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What are behaviour genetics?
The study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour.
What are environmental influences?
Every non-genetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us.
What is temperament?
A person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity.
What is heritability?
The proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. It may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied.
What is interaction?
The dependence of the effect of one factor (such as environment) on another factor (such as heredity).
What are molecular genetics?
The subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes.
What is culture?
The enduring behaviours, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.
What is a norm?
An understood rule for accepted and expected behaviour.
In evolutionary psychology, what ways are used to investigate?
1) Family studies: assess hereditary influences by examining blood relatives to see how much they resemble each other on a trait.
- potential problem: some behaviours run in families that may not have a genetic component, but rather are learned
2) Twin studies: identical twin studies are better than family studies. Fraternal twins (50% shared genes) are also good. It makes it possible to look at similarities between twins. If the identical twins are more similar on a trait than fraternal twins, we assume genetics are playing a role.
3) Adoption studies: where children may have been split up after birth and we want to compare adopted kids to those raised by biological parents. If they are more similar on a trait to biological parents, we assume there's a genetic component.
What is the Coolidge effect?
In certain animal species, males who are sexually exhausted from mating with the same mate may gain renewed sexual vigour when exposed to new females.
What is evolutionary psychology?
It is the study of the evolution of behaviour and the mind, using the principles of natural selection.
What is gender?
In psychology, the characteristics, whether biologically or socially influenced, by which people define male and female.
What do we know about the mating habits of the genders?
Men try to mate widely. Women have to choose wisely. This is because men have unlimited amounts of genetic material, while women can only have 25 children at most.
On a sinking boat, do you save your one year old or your five year old?
The five year old. He or she has survived the first challenges of life and you have more invested in the older child.
On a sinking boat, do you save your 20 year old or your 40 year old?
You save your twenty year old child - he or she has more chance to reproduce.
You and your spouse are new parents. The grandparents are ecstatic. Who will be kinder to the child?
The mother of the mother as she is guaranteed that her genes are getting passed on.
What are behaviour genetics?
The study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour.
What is "environment" in genetic studies?
Environment includes every non-genetic influence, from prenatal nutrition, to the people and things around us.
Explain how environment can affect brain development...
In rat experiments, subjects placed in an impoverished environment, the rat brain cell development was minimal. Those placed in a richer environment (wheels, stairs, etc), rat brain cells developed much more fully.
What is consciousness?
It is the awareness of internal and external stimuli, for example external events, internal sensations, our sense of self as unique beings, and our thoughts and experiences.
What are dualism and monism?
Dualism is the presumption that mind and body are two distinct entities that interact. This is a widely held view that is generally consistent with most religions and philosophies. The problem with dualism lies in the interaction between the brain and the mind. How can one inform the other. Our current explanations seem like "magic" is at work.
Monism advances that mind and body are different aspects of the same thing, in other words that the mind is just the brain's functioning - this has grown with the advent of technologies such as FMRI, measuring brain activity. The problems with monism: 1) there is no one locus of consciousness. 2) If monism is accurate, we have no free will. How can we have a justice system based on personal responsibility?
How does psychology teach consciousness?
- It studies:
- - Circadian rythms: sleep/wake cycle
- - Sleep & dreaming
- - Meditation & hypnosis
- - drugs
- - brain abnormalities: ESP, deja vu
Why does psychology study consciousness by looking at things like circadian rhythms, meditation & hypnosis?
Because it is very difficult to study consciousness. There is a chance it doesn't exist, so psychology studies behaviours that can be observed and are said to be related to consciousness. Computers have also made it possible to model the mind's operation and interactions.
What is hypnosis?
It is a systematic procedure that produces a heightened state of suggestibility. There are individual differences in the level of suggestibility. Hypnosis can produce effects such as amnesia, sensory distortions and hallucinations, disinhibition and anesthesia.
What is the hidden observer in hypnosis?
It is Hilgard's term describing a hypnotized subject's awareness of experiences, such as pain, that go unreported during hypnosis.
In hypnosis, attention is diverted from an aversive stimulus (bad smell). What explains this?
Theory 1 suggests the consciousness is divided through hypnosis, it has produced a split in awareness.
Theory 2 suggests there is a social influence, the subject is so caught up in the hypnotized role that she ignores the odor.
In hypnosis, what is dissociation?
It is a split in consciousness which allows some thoughts and behaviours to occur simultaneously with others.
What is learning?
Learning is a relatively permanent change in an organism's behaviour due to experience.
What is Operant Conditioning?
It is when we learn to associate a response and its consequence. It is a type of learning in which behaviour is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment. Thorndike's Law of Effect further postulates that behaviour followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and behaviours followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely. (Ex: tell a joke - if it gets a laugh, you might tell another...)
In operant conditioning, what is association?
Our minds naturally connect events that occur in sequence. Associative learning is learning that two events occur together, two stimuli, a response and its consequences.
What is a reinforcer?
It is any event that strengthens the behaviour it follows. Shaping is a type of operant conditioning reinforcer procedure in which reinforcers guide behaviour toward closer approximations of a desired goal. (Example: try to get a kid to tap on the blackboard by telling him getting warmer, getting colder, etc...)
What is classical respondent behaviour?
It is behaviour that occurs as an automatic response to stimulus, behaviour learned through classical conditioning.
What is operant behaviour?
It is behaviour that operates (acts) on the environment and produces consequences.
In operant conditioning, what are the ways to increase behaviour?
- Positive reinforcement - add a positive stimulus - ex: a hug, TV on
- Negative reinforcement - remove an aversive stimulus - ex: Seat belt turns off buzzer
What is an operant chamber?
Known as a Skinner Box, it is a chamber with a bar or key that an animal manipulates to obtain a food or water reinforcer. It contains devices to record responses.
What are negative reinforcers?
It is when one is made to do something to eliminate a nuisance or annoyance.
- - feigning a stomache ache in order to avoid school
- - turning down the volume on a very loud radio
- - putting up an umbrella to escape the rain
What are the two schedules of reinforcement?
1. Continuous reinforcement: the reinforcement occurs each time the desired response occurs.
2. Partial (intermitent) reinforcement: the reinforcement occurs only part of the time. This results in slower acquisition, but there is greater resistance to extinction - you don't know if the next time will pay off so you keep going.
What are the principles of reinforcement?
There needs to be a primary reinforcer which satisfies a biological need. And there can be a conditioned reinforcer, a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with the primary reinforcer.
What is punishment?
Punishment is an aversive event that decreases the behaviour that it follows. It is a powerful controller of unwanted behaviour.
Name the two types of punishment and give examples.
1. Positive punishment - administer an aversive stimulus - ex: spanking, a parking ticket
2. Negative punishment - withdraw a desirable stimulus - ex: take away TV privileges, revoke driver's licence.
What is the overjustification effect?
It is the effect that occurs in a situation where one is promised a reward for doing what one already likes to do and then the person sees the rewards, rather than having an intrinsic interest, as the motivation for performing the task. Zimbardo originated this concept. He gave the example of Nunzi, a New York shopkeeper who, having been insulted by kids, started to pay them to do so. When he cut their pay, they went away.
What are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?
Intrinsic motivation is the desire to perform a behaviour for its own sake and to be effective. Extrinstic motivation is the desire to perform a behaviour due to promised rewards or threats of punishment.
What are the key processes in the modeling process?
- 1. Attention: you see the information
- 2. Retention: you retain the information
- 3. Reproduction: you do it, you model the behaviour
- 4. Motivation: you want to do it and keep on doing it
What is observational learning?
It is learning by observing others - ex: watch someone touch a hot element on a stove
What are the two dominant theories on violence?
- 1. Catharsis theory: certain emotions can be purged due to stimuli that evoke those emotions. (Watch a violent movie, it helps you work through your own aggression)
- 2. Social learning theory: we tend to model behaviours that we observe. (Watching a violent movie provides a model that kids follow. The Bobo doll experiment)
What factors affect our reliance on imitation?
- Uncertainty: the more uncertain a situation is, the more likely we'lll imitate (ex: dinner party, which fork do I use?)
- Similarity: the more similar a model is to us, the more likely we'll imitate (ex: frat boys getting drunk)
What are some of the potential effects of television violence?
- - It decreases viewers' concerns about the suffering of victims
- - It habituates us to the sight of violence
- - It provides aggressive models that increase viewers' tendency to act aggressively
Why is the study of sensation and perception important in psychology?
Because is points out the fact that our perception of the world is subjective.
What is sensation?
It is a process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energy. Because it deals with raw data, it is considered an objective process. Its main feature is bottom-up processing - the analysis of the information begins with the sense receptors and works its way up to the brain's integration of sensory information.
What is perception?
It is a process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events. It is a relatively subjective process that features top-down processing. Information processing is guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.
What is absolute threshold and difference threshold?
Absolute threshold is the point at which we can detect a stimulus (radio too soft, turn it up). That point at which you can detect the stimulus 50% of the time. The 50% mark is used because some factors can impact our ability to detect stimuli.
Difference threshold is the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time. Also known as JND (just noticeable difference.
What is the Signal Detection Theory?
It predicts how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise). It assumes that there is no absolute threshold, and that detection depends partyl on the person's experience, expectations, motivation and level of fatigue.
What is a perceptual hypothesis?
It is an inference about what form could be responsible for a pattern of sensory stimulation. It is often guided by context. We fill in missing information to produce a whole that makes sense. (ex: line drawings)
In perceptual organisation, what are the grouping principles?
"Grouping" is the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups. We do this by:
- 1- Proximity: we group nearby figures together
- 2- Similarity: we group figures that are similar
- 3- Continuity: we perceive continuous patterns
- 4- Closure: we fill in the gaps
- 5- Connectedness: spots, lines and areas are seen as a whole unit when connected
What is visual capture?
In perceptual organization, it is the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses, all things being equal.
Name & define the two types of perceptual interpretation.
- Perceptual adaptation: in vision, it is the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced visual field (ex: putting on prism glasses)
- Perceptual set: it is a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another. (ex: you see your team's performance differently)
What is perceptual constancy?
It is the perceiving of objects as unchanging even as illumination and the retinal image change in color, shape and size. (ex: a piece of paper on a desk will look different depending how far away you are).
In visual information processing, what is parallel processing?
It is the simultaneous processing of several aspects of a problem. We process color, motion, form and depth simultaneously.
What is stranger anxiety?
It is a fear of strangers that infants commonly display beginning around the age of 8 months.
What is attachment?
It is an emotional tie with another person, often a primary caregiver. It shows in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and displaying distress on separation.
Explain Harlow's Surrogate Mother experiments?
Monkeys placed in a room with two surrogate mothers preferred contact with the comfortable cloth mother, even while feeding from the nourishing wire mesh mother. This showed they needed warmth to bring about attachment. The monkeys raised by artificial mothers were terror-stricken when placed in strange situations without their surrogate mothers.
Name and define the phases of attachment in humans.
Indiscriminate: babies will attach to anyone who provides comfort
Discriminate: around 3 months of age, children begin to demonstrate a preference, attaching to familiar people
Specific: around 7 or 8 months, children attach almost excusively to their specific caregiver
What are the patterns of attachment?
- 1) Secure: most common, in Mary Ainsworth's observational experiments children explored the room, and got upset when mom left the room, but settled down quickly when she returned.
- 2) Anxious ambivalent: children were anxious and demanding when mom was present. They get very upset when she left. It took a long time for them settle down when she returned.
- 3) Avoidant: children sought little contact or comfort from mom. Didn't seem to care when mom left, didn't really take notice when she returned.
What is self-concept?
It is a sense of one's identity and personal worth that develops early on.
What is a stage theory of social development?
Advanced by Eric Erikson, it describes the eight steps of psychosocial development through the human lifespan. At each stage there are opposing polarities, and how we resolve those determines how we will deal with the next stage of life.
What are the styles of parenting?
- 1- Authoritarian: parents impose rules and expect obedience. They don't give reasons for their decisions.
- 2- Authoritative: parents are both demanding and responsive. They set rules, but explain the reasons and encourage discussion.
- 3- Permissive: parents submit to the children's desires, make few demands and use little punishment.
What is basic trust?
It is a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy. It is said be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers.