Punishment v. Reinforcement as an Aspects of Behavior

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1562 words
Vanderbilt University
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Punishment and reinforcement are both aspects of behavior and are used for discipline and aligning the behaviors of individuals. They are both used for conditioning and teaching whereby people get to learn various aspect. Reinforcement is associated with the addition or removal of a stimulus to condition an individual into or out of a particular behavior. An example is giving a child praise for working hard at school. On the other hand, punishment is a form of conditioning which is reactionary. Punishments are usually reactions to a particular behavior and in most cases negative behavior. It is used as a consequence of behavior.


Counterbalancing is a very effective way of offsetting conditions that may limit the effectiveness of an experiment. Two of the main factors that may hinder the success of the experiment include practice effects which are associated with improved performance of the subject of the experiment due to prior testing. When the subject is tested, they get an understanding of the experiment which enables them to be better suited. The other factor is the fatigue effects which are associated with reduced performance because the experiment is long and boring. Counterbalancing, therefore, offsets these effects by arranging the order of conditions effectively within the experiment.

Partial reinforcement extinction effect

This is an aspect of reinforcement that implies that partial reinforcements are more effective than full reinforcements. Reinforcements are associated with addition or removal of stimuli to influence behavior. Partial reinforcement creates motivations while full reinforcement creates laxities that limit full productivity.


Confounding is a factor used in research, and it is associated with having different factors at the same time. Confounding results to great problems in the development of interpretation especially in correlation research because an effect cannot be connected to the factor that caused it in the first place.

Define and compare between-subjects and within-subjects designs

Between-subjects and within-subjects designs are experiment designs. Between subjects, the design is more conservative and is associated with dividing subjects into two or more groups. It is also associated with separating the two and making sure they do not contaminate each other in the experiment. A disadvantage of between subjects design is the great need to reduce differences between individuals in the different groups. The differences between people reduce the efficiency of this design. On the other hand, the within-subject design is associated with the use of a single group and conditions given to the subjects in stages. This design makes individual internal comparison rather than against each other and is more effective in psychology. It has a draw back which is associated with general practice effects.

(Chapter 10)


Discussion encoding specificity is a great aspect of behavior. Remembering is a complex process between processing the activities of an event as well as the retrieval of the activities. Recollection and recognition are cognitive functions that influence our memories and therefore out actions.


It was determined that recall is most efficient when the provisions at the time of encoding equal the contingencies at the time of retrieval. We were also able to notice that in encoding specificity principle recognition is easier than recall. By comparing performance under both forced report and free-report situations, we were able to determine three separable aspects of memory which is monitoring, reporting bias and retrieval.


The encoding Specificity theory is associated with how information that is contextual affects the memory of an individual. Based on this theory, an individuals memory can be greatly improved when the information that is being encoded to memory is also available during the process of retrieval of the information. It is a theory related to the aspects of recollection and recognition of information in relation to memory. The recall process is a very important aspect of memory, and it is most effective when conditions that exist at the time of processing of information exist at the time of retrieval. It is a theory that plays a great role in understanding how state and context dependent memories operate.


Definition of terms:

Regression to the mean

Regression to the mean is an aspect that is used in experiments to explore differences in scores between two tests. When a test is carried out, and the scores are extreme then in a second test the scores will be closer to the average.

Turing test

Turing test is used for imitation games. It is a test that is used to determine whether a machine is intelligent or not. When an interrogator separated from a machine and an actual person and could not differentiate their written work means that the machine is intelligent. Turing test has been used for the development of artificial intelligence and shows that machines have the capability of being intelligent.

Diffusion of responsibility

Diffusion of responsibility explores the aspect of responsibility for people when alone and when in a group. The theory asserts that responsibility diffuses whenever people are in a group. The presence of other people greatly influences people's action.

Demand characteristics

Demand characteristics are associated with the need for an experiment to record behavior directly as it is influenced by independent variables within an experiment. They result from the knowledge of the subject in an experiment that they are taking part in the experiment. It is a major source of error in experiments because of bias.

(Chapter 12)

Reliability is associated with the replication of results when more than one experiments are done. Reliability is a great factor of the number of observations made during an experiment. One a test is administered one then it is associated with an internal consistency reliability. When it is administered twice to a group, then a test and retest reliability are used to assess consistency in replication o result and when two forms of the test are administered a parallel-forms reliability is used to assess the consistency of both the tests because they operate interchangeably.

Reliability occurs when consistency is maintained, but when the test produces inaccurate results, then it becomes invalid. Tests are sometimes reliable, but when they produce inaccurate results, then they fail to provide validity. An example is a constant score in attesting at different periods, but the results of the test are wrong.

Reliability of test.

In many ways, conducting research in the field of social psychology can be more challenging as compared to say, conducting research on attention or cognition. Discuss two potential difficulties researchers might encounter when researching topics related to social psychology.

One of the biggest difficulties is the access to subjects regarding their consent and cooperation to conduct such research.

Experimental 14 and 15

Definition of terms:

choice-reaction task

Choice reaction tasks incorporate two tasks with each have its unique response. The task, therefore, has two stimuli and therefore, it will lead to the development of two responses. Choice reaction tasks are mostly used in psychological experiments to explore the relationship between stimuli and response.

Photopic v. Scotopic vision

Photopic vision is associated with good light condition while scotopic vision is associated bad and monochromatic light conditions. Photopic utilizes con cells of the eyes while scotopic vision utilizes the rod cells. They are two aspects of vision that are used for the measurement of response to stimuli.

Converging operations

Converging operations is an aspect used in the study of psychology, and it is associated with having different methods explaining g a single process. They use multiple levels of analysis to develop a single result. The converging operations eliminate existing concepts of the alternate methods.

d) Informed consent

Informed consent I s associated with permission to conduct experiments on an individual. It is a great challenge especially for psychology research and experiments because informed consent is mandatory.

Outline of Calhoun's crowding study

The experiment is associated with the creation of a perfect condition for mice that does not last. They become overcrowded, and in four years they become extinct. The experiment tries to show a connection between population growth and psychological factors of the population. How population pressures create stress in resources that create an imbalance in the social structure of the population. It leads to behavioral changes the society becomes less organized as seen in the mice. The females become more aggressive because of social change than the males. In this case, the stimuli which are increased population and stress on resources leads to a response in the form of psychological behavior of the population.


1) Introduction

Human factors psychology helps us to study human limitations and capabilities. Using PsychMate experiments, we can be able to evaluate the human judgments, reasoning and decision making. We are also able to determine a variety of human traits to help in the process of designing systems that people can use comfortably and safely.

2) Discussion

Human factors PsychMate experiments enables psychologists to study the human errors that have been made in the past, and determine which components could be altered to avoid another error incident in the future. In fact, human factors psychologists using Psychmate experiments can determine the relationships between human behaviors, cognition, and perceptions within workplace environments.

3) Conclusion

In conclusion, we realize that intimate linking of our research with PsychMate software enables us to relate topics of study to real experiments. Moreover, it comes with the Psychology Experiment Authoring Kit (PEAK) which collectively reduces the learning time for students and enables them to run, create and analyze computerized psychology experiments.


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