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Of Mice And Men Theme Of Friendship Free Essays

Consider first Skinner’s use of the notions stimulus and response. In Behavior of Organisms (9) he commits himself to the narrow definitions for these terms. A part of the environment and a part of behavior are called stimulus (eliciting, discriminated, or reinforcing) and response, respectively, only if they are lawfully related; that is, if the dynamic laws relating them show smooth and reproducible curves. Evidently, stimuli and responses, so defined, have not been shown to figure very widely in ordinary human behavior.6 We can, in the face of presently available evidence, continue to maintain the lawfulness of the relation between stimulus and response only by depriving them of their objective character. A typical example of stimulus control for Skinner would be the response to a piece of music with the utterance Mozart or to a painting with the response Dutch. These responses are asserted to be “under the control of extremely subtle properties” of the physical object or event (108). Suppose instead of saying Dutch we had said Clashes with the wallpaper, I thought you liked abstract work, Never saw it before, Tilted, Hanging too low, Beautiful, Hideous, Remember our camping trip last summer?, or whatever else might come into our minds when looking at a picture (in Skinnerian translation, whatever other responses exist in sufficient strength). Skinner could only say that each of these responses is under the control of some other stimulus property of the physical object. If we look at a red chair and say red, the response is under the control of the stimulus redness; if we say chair, it is under the control of the collection of properties (for Skinner, the object) chairness (110), and similarly for any other response. This device is as simple as it is empty. Since properties are free for the asking (we have as many of them as we have nonsynonymous descriptive expressions in our language, whatever this means exactly), we can account for a wide class of responses in terms of Skinnerian functional analysis by identifying the controlling stimuli. But the word stimulus has lost all objectivity in this usage. Stimuli are no longer part of the outside physical world; they are driven back into the organism. We identify the stimulus when we hear the response. It is clear from such examples, which abound, that the talk of stimulus control simply disguises a complete retreat to mentalistic psychology. We cannot predict verbal behavior in terms of the stimuli in the speaker’s environment, since we do not know what the current stimuli are until he responds. Furthermore, since we cannot control the property of a physical object to which an individual will respond, except in highly artificial cases, Skinner’s claim that his system, as opposed to the traditional one, permits the practical control of verbal behavior7 is quite false.

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The force of Skinner’s argument lies in the enormous wealth and range of examples for which he proposes a functional analysis. The only way to evaluate the success of his program and the correctness of his basic assumptions about verbal behavior is to review these examples in detail and to determine the precise character of the concepts in terms of which the functional analysis is presented. Section 2 of this review describes the experimental context with respect to which these concepts are originally defined. Sections 3 and 4 deal with the basic concepts — stimulus, response, and reinforcement, Sections 6 to 10 with the new descriptive machinery developed specifically for the description of verbal behavior. In Section 5 we consider the status of the fundamental claim, drawn from the laboratory, which serves as the basis for the analogic guesses about human behavior that have been proposed by many psychologists. The final section (Section 11) will consider some ways in which further linguistic work may play a part in clarifying some of these problems.

SparkNotes: Of Mice and Men: Context

25 Cf. H. G. Birch and M. E. Bitterman, “Reinforcement and Learning: The process of Sensory Integration,” Psych. Rev., 56 (1949), 292-308.

27 See Thorpe, op. cit., particularly pp. 115-18 and 337-76, for an excellent discussion of this phenomenon, which has been brought to prominence particularly by the work of K. Lorenz (cf. “Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels,” parts of which are reprinted in English translation in C. M. Schiller, ed., Instinctive Behavior [New York: International Universities Press, 1957], pp. 83-128).

24 Thus, J. S. Brown, in commenting on a paper of Harlow’s in Current Theory and Research in Motivation (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1953), argues that “in probably every instance [of the experiments cited by Harlow] an ingenious drive-reduction theorist could find some fragment of fear, insecurity, frustration, or whatever, that he could insist was reduced and hence was reinforcing” (53). The same sort of thing could be said for the ingenious phlogiston or ether theorist.

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11 The vagueness of the word tendency, as opposed to frequency, saves the latter quotation from the obvious incorrectness of the former. Nevertheless, a good deal of stretching is necessary. If tendency has anything like its ordinary meaning, the remark is clearly false. One may believe strongly the assertion that Jupiter has four moons, that many of Sophocles’ plays have been irretrievably lost, that the earth will burn to a crisp in ten million years, and so on, without experiencing the slightest tendency to act upon these verbal stimuli. We may, of course, turn Skinner’s assertion into a very unilluminating truth by defining “tendency to act” to include tendencies to answer questions in certain ways, under motivation to say what one believes is true.

9 And elsewhere. In his paper “Are Theories of Learning Necessary?” Skinner considers the problem how to extend his analysis of behavior to experimental situations in which it is impossible to observe frequencies, rate of response being the only valid datum. His answer is that “the notion of probability is usually extrapolated to cases in which a frequency analysis cannot be carried out. In the field of behavior we arrange a situation in which frequencies are available as data, but we use the notion of probability in analyzing or formulating instances of even types of behavior which are not susceptible to this analysis” (199). There are, of course, conceptions of probability not based directly on frequency, but I do not see how any of these apply to the cases that Skinner has in mind. I see no way of interpreting the quoted passage other than as signifying an intention to use the word probability in describing behavior quite independently of whether the notion of probability is at all relevant.

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Of mice and men analysis essay - LIVING VALENCIA BLOG

There is a variety of other kinds of evidence that has been offered to challenge the view that drive reduction is necessary for learning. Results on sensory-sensory conditioning have been interpreted as demonstrating learning without drive reduction.25 Olds has reported reinforcement by direct stimulation of the brain, from which he concludes that reward need not satisfy a physiological need or withdraw a drive stimulus.26 The phenomenon of imprinting, long observed by zoologists, is of particular interest in this connection. Some of the most complex patterns of behavior of birds, in particular, are directed towards objects and animals of the type to which they have been exposed at certain critical early periods of life.27 Imprinting is the most striking evidence for the innate disposition of the animal to learn in a certain direction and to react appropriately to patterns and objects of certain restricted types, often only long after the original learning has taken place. It is, consequently, unrewarded learning, though the resulting patterns of behavior may be refined through reinforcement. Acquisition of the typical songs of song birds is, in some cases, a type of imprinting. Thorpe reports studies that show “that some characteristics of the normal song have been learned in the earliest youth, before the bird itself is able to produce any kind of full song.”28 The phenomenon of imprinting has recently been investigated under laboratory conditions and controls with positive results.29

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Phenomena of this general type are certainly familiar from everyday experience. We recognize people and places to which we have given no particular attention. We can look up something in a book and learn it perfectly well with no other motive than to confute reinforcement theory, or out of boredom, or idle curiosity. Everyone engaged in research must have had the experience of working with feverish and prolonged intensity to write a paper which no one else will read or to solve a problem which no one else thinks important and which will bring no conceivable reward — which may only confirm a general opinion that the researcher is wasting his time on irrelevancies. The fact that rats and monkeys do likewise is interesting and important to show in careful experiment. In fact, studies of behavior of the type mentioned above have an independent and positive significance that far outweighs their incidental importance in bringing into question the claim that learning is impossible without drive reduction. It is not at all unlikely that insights arising from animal behavior studies with this broadened scope may have the kind of relevance to such complex activities as verbal behavior that reinforcement theory has, so far, failed to exhibit. In any event, in the light of presently available evidence, it is difficult to see how anyone can be willing to claim that reinforcement is necessary for learning, if reinforcement is taken seriously as something identifiable independently of the resulting change in behavior.

Of mice and men literary analysis essay | Ricky Martin

The word critical is defined as “involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc… a critical analysis/ of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.” (Dictionary, 2013).

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