Theories of Learning

Learning theories provide the theoretical framework to understand how humans learn. The famous works of Ivan P. Pavlov, Thorndike and Bandura helps in understanding how learning takes place.

Observational Learning

Observational Learning Observational learning: The acquisition of new forms of behavior, information or concepts through exposure to others and the consequences they experience. Key factors in Observational Learning: 1. Attention:  The extent to which humans focus on other’s behavior. As in order to learn something people must direct their observation to appropriate models that attract them either through their actions or status. 2. Retention: Individuals’ ability to retain a representation of others’ behavior in memory. For instance, People are able to remember what the person have said or done. Only if they can retain some representation of other’s actions in memory, they only they can perform similar actions. 3. Production Processes: One’s ability to convert memory representations into appropriate actions. This is also termed as production processes. Production process depends on two aspects: 1) Individual’s… Read More »Observational Learning

Thorndike’s Experiment

                                                   Thorndike’s Cat Experiment Edward Thorndike is well-known in the field of psychology for his work on learning theory that lead to the growth of operant conditioning within Behaviorism. Thorndike studied learning in animals (usually cats). He planned a classic experiment in which he used a puzzle box to empirically test the laws of learning. Experiment: He placed a cat in the puzzle box, which was encouraged to escape to reach a scrap of fish placed outside. Thorndike would put a cat into the box and calculate the time that how long it would took to escape. The cats experimented with various methods to escape the puzzle box and reach the fish. After some time they would stumble upon the lever which opened the cage. When cat had escaped from the cage it was put in… Read More »Thorndike’s Experiment

Operant Conditioning Learning

                                                     Operant Conditioning Learning B.F. Skinner projected his theory on operant conditioning by conducting numerous experiments on animals. He used a special box known as “Skinner Box” for his study on rats. According to the experiment, a hungry rat was placed inside the Skinner box, where the rat was inactive, but gradually as it began to adapt to the environment of the box, it began to explore around. Sooner or later, the rat observed a lever, upon pressing which; food was released inside the box. After it filled its hunger, it pressed the lever for the second time as it grew hungry again. The phenomena sustained for the third, fourth and the fifth time, and after a while, the hungry rat immediately pressed the lever once it was placed in the box. Then the conditioning… Read More »Operant Conditioning Learning

The Little Albert’s Experiment

                                                           Little Albert Experiment  A renowned psychology experiment conducted by behaviorist John B. Watson was Little Albert’s Experiment. Watson was fascinated in taking Pavlov’s research further to show that emotional reactions could be classically conditioned in humans. Experiment: Watson and Rayner exposed a 9 months, Albert, a child to a chain of stimuli comprising a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey, masks, and burning newspapers and observed the boy’s reactions. The boy showed no fear of any of the objects shown to him. The next time, Albert was exposed to the rat; Watson made a loud sound by hitting a metal pipe with a hammer. Naturally, the child began to cry after listening the loud noise. After repeatedly pairing the white rat with the loud noise, Albert began to cry simply after watching the rat.… Read More »The Little Albert’s Experiment

Classical conditioning

Theory of Classical Conditioning Pavlovian conditioning is also known as classical conditioning.  It is the learning through association and was discovered by Ivan P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In other words, two stimuli are linked together to produce a response in a person or animal. John Watson recommended the practice of classical conditioning based on Ivan Pavlov work’s and was able to describe all the aspects of human psychology. There are three stages of classical conditioning. At each point the stimuli and responses are given special scientific terms: Stage 1: Before conditioning: This stage states that, the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) produces an unconditioned response (UCR) in an individual, which means that a stimulus in the environment who has produced a behavior/ response which is unlearned (i.e., unconditioned) and therefore it is a natural response which… Read More »Classical conditioning