal evidence is explored in a critical-thinking module available on the Athabasca University Psychology Website.
Systematic dat collection
What are descriptive studies?
Attempts to describe group by obtaining data from mebers (via interviews or questionnaires)
What advantages do they (descriptive studies) have over case studies and anecdotal evidence?
1 better representation of group
What are their (descriptive studies’) limitations? (p. 49)
1 Can suggest hypotheses, but can't test them (ie. Findings are not necessarily results of variables identified)
What are experimental studies?
Researcher maniupulates variables and measures effects on other variables.
How do they (experimental studies) differ from descriptive studies and from case studies? (p. 50)
They carefully manipulate/control variables.
Define independent and dependent variables. Provide original examples of each. (p. 50)
IV - manipulated/event; DV responding/behaviour
What is a between-subjects experimental design?
Two or more groups chosen, IV varied across the groups. Extra: 1 similar groups needed 2 random assignment 3 large groups better 4 matched sampling useful 5 stats analysis necessary
What is an experimental group?
The group exposed to the IV
A control group?
The group not exposed to the IV
Provide original examples of between-subjects designs, identifying the experimental and control groups.
Effect of exercise on quitting smoking: EG exercises and tries to quit, CG does not exercise and tries to quit.
Define matched sampling as used in between-subjects designs. (pp. 50-52)
Participants with identical features (age, sex, IQ, education, income, etc) are identified and one is assigned to each group.
What is a within-subjects experimental design?
Participants behaviour observed before experimental treatment, then during or after it. Each participant is experimental 'group' and control 'group' at different times.
Define a baseline period
Period before treatment where behaviour is observed
Define ABA reversal design
A (baseline) B (treatment) A (baseline) B (treatment) reinstate experimental (B) condition again/repeatedly.
Provide an original example of a within-subjects experimental design in the form of an ABA reversal design. (pp. 52-54)
Number of times a person gets sick in a week A: normal routine, B: drinking 3 glasses grapefruit juice daily A: normal routine
Compare and contrast within-subjects and between-subjects experimental designs. (p. 54)
Most important: 1 control of extraneous differences among participants: between subjects: random assignment/matching. Within-subject: comparing participants against themselves.Large numbers are unnecessary for within subject design, and stats analysis not normally required.
What is the chief limitation of experimental research?
Creates an artificial world/artificial view of behaviour
Define laboratory and field experiments and compare and contrast them.
Lab: control needed to derive clear-cut principles. Field: done in natural settings: test lab derived principles in more realistic ways.
How does the use of field experiments help to overcome the main limitation of experimental research? (pp. 54-55)
Tests the lab's findings in more realistic ways
Identify and explain the three major reasons for using animals in research on learning. (p. 56)
1 control over influence of heredity 2 control over participant's learning history 3 can do research on animals that is not ethical to do to people
What is the most common objection to using animals in research on learning? Are there valid grounds for this objection? Explain.
animal research tells us nothing about people. Some merit. There are important differences between us and rats.
Identify two additional objections to using animals in research and the counter arguments to these objections. (pp. 56-60)
1 People are not rats 2 no practical value (only theory, so useless) 3 Intrinsically unethical Counterarguments: 2 animal researches has provided treatments for many serious conditions and improved child rearing. Has also improved how humane animal training is (reduces aversives) 3 Pets are mistreated, animals are used in hundreds of ways (ie. farm work, work with disabilities) + there are intense standards for animal care in labs, aversives minimized in research. Unethical because uneccessary? Computer rats. But we have to know the behaviour to program it.
Describe how researchers can use both animal and human research to improve our understanding of a field of study. (p. 57)
Animal study plus descriptive studies gives good confidence in findings.