Quiz 1 Essay, Research Paper
June 26, 2000
Essay Question #1
Children raised in a single-parent home are not necessarily more prone to be social misfits (those who have behavioral problems and perform acts deemed as unacceptable by society) than children raised in a two-parent home.
First, I gave an operational definition to the term “social misfits” which is ambiguous and could be interpreted in many ways by different people. Also, in making this statement, I examined the evidence. Personal experience and observation of other children raised in single-parent homes led me to this conclusion. The evidence I used is not necessarily the most reliable because it is not based on any group study or scientific research, but the topic is researchable and I believe the results of such a study will prove my hypothesis plausible. My statement is also a nonfalsifiable prediction. The words “?are not necessarily more prone?” show that I understand that in exceptional cases, a child’s having been raised in a single-parent home may strongly contribute to behavior that is considered unacceptable by society. One fallacy that my statement may include is emotional reasoning. My opinion on the subject is somewhat emotionally reasoned, but if a study reveals that children raised in single-parent homes are more prone to be social misfits than children raised in two-parent homes, then I will accept it.
Essay Question # 5
In order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in my city, I would implement a plan that utilizes the positive reinforcement principle of operant conditioning. I would use this form of reinforcement over negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment because driving is a privilege that drivers have unless they abuse it. Choosing not to carpool or use public transportation is by no means a form of abusing driving privileges and therefore should not be punished, which is how drivers would perceive negative reinforcement, positive punishment, or negative punishment if any of them were used instead of positive reinforcement.
Incentives that could be considered positive reinforcers are:
? Discounted bus passes
? Gas vouchers for drivers registering their vehicle as a carpooling vehicle for the first time
? Discounted property tax on carpooling vehicles
? Lower license plate renewal price for carpooling vehicles
? Lower license renewal price for carpool drivers
? Discounted vehicle inspection price for vehicles used to carpool
Offering these incentives will make people more aware of the benefits of other methods of transportation. The incentives are likely to increase the number of bus passengers, increase the number of carpoolers, and make carpooling a favorable option for daily transportation to work.
On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks to offering incentives to reduce vehicular travel. First, the bus is seen as an inconvenient and possibly dangerous form of transportation. I make this statement based on my personal experience and talking with others about the public bus system. Also, I assume gas vouchers would effectively attract new carpoolers, but would not necessarily keep them carpooling. The discounts would probably only be effective as long as they were available. As soon as the discounts are discontinued, it is likely that the number of carpoolers would drop.
Positive reinforcement would be effective to “get the ball rolling”, but only education about the long-term benefits of using public transportation and carpooling will keep vehicular travel down.
Essay Question # 6
An example of classical conditioning is a driver’s reaction to stoplights. Drivers are conditioned to press the accelerator when the light is green and press the break when the light is red. The unconditioned stimulus is the color of the traffic light. The unconditioned response is pressing the accelerator to go and pressing the break to stop. The conditioned stimulus is the driver’s knowledge of what society accepts the colors of the traffic light to mean. The conditioned response is pressing the accelerator when the light is green and pressing the break when the light is red. In order for this conditioning to become extinct, all traffic lights would have to be removed, in the extreme case, or the colors of the lights would have to change. If all traffic lights are removed, drivers will no longer make their decision to go or stop based on traffic lights. If traffic light colors are changed (assuming the new colors are too different from the original colors for stimulus generalization), drivers will not know how to respond to them.