Review for the final exam

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Review Sheet for Exam Three (plus section for the final exam as noted at end.)

This review sheet plus the two previous ones (for exam 1 and 2) constitute the review for the final exam.

Chapter 10, Language and its development:

Language can be thought of as a system of units that makes reference to things or events that are not necessarily present. It may distinguish humans from animals. Language serves as an important building block for the social organization of humans and the resultant cultural richness of human society.

1. Symbolism: words stand for things in the world. 2. Displacement: allows us to talk about things far from us in space or time 3. Arbitrariness: the majority of language output bears no perceptual relationship to the objects / actions / etc. to which it refers. 4. Discreteness: Language is composed of many discontinuous, unique items (rather than being a continuous stream of related sounds)

5. Productivity/creativity: language is productive, that is, we can say and easily understand almost anything, incl. things that have never been said Also note that there are complex rules or rule-like regularities underlying language behavior.

Animal Language: Does it exist? Animal languages seem to lack some of the most important aspects of human language, namely Displacement, Productivity, and Creativity.

Examples of animal language: A simple one is the tail-raising alarm signal of the white-tailed deer. Somewhat more elaborate and impressive are the dances exhibited by bees. (Von Frisch; bees can tell each other where to find flowers by dancing; the dances are a figure 8 pattern; the direction of the straight path with respect to vertical in the dark hive is the direction to fly in with respect to the sun; the frequency of abdomen wiggle tells the flying distance).

But these studies raise the question: Is this language or not? Do the results fit with the list of language characteristics presented above? It doesn t seem to really make it under some of the criteria such as productivity, creativity and displacement. While the ability of animals to signal meaningfully to each other certainly exists, it has the character of being a fixed set of signals that cannot handle new things. It does not have the creative infinite ability of human language to accommodate change and allow the progressive communication of new things so that a created culture can emerge and develop. We argued that human language is the basis upon which our cultural development and its cumulative transmission from generation to generation is founded---and not opposing thumb hand structure or sticks peeled to attract termites!

Language consists of complex sets of rules: First, note that the rules language uses are elaborate and hierarchically organized (i.e. there are multiple levels of analysis in language and each level has rules)

Level 1: Phonology. Phonemes are the basic sound units. There are ~200 total phonemes, English only uses ~40. All humans are born with the ability to distinguish all phonemes, but exposure to a specific language changes this (consider /l/ and /r/ in Japanese speakers). Distinctive features: the place in the mouth where phonemes are articulated (e.g. front, middle, back); also, voice onset time (VOT - how long you wait before you turn your vocal cords on). Categorical perception: The sounds we make are continuous (i.e., we can create all the vowels just by making teeny tiny changes in our mouth) but we perceive it as a set number of sounds. We create categories in our mind & stick similar sounds in that category. (so, if I say the word 'dog' over and over again, I'm creating it in a slightly different way each time, but you would perceive it as sounding exactly the same)

Level 2: Semantics. Meanings of words. A morpheme is the basic meaning unit. An example of a single morpheme is the word boy. The word boys is 2 morphemes (the word and the pluralization), and boy’s is 3 morphemes (the word, pluralization, and possession). You might want to review theories of concept meaning from your text: 1) Definitional (defining features: i.e. an "uncle" must be male and must have a sibling who has a child) and 2) Prototype (an older man is a good example of a prototypical uncle, while a 3 year old child is not).

Level 3: Syntax. The ordering of words into phrases and sentences. Syntax is powerful and gives language a lot of its ability to create an infininte number and variety of assertions. It also gives a lot of flexibility to language production (flexibility in the order of words).

Level 4: Pragmatics. Knowledge of the intentions that others are trying to convey in speaking. Being able to understand exaggeration, clichés, sarcasm, etc. ("Can you pass the salt?") When we don t intend our speech to be interpreted literally, we use the expectations of the listener. When a listener knows that the literal meaning would violate these expectations, they are able to make an inference and interpret the non-literal intent.

V. Language Development (Ch. 10).

There is a critical period for language acquisition: need exposure to first language within the first 8 or so years of life (also consider 2nd language acquisition--if learned early (before 12 or so) you have the correct accent & speak like a native, if learned late you have an accent from the first language and are likely to speak less proficiently) Think of Wild Child, the film we saw.

Language development starts early. Babies seem to have conversations with their parents. In the middle of their first year they move into the babbling phase, where they make all the sounds used by any language. Toward the end of babbling they are making front of the mouth sounds which set the stage for their first words. (The progression in babbling is back to front, and as they start to speak, from front to back sounds.)

As their language begins to develop sometime in the early or middle period of their second year of life, children produce one-word sentences. They can however be holophrastic (one word conveying the meaning of a whole phrase as in walk meaning take me for a walk or look at the man walking etc., depending on circumstances.

The child next, at roughly age two*, learns to put two words together into sentences that show regular if simple syntax: throw ball but not ball throw for ex. This is the time when their language is said to be telegraphic in relying on content conveying nouns and verbs and leaving out the function words.

*Remember that these milestones vary substantially between children! There is then an explosion of language development over the next two to three years with the child learning elaborate syntactic rules and a huge vocabulary (at the rate of about 10 words per day yielding 10k to 15k words by age 5!) Some issues in how language is acquired / two opposing views:

1. language is learned (not innate)

2. language is not learned (i.e., the important aspects can not be entirely explained by learning)

Arguments for Innateness:

* --some brain areas seem to be dedicated to language (aphasia; Broca s area; Wernicke s areas) * --critical period: need exposure to first language within the first 10-12 years of life in order to use language fluently (also consider 2nd language acquisition--if learned early you have the correct accent & speak like a native) * --complexity: children learn to speak by 1-2 years; it only appears easy to learn language (i.e., children seem to have some language acquisition device); also, children learn from bad examples (e.g. speech is continuous) à this is the Poverty of Stimulus hypothesis (the speech stimuli to which children are exposed are not sufficient to learn from), although motherese (now known as child-directed speech) may provide better learning examples * --not copying/reinforcement: (imitation is not the essence of language acquisition); consider overgeneralization of verbs (ran runned ran developmental sequence) and rule learning.

Arguments for language being learned

The major one is that children acquire the language of their own language community/family, so language itself is not innate, but rather the tendency/ability to acquire one (sort of like many critical periods--the behavior is not totally built in but nonetheless, signficant aspects of it or an acquisition process ("language acquisition device" in the words of Chomsky) is.

Example of rule learning in children:

Overgeneralization of regular past tense: (e.g. to go)

a) At first, child may produce the correct irregular form (went) because of imitation / rote learning b) Once he/she learns the past tense -ed ending, they over-apply that rule and may produce goed c) Finally, the child masters both the regular rule and the irregular forms, and produces went correctly again.

Ch. 14, Cognitive and Physical Development (& General Developmental issues/mechanisms ----Why study it?-----

"the child is father to Man" (Freud)--what we become is determined by our childhood when looking at a complex system, you can understand it better by studying its development how much learned? how much innate? what would humans be in their "pure form"? (the philosophical notion of a noble savage?) practical issues: raising a child There are different models of how development proceeds. These include:

maturation resulting in the behavior (no necessary involvement of experience-totally driven by genetic endowment),

readiness whereby maturation needs to occur before experience is effective and

Critical period where experience or learning has to occur in a particular period of time÷either too early and too late results in its not being effective. (We discussed language examples showing this, as well as animal example: remember the songbirds?)

Stages where a behavior or type of behavior developes to a certain level and then devel. levels off for a time, followed by another fairly sudden transition and another leveling, etc.

Waves where the development of behavior occurs in multiple and overlapping stages or progression, with the child sometimes exhibiting a newer higher level of the behavior or method of doing it (often in math learning) and at other times lapses back to an older, less efficient way of performing the behavior.

Physical Development At birth, babies have poor motor skills- a few reflexes, can wave arms and legs, not much else. But their sensory skills are fine- poor visual acuity, but sensory systems are fine. Can discriminate brightness, track moving objects. Hearing, touch, taste, smell all fine. “Progressive differentiation” --They develop from gross movements to finer and finer control (move arms, then move hands then move individual fingers for ex.)

0-3 years: Brain creates tons of new connections between neurons- density of connections skyrockets.

3-12 years: Brain starts process of pruning unneeded connections.

Attentional development: newborns have little to no selective attention- they just look at whats interesting. With experience/development of Prefrontal cortex, they begin to control attention more.

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

1) Sensory-Motor (birth - 2 years) 2) Preoperational (2 - 7 years) 3) Concrete Operations (7 - 11 years) 4) Formal Operations (11 and older)

Sensory-Motor Stage Child's experience based around sensory and motor experiences with the world. At first, no internal representations of the world- things only exist externally. Then, baby begins to create internal representations and schema to describe the world. EGOCENTRISM: the world doesnt exist outside of babys experiences with it. They acquire OBJECT PERMANENCE: the understanding that objects exist independent of our momentary sensory or motoric interactions with them. That is, if an infant sees a rattle and looks away, the rattle ceases to exist. out of sight, out of existence 0 to 4 months -- if toy disappears -- little concern 4 to 8 months -- if toy disappears -- signs of distress but no effort to retrieve it even if its obvious where it’s located. STUDY: drape cloth over toy while infant watches -- no effort to retrieve it. At about 8 months -- infants start to search for toys that have been hidden or have fallen out of their cribs. Last part of sensory-motor, kids conceive of objects and events that aren't immediately present. To obtain full object permanence, kid must be able to think about/represent an object abstractly. Deferred Imitation (about 18 months) Kids imitate actions that occurred before (playmatess temper tantrum) Therefore, are holding in mind some representation that the act occurred earlier.

Preoperational Stage Can represent the world in their minds, but they cant interrelate the representations in a coherent way. That requires OPERATIONS: a set of schemas that allow the internal manipulation of ideas according to a stable set of rules. Failures of Conservation: Number: pennies Mass: clay Liquid: milk or orangeade Length: sticks EGOCENTRISM: Child doesnt understand that other people can have different desires and beliefs.

Concrete Operations They have learned to interrelate the representations. Example: they've mastered conservation -- physical characteristics of objects remain the same even when their shape changes. More logical, flexible, and organized Example: Decentration – develop the ability to coordinate several important features of a task or an object, and are not captured by a single outstanding dimension (the glass is taller, but the other is wider) They have a variety of mental operations, the they apply them only to concrete events. Still lack the ability to think about things at an abstract level. They also understand reversibility -- can see that to test the milk or orangeade, pour it back to the other cup. Can do hierarchical Classification -- flexibly group and regroup objects into hierarchies of classes and subclasses Example: rock collections... sort on size/color versus shape/color STILL NOT GOOD AT ABSTRACT REASONING!

Formal Operations Learn to think scientifically and abstractly. Can manipulate multiple dimensions at the same time (balance beam weight plus distance from fulcrum taken into account-->torque (L x D) Problem solving is possible- no longer use trial-and-error.

Critiques/questions of Piaget Underestimated children's abilities: Abilities are present earlier, but Piaget may have used tasks that were too difficult. Drawbridge task showed that young children had ideas of object permanence. Another issue is that children were confused by the questions themselves. Ex: In number conservation tasks, children might wonder why theyre being asked the same question again, and think the answer SHOULD be different. Does development really take place in discrete stages or is it more continuous? Info Processing View Increased mental growth is based, in part, on the acquisition of new knowledge and strategies. Memory in infancy: tie string to kids leg, attach it to a mobile. kid kicks -- mobile goes. wait two months, show kid a mobile, hell kick his feet. THEREFORE, can retain experiences over time. Kids also acquire meta-cognitive skills (being able to think/strategize about their thinking). Memory in early childhood: grows along with childs ability to rehearse. If children can rehearse more items, their memory increases. This increase in STM allows their thinking to improve—not simply stages of development. Expertise in childhood: Experience and expertise in the specific domain mattered, NOT the overall level of cognitive development.

Social Development Ch. 14, Ch. 15

(For personality and personality development material, be aware of Freud (parts of personality/personality development (psychoanalytic) were covered earlier in course).

Social development is heavily dependent on social learning. Children focus on older children and adults and copy and internalize (identify with) their behavior and its underlying rules. Identification is important (the internalization of others' characteristics and thinking) and can even continue into adulthood (remember the motorcycle hero of your instructor's youth in "The Wild One" movie!). We identify with people who are attractive, powerful or have means control over us (so parents and older siblings are great sources!)


Moral Development

Kohlberg stages:

1 & 2: preconventional (not really reasoning at all)--1. punishment orientation (I don’t want to get caught.); stage 2: reciprocity (very economic--you do someone a favor/expect one in return)

3 & 4: 3. conventional: Good boy/Good girl: reasoning influenced by how you want to appear; 4. Law & Order: laws written in stone; you’re

worshipful of the laws/rules 
5 & 6: post-conventional: 5. Social contract (understand rules are just social contracts and are subject to change); 6. Universal Ethical Principles (reason according to abstract principles that apply to all people)

Is moral reasoning indicative of behavior? Yes and No (recall the experiment looking at the behavior of Berkeley students; also the behavior of people in the Milgram obedience study). While moral devel. is predictive of behavior, it requires that we understand the manner in which people view the behavioral situation--i.e. people can interpret the same situation in different ways, and that might affect how they behave. Given this proviso, it is hard to argue that moral devel. and moral behavior are unrelated.


Another issue we discussed is attachment, including both animal studies (Harlow's work with monkeys showing preference for cloth mothers who didn't feed them over wire mothers who fed them. He also studied socially isolated monkeys, who, because of their isolation were socially disordered and couldn't relate to other monkeys, were horrible mothers (in the rare instances where they had offspring) but could be remediated by long term pairing with other young monkeys "therapist monkeys".

 Attachment among humans is posited to occur early in life in the interaction of infants and their mothers. Ainsworth measured different forms of attachment (secure, insecure, avoidant) in the strange situation where the mother left the young child with a stranger for a time and the kids demonstrated differing patterns of anxiety over the mother leaving and relief at her reappearing, with the securely attached having some trepidation at her leaving but relief and being reunited. One conclusion is that the children used the secure attachment as a base from which to explore the world, and there is a supposition that the pattern of attachment, once established, affects the relationships of the person over the course of their life.

Ch. 13: Social Psychology

 Attitudes are defined as the relatively stable set of beliefs or mental views (positive or negative) we hold about some idea, object, or person. There are three interrelated components to any given attitude: ABC (Affect, Behavior, Cognition)

1. Cognition or Belief: (becomes an attitude with #3 below) 2. Tendency toward certain behaviors or policies 3. Evaluative/Affective component (for or againstîsomething--you either favor or disfavor an object)

Humans are strongly predisposed to desire consistency among their attitudes and beliefs. Some evidence comes from what we do to maintain our attitudes:

  •  selective exposure: we tend to select/expose ourselves to information that is consistent with our attitudes

  •  selective interpretation: we distort input to fit with our attitudes/beliefs

  •  forgetting: we forget information inconsistent with our attitudes/beliefs

 Again, the main point is that we want to maintain consistency in our beliefs/attitudes.

Beliefs about other groups are often called "stereotypes" and for a number of reasons, are often (although not always) negative as we favor our ingroup over outgroups. (Remember the IAT lab?) Stereotypes combined with negative affect can lead to predudice. We also discussed the issue that thinking in categories is a prominent part of our thinking behavior in many ways and not just in stereotyping. It can help make the world more predictable if we correctly categorize newly encountered situations and people; the problem comes when we overgeneralize those categorizations and apply it to people, especially when it involved comparing other groups to our own and finding them deficient!


Attitude Change (propaganda): 
Central and peripheral route to attitude change. The central route is through reasoned discourse and rational argument consciously attended to. The peripheral route is less rational but no less effective.

It depends on characteristics of the source of a message (such as credibility, attractiveness, prestige and expertise--although remember the sleeper effect whereby you forget the source over time (U.S. State Dept;. vs. Soviet attache arguments were the ex.).

It also depends on the message itself (one-sided, two-sided, emotional-rational, and the degree of discrepancy between the source and the recipient, with moderate levels often being best).

It includes techniques such as-- low-balling (unrealistic price to hook someone and then raise price/claim mistake/etc.), bait & switch (unrealistically low price with no intent to sell that item), prestige suggestion, appeal to everyone is doing/buying it, creating a sense of reciprocity (meeting "half way) or owing a favor because someone does something for you (as in salesmen or lobbyists taking people on expensive trips or to expensive restaurants, etc.), appeal to exclusivity and a lot of other techniques.

Often the intelligence of the recipient determines what kind of appeal works best.

In addition we have the very important foot in the door effect (and door in the face).

Foot in the door effect: Small initial request increases compliance with subsequent larger (even outlandish) related request (along similar dimension). Experiments with billboard request (safe driving) or consumer survey.

Door in the face effect: Turning down a large request increases compliance with a subsequent small request. (Summer camp volunteer request week long vs. afternoon).

The foot in the door results suggest that going along with a prior small request might make us define ourselves as "people who do or support this type of issue/activity/etc." --like self perception theory (see below). This mechanism , especially where we progressively take larger and larger steps along the dimension, might help explain the behavior of Jonestown or that in the Milgram experiment described below.

What kinds of situations produce consistancy or inconsistancy?

Balance Theory: (Heider)--attitude consistency. Some configurations between people and objects are balanced, others aren't (1, 3 positive connections balanced; 0, 2 unbalanced) --Examples of relations: (P is person who has attitudes toward another person, O and an attitude object, X; O is other person who also has an attitude toward X; X is object of the attitudes of P and O) Balanced: 1+ or 3 + (positive) connections; any combination of 1 + will work Unbalanced: 0+ or 2 + (positive) connections; any combination of 2 +'s will work

Cognitive Dissonance Theory: (Festinger)--if there exists conflict between 2 attitudes or between an attitude and behavior, then you have dissonance; you tend to change the belief, rather than the behavior Examples:

  • 1. Consequence of Decision: (e.g. buying something--right after you buy it you think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread); recall the experiment where subjects were asked to rate appliances (when they chose which of two closely rated appliances they could keep, the rating of this appliance increased and the other's rating decreased --because their attitude had to match their behavior!) The same thing held for the horserace from before to after placing the bet (bettor's certainty of winning went up)

  • 2. Justification of Effort: (Aronson & Mills.) women either initiated into a group or not; after initiation the women rated whether they wanted to return to visit the group or not; those women that were initiated were more likely to want to return to join the group (see your notes for more detail)

  • 3. Adequacy of External Justification: 2 experiments-- A. had subjects do a boring task; offered to pay them either a little or a lot to lie to the next subject and tell them that the experiment was cool; finally, after the subject lied, they were asked to rate the pleasure of the experiment: those people who were paid more rated the experiment as boring, but those paid less found it more enjoyable; why? because the highly paid group had an external justification for lying--the money; the low paid group, however, didn't, and needed to reduce their dissonance; they did this by finding the experiment more enjoyable than it actually was ("it wasn't all that bad" reasoning) B. experiment with kids: got a strong or mild warning not to play with new, shiney toys; then kids came back later and could play with any toys; those who were strongly warned played with the new toys more than those mildly warned; why? because those mildly warned felt that the first time they had chosen on their own to avoid playing with the newer toys (as opposed to being forced to avoid playing with them--as the strongly warned group did); those mildly warned thus assumed they had intrinsic justification for avoiding the new toys; those strongly warned had obvious extrinsic justification.

Self-Perception Theory: (Bem)--behavior causes our attitudes (not the other way around); evidence for this: Lepper, Green, & Nisbett: how often kids played with magic markers (one group told they'd get an award for playing with them, the other group not); if they were rewarded for playing with the markers, they played with them less later on Valens: bogus heart rate feedback; showed male subjects centerfolds; on some photos the "heart rate" changed, on others it didn't; subjects liked the photos in which their heart rate changed (again, their attitude was driven by the behavior; "my heart changed so I must think she's hot", but this isn't conscious) Valens & Ray: snake phobics and electrical shocks: word "shock" actual shock photo of snake (entries are heart rate changes) group A up up up group B up up flat Group A remained afraid of snakes because they attributed the increase in their heart rate (again bogus) to the photo of the snake. Group B was, as a result of this experience, much less afraid of snakes.

Social applications of dissonance/self perception theory. Changing stateways can affect folkways if done correctly (minimum external force, opportunities for learning, etc.)

As humans, we tend to look to others for confirmations of our beliefs. We assume that we share the same perception of reality, and when this rule is violated, we may question or even change our understanding of our environment according to others’ beliefs.

 We turn to others not only to confirm our beliefs, but also for means for comparisonSocial Comparison usually occurs when we don’t fully understand a situation or when there is no real objective standard (in the case of physical attractiveness) or clear-cut answer (as in the case of controversial issues, such as abortion) available.

Conformity, Obedience and Social Compliance

 Asch conformity experiment showed that even in non-threatening very neutral circumstances, people (2/3) conform if there are 3 or more in a unanimous majority arrayed against them. Positive side was that they only needed one ally who saw the lines (which of three matched) their way in order to stand by their own view--even with a large majority disagreeing with them. This latter finding has practical applications--we can be the person who "holds the key" to allowing others to voice their views by being first. Physiological measures showed it was stressful to be a non-conformer in the exper. Think about issue of whether conformity is good or bad or both.

Bystander apathy again argues for the power of social situations to determine/influence our behavior. Increasing the no. of bystanders who witness or are in an emergency situation decreases the likelihood that any one will intervene. (Remember epilepsy exper. , woman falling ,off a ladder, smoke -filled room, & Kitty Genevose murder case, etc.) With regard to explanations, conformity seems to play a large role, moral diffusion does also (the fact that your decision to not help or to help is not equivalent to whether help will or will not be given). Also, peoples' feeling of not being expert and not wanting to perform in front of an audience may play a role.

Milgram obediance experiment carried this result quite a bit further, showing that 2/3 (65%) of the subjects (who were quite diverse in age/sex/etc.) could be ordered to give extremely high electric shocks to people who were protesting that they wanted to quit the experiment. Social factors that cause this include gradually increasing nature of the involvement (foot in door again), social isolation, desire to help the experiment, and a lack of reliance on inner direction. Remedy? Checking it out with others (social validation of our ideas). But also, beware of building alternate unreal-realities--check it out with a lot of people of diverse viewpoints. Stay close to reality and reliance on an inner core of value isn't so bad either--Remember the Korean POW study. Cult behavior again shows the power that can be obtained by socially isolating people from others they can "check out" reality with. Jonestown was a major tragic exemplar of this. Also, it shows that the foot in the door effect can play a powerful role in eliciting negative behaviors. In addition, self perception theory plays an important role in foot in the door kinds of situations (by going along with early requests (including low shocks) you define yourself as the kind of person who does these things/thinks the experiment is important and thus continue on.

The above studies (and Milgram's in particular) show that social influence is a very powerful force in determing our behavior and, coupled with self-perception theory, a force for changing our attitudes and beliefs as well. While it unites us into a social grouping it also makes us dangerous to others. Finding a balance between these forces of social cohesion and forces of blind conformity and obedience is a major challenge.>?P>


Additional Material for Final Exam (beyond the reviews for the first three exams).


Ch. 2 (overview),, , The biological basis of social behavior-- 
Aggression A sociobiological perspective--i.e. how our social behavior has biological roots; dominant view in this field is the Ethological approach: ethologists have an interest in animal behavior per se

A. Example: Allocation of Resources: Animals establish fairly stable social relationships that determine allocation of resources to support a fairly stable population that can survive off the available food supply. Aggression plays a role in this. Territoriality: for example, birds fighting for territory--they establish individual territories within which a pair of birds will mate and rear young. The no. of territories determines the population of birds in the next generation. Dominance Hierarchies: in social animals. This is a mechanism for establishing social organization that determines who gets what (distribution of resources). Aggression plays a useful and important role. The aggression is limited--animals rarely kill members of their own species. Why? Surrender gestures (e.g. wolves) and ritualized combat (rams, deer, rattlesnakes). These things act to control aggression. Interestingly, there is a relation between lethelness and these mechanisms--dangerous animals have them, non-dangerous animals don't. Humans (according to this view of Eibl-Eibesfeldt and Lorenz) have switched from being non-dangerous (in terms of natural equipment) to being dangerous thru the cultural development of weapons, without having time to evolve the protective mechanisms.

B. Another view: Koestler's Perspective: argued that ethology view wrong (has the wrong focus). He said that if you want to understand something distinctly human, don't look at animals. He said the important human aggression was warfare. He said that the things that make us human cause us to make war. These were (1) our prehistory--love & bonding (we kill out of love, not hate): in our prehistory we formed tight hunting groups and we were devoted to these groups; (2) brain: different parts of the brain don't interact well, i.e., sometimes higher areas don't always control lower (more impulsive/reflexive) areas; (3) symbol use (language): because we're so symbol dependent we can be aroused to defend our in group even if not under attack. The idea is that we can portray a reality that's not real at all (we can make our own enemies, even when they're not our enemies). Thus leaders can lead populations into aggressivew adventures.

Aggression: Ch. 12 pp 473-478, + Koestler reading

1) Socio-Biological (Ethological) Lorenz & Eible-Eibesfeldt

a) Aggression is a normal part of animal (including humans) behavior

b) Aggression is different from predation

c) Role of aggression is to make sure that breeders are the most fit

d) Cost of aggression is that animals get hurt/killed

e) Limitations on aggression

i) Animals maintain dominance hierarchies or individual territories that are respected and fought over if violated

ii) Mechanisms to limit damage

(1)  Threat display

(2)  Ritualized combat (rattle snakes)

f) Humans are different because…

i) Used to be non-dangerous animals but rapidly became dangerous with tech. advancements

ii) However, humans do not have the safeguards that other dangerous animals have to limit damage of aggression

2) Human-Based Theory (Koestler)

a) Our uniquely human qualities make us dangerous

i) Humans have a strong sense of loyalty to their in-group (whatever it may be)

(1) Pre-historic bonding of hunting groups

ii) Brain physiology: sometimes higher areas (reason) don’t control lower areas (impulses)

(1) Aggressive centers aroused via love of in-group rather than original hatred of out-group

iii) Symbol use: language

(1) Evil leaders can manipulate our dependence on symbols and tight social units

(2) Incite aggression by appealing to our loyalty to our in-group even when  it is not under attack

b) Relevant social psych.:Issues: conformity, obedience, self-perception, foot in the door, dehumanization

of the “other”


Treatment (Ch. 15,16, 17)

Personality: We examined the issue of whether there are stable characteristics of individual’s behavior (what is commonly referred to as “their personality”) or whether behavior is more or less totally controlled by the situations people find themselves in. While there have been many stances taken on the issue of personality (mainly, how many different characteristics or traits or types of personalities there are) the consensus is that five major dimensions (“The Big Five”) capture most of what we refer to as “personality”. These are: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience and they exhibit a good deal of heretibility (in the vicinity of 50%). While different people do differ on these dimensions, there is still a good deal of environmental or situational influence on our behavior in any given situation, so specific predictions of exactly what an individual will do at any given point in time is still a challenge.

We also briefly examined a few major theories of personality and its formation, including psychoanalytic, behavioral and social-cognitive.


The issue of what is abnormal or pathological is complex. It ranges from the stresses and frustrations of day to day living through bothersome "quirky" behavior to debilitating illnesses. One view of this is that there is a continuum of normality-abnormality and the problem is to find the most useful place to define the two categories (to split the continuum into two portions.) We even examined the views of Thomas Szasz who argued that there is no such thing as a "mental illness". Both body and mind are involved and both can act as causative agent. We examined a large-scale study of the relationship of poverty to susceptibility to neurotic and psychotic disorders, where the authors found large and significant relationships, especially for psychotic behaviors. Heritability is also fairly high for many disorders (twin studies for SCZ and also depression for example). Genetic or other biologically based causes coupled with environmental stressors acting in concert are often the cause. For some disorders, specific neuro-transmitters play crucial roles. (ex. dopamine for schizophrenia).

1) Two major broad perspectives on disorders:

a) Biological/brain based: condition results from biological abnormality

i) Drug treatments target brain mechanisms

(1) Transmission of neurotransmitters

(2) Electro-convulsive shock therapy

b) Behavioral/Experiential: condition results from stressful life


i) Treatments targeting psychological causes

(1) Ex: Behavioral

(a) Pair phobic stimulus with relaxation so that eventually phobic stimulus will produce relaxation rather than fear

c) DSM-XXX: official diagnostic guides periodically revised

d) Schizophrenia

i) Biological

(1)  Genetic: identical twins have 46% concordance

(2)  Peak age of onset of symptoms is mid-20s

(3)  Prenatal environment has effect

ii) Experiential

(1) Correlation with socio-economic status

e) Correcting thinking via correcting biological imbalance and correcting thinking via directly targeting behavior/thoughts are both effective

i) Two-pronged approach is best!

ii) Mind and body interact


-Historically, with rare exceptions such as Hippocrates, treatment was harsh
often accompanied by idea of evil sprits having invaded the person (“possession”)

-Beginnings of reform started with the following:

-Phillippe Pinel in Europe  unshackled the inmates     

-Dorthea Dix
 in USA     led effort for wide-spread institutional reform      

-Sigmund Freud
 established Psychological interpretation and Treatment (Psychotherapy)
Psychodynamic Approach: illness a result of unconscious conflicts from childhood. Treatment focused on uncovering conflicts and resolving them
often analyzing transference- used as a therapeutic tool

Humanistic Approach
Focus: creating meaning, “here and now,” client taking responsibility for their decisions
Carl Rogers’ Client-Centered Therapy
-Core belief: client knows what’s best for him/herself, therapist should not provide guidance or pass judgment
-Aim: self-acceptance
            -Techniques: create a supportive therapeutic environment where client can feel accepted and understood
-Genuiness, Unconditional Positive Regard, Empathic Understanding 

Behavioral Approaches
-Classical Conditioning Techniques
-Exposure Therapy (treats phobias): train clients in muscle relaxation, pair this technique with fearful stimulus
-create a hierarchy of more and more frightening stimuli, gradually expose them to the stimuli and also muscle relaxation

-systematic desensitization

-Operant Conditioning Techniques

-Token Economies: earn tokens for positive behaviors, can be exchanged for prizes

-Contingency Management: menu of good and bad behaviors with specific consequences

-Effective for shaping communicative behavior in children with autism

+ Cognitive Appoaches

--Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
focused on changing beliefs, teacher-like

--Beck’s Cognitive Therapy
also focused on changing beliefs, through cognitive restructuring, persuasion, confrontation problem-focused
 -used mostly to treat depression

--CBT is a combination of Beck and Ellis’ therapies, and is very common today
-Most therapist use more than one approach (use an eclectic approach)
Biomedical TreatmentsEarly Years: trephination, hot/cold baths, spinning, lobotomies
Electroconvulsive Therapy- brief electrical current passed through brain, causes convulsive seizure
 -originally used to treat schizophrenia, then a cure-all… but its not very effective except for treating severe depression (70-90% effective!)

-downside of ECT: memory impairment, 

--Pharmacological treatments:
Antipsychotics: treat positive symptoms of schizophrenia by blocking neurotransmission of dopamine
            -De-instituationalization Movement followed the introduction of the first antipsychotic—phenomenal effect on decreasing hospital population.
Antidepressants: treat depression
(no need to remember the details abt specific medications in the following).

-MAOIs, tryciclic antidepressants
-increase transmission of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine (65% effective)

-increase transmission of serotonin (effect NE and dopamine less)—produces fewer side effects

--Mood Stabilizers- treat bipolar disorder
 ex. Lithium carbonate
            -Limitation: adherence to medication (people often enjoy manic state in bipolar disorder) or dislike side effects of many medications. 
----Anxiolytics: treat anxiety disorders
- increase transmission of GABA

Client Therapist Relationship
-very important!!  Foundation includes trust, hope, and understanding

Evaluating Efficacy of Treatments
-Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs)
 -experimental vs control (placebo or waitlist) group

Is treatment effective?
Yes!  Broadly, Drug treatment appears to be quite effective, and so is psychotherapy!      -Combining drug and psychotherapy treatments even more effective: (85% effective in a recent large study).


Good Luck!!! 

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