mill5249: October 2011 Archives

Do you remember way back in 3rd grade when if you answered a question right in class, or helped a classmate out voluntarily, or picked up a piece of garbage in the hallway and threw it out your teacher gave you piece of candy as a reward? Yeah those were the days. Well, this is an perfect example of a positive reinforcement. A positive reinforcement is a reward given to increase the likelihood of good behavior in a given situation.
This doesn't just apply to 3rd graders it applies to everyone. I think this is important, especially at a young age, because it teaches our brains to associate doing something good for our surrounding community or ourselves with a good feeling or sense of well-being after we do it. I feel positive reinforcement is one key feature in a child's development in order for them to grow up understanding the whole concept of "work hard, play hard". If you work hard and apply yourself, you will be able to someday live your dream. In this case, the 'working hard and applying yourself' is the positive reinforcement for being able to someday live your dream.

Here is an excellent/funny example of positive reinforcement from the T.V show The Big Bang Theory

http://youtu.be/JA96Fba-WHk

This not to be confused with negative reinforcement, which is the removal of something that increases the likelihood of good behavior. Like a police officer removing a taser from a caught suspect after a wild police pursuit. The removal of the taser would give the suspect relief and therefore lead them to now stop fighting with the police.

The Placebo Effect

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The Placebo Effect is one of many ideas expressed in the Lilienfeld text. The placebo effect falls under the category of "pitfalls in experimental design". This effect can be defined by your own thoughts "tricking you" into feeling better, when in actuality, there are no physical changes being done. This mainly involves medications but can be applied to other scenarios. The placebo effect obviously cannot work if the patient or whoever is receiving the treatment is aware of it. An example of the placebo effect could be as simple as a sugar pill prescribed by a doctor. In this case, if a individual told his/her doctor that they are beginning to suffer from depression, their doctor could prescribe them to a "placebo" pill. They would do this by telling the patient they are being prescribed a specific medication to treat depression. This causes the patient to get a sense that they will soon be cured due to the simple expectation of wellness from the new medication. When in reality, the prescribed medication is a "fake" pill and does nothing to help the depression. This will eventually "trick" the patient into thinking their symptoms are being cured and the new medication is doing its job.

Here is a link to a video that will hopefully further you understanding of the placebo effect and how it works.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsFTgirKXHk

I think this is an important concept because it can allow for doctors to prescribe placebo's to patients without using more expensive drugs that may and can have harmful side effects instead. Although I cannot directly relate to this phenomena, I do believe it is a breakthrough in psychological concepts.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by mill5249 in October 2011.

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