Psychology in Action

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Situation #1 Suppose a large number of students regularly arrive late to one of your classes. The professor is obviously disturbed. How would you advise your professor to reduce tardiness? Consider the following four questions in developing your course of action. 1. Would you recommend that the professor punish students for being late or reinforce students for being on time? Why? 2. If the professor decides to use punishment, what type of positive punishment could he or she employ? What type of negative punishment? 3. What type of positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement would be effective for reinforcing timely attendance? 4. Once the goal of reduced tardiness is met, what type of reinforcement schedule would be best to avoid either the extinction of the behavior of coming on time or eventual ineffectiveness of the reinforcement? Situation #2 Because of the rising crime rate in your city, you have decided that you want to condition your St. Bernard, Otto, to run to the door and bark every time someone knocks or rings your doorbell. Since this is a relatively complicated behavior, you decide to shape this behavior using positive reinforcement. To arrive at a plan for shaping Otto's behavior, consider the following questions. 1. What will you use as the positive reinforcement for Otto? 2. What is a likely list of successive approximations to the desired behavior? 3. Once you have shaped Otto to bark when someone is at your door, how will you keep this barking behavior from extinguishing when you are the only person to come to your door for several weeks? 4. How will you extinguish Otto's behavior if your neighbors complain about his barking? Critical Thinking Exercise 6.3 - Applying Knowledge to New Situations (A Cognitive Skill) In Chapter 6, you learned about classical conditioning and that such learning can be applied to various situations in your own life. A critical thinker will be able to decipher the situations that are present during a learning experience. Such a thinker will also notice how often one stimulus situation is paired with another and that the two become associated with each other. However, identifying the neutral stimulus (NS), the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the unconditioned response (UCR), the conditioned Instructor’s Resource Guide Chapter 6          Page   205
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stimulus (CS), and the conditioned response (CR) can be difficult unless you have had some practice. The following paragraphs describe classical conditioning situations. Your task is to identify the NS, the UCS, the UCR, the CS, and the CR. 1. A researcher sounds a tone, then places a piece of meat into a dog’s mouth, causing it to salivate. Eventually, the sound of the tone alone causes the dog to salivate. NS: _______________________________________________________ UCS:______________________________________________________ UCR:______________________________________________________ CS:_______________________________________________________ CR:_______________________________________________________ 2. You have a cat that always comes running when she hears the electric can opener.
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