Why are we superstitious?
Card Set Information
Why are we superstitious?
Psychology,Evidence & Enquiry
How was classical conditioning first investigated?
Found that dogs would anticipate food and start salivating when they heard it approaching
Took a neutral stimulus (bell) which would not normally induce salivation
Took unconditioned stimulus (the meat) and an unconditioned response (salivation)
Rang bell then gave the meat
Eventually the bell becomes a conditioned stimulus, paired with the presence of meat
What is higher order conditioning?
The process of using previously conditioned stimuli to induce a response for another neutral stimulus
Bell is rung with a black square causing salivation
Can fear be conditioned?
Watson & Raynor (1920)
Little Albert is shown a monkey, then dog, then bunny, then white rat
A steel bar is hit with a hammer making a loud noise and scaring Albert whenever the rat is present
Albert cried whenever he saw a white rat AND anything else that is white and furry
How are rats conditioned to fear noise?
Habituation for a day
Play a tone and shock the cage whenever it happens making the rate freeze
Can we conquer fear?
Yes, remove the amygdala (responsible for fight or flight)
Feinstein et al (2010) S.M had amygdala damage due to a rare disease, did not show fear to any stimuli (haunted house, spiders, horror film)
BUT Feinstein et al (2012) found that people with bilateral amygdala damage showed fear and panic attacks when inhaling 35% CO2
What was the first research into operant conditioning?
Cat put into a box that could be opened via performing an action
Once the cat learned what to do it repeated it (Thorndike's law of effect)
What were skinner boxes?
Rats pressed lever for food
Operantly conditioned to press the lever
Also did this with pigeons and ping pong (1950)
Was clever hans clever?
No, it was due to operant conditioning
Cannot understand english
Knows to stomp until he sees the cue in his owner indicating when to stop and get a treat
Can we condition people to be superstitious?
Probably- Skinner (1948)
Dispenser gave food every 15 seconds
Assumed that whatever behaviour they did before the dispensation was what they were being rewarded for
Started repeating behaviour like turning in circles, believing their actions had a decisive impact on rewards
Do superstitions work?
Serena Williams wears the same pair of socks for an entire tournament
No but it improves performance- Damisch et al (2010)
The activation of a good luck related supersttipm leads to higher feelings of condidence in one's ability, the improved presence because of this conditions us to continue it
Golf putting task, some p's told the ball was really lucky
Those with the good luck charm made more putts
Also performed motor dexterity task and told they would keep their fingers crossed 'press thumbs' or not
Those who had the charm did better
Told to bring lucky charm on on experiment and it was taken out to be photographed
Some p's got it back, some didn't
Performed a memory task and were asked to judge their level of self efficacy beforehand
Those with the charm did it faster and with fewer turns as well as reporting a higher self efficacy
Did anagram task and asked to set a goal first, those with lucky charms set higher goals and performed better
Could be because they were more confident, more optimism, worked harder then achieved more which rewarded them, maintaining the superstition