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Theses

Investigation of behavioral variability In humans

Abstract : This thesis aims at investigating behavioral variations as an important variable to study behavioral changes in Humans. Variability has been let apart in traditional psychology for several years. This situation is directly related to the different ways to encompass and define behavior in psychology. One important part of this thesis has been dedicated to underline the influence and the importance of these different perspectives on the study of behavior. In fact, the place of studies on behavioral variability in research can be considered as an illustration of these different perspectives.Our investigations have focused on two perspectives to introduce the place of behavioral variations in psychology: essentialism and functionalism. On the one hand essentialism defines behaviors according to their topographies, on the other hand functionalism focuses on the interaction between the environment and behaviors. Despite the common question and because of the differences on the research subject, behavioral variability is differently handled according to the paradigm of research. Indeed, from an essentialist perspective, behavioral variation is considered as a confounding variable which has logically been let apart. From a functionalist perspective, more precisely in selectionism, behavioral variability take an important place in behavioral selection.We adopted in our works a selectionist perspective in which behavioral variability is considered to be the result of environmental changes. Moreover, it shows that controlled variations can be implied on several aspects of behavioral changes. However, this thesis consists of experimental studies investigating behavioral variability in humans. Our experimental works can be divided into two axes:First, we investigated how environmental changes affect the persistence of variable behaviors. Studies with animals have shown that despite environmental disruptors, behavioral variability is more persistent to change than other behavioral patterns. These first studies aimed at investigating behavioral variability and at understanding the mechanism which might affect it.The second part of our experimental investigations dealt with the relation between behavioral variability and the acquisition of less probable behaviors. It can be divided into two experiences. We carried out a first experiment which demonstrates that behavioral variability facilitates the acquisition of less probable sequences. The second experience can be considered as a pilot study in which we investigated how variable responses can be transferred to other modalities.In the continuity of animal studies, this thesis has demonstrated that Behavioral variability can be altered by environmental variables and that it can facilitate the acquisition of rare responses. However, this Research provides a different perspective to encompass behavioral variation, it has enabled a better understanding of learning processes, creativity and solving problem in Humans.
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Mike Perfillon. Investigation of behavioral variability In humans. Psychology. Université Charles de Gaulle - Lille III, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LIL3H068⟩. ⟨tel-02890918v2⟩

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