DEFINITION OF TERMS IN PSYCHOLOGY (PSY 709)



Contingency
Contingency in classical conditioning involves the predictability of the occurrence of one stimulus from the presence of another. For example, at the sight of a lightning one may expect thunder claps thereby covering ones hear in anticipation of the sound. Overtime one has learnt that after a lightning comes a thunder claps.


Positive reinforcement
This is the reward that follows a desirable behavior. It is to strengthen the behavior. For example, a child does well in school then her mother buys her a bicycle. The bicycle is to encourage her to keep the good performance going thereby serving as a reinforcer.

Negative reinforcement
This is to also increase the reoccurrence of a behavior or response because it is followed by the removal of an unpleasant stimulus. For example, father nags at you to clean out the garage. He keeps nagging, finally you get tired of the nagging and clean out the garage. Your response cleaning the garage removed the unpleasant stimulus nagging. Thus you clean the garage whenever it is dirty to avoid nagging.

Primary reinforcement
This is the one that is unlearned; that is, natural instinct produce them. They do not take any learning on the organism’s part. For example, the basic physiological needs such as food, shelter, water and sex.

Secondary reinforcement
It acquires its positive value through experience. Secondary reinforcers include such social situations as getting a pat on the back, praise and eye contact.  

Token reinforcement
When an object can be exchanged for some other reinforcer. The object might have a reinforcing value itself. For example, money is a typical example. It is important on its own save it is used to acquire primary reinforcers like food, clothing, shelter. Other examples are gifts, certificate and poker chips.

Generalized conditioned reinforcement
It is a given the same response to a similar stimuli. For example, a student who has great success in dating people who dress very neatly and not so good with people who dress sloppily. The student subsequently seeks date with people who dress neatly only avoiding sloppily dressed people.

Secondary Negative Reinforcement
Secondary reinforcer is sometimes called conditioned reinforcer. It is a stimulus or a situation that has acquired its function has a reinforcer after being paired with stimulus that functions has a reinforcer or another conditioned reinforcer. For example money, a child that wants sweat will ask for sweat or money to get it. The sight of money makes the child happy because he is hopeful for sweat. Negative reinforcement is the taking off an aversive stimulus to increase certain behaviour or response. For example, rolling up the window to block the wind. Secondary negative reinforcement is the removal of a secondary aversive stimulus to increase a response or behavior.

Chaining
The term is credited to work of B.F Skinner. Chaining is an instructional or learning procedure used in behavioral psychology, experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis. It involves reinforcing individual responses occurring in a sequence to form a complex behavior. It is a series of related behaviors, each of which provides a cue for the next and the last that produces a response.  The chain of response is broken into small steps into task analysis. Parts of a chain are referred to as links. The learner is taught one step at a time while being assisted through the other steps forward or backward or if the learner can already complete a certain percentage of the steps. A verbal stimulus or the prompt is used at the beginning of the teaching trial. For example, if one wants to buy soda, you pull money out of your pocket and see the money in your hand and then put the money in the machine. Seeing the money in your hand was the first cue for response and was what prompted you to the next response (putting money in the machine and getting a soda).     

Problem Solving
Cognitive processing directed at finding solution to well defined problems. It is an attempt to find an appropriate way of attaining a goal when the goal is not readily available. Whatever the problem is we want to come up with a fast and best solution. For example, can electrical problem be solved in Nigeria?

Steps in problem solving are; (1) Find and Frame problems (before a problem can be solved it has to be recognized. E.g” why can’t there be electricity always”). (2) Develop good problem solving strategies (define the problem, is it that there is no electrical dam in Nigeria or the electrical dam can’t cater for the whole of Nigeria). (3) Evaluate solutions (thinking of effective ways of solving the problem, maybe generators should be banned, but before then the mega watts should be increase with necessary material providence). (4) Rethink and Redefine problems (improvement on the evaluated solutions, is this solutions really going to work or one re-evaluates).

Operant extinction
In operant conditioning occurs when a previously reinforced response is no longer reinforced and there is decreased tendency to perform the response. For example, a factory worker gets a monthly bonus for producing more than is quota. Then as a part of economic tightening, the company stops giving the bonus, his performance decreased. His performance has gone into extinction because of no reinforcement (bonus).

Reinforcement schedule
This refers to the pattern or manner in which reinforcement is given following a response. It could be based on time. For example, a reinforcement in fishing is catching a fish, until another fish is caught there is no reinforcement.

Continuous reinforcement
This involves a response in which a response is reinforced every time it occurs. Organisms learn rapidly with this method. For example, every time a child cries he is given breast to suckle.

Interval schedule
It is a timeable schedule in which a response is reinforced after a variable amount of time has elapsed. For example in fishing, the second catch of fish could be 12 minutes away from the first, then the third be an hour away from the first.

Fixed ratio schedule
Behavior is reinforced after a set of number if responses. For example, a sales person might be required to sell a specific number of items to get a commission. Performance here drops off immediately after reinforcement.

Variable ratio schedule
A timeable reinforcer in  which responses are rewarded in an average number of time but on an unpredictable basis. There is a reinforcement of a response by reward but when the reward will come is not known. For example, a child knows he will be rewarded for obedience but he doesn’t know when he will be given.

Fixed interval schedule
Reinforcement is introduced in the first appropriate response after a fixed amount of time has elapsed. For example, you might get the reward the first time you put money in the slot machine after every 10 minutes period have elapsed. Another example is, every four years there is power change of leadership in the executive system.

Shaping
This is the process of rewarding approximations of desired behavior. For example, a parent shaping their child’s toileting behavior from diaper use to signaling before toileting in the bathroom.

Discrimination
This means responding to stimuli that signal that a behavior will or will not be reinforced. For example, sign boards reading “please walk this way” and another read “enter at your own risk”. The first is discriminated to have a reward while the second indicates possible danger (no reinforcement).

Generalization
This is giving the same response to similar stimuli. For example, A woman believing all men are violent because her husband is violent.

Stimulus generalization
This is the tendency of a new stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit the similar response to the conditioned response. For example, fear of snake and generalizing it to all reptiles.

Responses
Is an unlearned reaction to a stimulus. For example, response the sight of a wild lion is fear and readiness for flight.

Attention
This is a sustained concentration on specific stimulus, sensation, ideas, thought or activity; enabling one to use information processing system with limited capacity to handle vast amount of information available from the sense organs to the memory store.

Attribution
The placement or assignment of causes to behavior or the perception or inference of the causes of behavior. For example, fear can be attributed to the sight of a wild animal.

Placebo reaction
Placebo reaction occurs when participants’ expectation rather than the experimental treatment produce the desired outcome.

Demand characteristics
Features of an experimental situation that encourage certain types of behavior from the research participant or subject and can contaminate the results especially when the behavior arises from research participants. For example, participants’ expects the alcohol given them should make them sleep and they decided to sleep.

Instructions
These are usually silent questions

References
Santrock, J.W. (2003). Psychology. Mc Graw Hill. New York.
Home Articles. (2011). sChildren’s behavior issue- positive and negative reinforcement
Share on Google Plus

Declaimer - MARTINS LIBRARY

NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin