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Posts Tagged ‘escape’

Emotion research is now routinely referenced as a part of an evolutionary substrate. However, explicit experimental evolutionary analyses of emotions remain rare.

The implications of natural selection for several classic questions about emotions and emotional disorders should be the focus of research programs that are stagnant with 19th and early 20th Century hypotheses that cannot be proven but are failed to be dismissed by those doing research in the area marring if not diluting the term ‘social scientist’.

Emotions are NOT special modes of operation or unique states shaped by natural selection. They ARE conditioned artifacts of centuries of classical conditioning between flight or fight related contingencies that then are conditioned using conditioned products of those states to set up additional pairings that come to elicit response once related to fear, threat, escape from danger, avoidance of peril, and other euphemisms of exhaust [with all the physiological and nervous system components apparent as if a real threat or escape from isolation were present] from contingencies involving wide swings in homeostasis. They are conditioned most assuredly and supported by the environments (including people) that have notions [history in context] of similar states.

Collectively they are, or they make up, a large scale of response parameters [behavior sets] that may have or potentially do increase fitness by learned adaptations to challenging situations that occurred over the course of the individual’s history and were taught to generations over the course of that tree’s evolution. Some societies are almost devoid of emotional content while others are mired in emotional waves as a ‘tradition’ or a cultural response to the vagaries of life’s changes.

In all cases emotions are valenced.

Valence, as used here means the property along a continuum (positive – negative) of an event, object, or state. Ambivalence here would refer to no particular valance based on the context or history of the organism. No, valences are not just for humans but are represented differentially by any organism that displays changes in affectations based on behavior.

Valence is not an absolute property of any identified emotion but is relative based on context and history. Selection shapes each case where contingencies that have influenced fitness in the past shape expression. In situations that decrease fitness, negative emotions are useful and positive emotions are harmful.

Selection has partially differentiated subtypes of emotions from generic precursor states to deal with specialized situations: our communication of internal states that are not available to view by the outside world. This communication of subjective states – emotions – has resulted in untidy associations that blur across dimensions rendering the quest for simple or objectivity futile. For some social scientists this state of affairs doubles their efforts. For others, the recognition of emotions as exhaust is good enough for both communication and but also the redirection of research time and effort on things, events and states that lead to a better understanding of what’s going on in the world. Non-scientists use the same approach to make their course corrections only those sets of changes lack a unique vocabulary to allow communication and efforts to be reinforced effectively by the environment.

Selection has shaped mechanisms that control the expression of emotions on the basis of an individual’s appraised value of a state based on the past and the current context. This is the conversion of data to meaning. This meaning of events, etc. is the synthesis for the individual to use in evaluation of subsequent conditions – some of which may be related to avoidance and some of which may be related to acquisition of reinforcers whether they are goals, etc. or states of existence.

The prevalence of emotional disorders can be attributed to several conflicting values [also conditioned in us all] and valences that go with them as factors that contribute to something being a ‘disorder’ [negative] or a ‘passion’ [positive].

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Like a flu virus in a preschool lunch room, the question comes up every 6 months or so as to “Why do children lie?” and “What does it mean?” and “What do you do about it?” The latest incarnation was on CNN/health in a Parenting.com article.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/family/11/12/why.kids.lie/index.html

There is huge divergence out there on the answers to the above questions. Even when the conclusions are correct, like Michael Brody, M.D. who correctly says “There’s nothing wrong with telling it [a lie]” he’s grossly mistaken when he says that, “Very young kids don’t know the difference between truth and fiction.”

And again later in the CNN article, when it states “It doesn’t make sense to punish toddlers for truth bending, since they don’t get that what they’re doing is wrong.” Right conclusion for the wrong reasons, again.

Alix Finkelstein in her book, Baby Name Tool Data Set and her article “Baffling Kid Behavior – Explained” subtitled “Why they say one thing and then do another — and how to know what they really want” concludes with the assessment that is chilling: “Kids are a bundle of contradictory impulses.”

So, what do the above proclamations tell us? Can these authorities with all these published works and fancy letters after their name be mistaken?

It is very clear; children can tell what contingencies are operating in different contexts as well as when those contingencies change. They understand counter-control before the parents are driven to pap in doctor office magazine racks for clues on what “counter-control” means.

Parents are the one’s that have been deceived and have not been told the truth. For instance, parents are told that the ‘Terrible twos’ is just a phase that the children go through, etc. That period boils down to the children learning rules – everyone’s rules, faster than the parents learning the children’s rules. They and teachers and ‘authorities’ see no inconsistencies with encouraging their children they can be President of the United States some day [or a princess or baseball player] with that same child also needing different strategies of how to navigate the politics of third grade.

The enveloping scheme here though is the different rule sets the parents have that conflict with the rule sets the child have.

Ask the 3 year olds living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro without parents if they know the difference between truth and fiction. Ask the four year olds working in the factories around the world if they can tell the difference between right and wrong, good and bad or about ‘truth’. Ask the five year olds in Bagdad, Darfur, Mexico City, NYC, Moscow and Rome if they understand the rules (contingencies) for telling the truth, lying and what is fiction. Consequences control behavior. Get over it and on with life.

We all live in a world of fantasy and reality. Telling the difference is not easy for children and it is not easy for adults who have been given license to be uncritical of what controls behavior. It is not made easier with superstition and traditions that foster fantasy masked as reality – Christmas – the Easter Bunny – grandpa is now sleeping in heaven – mommy is busy – when the child senses what is going on and it is not what is reported to be going on.

For a child to NOT pick up the differences on what is going on and what he or she is told defines a level of what all parents dread more than anything…the child is a dolt! For parents to NOT manage these relationships with communication supports the contention that parents don’t understand behavior –theirs or their children’s – any better than Finkelstein does above with her assessment that “Kids are a bundle of contradictory impulses.”

Here is a list of scenarios that lead to lying. Can you tell which are for children and which are for adults?

  • Boredom – lack of stimulation and social attention
  • Anger over some broken rules by others

o Betrayal

o Frustration

o Their own rules conflict

  • Seeking material gain
  • Mimicry
  • Story telling to connect things that seem unconnected
  • They want the lie to be the truth
  • Escape / avoidance from aversive stimulation

I can’t tell either.

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Can you remember back to your days in 1975 while in Psychology 210: “Psych for the New World”?

A Negative Reinforcer is a stimulus or stimulus set that when removed or terminated increases the probability of that same response in the future.

Richard Fuld claims that ‘we’ made him and the others like him that have tetra dollar salaries and Mega stock and bonuses with parachutes the size of which could fund small nations… Well, he may be right. The contingencies that came together were those things that favored him doing what he did.

We did it or at least reinforced it when it happened. We got them there and we gave them the keys to the kingdom and told them all that we wanted order and profit – if not in that order, we still wanted it. Those that could claim [reliably] to be able to bring it were vetted, signed and installed.

Ugly isn’t it. Guess what…??? Fuld and those like him were the instruments of the body that didn’t want to face the clients, other boards, other nations, regulators and the zealots of legislature on the right, down the middle and the left. Fuld said he’d do it if they, the boards of directors, paid him. They did and he did.

Competition says what the compensation will be. In effect he responded. “You want more, pay me more. You want your assets and reserves and exchanges managed? Get a manager! I bring it to new levels by risking my reputation for the good of the investors and clients. Anything short of that you can get someone from GE to sit at the desk…”

That is what the board wanted to hear…

Now he is doing his job to escape aversive stimuli [career ending sanctions, indictments, loss of pensions, bonuses, and parachutes] which is reinforcing to him and his companies… it is as reinforcing to him as it is to you and I only his scale of success makes it seem more gluttonous. Perhaps you nick the IRS a bit, use the corporate cards for discretionary spending, turn in to corporate gas mileage for the trip to see sick Aunt Gert? Same difference…

We hail those who beat the system [– ironically, we’re the system]. Of course he is going to explain the run around that favors his position, just as we explain our positions favorably when it of value to us to do so…

Reinforcement is just one behavioral property that helps explain what is going on. It even explains the behavior of those tinkering to prevent it from happening again as they figure out how to restructure the economy to get our hats out of our butts.

Don’t think that it is possible to use negative reinforcement this way? Whattabet?

Those that consider this or that to be a result of single causes should bite your tongue and go take a “time out” while you consider how contingencies work; antecedents events, current state, shaped past consequences for similar behavior…

Consider this mornings Google News events from today.

FIND THE ARTICLE THAT IS NOT CONTROLLED BY CONSEQUENCES

10/6/08 Auto-generated 10 minutes ago

German Stocks Fall to Lowest Since 2006; Hypo Real Estate Drops
Bloomberg – 2 hours ago
By Michael Patterson Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — German stocks fell the most in eight months, sending the DAX Index to the lowest since July 2006, as the deepening credit crunch forced the country’s financial industry to double a credit line for Hypo Real

Barack Obama accuses Republicans of distracting voters from the …
Los Angeles Times – 2 hours ago
‘TURN THE PAGE’: Obama in Asheville. His poll ratings have risen recently, even in red states such as North Carolina. John McCain wants to ‘distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance,’ the Democrat says in Asheville, NC,

Northern California bus crash leaves 10 dead
The Associated Press – 48 minutes ago
WILLIAMS, Calif. (AP) – A casino-bound charter bus flipped over about 10 miles from its destination, ejecting passengers and crushing others as it rolled into a ditch.

UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-FBR raises Wells Fargo price target
Reuters – 46 minutes ago
Oct 6 (Reuters) – Friedman Billings Ramsey raised its price target on the stock of Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the fifth-largest US bank, by $5 to $25, saying the proposed merger with Wachovia Corp (WB.

ImClone Announces Merger Agreement with Eli Lilly at $70 Per Share
MarketWatch – 48 minutes ago
, , ) , pursuant to which Lilly has agreed to commence a tender offer for no less than a majority of the issued and outstanding shares of ImClone common stock at a net price per share of $70 in cash.

European countries ramp up deposit protection
Washington Post – 39 minutes ago
By MATT MOORE AP STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Nordic countries Denmark and Sweden moved Monday to bolster protection of bank accounts as stock exchanges across Europe opened lower and central banks pumped more money to cash-starved banks.

Sony Expands E-book Reader Range
PC World – 9 hours ago
Sony is introducing a second electronic book reader to its range in the US that comes with upgraded hardware and will go on sale in November.

IBM Expands Cloud Computing Offerings
CRN – 1 hour ago
By Rick Whiting, ChannelWeb IBM expanded its cloud computing efforts Monday, debuting new on-demand services for ISVs and customers the company said would make it easier for businesses to adopt cloud computing practices for improving collaboration,

Facebook co-founder Moskovitz leaves to start group collaboration …
VentureBeat – 5 hours ago
Facebook co-foudner Dustin Moskovitz (left) and colleague Justin Rosenstein (right) said this weekend they are leaving Facebook to start their own company.

McCain, Obama campaigns trade barbs
The Associated Press – 38 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) – Officials with the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama are trading fresh accusations of mudslinging a month before voters choose George Bush’s successor.

Under Financial Restraints, McCain Drops Michigan
ABC News – 1 hour ago
By RUSSELL GOLDMAN The electoral map shrank for John McCain Thursday as he abandoned his campaign in Michigan, raising the stakes in other battleground states such as Ohio.

‘SNL’ Keeps It Political
New York Times – 7 hours ago
Once again, “Saturday Night Live” led off the weekend’s show with Tina Fey, above, the Emmy Award-winning creator of “30 Rock,” as the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska.

‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ tops weekend box office
Los Angeles Times – 4 hours ago
A nation of Chihuahua dogs living in the Lost City of Techichi. in the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” The Disney film does better than expected, grossing $29 million and knocking ‘Eagle Eye’ into second place.

OJ Simpson jury: Tapes did football legend in
New York Daily News – 5 hours ago
BY NANCY DILLON Jurors, including Dora Pettit (with mike), say they set aside personal feelings and based guilty OJ Simpson conviction on facts.

Yes, it is sort of a trick question but it explains all you are seeing in Washington, DC, Wall Street and Main Street…

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