goodw140: October 2011 Archives

As recently portrayed in the movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" many scientists and people have experimented with teaching animals different forms of language and communication. Since it has been proved that our closes relatives the bono primate was unable to learn the specific nuances of a signing language that all hope is lost, but is that definitive? Some argue that learning small parts of sign languages are similar to the evolution of humans and that their language could have pushed forward genetic adaptations and evolution. Through proven experiments monkeys can master certain words, but many or their errors come from syntax, but if all of the monkeys in an environment communicated through a sign language, would that lead to further mastering of the language and possibly evolution?

Which type of behavioral conditioning is more effective? Are they both effective in one situation or both ineffective in another? As it turns out, both are very effective, but there is one key difference to their effectiveness, and that is whether the behavior is involuntary or voluntary. If the action is involuntary (like the original discover made by Ivan Pavlov with the dog experiment) then the most applicable and effective treatment is Classical conditioning. Classical conditioning involves pairing a previously neutral stimulus (ticking noise in the original experiment) with an unconditioned one (dog receiving food). The continual pairing of the two stimuli leads to the brain unconsciously recognizing the originally neutral stimulus as the same as the unconditioned stimulus. On the other hand, operant conditioning results from the pairing of either reinforcement or punishment to increase or decrease a behavior's occurrence. For example, this couple used both operant and classical conditioning to train a rescued dog who was abused. The new owners looked to a psychologist who has had experience in this field before. the psychologist used both operant and classical to help fix some of the previous psychological damages the dog had faced before. By using positive reinforcement for repeating actions, and classical to break old habits, the new owners were able to turn their dogs life around

The Nature vs Nurture debate has long raged on in psychology. As we know, heritability is the percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes, and many studies, including twin studies, show that many personality traits are due to genetics and the environment. But many twin studies have shown that despite being separated for the majority of their lives, identical twins often have similar tastes, similar interests and similar personalities. These facts cause us to examine just how heritable a trait is due to genes and how much it is related to differences in the environment. Do twins have a higher chance of having genetic related similarities because of their developmental process? Even despite being separated for the majority of their lives?
In the book "Someone else's Twin" the author shows that more often than not, identical twins who have been separated often share many deep similarities even though their environments (nurture aspect) were different.
Another study shows that identical twins that share the same environment are more likely to have similar interests and personalities than fraternal twins who are also raised in the same environment.

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