We live in a world in which inconsistency is the rule rather than the exception and this is particularly true with regard to rewards and frustrations. In some cases, rewards and frustrative nonrewards appear to occur randomly for what seems to be the same behavior; in others a sequence of rewards is suddenly followed by nonrewards, or there are large rewards followed by small rewards. Sometimes we are rewarded for responding quickly, other times for responding slowly. The important common factor in these and other cases is frustration, how we learn about it and how we respond to it. Without our awareness, our long-term dispositions are shaped from infancy and early childhood by inconsistency of reward and by our reactions to discrepancy, and they are marked by changes in arousal, suppression, persistence and regression. The explanatory domain of Frustration Theory includes an area of experimental research that has evolved over some forty years. Although most of the work is with animals, it constitutes an animal model of many of the myriad human manifestations of nonreward, thwarting of purpose, and reactions to physical and emotional insult that are regarded as frustrations. This book, by the originator of the theory and the first book to be devoted solely to Frustration Theory, gives a detailed account of the theory and its ramifications and it examines the relationship between frustration symptoms and the limbic system that is thought to be the region of the brain responsible for generating these symptoms.
Table of ContentsPreface; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction: reward-schedule effects and dispositional learning; 2. Motivational and associative mechanisms of behavior; 3. Frustration theory: an overview of its experimental basis; 4. Survival, durability, and transfer of persistence; 5. Discrimination learning and prediscrimination effects; 6. Alternatives and additions to frustration theory; 7. Ontogeny of dispositional learning and the reward-schedule effects; 8. Toward a developmental psychobiology of dispositional learning and memory; 9. Summing up: steps in the psychobiological study of related behavioral effects; 10. Application to humans: a recapitulation and an addendum; Appendix; References; Indexes.