Psyc 164: Assignment 3
For the following questions (1-3), read the small vignette
and then using the underlined behaviour as the behaviour
of interest, show the behaviour of interest, the stimulus
consequence and whether the behaviour increased or
decreased. Then label the procedure as an example of
either positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement or
1.When I was about 7 or 8, my usually very sane parents let me watch the movie “Poltergeist” while we
were visiting my uncle. This was the scene that scarred me for life. (there was originally a clown on
that chair, by the way) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlUwfuB3pxI So…since that time, two
things have happened. If I happened to be at an event where a clown showed up, I immediately left, so I
wouldn’t have to see the clown anymore. And that behaviour continued to increase through to
adulthood. The second thing that would happen is that I started refusing to go anywhere where there
might be a clown – parades, birthday parties, etc. That behaviour also increased through to adulthood.
While I’m now okay around clowns, that was definitely not the age for me to see Poltergeist.
Note: Question 1 will have 2 separate analyses – one for “immediately leaving” and one for
“refusing to go anywhere there might be a clown”.
2. My shins have a complicated relationship with my coffee table. They seem perversely drawn to
banging into the corners, which causes a sharp pain and throbbing sensation. However, if I take my palm
and firmly compress the whole area and keep it compressed, the pain goes away. I’m not only more
likely to use this technique with my shins, but with other areas as well, when they have been injured.
3. I have two dogs…Nula and Balla. They are both just about 14 years old and starting to show signs of
aging. Nula, in particular, really enjoys her naps now. Balla, every once in a while, will channel her inner
puppy, and she’ll dance around Nula like she’s a boxer, diving in, giving Nula jabs to the head, and
jumping back, to avoid retaliation. Nula will ignore her for quite a while, no doubt hoping her sister will
give up, but Balla has surprising staying power. At some point, Balla will lunge forward and tap Nula
on the head, and Nula will jump up and start to wrestle with her. We’ve noticed over time that Balla has
become more likely to engage in this behaviour with Nula, with increasing persistence. (poor Nula )
4. If you’ll recall from this module, a sick social cycle exists when one person’s behaviour is being
reinforced by positive reinforcement, and the other’s is being reinforced by negative reinforcement.
(e.g. room-mate nagging you to take the garbage out and you finally do because it stops the nagging –
your room-mate’s behaviour of nagging is positively reinforced by you taking the garbage out, while
your behaviour of taking the garbage out, is negatively reinforced by the nagging stopping.) Look for an
example of the sick social cycle in your own environment, and describe it here, being careful to identify
the behaviours of interest, the consequences and which person’s behaviour was reinforced by positive
or negative reinforcement.