Instrumental and Pavlovian Conditioning Analogs of Familiar Social Processes

Robert Ervin Cramer and Robert Frank Weiss

in Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735969
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894529 | DOI:
Instrumental and Pavlovian Conditioning Analogs of Familiar Social Processes

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Participation in conversation is reinforced by the opportunity to speak in reply. People will learn an instrumental response, the sole reinforcement for which is the deliverance of another human being from suffering. Increasing or decreasing N-opponents in a competitive situation facilitates learning an instrumental response. Attitudinal agreements are less reinforcing from a person who, as a result of the agreements, is increasingly more attractive. And a supervisor will rate a new worker’s causal agency for high productivity lower if a consistently productive worker also is present. These fascinating relationships predicted and discovered in our speaking in reply, altruism, competition, interpersonal attraction, and causal relationship detection research, respectively, illustrate the power of learning theory for illuminating social process. A great body of research with roots in the work of Thorndike and Pavlov, and in the Hull-Miller-Spence tradition, informed and guided the social psychological experiments described in this chapter.

Keywords: social learning; social conditioning; social analogs of conditioning; modeling in social research

Chapter.  19916 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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