change of behavior as a function of experience

learning-based approaches to personality come in 2 varieties: behaviorism and social learning theories; from these, psychologists have built theories of the basis of personality and behavior and an effective technology for behavioral change; they've built an approach to psych that hold high the scientific values of objectivity, publicly observable data, and tight theoretical reasoning

scientific values in learning approaches
learning approaches value objectivity, publicly observable behavior, and tight theoretical reasoning; this approach to psychology makes it a science, and less philosophical (like humanism)

Funder's slogan for the behaviorists: "we can only know what we can see, and we can see everything we need to know" (561)

invented, in part, as a reaction to introspection (Wilhelm Wundt), with a desire to obtain more objective data, leading to focus on directly observable behavior

study of how a person's behavior is a direct result of the environment and the rewards/punishments the environment contains

early behaviorists such as Watson and Skinner believed the best vantage point for understanding a person is from the outside, because that is where they assumed all causes of behavior were to be found

belief that the causes of behavior can be observed directly as behavior itself; the causes are found in the environment (rewards and punishments in the physical and social world)

functional analysis
goal of behaviorism; maps out exactly how behavior is a function of one's environmental situation

Skinner's functional analysis (A-B-C): behavior as a function of its consequences; antecedent: that which comes before and sets the stage or establishes the context; behavior: what is actually done, said, and expressed; consequences: contingent (response-dependent) outcomes that may increase the future probability of the behavior (pos or neg reinforcement) or decrease it (pos or neg punishment); the consequences strengthn or weak the connection between the antecedent and the behavior

the idea that all knowledge comes from experience; experience is the direct product of reality; the contents of our minds are created by the contents of the world; the structure of reality determines personality, the structure of the mind, and behavior

implies that at birth, the mind is essentially empty; only as a person encounters reality does she begin to accumulate experiences and built a characteristic way of reacting to the world (personality)

according to this approach, experience is not something that produces or exists separately from reality, as the phenomenological perspective claims (study of conscious experience)

the simplest way behavior changes as a result of experience; the decrease in response to a stimulus on repeated applications; research has shown that a response nearly as strong as the original can be maintained, but only if the stimulus changes or increases with every repetition

effect of seeing images of suffering and violence (moves, video games) is to become habituated to the pain of others, with the result that one becomes less likely to help them when in need (Bushman and Anderson, 2009); another study found repeated exposure to violent video games can make an individual's personality more aggressive

affective forecasting
people tend to overestimate the emotional impact of future events, both good and bad
classical conditioning
Pavlov's findings showed that conditioning is more than a simple pairing of stimuli (associationism); it involves teaching that one stimulus is a warning or signal of the other; events become associated not simply because they occurred together (claim of associationism), but because the meaning of one event has changed the meaning of another
learned helplessness
behavioral pattern that can result from the feeling of anxiety due to unpredictability; studies with animals suggest that receiving random rewards and punishments can lead to the belief that nothing one does really matters, which can lead to depression

make inferences about non-contingent relationships between responses and outcomes; hypothesis that learned helplessness results from a history of unpredictable reward and punishment, leading the person to act as if nothing s/he does matters

Thorndike's Law of Effect
Thorndike put hungry cats in a "puzzle box" from which they could escape by pulling on a wire or pressing a bar; once free, they would find food nearby; thorndike would then put them back in and have them try again, and he found that the cats began to escape more and more quickly as they learned how to escape
stimulus-response (S-R) conception of personality
early American behaviorists such as Watson derived their understanding of personality directly from Pavlov's ideas; assumed the essential activity of life was to learn a vast array of responses to specific environmental stimuli and that an individual's personality consists of a repertoire of learned S-R associations; old version of behaviorism; Skinner expanded on this by formulating his idea of operant conditioning
operant conditioning
B.F. Skinner; he referred to classical conditioning as respondent conditioning because the conditioned response is passive; in operant conditioning, animals learn to operate in such a way so as to change their situation to their advantage

behavior becomes more likely if it is followed by a good result-a reinforcement; if it is followed by a punishment, it becomes less likely

relationship between behavior and outcome if the presentation or removal of something is contingent upon a response, and that contingency results in the increase or maintenance of the response
an aversive consequence that follows an act in order to stop it and prevent its repetition; frequently used by parents, teachers, and bosses, all with the same goals: 1) start some behaviors, 2) maintain some behaviors, 3) prevent some behaviors

usual tactics for achieving 1 and 2 is reward/reinforcement; many people believe that the only way to stop or prevent someone from doing something is punishment, but this is incorrect; reward can be used: rewarding alternatives

key principles in the effective use of punishment
5 principles, according to classic behaviorist analysis:
1) availability of alternatives: alternative response that should be rewarded must be available (i.e., halloween party to avoid halloween pranks)
2) behavioral and situational specificity: be clear about exactly what behavior you are punishing and the circumstances under which it will and will not be punished
3) timing and consistency: to be effective, a punishment needs to be applied immediately after the behavior you wish to prevent, every time that behavior occurs, to ensure the person/animal understands what is being punished
4) conditioning secondary punishing stimuli: one can lessen the actual use of punishment by conditioning secondary stimuli to it (i.e., parent's counting to 3)
5) avoiding mixed messages: can be counterproductive
dangers of punishment
1) punishment arouses emotion: punishers can become carried away and lose self-control; "punishees" can feel pain, discomfort, or humiliation, and can arouse fear of or hate of the punisher, desire to escape, and feelings of self-contempt
2) it is difficult to be consistent: punishment tends to vary with the punisher's mood
3) it is difficult to gauge the severity of punishment: punishment may cause more psychological distress than the punisher imagines and can provoke desires for escape or revenge that make the situation worse
4) punishment teaches misuse of power: teaches that big, powerful people get to hurt smaller, less-powerful people; how children are punished can have long-lasting effects on their personalities
5) punishment motivates concealment: punishees have good reasons to conceal behavior that might be punished; can result in cutting off communication
shortcomings of classic behaviorism
social learning theory arose to correct several shortcomings of orthodox behaviorism:
1) behaviorism ignores motivation, thought, and cognition; social learning theorists claim that the ways people think, plan, perceive, and believe are important parts of learning
2) based on research using animals; behaviorists have concentrated too much on elements of learning that are important for animals, such as reinforcement, and not enough on aspects that are more important for humans, such as solving a problem by thinking about it
3) ignores social dimension of learning; in real life, we learn by watching others
4) treats the organism as essentially passive; to an important degree, humans choose environments and change the environments as a result of what we do in them
3 major theories of personality named social learning theory
Dollard and Miller: habit hierarchy, drives, drive reduction theory, primary and secondary drives, frustration-aggression hypothesis, approach-avoidance conflict
Rotter: primarily concerns decision making and the role of expectancies; expectancy value theory; specific and generalized expectancies; locus of control
Bandura (most influential; built his theory on Rotter's): efficacy expectation, observational learning, reciprocal determinism
habit hierarchy
key idea of Dollard and Miller's social learning theory; the behavior you are most likely to perform at a given moment resides at the top of your habit hierarchy, and the behavior you are least likely to perform resides at the bottom; Dollard and Miller theorized that the effect of rewards, punishments, and learning is to rearrange the habit hierarchy, an unobservable psychological entity; argued that the best way to understand a person, or his personality, is to understand his habit hierarchy
Dollard and Miller; needs/wants produce psychological drives, or states of psychological tension that feel good when the tension is reduced; pleasure comes from satisfying the need that produced the drive

primary drives: drives for food, water, physical comfort, avoidance of physical pain, sexual gratification, etc.

secondary drives: positive drives for love, prestige, money, power; negative drives for avoidance of fear and humiliation; secondary drives come later (like Maslow's hierarchy of needs)

drive-reduction theory
Dollard and Miller; argue that there can be no reinforcement (and thus no behavioral change) without reducing a drive, whether primary or secondary

drive-reduction theory: for a reward to have the power to encourage the target behavior, the reward must satisfy a need; implies that in the ideal state of existence, all needs have been satisfied, which is questionable

sexual arousal and gratification comprise an example that counters the drive-reduction theory; the greater the arousal and sexual need, the greater the gratification; people also constantly create new needs, searching for new projects even as they complete earlier ones; these observations require a modification of drive-reduction theory: true reinforcement is not a state of zero need, but the movement from a state of higher need to a state of lower need, with the distance between the initial and final states mattering most

frustration-aggression hypothesis
Dollard and Miller; the natural, biological reaction of any person to being blocked from a goal is to be frustrated, with the resulting urge to lash out and injure; the more important the blocked goal, the greater the frustration, and the greater the aggressive impulse

the preferred target of the aggression will be the source of the frustration, but Dollard and Miller use Freud's idea of displacement to describe how the aggressive impulse can be redirected

approach-avoidance conflict
Dollard and Miller; conflict between fear and desire; 5 key assumptions: 1) an increase in drive strength will increase the tendency to approach or avoid a goal; 2) whenever there are two competing responses, the stronger one (i.e., the one with the greater drive strength behind it) will win out); 3) the tendency to approach a positive goal increases the closer one gets to the goal; 4) the tendency to avoid a negative goal increases the closer one gets to that goal; 5) tendency 4 is stronger than tendency 3
expectancy value theory
Rotters; theory assumes that behavioral decisions are determined not just by the presence or size of reinforcements, but also by beliefs about the likely results of behavior; even if a reinforcement is very attractive, according to this theory, you are not likely to pursue it if your chances of success are slim
Rotters; an individual's belief, or subjective probability, about how likely it seems that the behavior will attain its goal

emphasis on beliefs about expected rewards and punishments vs. classical behaviorism, which focuses on actual rewards and punishments

specific and generalized expectancies

specific expectancy: belief that a certain behavior, at a certain time and place, will lead to a specific outcome

generalized expectancy: general beliefs about whether anything you do is likely to make a difference; people who believe they have little control over what happens to them have low generalized expectancy; those who believe the reinforcements they enjoy are directly a function of what they do have high generalized expectancy; generalized expectancy can be considered a trait

locus of control
Rotter; another term for generalized expectancy; people with internal locus of control have high generalized expectancies, and people external locus of control have low generalized expectancies

locus of control and generalized expectancy can vary across the domain's of one's life
compare to Bandura's concept of self-efficacy

efficacy expectation
Bandura; reinterpretation of Rotter's expectancies; both terms refer to the belief that one can accomplish something successfully and that one's interpretation of reality matters more than reality itself; while Rotter's notion of expectancy is the perceived conditional probability that IF you do something, you will achieve your goal, Bandura's efficacy is the perceived probability that you can do something in the first place

self-efficacy: belief about the self, about what the person is capable of doing; a person's self-concept affects his efficacy expectation

Bandura emphasized that efficacy expectations should be the key target for therapeutic interventions; research suggests that increases in self-efficacy can increase both motivation and performance

reciprocal determinism
Bandura; analysis of how people shape their environments; classic versions of behaviorism tend to view reinforcements and the environments that contain them as influences inflicted on people, with the people themselves remaining passive; Bandura's model considers the ongoing series of interactions between the person, behavior, and environment

important aspects of reciprocal determinism: 1) people choose their environments that influence them; 2) the social situations in your life change because you are there; 3) Bandura's claim that a "self system" develops that has its own effects on behavior, independent of the environment

Bandura; aspect of reciprocal determinism; has its own effects on behavior, independent of the environment; a person's attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills

causes of behavior do not lie solely in the world (behaviorist perspective) or in your mind (humanist perspective); they originate in the interaction between the two

cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS)
Mischel's theory that combines two important ideas: 1) phenomenological idea that the individual's interpretation, or construal, of the world is all-important (Kelly); 2) a view of the cognitive system that describes thought as proceeding simultaneously on multiple tracks that occasionally intersect
Mischel's definition of personality
"a stable system that mediates how the individual selects, construes, and processes social information and generates social behaviors"

Funder: "an individual's characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms--hidden or not--behind those patterns"

cognitive person variables
person variables, not personality variables; Mischel's claim that individual differences in personality stem from four person variables that characterize properties and activities of the cognitive system: 1) cognitive and behavioral construction competencies: mental abilities and behavioral skills; 2) encoding strategies and personal constructs: ideas about how the world can be categorized, efficacy expectations, beliefs about one's capabilities, beliefs about oneself; 3) subjective stimulus values: individual's beliefs about the probabilities of obtaining a goal if it is pursued, how much people value different rewarding outcomes; 4) self-regulatory systems and plans: closely related to Bandura's self system, a set of procedures that control behavior, including self-reinforcement, selection of situations, and purposeful alteration of the situations selected, Mischel was also interested in how people control their own thoughts

an updated theory includes affects, or feelings and emotions, as a fifth variable; Mischel claimed that affects and emotions profoundly influence social information processing and coping behavior

if-then contingencies
most important recent addition to Mischel's theory of personality; Mischel's personality variables combine in each individual to yield a repertoire of actions triggered by particular stimulus situations

each individual's pattern of contingencies is unique and comprises his behavioral signature

Mischel's goal is to replace personality traits with if-then contingencies as the essential units for understanding personality differences; the main advantage of the if-then idea is its specificity; it is also more sensitive to the way people change their behavior across situations; focuses on specifically discerning which situations would probably elicit certain types of behavior

if-then contingencies have the potential to integrate trait conceptions of personality with social learning conceptions and cognitive conceptions by re-describing traits as specific behavior patterns; personality traits are sometimes too broad and vague to provide the most useful ways to think about behavior

three major achievements of the learning approaches
1) learning theorists conducted admirable research that approached the goal of establishing psychology as an objective science
2) learning theorists recognize how people's behavior depends on the environment and the specific, immediate situation
3) learning approaches have contributed a technology of behavior change, such as applying learning concepts to the treatment of phobias, addictions, and other emotional and behavioral disorders
limitations of the learning approaches
1) it is not clear that the effects of behavioral therapies on phobias, addictions, and other problems are generalizable and long-lasting; people are more complicated than simple theories such as classical conditioning sometimes acknowledge
2) these theories still tend to underappreciate the degree to which the characteristic ways people think can cause them to respond differently to the same situation
Bandura et al (Funder & Ozer reading)
"self-system": cognitive system, consisting of thoughts and feelings about the self, arising as a result of experience and once constructed has important effects on behavior; affects one's environment by 1) administering rewards and punishments to the self and 2) selecting the environments that one enters

views the self system as being, in the final analysis, a result of the environment