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1
Q

Describe social learning theory.

A
  • Social learning is based on the fact that you are more likely to immitate behaviour if the other person is rewarded for that behaviour and less likely if they’re punnished. It proposed an idea of observation learning- people observe others and immitate. Vicarious learning.
  • Internal mental states are an important part of the process. Intrinsic reinforcement is a form of internal reward such as pride satisfaction, a sense of acomplishement ect
  • A role model is someone who is often the same sex, older than you, has an element of power/authority
  • We often do not need direct reinforcement to reproduce behaviour. If a child is praised for eating with a spoon, the younger sibling may copy in the hope of also being rewarded. If the child is punnished for eating with their hands, the younger may avoid this behaviour to avoid punnishment. We learn through others mistakes or successes. Vicarious reinforcement, vicarious punnishment and vicarious extinction.
  • Attention: in order to learn, you need to pay attention. Anything that distracts your attention will have a negative effect on observational learning. If the model is interesting or there is a novel aspect to the situation, you are more likely to dedicate full attention to learning.
  • Retention: the ability to store information. Retention can be affected by a number of factors, but the ability to pull up information later and act on it is vital to observational learning.
  • Reproduction: actually performing the behaviour you observed. Further practice of the learned behaviour leads to improvement and skill advancement.
  • Motivation: you have to have motivation to imitate the behaviour that has been modelled. Reinforcement and punishment play an important role in motivation.
2
Q

Evaluate social learning theory in terms of supporting research.

A

There is support from Cook and Mineka (1988). They studies Rhesus monkeys that initially had no fear of snakes but who displayed alarm after watching the anxious reactions of wild monkeys to the presence of snakes. This demonstrates how the monkeys who had no previous fear of snakes observed the older role model monkeys and imitated the fear of snakes.

Further research is by Boyatzis et al (1995). Two groups of children were used. One group was exposed to short clips of powerrangers whilst the other was not. The children were then led to the playground to play. Those who watched the clips were 7 times more aggressive than the other group. This shows how children imitate aggression from the media.

3
Q

Evaluate social learning theory in terms of criticisms of the supporting research.

A

Many of the supporting studies are lab based experiments. This makes the study low in mundane realism and ecological validity. However it allows for a cause and effect relationship to be established which makes the research more valid and therefore more credible.

Some research uses correlations. For example, the more violent the media is that you’re exposed to, the more likely you are to become a violent criminal. This means that the research is unable to infer a cause and effect.

4
Q

Evaluate social learning theory in terms of an alternative theory.

A

Social learning theory suggests that behaviour is learnt through the environment (nature). Whereas, the nature argument would say that behaviour is a result of hormones, genes or brain development.

5
Q

Evaluate social learning theory in terms of applications.

A

An application of the theory is how it can be used in therapy for those with OCD. If you can observe someone you respect doing the behaviour and being okay after, it may help the individual to recover.

6
Q

Describe operant conditioning.

A
  • Operant conditioning suggests that reinfrocement is a better learning tool than punnishment as it teaches the child the correct way to behave
  • Skinner conducted lab experiments with rats. He placed the rats in to a ‘Skinner box’ that contained electric speakers, levers, lights, electric shock grids and buzzors. If the rats pressed the correct button they were rewarded with a food pellet and if they pressed the wrong button, tehy recieved a punishment. He proposed an ABC model. A is the anticedent for example a green light, B is the behaviour shown for example pressing the button and C represents the concequence, either a reward or punnishment.
  • Thorndike conducted research using his puzzle box. Cats were placed inside the box and they had to press a level to open the box and get a reward of food. This was a trial and error process but once the cat had learnt what to do, it immediately knew how to get the reward. He then proposed his law of effect- by rewarding a behaviour it was more likely to be shown again.
  • a primary enforcer is a basic need and includes food, water, love and affection. A secondary enforcer is something that helps us to get a primary enforcer. For example money. This is most often seen in a token enconomy programme that is used in schools or prisons. In a school a child may recieve stamps/stickers and when they have collected a designated amount, they might be exchanged for a prize.
  • Reinforcement can be unintentional, for example a hungary rat in the skinner box will engage in a series of undesired behaviours. For example scratching. If the reinforcement is delayed this unintentional behaviour may be rewarded. For exmple, wearing lucky socks and scoring a goal.
  • Behaviour shaping is a way of getting someone to perform a complex behaviour by breakng it down in to smaller more manageable steps and rewarding each one. For example teaching a young child to write their name.
7
Q

Evaluate operant conditioning in terms of supporting research.

A
  • Skinner conducted lab experiments with rats. He placed the rats in to a ‘Skinner box’ that contained electric speakers, levers, lights, electric shock grids and buzzors. If the rats pressed the correct button they were rewarded with a food pellet and if they pressed the wrong button, tehy recieved a punishment. He proposed an ABC model. A is the anticedent for example a green light, B is the behaviour shown for example pressing the button and C represents the concequence, either a reward or punnishment.
  • Thorndike conducted research using his puzzle box. Cats were placed inside the box and they had to press a level to open the box and get a reward of food. This was a trial and error process but once the cat had learnt what to do, it immediately knew how to get the reward. He then proposed his law of effect- by rewarding a behaviour it was more likely to be shown again.
8
Q

Evaluate operant conditioning in terms of criticisms of the supporting research.

A

Many of the supporting studies are lab based. Therefore research is high is validity and there are high levels of control. It is also high in reliability due to the standardised procedure. This makes the research more credible however, as most of the studies are animal studies there is low generalisability meaning that the results can’t be applied to humans whcih imits its usefulness.

9
Q

Evaluate operant conditioning in terms of opposing research.

A

Kohler (1924) found that primates often seem to solve problems in a flash of insight rather than trial and error learning. This opposes operant conditioning as it shows behaviours learnt without reinforcement.

10
Q

Evaluate operant conditioning in terms of a different theory.

A

An alternative theory for how people learn is social learning theory. This is learning through observation and imitation of a role model.

11
Q

Describe classical conditioning.

A
  • In stage one of classical conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus leads to an unconditioned response. This means that a stimulus in the environment, for example food, produces a response that is unlearned, for example, salivation.
  • A neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus in stage two. A neutral stimulus is something taht is completely unrelated to unconditioned stuimuli or response. For example a metronone, neutra stimulus, is paired with food, unconditioned stimulus until it becomes a conditioned stimulus. Often this stage requires several pairings of the NS and UCR.
  • In stage three the conditioned stimulus (food) has been associated with the unconditioned stimulus to crate a new conditioned response, salivation.
  • Extinction is the disappearance of a previously learned conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is no longer presented. The behaviour lies dormant until the response can be reassociated. Spontaneous recovery is when the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned response needs to be paired only once to see the conditioned response.
  • Stimulus generalisation is when the conditionedresponse occurs to other similar things to the conditioned response. For example, bells or a chime instead of a metronone. Discrimination is the ability to differentiate between the conditioned stimulus and other similar stimuli. This is the opposite of generalisation.
12
Q

Evaluate classical conditioning in term of supporting research.

A

Support for this theory has been found by Ivan Pavlov who conducted a lab experiment using dogs that looked at natural associations between stimuli and reflecx responses. HE found that the dogs began to produce the unconditioned response of salivation to a metronome after multiple pairings. This provides strong, credible research to support the theory of classical conditioning.

13
Q

Evaluate classical conditioning in term of criticisms of the supporting research.

A

The research has been criticised as it was an animal study using dogs. In comparison to humans, dogs have a much less complex brain structure and humans have a greater emotional capacity. Humans also have more language and reasoning skills. This means that the research isnt generalisable to humans and therefore the research is lacking in validity.

14
Q

Evaluate classical conditioning in term of a different theory.

A

A different theory as to how we learn is called operant conditioning. This theory says that we learn through being rewarded or punnished. This is something that classical conditioning doesnt address.

15
Q

Evaluate classical conditioning in term of applications.

A

An application of this theory as a treatment for phobias is called systematic desensitisation. This treatment aims to gradually replace the fear response with relaxation by gradually using counter conditioning. This would help a huge number of patients who suffer from phobias to overcome them.

16
Q

Evaluate classical conditioning in term of criticisms of the theory.

A

The theory can further be criticised for being reductionist. It fails to consider the influence of our role models or reinforcement. By taking such a complex human behaviour and ignoring important elements of it it does not accurately reflect real life. On the other hand, it allows it to be measureable and so more scientific research is collected.

17
Q

Describe the schedules of reinforcement.

A
  • Different patterns of reinforcement have different affects on response rate, the rate at which the action is done, and the extinction rate, the rate at which the behaviour dies out.
  • Continuous reinforcement is when the desired behaviour is reinforced evry time that it occurs. Generally, this schedule is best used during the initial stages of learning in order to create a strong association between the behaviour and the response. Once the response is firmly attached, reinforcement is usually switched to a partical reinforcement schedule. This means that the response rate is fast but so is the extinction rate.
  • Partial reinforcement is when the desired behaviour is reinforcedonly part of the time. Learned behaviours are acquired more slowly with partial reinforcement, but the response is more resistant to extinction.
  • A fixed interval schedule is when the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed. The response rate is medium and the extinction rate is medium.
  • A variable interval scedule is when a response is rearded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed. This leads to a fast response rate but a slow exinction rate. This makes it one of the best schedules
  • Fixed ratio schedules is when a response is reinforced after a specified number of responses. The response rate is fixed and the extinction rate is medium.
  • VAriable ratio schedule is when a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses. This schedule creates a high steady rate of responding. This produces a high and fast response rate and a slow extinction rate.
18
Q

Describe how phobias can be acquired and maintained acording to the three models of learning.

A
  • Classical conditioning: before conditioning, the dog is a neutral stimulus and doesnt lead to any response. Being bitten is an unconditioned stimulus and leads to the unconditioned response of fear. During the conditioning, the neutral stimulus gets associated with being bitten which leads to the unconditioned response. After, the dog becomes the conditioned stimulus and fear becomes the conditioned response.
  • Operant conditioning: negative reinforcement is avoidance behaviour that removes the anxiety or fear which then becomes the reward. This increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated, it becomes a coping mechanism. This explains the maintanence of phobias.
  • Social learing theory: SLT would suggest that we learn phobias through observing and imitating our role models. Many specific phobias are developed through childhood and are therefore likely to be learnt from parents. Vicarious learning would also be important. Watching your role models avoidance behaviour might make you copy in order to recieve the reward of lack of fear.
19
Q

Evaluate the learning explanations of phobias.

A
  • Watson and Rayner did a single case lab study using an 11 month old infant called Little Albert. He previously had no fears but researchers conditioned hs to be afraid of a white rat. This demonstrates how the phobias can be acquired through classical conditioning.
  • There is support from Cook and Mineka (1988). They studies Rhesus monkeys that initially had no fear of snakes but who displayed alarm after watching the anxious reactions of wild monkeys to the presence of snakes. This demonstrates how the monkeys who had no previous fear of snakes observed the older role model monkeys and imitated the fear of snakes.
  • There are alternative explanation psychodynamic approach which suggests taht phobias are as a result of repressed conflict dispayed on to a more socially acceptable object. This can then explain why some people can have phobias without having encounterd a traumatic event firsthand.
  • Application for the treatment of phobias
20
Q

Describe systematic desentatisation as a treatment for phobias.

A
  • The treatment enables the patient to unlearn the fear response and substitue it with a relaxation response. This is done gradulally using counter conditioning aiming to avoid overwheling anxious people. It is based on the idea that you can not be both anzious and relaxed at the same time. (Miss K throwing things at me!)
  • Step one is called functional analysis and this is where the therapist and patient discuss the phobia and identify the triggers for the anxiety. The next step is the construction of the anxiety hierarchy. The therapist works closely with patients to construct a hierarchy of fear involving the conditioned stimulus that are ranked from least fearful to most fearful.
  • In the next stage of the treatment, the patient is given training in techniques such as breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation. The final step is gradual exposure. The patient progresses along the fear hierarcy while simultaneously using the relaxation techniques. The client works their way up starting at the least unpleasent. When they feel comfortable with this theu move on to the next stage in the hierarchy.
  • The number of sessions required depends on the severity of the phobia but usually 4-6 sessions are needed. Exposure can be done in vitro (imagined) or in vivo (real)
  • SD can be paired with modelling using SLT. The patient observes others in the presence of the phobic stimulus who are responding with relaxation rather than fear. The patient is encouraged to imitate the model.
21
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of a different treatment.

A

A different treatment is flooding.

22
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of expense.

A

This treatment is relatively cheap and is available on the NHS in most areas. This means that it is very widely available to the population and can be accessed by anyone.

23
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of supporting research.

A

McGrath et al (1990) found that 75% of those with specific phobias showed significant improvements following the treatment. However, complex and social phobias do not respond so well and relaps rates are high. This shows that the treatment is limited but beneficial for individuals with specific phobias.

24
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of side effects.

A

There are no physical side effectsto the treatments, particularly in comparison to biological treatments that involve medication. However there could be an issue with psychological side effects as it may cause distress.

25
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of social control.

A

This treatment is fairly ethical especially compared to flooding as it limits the distress felt by the patients. Social control is low as the patient and therapist work together however there is a danger that the therapist couold push the patient before they are ready.

26
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of reason or mask.

A

It replaces one conditioned response with another, it doesnt necessarily target the root cause. However, it is a long term treatment as the patients are taught relaxation skills for life.

27
Q

Evaluate systematic desensitisation as a treatment in terms of time.

A

The number of sessions is generally between four and six which isn’t a very long time commitment.

28
Q

Describe flooding as a treatment for phobias.

A
  • Flooding is a method for overcoming phobias based on classical conditioning. There is no gradual exposure, the patient is placed in a situation where they face their phobia at its worst. The rationale behind the treatment is that if the patients anxiety is maintained at such a high level, eventually some process of exhaustion takes place. Also, if the patient is prevented from making their normal avoidance response, extinction will occur.
  • The theory has biological elements as you can only experience an alarm reaction for a certain length of time before it will have to sunside. This is part of the fight or flight response, providing us with energy. Blood sugar is made available and other biological functions stop as the body is on such high alert, this is what forces you to relax.
  • The therapist typically offers very little assistance or reasurance other than to help the patient to use relaxation techniques.
  • The therapist discusses the levels of anxiety taht patients re prepared to endure during the session before commencing the process.
29
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of different treatment.

A

Systematic desensitisation

30
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of expence.

A

Flooding is not widely available on the NHS which means taht it is expensive for individuals to arrange themselves. Therefore patients are more likely to have other treatments like SD.

31
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of supporting research.

A

Support is from Wolitzky-Taylor et al (2008) who conducted a meta analysis of 33 studies. They found that exposure based treatments were effective i treating phobias compared to its controls recieving no treatment and patients recieving alternative psychotheraputic treatments. This suggests that flooding is effective.

32
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of side effects.

A

There are no physical side effects in comparison with biological treatments such as medication however this treatment is very distressing and as a result has the potential to cause psychological harm.

33
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of ethics.

A

A major ethical concern is causing harm and distress to the patients as the treatment is high in social control. Individuals are forces to face their fear until they become calm. However, progressive exposures can be used which are more tolerable and can be used for patients who express reluctance to engage in exposure.

34
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of reason/mask.

A

This treatment ony masks the symptoms and doesnt target the root cause. There are issues with spontaneous recovery which is when the phobia spontaneously comes back after you think it has been extinguished. This can happen with SD but is less likely.

35
Q

Evaluate flooding in terms of time.

A

It is difficult to predict the likely duration of the treatment as the length of exposure depends on how long it takes the individual to calm down.