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History Of Behaviour Science 2 Notes

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The history of studying behaviour II Comparative psychologists Integrative psychologists Social/behavioural ecology REMEMBER - COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGISTS DO NOT USE THE COMPARATIVE APPROACH Comparative psychologists, unlike ethologists, used animals that could be adequately housed and experimented on within a laboratory setting. Animals like rats, pigeons and sometimes cats were often used. Unlike ethologists which studied innate behaviour, comparative psychologists focused on learning and the psychological basis of behaviour. Using their experiments, they quantified behaviour and responses to produce 'Laws of Behaviour'. Perhaps the earliest Law was stated by C. Lloyd Morgan and his canon (1894), which stated - "in no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of an exercise of a higher psychical faculty if it can be interpreted as the outcome of exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological state." To put it simply, and slightly ironically, the simplest explanation is usually the best. E. L. Thorndike was the pioneer of 'trial and error' learning, which is now known as operant conditioning (Skinner was simply building on Thorndike's theory). In his experiments, an animal must perform a behaviour in order to be rewarded. He placed cats in 'problem boxes' and they would have to learn how to operate an escape mechanism. The speed of learning the task was measured by the time taken for the cat to escape from the box on successive attempts. From these experiments he developed the 'Law of Effect'; responses that are rewarded or followed by a satisfying state of affairs tend to be repeated. While Thorndike discovered operant conditioning, Ivan Pavlov was tormenting dogs in a process now known as classical conditioning by experimenting with conditioned reflexes. In these experiments, the sound of a bell (the neutral stimulus) was paired to the sight of food (unconditioned stimulus) and produced salivation (unconditioned response). After presumably a lot of mopping, Ivan noticed that the dogs would salivate with the sound of the bell (now a conditioned stimulus) without the presence of food. E.L Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov could be said to be from a form of psychology known as behaviourism, which o Is a school of psychology that restricts the study of behaviour to events that can be seen - a description of the stimulus and the behaviour it elicits o Seeks to eliminate subjectivity o Identify stimuli that elicit responses and the rewards or punishments maintaining them o Emphasise quanitification and statistical analysis

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