Saturday, 31 October 2020

Making a difference

But would people be so influenced by others if the task being judged was less ambiguous? What if they could rely on their own senses to make a judgment? This is what Solomon Asch wanted to find out. Informational influence The process of using others as a source of information about the world. Asch Conformity Studies Imagine that you show up to a classroom to participate in a psychology experiment on visual judgment. With you are seven other students. Speaking this out and holding the M produces a pleasant inner vibration that alone can be soothing. But, if one prefers an individual mantra, Buddha probably wouldn't mind. Meditation became a fundamental part of the third wave of behavioral therapy. Because of this, you will hear more about it in the later articles. Operant conditioning Besides classical conditioning, there existed a second very influential idea in behaviorism: operant conditioning. While classical conditioning was about the pairing of stimuli (bell + food), operant conditioning was about the change of behavior by controlling the consequences. The basic concept is simple: behavior that is rewarded is shown more frequently, and behavior that is punished is shown less frequently. Behaviorists researched the details of this principle. In this definition, a reward is not only when receiving something good (you worked hard in your job and now get promoted), but also when getting rid of something bad (you argue with your wife about what to watch on Netflix, in the end you agree to her suggestions, and the tense atmosphere switches back to harmony). You are the most beautiful human I've ever met. You, Jon, are talented and driven.

There is fire in you that is hot and good--a powerful combination. It's a real honor for me to watch you grow. You have already made so much of a difference on this planet, and you're only 40! So much to come . Just one look at you, and I see light, greatness, wisdom, charm, focus, and motivation. I love you. Later that day, after my five-year-old son witnessed this moment, which he could clearly see I was moved by, he decided to write me a note also. It read, You are the best pirsin in the yoonivers. As you settle around a table, an experimenter explains that he will display a series of pairs of two large, white cards. On one card in each pair are three vertical lines of varying lengths, labeled A, B, and C; Your task is to state out loud which line length best matches the single line. The first trial begins, and the experimenter starts with the first student to your left. The student says Line C. The next person also says Line C, and so forth, until it's your turn to respond. You respond Line C and quickly settle in to what appears to be a super boring (and totally easy) experiment. After a few such trials, however, something unexpected occurs. On presentation of the lines like those displayed in Figure 7. You probably stifle a chuckle and think this person needs to have his eyes checked. Behavioral therapists usually use the term reinforcement instead of reward, so the job promotion would be called positive reinforcement. Getting rewarded by the disappearance of a bad thing - like solving an interpersonal conflict by giving in - is therefore called negative reinforcement.

Positive here always means the addition of either something enjoyable or annoying, while negative means the removal of it. If you are now completely confused, then you are not alone - this topic already drove generations of students of psychology into despair. Therefore, in the opposite direction there's positive punishment (you recently visited dubious websites, and now have a computer virus) and negative punishment (parents confiscate the smartphone of their son because he spent $1000 on Fortnite outfits). Even though positive punishment may sound like a sinful monk was lustfully lashing himself with a thorn whip, the term describes a fully aversive experience. Much research on operant conditioning was done with animals - often rats or pigeons. You have already met one of the most famous scientists in this field in an earlier article: B. There are videos on YouTube, in which you can watch some of his public demonstrations. In one of these, the goal is to make a pigeon turn around in a circle by means of operant conditioning. Tatyana's choosing to take five minutes to write me that note made her a moment maker. She didn't even need to be present when the moment actually happened. She created a slight shift in the environment that changed the course of the entire day for the Vroman family. Perhaps it can now alter your life because I'm sharing the story. Experiences like these prompt me to ask, How does our environment shape our experience in any given moment? Ellen Langer is a social scientist and professor of psychology at Harvard University who has explored how environments affect us. In a landmark study which took place in 1979, Langer invited a group of men in their seventies to a retreat center for a week where the environment was designed to appear as it might have around 1959, about 20 years earlier. Every aspect of the environment was changed to support this--the magazines on the tables, past issues of newspapers, articles that the men might have read. Appliances from the era included a phonograph and black-and-white TV. Langer's team encouraged the men to act in 1959-fashion: Even their conversations focused on subjects of two decades prior, and they spoke as if that year was their present. But then the next person also says Line A. And so does the next and the person after that.

All of the other seven students say Line A; What could be going on here? Now it is your turn. How do you think you would respond? Asch Conformity Studies The lack of ambiguity of the estimation task reveals a normative influence on conformity. Many participants went along with the group judgment even when their senses told them the judgment was incorrect. An image shows pair boxes on left representing vertical lines- left box containing a medium-length line while the righ box contains three vertical lines, labeled from left to right as A (smallest), B (longest), and C (medium), with a black and white on the right side showing three participants, numbered 5, 6, and 7 (left to right) with a thoughtful facial expression. The bird is standing in front of a little wall with a lamp and an opening while Skinner is watching it from a distance. In his hand, he holds a trigger that activates both the lamp and a mechanism that releases a food pill into the opening - the reinforcement. The pigeon now does the things which pigeons do all day: looking around, taking a step here and there, picking at various things, cooing, etc But in the exact moment when the pigeon randomly rotates a bit to the left, Skinner presses the button, the food pill is released, and the bird instantly takes the reward. After that, the pigeon goes back to its usual business and is reinforced again and again for slight turns to the left. Soon, you can observe these turns to occur more often. After a while, the rules become stricter: for getting the reward, larger rotations have to be shown. And at the end, we see a pigeon rotating in a circle. Psychologists call this method shaping. Another impressive demonstration of operant conditioning was making pigeons play ping-pong. In parks, you rarely find birds practicing this sport. A control group of men spent the week in a place similarly designed, but they received no instructions about how to act or speak. This extraordinary study yielded fascinating results that stunned even Langer and her research team.

After just one week, the men experienced an overall improvement in well-being. Their eyesight and hearing improved, their cognitive functioning was enhanced, they felt stronger and more flexible, and their posture had improved. Even the control group, which was solely exposed to a shift in the environment, experienced similarly positive results in the same areas. This study, along with many others by Langer, indicates that the impact lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to environmental cues. Her work shows how we can actively influence any existing behaviors by making subtle changes in our daily lives. Langer says that, It is not our physical state that limits us, it is our mindset about our own limits, our perceptions, that draws the lines in the sand. We have more power over our health and well-being than we ever imagined. Knowing that your surroundings could alter your physical and mental capabilities and life experiences, how do you make the most of your environment? An image shows pair boxes on left representing vertical lines- left box containing a medium-length line while the righ box contains three vertical lines, labeled from left to right as A (smallest), B (longest), and C (medium), with a black and white on the right side showing three participants, numbered 5, 6, and 7 (left to right) with a thoughtful facial expression. An image shows pair boxes on left representing vertical lines- left box containing a medium-length line while the righ box contains three vertical lines, labeled from left to right as A (smallest), B (longest), and C (medium), with a black and white on the right side showing three participants, numbered 5, 6, and 7 (left to right) with a thoughtful facial expression. This is the situation students faced in one variant of Asch's (1956) classic conformity studies. In contrast to Sherif, who presented people with an ambiguous situation, Asch was interested in how people would respond in situations where there was little ambiguity about what they perceived. Indeed, when judging these line lengths alone, participants made errors on fewer than 1% of the trials. Thus, Asch (1956) presented each participant with two opposing forces: on the one hand, the evidence of his senses, and on the other, the unanimous opinion of a group of his peers (who actually were confederates in the experiment and instructed to respond in a set manner). This situation enabled Asch to address several questions: What would people do when their physical senses indicated an answer that was in conflict with the views of the majority? Would people go with the answer they knew was correct? Or would they deny their own perceptions to agree with the group? Asch discovered that in situations such as the one just described, 75% conformed to the group opinion on at least one trial, and overall, participants conformed on 37% of the trials. That is because an important feature is missing: Skinner's ping-pong-table had an opening with a food bowl for each player. The pigeon that scores gets a little snack.

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