PSY123 - Mind to World - Behaviourism and Conditioning

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  • Created by: Bex161
  • Created on: 03-05-15 15:58

How do you study the mind?

Methods of studying the mind and people's behaviour is demonstarted by both Wundt and Freud.

Wundt is commonly thought of as being the first psychologist, using both structualism and introspection.

On the other hand Freud used psychoanalysis whenexplaining behaviour, as seen in the case of Little Hans.

Both Wundt and Freud both shared origins in psychophysiology.

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Problems with Wundt and Freud

Issues arise with the methods Wundt and Freud used to study the mind.

Firstly Wundt's use of introspection often gives different resuts from different observers, so is not deemed as being a reliable method.

The psychoanalysis used by Freud alsopresented problems, due to psychoanalysis only allowing for a limited sample to be used as well as lacking evidence.

Scientific methods of studying the mind and behaviour also has it's own issues as it allows for bias in the observations made and does not give an explanantion for the observations made.

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Classical Conditioning

An example of conditioning another's behaviour would be the research conducted by Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov.

Pavlov studied the salivation response in dogs when they see food.

Pavlov started with the idea that the salivation response in dogs was not something which the dogs had learnt; rather it was something which was already exsisting in the dog's mind.

Pavlov then showed thereality of the unconditioned response by placing food in front of a dog and then measuring it's salivary secretions.

From this Pavlov then discovered that the dogs would begin to salivate when seeing something which they associated with food; for example seeing the lab assistant who usually presented the dogs with food.

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Classical Conditioning (Continued)

When conducting his experiment Pavlov choose to use a bell as his neutral stimulus.

Whenever Pavlov provided the dogs with food, he also rang the bell.

After repeating this method several times, the dogs began to salivate just when hearing the bell.

Therefore the learnt the association between the bell and the food, making the response a conditional response and the neutral stimulus a conditioned stimulus.

Pavlov also found that for the dogs to make the associations, the two stimuli (e.g. the bell and the food) had to be presented close together.  Pavlov named this the law of temporal contiguity.

If the time between the two stimuli was too great, the learning would not occur and so no association would be made.

Overall classical conditioning (which was later developed by John Watson) involves learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus which brings a particular response, with a new conditioned stimulus so that the new stimulus brings about the same response. 

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Classical Conditioning Terms

Unconditioned Stimulus: The stimulus that triggers a response.

Conditioned Stimulus: The unlearned response associated with the unconditioned stimulus.

Conditioned Response: The learnt response to the unconditioned stimlus following association with the conditioned stimulus.

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After Classical Conditioning

The effect of the conditioned stimulus wears off if it is not paired with the unconditioned stimulus.

How long it takes for the effect to wear off depends on the strength of the unconditioned stimulus.

Sometimes the association between the response and the conditioned stimulus can reappear spontaneously.

If the effect of the conditioned stimulus does wear off, the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus can be easily paired again due to the previous relationship between the two.

Stimuli which is similar to the conditioned stimulus (e.g. shapes, sounds) can also elicit the response.

Animals like Pavlov's dogs, can also be taught to discriminate between different stimuli.

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