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    What are some examples I can use from everyday life in reference to continuum of preparedness, critical period, imprinting, instinctive drift, and sign tracking?

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    I. Continuum of preparedness: refers to the phenomena that when reinforced, a response is more likely to be repeated.
    1. When a certain cat gets hungry, it scratches at the front door. The owner always lets it in and then feeds it. (Positive reinforcement: the response is more likely to be repeated which is known as 'continuum of preparedness)
    2. Baseball player is in a slump. One day, he taps his bat on home plate
    three times before the next pitch. He hits the pitch for a home run. He does
    the same thing during his next turn at-bat and again gets a hit. Now, he taps
    home plate three times before every pitch. (Operant, negative reinforcement)
    3. Every time a mother takes her son to the grocery store, the boy
    begs his mother for candy at the checkout line. If she says no, he whines
    and cries. Sometimes she gives in and buys him candy so that he will be quiet. (Operant, child-positive reinforcement and mom- negative reinforcement)
    4. Brat prevention--Children are good operant conditioners because they are so persistent. Take the following situation, for example. A child is riding with an adult, and the child is thirsty. So, the child asks to stop and get a drink. The adult says no, the child asks again, and again, and again... Finally, the adult gives in, saying, "All right, just this once." Big mistake, right? Why? The adult has now put the child on a partial schedule, guaranteeing a repetition of the same behavior later on. Instead, the adult should have said, "All right, I'll get you a drink IF you don't ask for one for the next 10 (time may have to vary, depending on the child) minutes." Then, the adult is providing the child with positive reinforcement for being quiet.
    5. Breaking relationships--College students often want to end a relationship. Again, they should realize that the person being dumped should not be placed on a partial schedule. If, for example, that person persists in calling, then the dumper should not reinforce the calling by conversing. Further, if the dumper agrees to go out on occasion, real problems will occur. Many relationships show an off-and-on pattern because of such partial reinforcement. (Of course, if the dumper is not really sure that the relationship is over, another set of problems exists.)
    6. Call forwarding--When I call forward to another extension, I turn the receiver upside down, then, when I return I do not have to remember that I set the phone to call forward. The upside down receiver is a discriminative stimulus for me to turn off call forwarding. I did have to tell the building custodian not to turn the phone over, however.
    7. Piles on the floor--Before I go to class, I make a pile of the materials I will need in front of my door. The pile has to be in a location that I will have to step over it before I walk out. Again, the pile serves as a discriminative stimulus for the behavior of picking up the pile. In fact, I often have to admonish visitors not to pick up the pile!
    8. Put it on my chair--Over the years, I have conditioned my colleagues NOT to put items on my desk; they will be lost forever. Instead, I reward them for putting those items on my chair. If they do, I am guaranteed to see them because I will ...

    Solution Summary

    Psychological terms are discussed with examples from everyday life in reference to continuum of preparedness, critical period, imprinting, instinctive drift, and sign tracking.