LECTURE 6 NOTES SPR11 - LECTURE 6 Reward and Reinforcement:...

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LECTURE 6 Reward and Reinforcement: Eating and Drinking "Moral Qualities rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic."  - R.W. Emerson, 1844 “Nature is a whore.” - K. Cobain, 1991 I. Motivation :  Biological organisms must continually fulfill basic needs, this  is   accomplished   through   continuous   cycles   of   deprivation,   want,  consumption   and   satiation,   to   maintain   homeostasis.     The   feelings  associated with desire are given different terms depending on the nature  of the desired object (hunger, thirst, lust, etc.).  These are fulfilled through  behavioral actions, and also physiological changes.   Like other neural  functions   the   organization   of   these   processes   is   both   parallel   and  hierarchical, with more and more flexibility added as we proceed up the  phylogenetic scale.   These refer to separate motivations; one important  question   is   whether   these   also   all   feed   into   a   central   motivational  system  that is integrated with behavioral choice mechanisms. II. Homeostatic mechanisms   have four elements – the   system variable  that is measured, the   set point   around which it varies, a   detector   that  monitors   the   system   variable,   and   a   correction   mechanism .     The  detection   system   perceives   internal   state   and   triggers   behavioral   and  physiological correction mechanisms; as well as a motivational state (the  feeling of being hungry or thirsty).   It has been a matter of continuous  debate   to   what   extent   the   experience   of   a   motivational   state   is  independent of the perception of deprivation and the physiological and  behavioral responses triggered by that perception.   In this class we will  concentrate on behavioral responses (although in reality the systems are  highly intertwined).
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A. Appetitive   Behavior :     Behavior   that   allows   one   to   acquire   a  desired object. B. Consummatory Behavior :   Behavior performed after a desired  object is acquired. C. Reward :   A positive hedonic state (a negative hedonic state is  termed aversion and produces avoidance); generally we desire objects  that are rewarding, although the extent of this desire depends on the state  of homeostatic mechanisms, motivational state and other factors. D. Reinforcement :  The process by which an outcome or experience  causes the events or actions associated with it to become more likely  (positive reinforcement) or less likely (negative reinforcement).  Although  positive reinforcement is generally associated with stimuli that are innately  rewarding,   this   is   not   necessarily   the   case,   or   at   least   arguable. 
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This note was uploaded on 10/18/2011 for the course PSYC 404 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Maryland.

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LECTURE 6 NOTES SPR11 - LECTURE 6 Reward and Reinforcement:...

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