Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Kaela Lindsay

     While this was a long lecture, it was interesting and I thought towards the latter part could be tied in nicely with the previous lecture regarding performance.

    Additionally, reinforcements and punishments for certain behaviors can affect how we perceive what is good and what is bad. What determines this is the experiences someone has felt that are due to their behavior. Usually, reinforcement is seen as positive and helps increase behavioral frequency (ex. teacher awarding their students 2 points extra credit if half of the class gets a B or higher). In contrast, punishments decrease the likelihood of the behavior happening (ex. a mom giving their child a "time out" when they are acting up). Moreover, these effects represent the Law of Hedonic Contrast, in which more positive experiences/consequences produce pleasurable feelings; and negative experiences/consequences create a more unpleasant feeling, and if severe enough, can cause regret. Another question that can arise is why this is the case? Why is regret so strong? The answer can be, because loss is more heavily felt we tend to remember and dwell on negative life events/experiences. What about materialistic things, rather than morals? How does incentive play a role on what we find valuable?

     In society, we are taught that less is negative, and we should always aim for more, bigger, and better things. Often at times, incentives that have a high value is worth more and more "prized" (example, $100 is more attractive than $20). However, psychologist Barry Schwartz challenges this popular idea and says that more choices are not always a good thing. I thought this notion was interesting and puts the phrase "less is more" in perspective. Schwartz argues that when people are presented with too many choices, they experience choice overload, which makes it hard to reach a decision. When people do make a decision, they may become more dissatisfied with their final choice, because they are consumed in what if or what they should have chosen (especially if their high expectations were not met).  How do we then overcome this mental set? According to Schwartz, if we set our expectations from low-moderate, we can be surprised if it turns out to be better than expected; and if we are disappointed, we can be assured that we went in with the mindset of "preparing for the worst, but hope for the best." We can take each negative event and look to it as an opportunity to grow from and rejoice when everything turns out better than we imagined :)

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