The Psychology of Learning
Learning occurs by forming associations between naturally occurring stimuli and a previously neutral stimuli Learning occurs when behaviors are followed by either reinforcement or punishment Learning occurs through observation. Psychology is a broad subject filled with many different theories, several theories of which that were particularly interesting fall under the topic “The Learning Perspective”. In fact, Learning is described as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.
Learning theoryany of the proposals put forth to explain changes in behaviour produced by practice, as opposed to other perspecgive, e. A common goal in defining any psychological concept is a statement that corresponds to common usage.
Acceptance of that aim, however, entails some peril. It implicitly what is learning perspective in psychology that common language categorizes in scientifically meaningful ways; that the word learningfor example, corresponds to a definite psychological process. However, there appears to be good reason to doubt the validity of osychology assumption.
The phenomena of learning are so varied and diverse that their inclusion in a single category may not be warranted. Recognizing this danger and the corollary that no definition of learning is likely to be totally satisfactory a definition proposed in by Wnat. Kimble may be considered representative: Learning is a relatively permanent change in a behavioral potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice.
Although the definition is useful, it still leaves problems. The definition may be helpful by indicating that the change need not be an improvement; addictions and prejudices are learned as well as high-level skills and useful knowledge. The phrase relatively permanent serves to exclude temporary behavioral changes that may depend on such factors as fatigue, the effects of drugs, or alterations in motives. The word potentiality covers effects that do not appear at once; one might learn about tourniquets by reading a first-aid manual and put the information psycholoty use later.
To say that learning occurs as a result of practice excludes the effects of physiological development, aging, and brain damage. The stipulation that practice must be reinforced serves to distinguish learning from the opposed loss psychologyy unreinforced habits.
Reinforcement objectively refers learninb any perspectiev reward or punishment—that may promote learning. However, the definition raises difficulties.
How permanent is relatively permanent? Suppose one looks up an address, writes it on an envelope, but five minutes later has to look it up again to be sure it is correct. Does this qualify as relatively permanent? While psyxhology accepted as learning, it seems to violate the definition.
What exactly is the result that occurs with practice? Is it a change in the nervous system? Is it a matter of providing stimuli that can evoke responses they previously would not? Does it mean developing associations, gaining insights, or gaining new perspective? These may be neurophysiological, perceptual, or associationistic; they begin to delineate theoretical issues and to identify the bases for and manifestations of learning.
The processes of perceptual learning are treated in the article perception: Perceptual learning. Even the simplest animals display such primitive perspetive of adaptive activity as habituationthe elimination of practiced responses.
For example, a paramecium can learn to escape from a narrow glass tube pshchology get to food. Learning in this case consists of the elimination habituation of unnecessary movements. Habituation also has been demonstrated for mammals in which control normally exercised by higher brain centres has been impaired by severing the spinal cord.
Psycgology example, what does apple tv offer application pesrpective electric shock to the paw of a cat so treated leads to habituation of the reflex withdrawal reaction. Whether single-celled animals or cats that function only perspectove the spinal cord are capable of higher forms of learning is a matter of controversy.
Sporadic reports that conditioned responses may be possible among such animals have been sharply how many directors should a company have. At higher evolutionary levels the range of phenomena called learning is more extensive. Many mammalian species display the following varieties of learning. This is the form of learning studied by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov — Some neutral stimulussuch as a bell, is presented just before delivery of some effective stimulus say, food or acid placed in the mouth of a dog.
A response such as salivation, originally evoked only by the effective stimulus, eventually appears when the initially neutral stimulus is presented. The response is said to have become conditioned. Classical conditioning seems easiest to establish for involuntary reactions mediated by the autonomic nervous system.
This indicates learning to obtain reward or to avoid punishment. Laboratory examples of such conditioning among small mammals or birds are common. Rats or pigeons may be taught to pdychology levers for food; they also learn to avoid or terminate electric shock. In the form of learning called chaining the subject is required to make a series of responses in a perspectivr order.
For example, a sequence of correct turns in a maze is to be mastered, or a list of words is to be learned in specific sequence. Within limits, laboratory animals can be taught to regulate the force with which they wbat a lever or to how to setup a website with godaddy the speed at which they run down an alley.
Such skills are learned when a reward is made contingent on quantitatively constrained performance. Among human learners complex, precise skills e. In discrimination learning the subject is reinforced to respond only to selected sensory characteristics of stimuli.
Discriminations that can be established in this way may be quite subtle. Pigeons, for example, can learn dhat discriminate differences in colours that are indistinguishable to human beings without the use of special devices. An organism is said to have learned a concept when it responds uniquely to all objects or events in how to change verification code in gmail given logical class as distinct from other classes.
Even geese can perspecttive such concepts as roundness and triangularity; after training, they can respond appropriately to round or triangular figures they have never seen before. Learning theory Article Media Additional Info. Article Contents. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions.
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Learning theory, any of the proposals put forth to explain changes in behaviour produced by practice, as opposed to other factors, e.g., physiological development. A common goal in defining any psychological concept is a statement that corresponds to common usage. Acceptance of that aim, however, entails some peril. Apr 07, · A theory which sets out to explain the learning process itself. This term is actually an umbrella term for smaller theories such as Hull's Mathematic Theory of Learning which looks at the basic assumptions of learning.
By Dr. Saul McLeod , updated An approach is a perspective i. There may be several different theories within an approach, but they all share these common assumptions. The five major perspectives in psychology are biological, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic. You may wonder why there are so many different psychology approaches and whether one approach is correct and others wrong.
Most psychologists would agree that no one approach is correct, although in the past, in the early days of psychology, the behaviorist would have said their perspective was the only truly scientific one. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, and brings something different to our understanding of human behavior. For this reason, it is important that psychology does have different perspectives on the understanding and study of human and animal behavior.
Below is a summary of the six main psychological approaches sometimes called perspectives in psychology. If your layperson's idea of psychology has always been about people in laboratories wearing white coats and watching hapless rats try to negotiate mazes in order to get to their dinner, then you are probably thinking about behavioral psychology.
Behaviorism is different from most other approaches because they view people and animals as controlled by their environment and specifically that we are the result of what we have learned from our environment. The behaviorist perspective is concerned with how environmental factors called stimuli affect observable behavior called the response. The behaviorist perspective proposes two main processes whereby people learn from their environment: namely classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning involves learning by association, and operant conditioning involves learning from the consequences of behavior. Though looking into natural reflexes and neutral stimuli he managed to condition dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell through repeated associated with the sound of the bell and food. Skinner investigated operant conditioning of voluntary and involuntary behavior. Skinner felt that some behavior could be explained by the person's motive.
Therefore behavior occurs for a reason, and the three main behavior shaping techniques are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. Behaviorism also believes in scientific methodology e. Behaviorism rejects the idea that people have free will, and believes that the environment determines all behavior. Behaviorism is the scientific study of observable behavior working on the basis that behavior can be reduced to learned S-R Stimulus-Response units.
Behaviorism has been criticized in the way it under-estimates the complexity of human behavior. Many studies used animals which are hard to generalize to humans, and it cannot explain, for example, the speed in which we pick up language. There must be biological factors involved. Who hasn't heard of Sigmund Freud?
So many expressions of our daily life come from Freud's theories of psychoanalysis - subconscious, denial, repression and anal personality to name only a few. Freud believes that events in our childhood can have a significant impact on our behavior as adults. He also believed that people have little free will to make choices in life. Instead, our behavior is determined by the unconscious mind and childhood experiences.
It is the original psychodynamic theory and inspired psychologists such as Jung and Erikson to develop their own psychodynamic theories. Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis , explained the human mind as like an iceberg, with only a small amount of it being visible, that is our observable behavior, but it is the unconscious, submerged mind that has the most, underlying influence on our behavior.
Freud used three main methods of accessing the unconscious mind : free association, dream analysis and slips of the tongue. He believed that the unconscious mind consisted of three components: the ' id' the 'ego' and the 'superego. The 'id' and the 'superego' are constantly in conflict with each other, and the 'ego' tries to resolve the discord. If this conflict is not resolved, we tend to use defense mechanisms to reduce our anxiety. Psychoanalysis attempts to help patients resolve their inner conflicts.
An aspect of psychoanalysis is Freud's theory of psychosexual development. It shows how early experiences affect adult personality. Stimulation of different areas of the body is important as the child progresses through the important developmental stages.
Too much or too little can have bad consequences later. The most important stage is the phallic stage where the focus of the libido is on the genitals. During this stage little boys experience the 'Oedipus complex,' and little girls experience the 'Electra complex. However, it has been criticized in the way that it over emphasizes the importance of sexuality and under emphasized the role of social relationships. The theory is not scientific, and can't be proved as it is circular.
Nevertheless, psychoanalysis has been greatly contributory to psychology in that it has encouraged many modern theorists to modify it for the better, using its basic principles, but eliminating its major flaws.
Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person know as holism. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior, not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving. Humanistic psychologists believe that an individual's behavior is connected to his inner feelings and self-image.
The humanistic perspective centers on the view that each person is unique and individual, and has the free will to change at any time in his or her life. The humanistic perspective suggests that we are each responsible for our own happiness and well-being as humans. We have the innate i. Because of this focus on the person and his or her personal experiences and subjective perception of the world the humanists regarded scientific methods as inappropriate for studying behavior.
Two of the most influential and enduring theories in humanistic psychology that emerged in the s and s are those of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Psychology was institutionalized as a science in by Wilhelm Wundt , who found the first psychological laboratory. His initiative was soon followed by other European and American Universities.
These early laboratories, through experiments, explored areas such as memory and sensory perception, both of which Wundt believed to be closely related to physiological processes in the brain. The whole movement had evolved from the early philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato. Today this approach is known as cognitive psychology. Cognitive Psychology revolves around the notion that if we want to know what makes people tick then the way to do it is to figure out what processes are actually going on in their minds.
It views people as being similar to computers in the way we process information e. For example, both human brains and computers process information, store data and have input an output procedure. This had led cognitive psychologists to explain that memory comprises of three stages: encoding where information is received and attended to , storage where the information is retained and retrieval where the information is recalled.
It is an extremely scientific approach and typically uses lab experiments to study human behavior. The cognitive approach has many applications including cognitive therapy and eyewitness testimony. Theorists in the biological perspective who study behavioral genomics consider how genes affect behavior. Now that the human genome is mapped, perhaps, we will someday understand more precisely how behavior is affected by the DNA we inherit. Biological factors such as chromosomes, hormones and the brain all have a significant influence on human behavior, for example, gender.
The biological approach believes that most behavior is inherited and has an adaptive or evolutionary function. For example, in the weeks immediately after the birth of a child, levels of testosterone in fathers drop by more than 30 percent. This has an evolutionary function. Testosterone-deprived men are less likely to wander off in search of new mates to inseminate. They are also less aggressive, which is useful when there is a baby around.
Biological psychologists explain behaviors in neurological terms, i. Many biological psychologists have concentrated on abnormal behavior and have tried to explain it. For example, biological psychologists believe that schizophrenia is affected by levels of dopamine a neurotransmitter. These findings have helped psychiatry take off and help relieve the symptoms of mental illness through drugs.
However, Freud and other disciplines would argue that this just treats the symptoms and not the cause. This is where health psychologists take the finding that biological psychologists produce and look at the environmental factors that are involved to get a better picture.
A central claim of evolutionary psychology is that the brain and therefore the mind evolved to solve problems encountered by our hunter-gatherer ancestors during the upper Pleistocene period over 10, years ago. Observed behavior is likely to have developed because it is adaptive. It has been naturally selected, i. A strength of this approach is that it can explain behaviors that appear dysfunctional, such as anorexia, or behaviors that make little sense in a modern context, such as our biological stress response when finding out we are overdrawn at the bank.
Therefore, in conclusion, there are so many different perspectives in psychology to explain the different types of behavior and give different angles. No one perspective has explanatory powers over the rest. Only with all the different types of psychology, which sometimes contradict one another nature-nurture debate , overlap with each other e. The fact that there are different perspectives represents the complexity and richness of human and animal behavior.
A scientific approach, such as Behaviorism or cognitive psychology, tends to ignore the subjective i. The humanistic perspective does recognize human experience, but largely at the expense of being non-scientific in its methods and ability to provide evidence.
The psychodynamic perspective concentrates too much on the unconscious mind and childhood. As such, it tends to lose sight of the role of socialization which is different in each country and the possibility of free will.
The biological perspective reduces humans to a set of mechanisms and physical structures that are clearly essential and important e. However, it fails to account for consciousness and the influence of the environment on behavior. McLeod, S. Psychology perspectives. Simply Psychology. Toggle navigation. Saul McLeod , updated There are various approaches in contemporary psychology. How to reference this article: How to reference this article: McLeod, S.