Ernst Mach
-(intense empiricist)
-Created positivism
-claim that all we can be certain of is our sensations
-Introspection was essential for all sciences because it was the only method by which sensations can be analyzed (But one must not speculate about what exists beyond sensations nor attempt to determine their ultimate meaning)
- thought that careful analysis of sensations can determine how they are correlated, which leads to prediction and therefore better adaption to the environment.
"Contributions to the analysis of sensations "
-Ernst Mach's book where he explains positivism
Who were positivists?
John Watson, Ernst Mach, and the Russian physiologist
Logical positivism
-the philosophy of science according to which theoretical concepts are admissible if they are tied to the observable world .
-divide science into two major parts: the empirical (observational terms of science) and the theoretical (attempt to explain that which is observed)
The belief that science should study only those objects or events that can be directly experienced
What influence did logical positivism have on psychology?
-It allowed much more complex forms of behaviorism to emerge because it allowed theorizing without sacrificing objectivity.
-Began Koch's "age of Theory"
-the belief that all abstract scientific concepts should be operationally defined.
-paired with logical positivism
-was quickly accepted in psychological community because it was used to convert theoretical terms such as anxiety and intelligence into empirical events (such as: you are intelligent if you get 4 out 5 of these questions right) and strip them of their metaphysical connotations.
Operational definition
-every abstract concept should be defined in terms of the procedures used to mesure the concept
-in other words it ties theoretical terms to observable phenomena.
-made it so most psychologist agreed that unless a a concept can be operationally defined it is scientifically meaningless.
Percy Bridgman
-came up with operationism which was very much in alignment with behaviorism
what was the outcome of the positivism movement?
All sciences were viewed as basically the same because they all followed the same principles, made the same assumptions and attempted to explain empirical observations.
the push for unification of and a common vocabulary among all sciences.
-Resulted when behaviorism was combined with logical positivism.
-dominated the period
-Believed the following:
1. if theory is used, it must be used in ways demanded by logical positivism
2. all theoretical terms must be operationally defined
3. nonhuman animals should be used as research subjects for two reasons:I. relevant variables are easier to control than they are for humans. II. perceptual and learning processes occurring in nonhuman animals can be generalized to humans
4. the learning process is of prime importance because it is the primary mechanism by which organisms adjust to changing environments.
Edward Chace Tolman
-raised in a quaker home, and pacifism was a constant theme throughout his life.
-suspended from job as professor because he led a group of profs in a movement to resist signing a loyalty oath during McCarthyism.
-thought actions were infused with meaning:behavior was goal-directed-motivated and purposive.
-found that the pruposive aspects of behavior could be studied without sacrificing scientific objectivity. this was done by seeing purpose in the behavior itself and not inferring purpose from the behavior.
What did Tolman call watson's psychology?
Twitchism because he felt in concentrated on isolated responses to specific stimuli. Watson contended that the most complex behavior could be explained in terms of S-R reflexes
What did Tolman call Watson's S-R reflexes?
Molecular behavior: a small segment of behavior such as a reflex or habit that is isolated for study
Purposive Behavior
-behavior that is directed toward some goal and that terminates when the goal is attained.
Fundamental difference between McDogall and Tolman?
-McDougall was a mentalist and inferred purpose from these aspects of behavior; -Tolman a behaviorist who identified purpose with such aspects.
"purposive behavior in animals and men"
Tolman's book that gave examples of purposive/molar behaivor- a rat running a maze, and man getting out of a car, a woman talking about feelings-are all behaviors.
Why did Tolman like rats?
-Because they were a way of guarding against the possibility of indirect introspection that could occur if humans were used as experimental subjects.
-agreed with hull and Thorndike that almost all matters in psyc could be explained by the behavior of rats
intervening variables
(Tolman) -events believed to occur (internally and unobservabley) between environmental and behavior events. -Although intervening variables cannot be observed directly, they are thought to be causally related to behavior. IE Tolman's cognitive map.
-To Tolman environmental experience gives rise to internal unobservable events that in turn cause behavior.
-obvious that environmental events influenced behavior, the problem was to understand why they did that.
-Independent variables (environmental)
Lead to:
Intervening variables (theoretical concepts)
Lead to:
Dependent variables (behavior)
Describe Tolman's theory of cognitive maps.
-when a rat is placed in a new maze where left turns are reenforced with food, at some point the rat forms a "Hypothesis" that turning one way = food.
-In early stages of the hypothesis the rat begins "Vicarious Trial and Error"; animal appears to pause at the choice point and engage in mental trial and error/pondering.
-when the hypothesis is confirmed the rat develops "expectancy":when I turn left there will be food.
-Through this process a "cognitive map" of the situation is formed/an awareness of all possibilities in a situation.
-this cognitive map intervenes between experience and behavior. Rather then just describing the rats behavior in explains it.
Tolmans position of reinforcement
-refused to accept the two dominant explanations of learning. First he denied watson's associative principles of contiguity and frequency because he did not like the over-simplified notions of stimulus and responses, and then disagreed with Thorndike's emphasis of the law of effect because he didn't like that it was based off of reinforcement. .
-believed in confirmation: the verification of a hypothesis, expectancy or belief
-learning is a constant occurrence
learning versus performance
- Performance: the translation of learning into behavior
-motivation influences performance but not learning.
-IE your constantly learning no matter what your motivation, but if your a rat with a full stomach your not going to be motivated to use your learning to find the food.
Latent learning
-according to Tolman, learning that has occurred but is not translated into behavior.
Latent extinction
according to Tolman animals who passively experience a goal box no longer containing reinforcement extinguish a previously learned response to that goal box significantly faster than animals without such experience.
-Terman thought this was because the rats came to see the absence of reinforcement.
-Tolman and Honzik
Latent learning experiment:
-three groups of rats
-group 1: were reinforced with food each time they correctly got through a maze.
-group 2: subjects wandered through maze but were not reinforced if they reached goal box
-group 3: were treated like group 2 until the 11th day when they began receiving reinforcement in the goal box.
-hypothesis: that all rats were learning the maze as they wandered though it. if this is true then group 3 would perform as well as other groups from the 12th day on.
-experiment supported Hypothesis.
-partially paralyzed (used cane)
-thought about being a Unitarian minister
-employed logical positivism
Hull's interests?
-the creation of machines that could learn and think and the study of the learning process.
-viewed people as machines that learn and think
Tolman vs Hull
Tolman: -
Duelist (believed that mental events determined behavior)
-purposive behaviorism
-believed that a number of intervening internal conditions had to be taken into consideration in order to explain behavior. These conditions were cognitive events that intervened between environmental experience and behavior.
-Mechanist and materialist
-Mechanistic behaviorism
-because of their willingness to speculate about internal causes of behavior both were methodological behaviorists.
-applied logical positivism in their theorizing.
-believed that a number of intervening internal conditions had to be taken into consideration in order to explain behavior. These intervening events were primarily physiological.

Hull's theory won over Tolman's. However both were to hampering to use outside the lab. It was to hard operationally define everything.

drive reduction
-(Hull was a "Reinforcement theorist")
-a biological need creates a drive in the organism
- when that drive is diminished (need is met) that constitutes a reinforcement.
-a biological need
-important event that intervenes between a stimulus and a response
Habit Strength
-if a response in a certain situation leads to drive reduction, habit strength (sHr) is said to increase.
-an intervening variable as the number of reinforced pairings between an environmental situation (s) and a response (r).
Habit strength=learning
Hull's general theory
using operational definitions, hull attempted to show how a number on internal events interact to cause overt behavior.
-Behaviorist: but thought that the other behaviorist were too subjective.
-believed all learning phenomena could be explained by using only one of Aristotle's laws of association-- the law of contiguity.
The one law of learning
-law of contiguity
-what you do last in a situation is what you will tend to do if the situation recurs
-"what is being noticed becomes a signal for what is being done"
One trial learning
-what made guthrie's theory of learning unique was his regection of the law of frequency, saying instead that "a stimulus pattern gains its full associative strength on the occasion of its first pairing with a response"
Why does practice improve performance?
distinguished between acts and movements
-Movement: a specific response made to a specific configuration of stimuli
-Acts: a response made to varying stimulus configurations.
IE typing the letter "a" on a specific keyboard under specific stimulus conditions (lighting) is an movement.
Typing the letter "a" on different keyboard in different lighting is an act.
-because learning an act involves learning a specific response under varying conditions that practice improves performance.
Guthrie's "skills"
-just as an act consists of many movements, a skill consists of many acts. Thus a skill such as typing consists of hundreds of acts, and therefore thousands of movements.
Guthrie and reinforcement
-reinforcement: a mechanical arrangement that prevents unlearning.
-"cats in a puzzle box" Gunthrie and Horton
*when a cat is in a box and must move a pole to get out how does the cat remember how to get out?
*Guthrie says that because moving the pole is the last thing the cat does under the pre-reinforcement conditions, it is that response the cay will make when next placed into a box.
"Forgetting" Guthrie.
-not only does learning occur in one trial but so does forgetting
- forgetting occurs when an old ST association is displaced by a new one.
-all forgetting involves new learning
-IE A child who drops out in 7th grade will always remember his last year, a child who goes on to college will have associations of school/classroom overlaid on top of that experience and be vague about 7th grade.
"breaking habits" Guthrie
-Habits are acts that have become associated with a large number of stimuli.
-How to break habits: observe the stimuli that elicit the undesirable act and perform another act in the presence of those stimuli. he new desirable act will be elicited by those stimuli instead of the old, undesirable act.
"Punishment" Guthrie
effectiveness of punishment is determined not by the pain caused, but by what it causes the organism to do in the presence of stimuli that elicit undesirable behavior.
"drives and intentions" Guthrie
-drives provide maintaining stimuli that keep an organism active unill a goal is reached: internal/hunger or external/loud noise.
-the last act performed in the presence of the maintaining stimuli will tend to be performed when those stimuli refer.
-such acts are referred to as intentions because they appear to have as their goal the removal of maintaining stimuli.
Skinner and behaviorism
- Skinners behaviorism was contrary to logical positivism because it was anti-theoretical
-it was in accordance with logical positivism because it insisted that all its basic terms be operationally defined.
Skinners personal life
-middle class
-high degree of self-discipline/every minute except 15 min scheduled a day.
the behavior of organics
established skinner as a nationally prominent experimental psychologists.
Functional analysis
-Like Watson, skinner believed that what we call mental events are simply verbal labels given to certain bodily processes.
-approach to research that involves studying the systematic relationship between behavioral and environmental events.
-focuses on the relationship between reinforcement contingencies and response rate or response probability.
Skinner and behaviorism
radical behaviorist in that he refused to acknowledge any causal role of mental events in human conduct.
-mental events are nothing but neurophysiological events to which we have put labels
respondent behavior -skinner
behavior elicited by known stimuli
operant behavior -skinner
behavior that is emitted by an organism rather than elicited by a known stimulus.
"The nature of reinforcement"
-If an operant response leads to reinforcement, the rate of that response increases.
-reinforcement can be identified only through its effects on behavior, which is different for each organism.
-no drive reduction
the importance of the environment-skinner
-important to skinner because it selected behavior
-the reinforcement contingencies of the environment determines which behaviors are strengthened and which are not. -Darwinian approach to analysis of behavior
-change the reinforcement contingencies, and you change behavior.
Positive control of behavior-skinner
-reinforcement strengthens behavior, punishment does not weaken behavior.
- Why then is punishment used? Because it reinforces the punisher.
Skinner- how do you deal with undesirable behavior??
ignore it.
Skinners attitude toward theory
-Skinners version: descriptive behaviorism: behaviorism that is positivistic in that it describes relationships between environmental events and behavior rather than attempting to explain those relationships.
Application of skinnerian principles
-change reinforcement contingencies, and you change behavior.
-wrote novel walden two about how his principles could be used in designing a model society.
-In education skinner developed a teaching technique called "programmed learning". in which students are presented with info in small steps/ and with technology
-own version of behavior therapy that assumes that people learn abnormal behavior in the same way that they learn normal behavior therefore treatment is a matter of removing the reinforcers that are maintaining the undesirable behavior.
Behavorism today
Skinners influence is still strong
However logical positivism ultimately failed because of it's strict operationalism, and that