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  1. #1 human behavior 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Is our behavior instinctive or conditioned---or both? How can it be both? How can it be genetic? Did it evolve in us?

    Here is an example of instinctive behavior:

    A team of men kicks a leather encased object and chases it across a field in competition with another such team. They are playing a "game." The object, the ball, is the game and they are the hunting team part of the human hunting-gathering group instinctive makeup which has been with us (or ancestors) for millions of years. This is known as the chase part of the hunting instinct. We condition it into a stylized "sport." It is like ritual warfare---i.e., stylized.

    When a group of policement finally catch someone who has fled the scene of a crime and who is resisting arrest, the officers are hard pressed to resist the urge to keep pummeling the suspect, to kick and beat him senseless because when captured, the kill part of the instinct tends to kick in. So, policement have to be instructed ("conditioned") not to do that so they can resist the urge when making arrests.

    charles
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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman ellion's Avatar
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    can instinctive behaviour be conditioned?


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    Forum Sophomore vslayer's Avatar
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    can you train a dog not to attack the cat?

    of course.
    all behaviour can be conditioned, that is the basis of rehabilitation, do you think we wolud bother with it if we knew that the guy was going to rape again anyway, no, we would jsut put him in prison instead
    and so the balance of power shifts...
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman ellion's Avatar
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    question answered, it is both and that is how.
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    well, its both.
    but genes seem to favour some sort of stimuli when conditionig takes place.
    A guy called Seligman and some russian scientist called Rozin have designed the Prepardness theory of Learning to take care of this matter of fact.
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    In behavior, genes generally mean predisposition, however strong or weak. For example, an individual may be predisposed towards schizophrenia; if he does drugs, he increases his chance of getting ill. However, in some, schizophrenia is inevitable. (My psych classes were long ago, correct me if I'm wrong.)
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    Forum Freshman ellion's Avatar
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    "genes favour some sort of stimuli when conditioning takes place"
    what do you mean by that?
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  9. #8 instincts conditioned 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    good question . . .what does "genes favour some sort of stimuli when conditioning takes place" mean? The problem is he is using social science terms and, as usual, the terms are ill and confusingly defined. A better way to state it would be "our instincts are genetically coded into us by our long evolution. Like all mammals, how we satisfy these instincts or wants is determined by what we learn as we grow up."

    Isn't that a lot clearer? Yet, students are conditioned to use terms in ways which confuse the subjects rather than cleaify it because the whole subject of human behavior having an instinct basis is offensive to our religious beliefs. Not only that, but it is also offensive to our secular beliefs in "free will." It is even offensive to our Harvard Marxists who have to believe in the infinite maleability of human nature in order to believe we can someday, somehow, be molded into building the ideal egalitarian communal society. So, no one wants to be accurate!

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    Forum Freshman ellion's Avatar
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    so the point you are making is that we are purposefully conditioned to think about our nature in a way which keeps us from understanding our true instinctual source of behaviour.

    actually i was thinking about this just today. did you read maslows hierachy of needs? i'll attach a PDF of a theory of human motivation if i can. what i was seeing was the possibilty of these needs being manipulated to keep an elite social hierachy functioning at the top level of existence. not just economical status but complete fulfillment and satisfaction of all possible needs of human nature. i'm not sure my idea has any basis in reality but the possibilty definitely does.

    also looking at it in the same light but from the bottom end of the hierarchy if those needs which have been exaggerated through clever manipulation of the group mind could be could be transcended or at leat minimised, then the higher levels of potential inherent in human nature can be actualised. which is what i recognise happening in my own life as i realise my true nature and dissociate myself from the influence of group mind and social conditioning.

    anybody know how to attach a file?
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    Hi,

    I will try to explain myself

    In the beginning there is an unconditioned reaction UR (e.g. fear) to an unconditioned stimulus US (e.g.snake).
    then there is a coupling of an neutral stimulus (CS), which is presented together with the US. After some trials, the former neutral stimulus alone is able to cause the UR.

    But there are some critical factors, you have to look for, when the coupling takes place.

    1) There are different kind of stimuli ->auditory, vusual, olfactory etc.
    2) there are critical time intervalls between the presentaion of the stimuli.

    ¨The CNS is predisposed, to favour some time intervalls. These time intervalls are dependent on the kind of stimuli.

    E.g.

    a)when you use visual stimuli as US and CS, then then the time intervall should not exceed 500 ms, to form a coupling
    EDIT: this is the best time intervall; others are possible, but it will take a long time to learn and less time to forget

    b) Rozin and Kalat (1971?) have performed an experiment, where rats were given food, which caused nausea. Assume that the nausea is the UR. Now the smell of the stimulus is the CS. The conditiong is only successfull, when a smell is presented at least several min before the onset of the Nausea.

    c) Today, phobias are usually explained and treated by use of conditiong paradigms. But you will seldom meet a phobia towards butterflies
    When chimpanzees grow up isolated, they do not show a fear reactions to snakes. But afterward it is very easy to establish a conditined fear reation to snakes, whereas it is very difficult to establish a conditined fear reaction towards butterflies. so there seems to be a disposition to show fear towards snakes. This is what Seligman called the "Preperdness theory of Fear Learning)



    there are other experiments too. You will find several examples, when you do a literature search (pubmed/APA)
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellion
    actually i was thinking about this just today. did you read maslows hierachy of needs? i'll attach a PDF of a theory of human motivation if i can. what i was seeing was the possibilty of these needs being manipulated to keep an elite social hierachy functioning at the top level of existence. not just economical status but complete fulfillment and satisfaction of all possible needs of human nature. i'm not sure my idea has any basis in reality but the possibilty definitely does.

    I konw Maslow. But in my opinion its just a pseudoscientific thought. I think so, because the needs that on the top levels of his hierachy are cultural dependent. We are not able to think of the needs of different cultures. The exception is the top of his hierachy. But when you have a look at it, the content of the term self-actualisation may change daily.
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    BM
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  13. #12 Re: instincts conditioned 
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    A better way to state it would be "our instincts are genetically coded into us by our long evolution. Like all mammals, how we satisfy these instincts or wants is determined by what we learn as we grow up."

    THAT IS EXACTLY; WHAT I DID NOT WANT TO SAY

    There is an inborn disposition, to learn specific behaviour.
    Of course there are still many degrees of freedom
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenMirror
    I konw Maslow. But in my opinion its just a pseudoscientific thought. I think so, because the needs that on the top levels of his hierachy are cultural dependent. We are not able to think of the needs of different cultures. The exception is the top of his hierachy. But when you have a look at it, the content of the term self-actualisation may change daily.
    he does take a lot of culture into consideration when formulating his theory. 'the farther reaches of human nature' goes a little further into his theory and its conception and the ramifications of the application of his work in the future in education in science in business and society.

    i wonder why you speak of inherent genetic predisposition then say something like his theory has a lack of cultural consideration.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellion

    i wonder why you speak of inherent genetic predisposition then say something like his theory has a lack of cultural consideration.
    why?
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    BM
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  16. #15  
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    obviously millions of years of human evolution have brought up the survival of the fittest, kill or be killed kind of thing.

    all humans obviously still have these traits but we are conditioned not to use them because we simply don't need them. insted they have been replaced by social instincts in order to survive in a different kind of environment.
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    I do not think it has been replaced. Instead social behaviour is a part of human fitness since the beginnings.

    For example think about the footprints of australopithecus that have been found in kenya.
    3 people - The youngest seems to step into the footprints of an elderly.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Freshman wesmorris's Avatar
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    It's my opinion that human motivation is best described in terms of economics.

    Value for instance, is key to understanding why people seek what they do. It can be shown for instance, that motivation translates to the unyielding quest for that which is valued... and limited by it's cost in the subjective equation of being and consequence so to speak.

    I don't have time to go way into it now.

    We cam consider "instinct" the boundary conditions of value, and the rest of our baggage added to it comprises the entire potatoe.

    Value is a consequence of a lot of things. Boundary conditions, circumstance, perception, thought, intellect, emotional content, blah blah blah. I need to think about how to translate this to the blank slate of human motivation, as I usually use it to explain specific motivations.

    Value can be inferred from choices. Bah no time now. Cya.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Freshman ellion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken mirror
    Quote Originally Posted by ellion
    i wonder why you speak of inherent genetic predisposition then say something like his theory has a lack of cultural consideration.
    why?
    my mind doesnt want to put the required effort into answering this question but i'll try the simplified versio.

    culture is not at the core of human motivation it is a surface phenomena. ie we respond to our cultture the way we do because of our genetic predisposition. the needs identified by maslow are the essence of the human organinsm the culture are just the conditions within which the organism grows.

    i m not sure whether it would be fair to say that his theory is a physiological psychology.
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  20. #19  
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    Dear ellion,

    About Maslow: that is exactly what I did want to say. But I think about the evolution of an organism as a coevolutionary process. So there are some possibly behaviours, which will most likly occur or under certain circumstances.
    When I speak about Maslow. I do not intend to tell, his theory is worthles at all. When did use the term pseudoscientific, I wanted to refer to Popper, who has used the term in his book "logic of science".
    In this way, it is pseudoscientific, because - given the words - you still dont know what to measure. The Phenotype is not given - so the mearurement is far away from objectivity


    QUOTE:
    "the needs identified by maslow are the essence of the human organinsm the culture are just the conditions within which the organism grows"
    -> I believe most of Maslows needs are already cultural products, which have been motivated by more essential needs.
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  21. #20 human behavior 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Wallaby: actually, we evolved the social instinct complex as hunter-gatherers along with all our other instincts. The only big change that we have had to condition upon ourselves is monogamy. All else is roughly the same. We just refine it.

    Broken Mirror, yes, you are right, I misunderstood your original explanation.

    I wrote that "A better way to state it would be 'our instincts are genetically coded into us by our long evolution. Like all mammals, how we satisfy these instincts or wants is determined by what we learn as we grow up.'"

    THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID NOT WANT TO SAY

    and you wrote: "There is an inborn disposition, to learn specific behaviour.
    Of course there are still many degrees of freedom"

    Actually, there is good reason to believe all three explanations describe most if not all the different processes going on!

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  22. #21 human behavior 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    "Survival of the fittest" is a term people tend to use when they see wild dogs catching and draging down a herd animal and eating it. It seems so cruel, so savage. We are different; we are not like that. We kill for food in a different way. We hire special people to kill them for us hidden away in big slaughterhouses so we do not have to see them do it. That makes us very much superior. We can even hate the hunter for killing cute little animals.

    Pass the fried chicken and fries, please . . .

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  23. #22 human instinct 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Mention was made of a "killer" instinct, of an instinct to develop schisophrenia and to be afraid of snakes. Also, class warfare was somehow attributed to instinct. . .

    Actually, I was referring to the classes of instinctive drives which govern our whole lives. For example, we instinctively like to live in close approximation with each other---as in towns and cities. We like to hunt or play ball because we like the stalk, hunt and kill game. We huddle around the strongest leader in time of threat. Men want to possess women and women want to protect their children. People want to have limits to their territory and to protect its borders. All this evolved in us through the millions of years of hunting-gathering evolution in our ape-man ancestors.

    Yet all are able to be condition or "adjusted" so they are expressed in us in a socially rather uniform and often constructive way. The conditioning process is done by what we call "religion." Every society is based upon a religion-system of conditiong. When a religion becomes old, it grows out of date and is no longer able to adjust our instinctive nature in a way that enables us to deal with the changed world of the present.

    I propose that this is just what has happened in the modern world. The old religions are filled with the supernatural and inhibit our science. They also fill us with the idea that the earth should be ever more filled with people when it has now become over-crowded. The old moral code is filled with holes and new commandments need to be added. Worst of all, they direct us to welcome a WMD world war so that "the Savior" can come and bring on the Millenium!

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  24. #23  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Wallaby mentions that we lost the killer nature and became human when we acquired social instincts.

    In the last decade, however, we have learned so much about the other primates that it is now possible to see that they have much the same social instincts we have. Also, they are no more killers than we are. They also "war" or fight to defend what they consider to be their territory. (The current administration considers the whole world as "our territory!)"

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  25. #24 Re: human behavior 
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    ..This is known as the chase part of the hunting instinct. We condition it into a stylized "sport." It is like ritual warfare---i.e., stylized.

    When a group of policement finally catch someone who has fled the scene of a crime and who is resisting arrest, the officers are hard pressed to resist the urge to keep pummeling the suspect, to kick and beat him senseless because when captured, the kill part of the instinct tends to kick in. So, policement have to be instructed ("conditioned") not to do that so they can resist the urge when making arrests.

    charles
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    Do you really believe that policemen nowadays beat up someone in order to get out the steam coming from instincts and not top prevent him to get away.
    People are more reasonable creatures than you think.
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