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Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is the process that alters the behaviors, either to increase it or decrease it. There are 2 main types of operant conditioning: reinforcement and punishment. As we have known, scientist are supposed to make difficult, complex term for pretty much everything. Reinforcement is simply reward and punishment is … punishment. Reinforcement is to increase the behavior, punishment is to decrease behavior. Now, we have 2 sub-type for reinforcement and punishment: positive and negative. Positive is add something, negative is take away something.

Positive Reinforcement is the process that adding something pleasant to increase the frequency of a behavior. This is probably the most simple process. The best example for this is receiving a reward after done something good like good grades, have more allowance.

Negative Reinforcement is the process that taking away something unpleasant to increase the frequency of a behavior. This one is a little tricky because we don’t usually associate taking away something to make it better. A good example is a class gave a great performance, so the teacher decided to have an early dismiss. That is take away class hour, to encourage students to continue or give a better performance next time.

Positive Punishment is the process that adding something unpleasant to decrease the frequency of a behavior. This is probably the 2nd simplest process next to positive reinforcement. This is simply giving someone a punishment like a detention after school, 20 push up. In another word, positive punishment is adding something unpleasant to decrease the frequency of a behavior.

Negative Punishment is the process that taking away something pleasant to decrease the punishment of a behavior. This is a little difficult to explain by words, examples explain better. Grounded for a week, no phone for one month, no more internet after 10pm, … things like that are negative punishment. It takes away pleasant things, things that we enjoy to decrease our behavior.

That’s it for operant conditioning. It’s a topic about punishment and rewarding and the purpose of doing that.


Week 11 – Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a form of learning that uses 2 stimuli to create responses. Basically, there are unconditioned stimulus and neutral stimulus that elicits unconditioned response and conditioned response, which is the same kind of response. At first reading through the book, I understand what classical conditioning is but I had no clue about all the term of the stimulus and the responses. I remember it by an example in my own life

I used to have a dog. Before I give it foods, I always clap 3 times. My mom told me to clap 3 times then it’ll run towards me to wait for food. I think my mom taught it that a long time a go. So every time I clap 3 times, it always run towards me for food. This example is a little bit like the example in the book of the salvation of a dog. Another example is my mom walking up the stairs and foot steps. Every time I saw her walking up from the stairs, I immediately turn my head to make weird faces to her. That happens along with the foot steps. So, every time I hear foot steps, I assume that that is my mom. So I turn and make weird faces with the wrong person all the time haha. That process is called acquisition, the process that I learned the foot steps with my mom’s appearance.

Same story with my dog. I was a very naughty kid. I clap 3 times to call my dog out but I didn’t give him any food. So his reaction slowly disappear. That is called extinction. It happens when the reaction to the conditioned stimulus disappear.

I had to look up a lot to understand these terms. Trust me, internet helps a lot.

I had quite a good break in terms of catching up my sleep. I usually sleep at around 12pm to 8am, then a lunch nap from around 2pm to 3:30pm. So that was about 9:30 hours a day. That should be able to pay my sleep debt during the exam week and the week after that. I also played basketball for pretty much every day of the break, and go out do things for my college application so I have a really really good sleep at night. Oh, and by the way, I JUST FINISHED MY COLLEGE APPLICATION FOR THE US! YAYYYYYYY!

Anyways, I did notice that I have much more dreams than I used to have. Dreams are more vivid than before the break. I also wake up in the middle of the night more than I do before the break. But then I got back to sleep just around 5 minutes after that. It was a weird alertness pattern but it was expected because I learned it for the mid term exam (yes, I studied for the midterm exam)

It’s a little late to say this but welcome back to school, merry christmas and happy new year everyone !

Our consciousness is our ability to make logical thinking, our unconsciousness is our creativity. In another words, we can control our logical thinking, but we cannot control our creativity. But these two can go with each other. In many problem, we need our logical thinking to solve the problem, then our creativity to come up with a good way to present our answers. But the thing is, for some people, the ability to have a logical mind is innate or they can practice to have a logical mind. That doesn’t work for creativity. Creativity is neither innate or none at all. It is the individual, originality of each person, which is cannot be trained. That explains why we can control our logical thinking but not our creativity

Although sometimes consciousness and unconsciousness can go along with each other, they are very different. I myself experience both type of consciousness everyday. In school, my consciousness work much more better than my unconsciousness. I don’t know why but I can’t be creative in school as I can at home. In school, I do more logical thinking to solve problem then write down the answer in a straight forward way. But when I’m at home with the piano and ukulele, my unconscious mind start to work. I play the chords first and just let the right hand flow along with the chords, making songs out of nothing.

I don’t know why but I can’t alter my consciousness when I do yoga. I have done yoga three times I think, and nothing happened. I have never mediated before. The only way I could alter my consciousness is I do it by myself, alone, with other factors. For example sitting in my room, put some jazz on, read some books or just lay there. Then my consciousness will alter. Another way is to go to the beach, a not crowded one, lie down on the chair and just look at the beach. Things like that will alter my consciousness. I don’t think Yoga would do any good to me.

Ever since I started to play basketball, I stopped walking at night. But when I had my own bike, I started to drive my bike around the city or the place I live at night more regularly. I was also confused about the headlights at night. The distinguish line between 2 ways of some streets are not that clear so it’s a little bit danger to run pass another bike. There was this one time I tried to pass one bike then I saw 2 headlights right ahead of me. I thought that was a car so I slowed down and it turned out to be just 2 bikes, and they are not even on the same distance. This is not just a matter of culture. Although it is true that the US has more cars on traffic than Vietnam but Vietnamese like me still have those confusion about headlights. That is just a problem of law of proximity and common fate.

It is true that this is top down processing but it doesn’t have anything to do with origin issues. In every culture, there are cars. Even though there are not any cars, people would know what a car looks light. In a dark night, with 2 head lights from far away with no perspective line, people will immediately determine that that is a car.

When we put something right in front of our eyes and blink fast, we will see it jump from left right left right. That is bottom up processing because these do not require any high level thinking.

Happy Thanks Giving everyone !

Anyways, I had an overwhelming week last week. Mandarin 2 dictations and a bunch of works to do, AP test but then got postponed, IB Geography presentation, IB Math test and review for the upcoming portfolio, English Honors tests, and 3 P.E essays. The amount of work was overwhelming but I didn’t stress at all but just a little headache. That is the reason why I had to take one morning off to review and continue the work.

So, sensations and perceptions came to an end with a test. Well not completely ended cos we still have one last section to cover. So, in order to fill up the supposed-to-be-test-time, Mr. M let us do the visual note thingy for our perception part since that part is difficult to understand and visual notes might help us to understand it better. I actually enjoyed doing that. I’m the type of person that can do a little bit of everything and if I spend time on that one little thing, I could be really good at it. So for art, I can do it but it takes me a long time for me to complete what I am doing. Those notes might take me days to finish but hey it might also helps me to understand the chapter !

One more blog post about this week will also be posted at the end of this week.

Again, Happy Thanks Giving !

So I officially had my last Sports Day at AIS (YAY!). It was quite sad to think about it but on another hand, it’s just interesting thinking about university and college next year. It will be a whole new experience and I’ll get to be a freshmen once again

Talking about university and college applications, IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY! Have to get everything ready on time, try to balance it with my school and social life, it’s just not as easy as I thought it would. I just finished with the application part last weekend, still have a few last touch before I 100% finish the application part, then move on to the next part. Big advice for you, Scott: get started early so that you won’t have as much stress as I have right now.

Sports day was okay. I personally think last year was better because we got to play and finish every single game. Other people told me that this year was better but I don’t think so. The fact that we can’t complete the day is a huge factor to have this sport day more incomplete than last year

Another reason for me to back up the fact that the sight is our main sense: EYES ARE SO MUCH EASIER TO LEARN THAN EARS! I don’t know if that happens to anyone, but it happens to me. Eyes, I understand pretty much everything in about that one lesson. For ears, I think I need another lesson to understand how it works

Skins were as interesting as the ears. I always wanted to know why we feel pain and why we don’t. Now I know. Even though pain is quite unpleasant, it warns us from further danger environment, which is a good thing. For example, someone pinch you, you got notified that it hurts, so you need to immediately run away from that stimuli haha

The end of semester 1 is coming. I hope we will have a few session to review everything for the semester 1 exams.


So to day is October 28th 2011, Halloween party tonight at AIS (YAY!). But before that there is something that I have waited so long to do: PIG BRAIN DISSECTION.

Before we touched the pig brain, Mr. Marshall warned us about the scapel being very sharp that it can cut to bones. I’ve had that experience once in art class while I tried to cut a piece of wood. I made 4 cuts on my thumbs.

Finally I got to touch the brain. It was nothing like I expected it to be. It was extremely cold and squishy. It gave me some chills when I hold those brains. But the squeezing feeling was interesting though.

Then the scapel part. At first I was a little confuse about how to hold the scapel, because everybody seems to hold it on the same hand but I’m left handed so it took me quite a while to hold the scapel properly AND I FELT LIKE A BRAIN SURGENT! HOW COOL IS THAT?

The best part of the dissection was of course all the admiration from the freshmen and sophomore. It was just amazing how they looked at us and gave the OMG-they-are -so-good look. Nothing feels like respect from the younger classes

So the brain dissection is finally over and next is Sensation and Perception. Hope that this chapter will be interesting and MORE EXAMPLE FROM REAL LIFE !

Goodnight everyone.

AP Psychology – Quarter 1

So, AP Psych has been interesting so far. Psychology is one subject that I was dying to study and now I’ve had it, I’m so happy. This is probably one of the only time that I actually like studying.


Everything in AP Psychology is actually quite fair: reasonable amount of homework, quizes and tests are not tricky, classmates are funny and friendly and so on. Our teacher also gave us opportunities to improve our grade so it’s actually not that bad.


At first, I struggled with all the quizes and tests. I got really low scores on the first couple of quizes and tests. But as I move on to the end of the first quarter, I can feel myself improving. Getting higher scores on both quizes and tests !


I’m looking forward to more experiments and more lesson on how emotion works. That is actually my favorite part of Psychology, learning how people feel and all that kind of stuff.


It’s the end of the break already and school starts in about 8 more hours. Imma head to bed now. Looking forward to a fresh quarter 2 with AP Psychology, starting with the pig brain disection (if thats what its called)


3 more quarters til graduation.


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