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An example of classical conditioning I have experienced in my life was when I developed the so called conditioned taste aversion. This is a learned aversion to a taste associated with an unpleasant feeling, usually nausea. As a patient in a hospital, I have undergone several treatments which perhaps made me develop aversions to virtually all food.

To put this in the language of classical conditioning, a treatment in a hospital is a UCS (unconditioned stimulus) that leads to nausea, a UCR (unconditioned response); the result is an inadvertent association of any food eaten (CS) with nausea (the CR), the conditioned stimulus and conditioned response respectively. This conditioned response develops rapidly, with only one or two exposures to the food paired with nausea. I even feel nauseous at the thought of treatment. An example of an operant I have learned was when I was trying to lose weight. To achieve my goal of weight loss, I choose to use either reinforcement or punishment.

Whether I choose reinforcement or punishment, I may choose to use either positive or negative variants of each. In positive reinforcement, it involves giving myself something positive. Thus, prior to beginning my diet, I set up a program such that for every 10 pounds that I lose, I treat myself to a movie at the theater. The negative reinforcement on the other hand, involves taking something aversive away like removing many pounds of lard stored in my refrigerator. There is also a positive punishment which involves giving myself something aversive in order to decrease the probability of a particular response.

Applied to my weight loss, when I fail to lose a particular amount of weight within a specified period of time, I would post pictures of Miss Piggy around my room. The negative punishment involves removing something positive or rewarding such as giving an amount of money corresponding to the pounds that I failed to lose to charity.

Think about the last time you attended a lecture or were in a classroom. Applying the information processing model, why did some things make it into your short-term memory and some things into your long-term memory? One reason was simple: Short-term memory is brief, limited in capacity, and quickly accessed, whereas LTM is enduring, virtually limitless, but more difficult to access (as anyone knows who has tried to recall a person’s name or term on an exam without success). Subsequent research suggests that a serial processing model cannot provide a full account of memory. Further, the process of selecting which sensory information to store in STM is actually influenced by LTM; that is, LTM is often activated before STM rather than after it. The function of STM is to hold important information in consciousness long enough to use it to solve problems and make decisions.

But how do we know what information is important? The only way to decide which information to bring into STM is to compare incoming data with information stored in LTM that indicates its potential significance (Logie, 1996). Thus, LTM must actually be engaged before STM to figure out how to allocate conscious attention 3. What is intelligence? Most psychology dictionary and books define intelligence as the capacity to acquire and use knowledge, a capacity that is supported by a host of cognitive activities such as perception, memory storage and retrieval, reasoning, problem solving, and creativity.

In this definition, intelligence is not the individual’s storehouse of knowledge itself, but rather the capacity to acquire and use it. As a capacity, or a potential, intelligence cannot be measured directly, because in a sense it is an abstraction, a capacity that results from information processing: acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using information in new contexts (Humphreys, 1999).

But psychologists debate whether the definition of intelligence should be as an inherent brain capacity, an achieved level of intellectual functioning, or an ascribed quality that, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Rather, intelligence is a concept intended to explain why some people perform better than others on cognitive tasks. In the Handbook of Human Intelligence, Robert Sternberg and William Salter (2002) reported that most experts view intelligence as a person’s capacity for “goal-directed adaptive behavior.

” Intelligent behaviors reflect a capacity to adapt, by learning from experience, solving problems, and reasoning clearly. Those behaving intelligently meet challenges and achieve their goals. 4. Compare the early and contemporary theories of intelligence. To understand intelligence as a psychological concept, it helps first to know the early and contemporary theories of intelligence. In the early 1900s, Spearman’s two-factor theory distinguishes the g-factor, or general intelligence, from s-factors, or specific abilities.

Other theories derived from factor analysis have provided different lists of factors, such as Gf–Gc theory, which distinguishes between content-free fluid intelligence and knowledge-based crystallized intelligence. A contemporary theory of Intelligence is Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences distinguishes seven kinds of intelligence that are relatively independent, neurologically distinct, and show different courses of development. These include musical, bodily/kinesthetic, spatial, linguistic or verbal, logical/mathematical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal intelligences.

How do we measure intelligence? Intelligence can be measured indirectly, because the best indicators of the capacity to acquire and use knowledge are the knowledge that an individual has already acquired, measured on a comparative basis. But one should keep in mind that the knowledge that an individual has already acquired is affected by many factors, including opportunities provided in home and school environments, motivation, and even physical health. Hence the measurement of pure intellectual capacity is virtually impossible. 6. What are the characteristics of a good intelligence test?

Most people have faced dozens of different tests of mental abilities: elementary school tests of basic reading and math skills, course examinations, intelligence tests, driver’s license examinations, and college entrance examinations, are just a few examples. Psychologists classify such tests as either aptitude tests, intended to predict your ability to learn a new skill, or Achievement tests, intended to reflect what you have learned. The actual difference between aptitude tests and achievement tests are not so clear-cut. Te achieved vocabulary influences one’s score on most aptitude tests.

Similarly, one’s aptitude for learning and test-taking influence one’s grades on tests of achievement. Most tests, whether labeled aptitude or achievement, assess both ability and its development. Distinguishing aptitude and achievement is mainly a matter of practicality: Aptitude tests are used to predict future performance and achievement tests to assess current performance.


Humphreys, L. G. (1999). The construct of general intelligence. Intelligence, 3, 105-120. Logie, R. (1996). The seven ages of working memory. In J. T. E. Richardson, R. W. Engle, L. Hasher, R. Logie, E. Stoltzfus, & R. Zacks (Eds. ),Working memory and human cognition (pp. 31–65). New York: Oxford University Press. Sternberg, R. J. , & Dettermen, D. (2006). What is intelligence? Contemporary viewpoints on its nature and definition. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Sternberg, R. J. & Salter, W. (2002). Conceptions of intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed. ), Handbook of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R. J. & Powell, J. S. (2002). Theories of intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed. ), Handbook of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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