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Theories of Learnin

Test 1 for PS234

QuestionAnswer
Misbehavior of organisms the term used by the Brelands to describe the tendency of some organisms to behave instinctually instead of as they had been conditioned to behave.
Instinctual drift the tendency for the behavior of some organisms, after prolonged conditioning, to revert to instinctual patterns of behavior.
Autoshaping the observation that under certain circumstances the behavior of some organisms seems to be shaped automatically.
John B. Watson (1878-1958) Founder of the school of behaviorism that believed the only reliable, observable, and measurable subject matter available to psychologists is behavior. Except for fear, rage, and love, everything learned
Behaviorism a school of psychology, founded by J.B. Watson, that completely rejected the study of consciousness. To be scientific, psychology needed a subject matter that could be reliably measured, and according to the behaviorist, that subject matter was behavior.
Behavior therapy the utilization of learning principles in the treatment of behavior disorders.
George Romanes (1848-1894) an early comparative psychologist whose evidence for the continuity between nonhuman and human mental processes was anecdotal and replete with anthropomorphizing.
Anthropomorphizing attributing human characteristics to nonhuman animals
Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852-1936) an early comparative psychologist who attempted to be objective in his descriptions of animal behavior by carefully avoiding anthropomorphizing.
Morgan’s canon rule that animal researchers should never explain animal behavior as resulting from a higher mental process, such as reasoning or thinking, if that behavior could be explained by a lower process, such as instinct, habit, or association.
Margaret Floy Washburn (1878-1958) the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, Washburn wrote about consciousness in nonhuman animals.
Connectionism a term often used to describe Thorndike’s explanation of learning because he assumed learning involved the strengthening of neural bonds between stimulating conditions and the responses to them.
Trial-and-error learning trying different responses in a problem-solving situation until a response that solves the problem is found. aka selecting and connecting
Incremental learning learning that occurs a little bit at a time rather than all at once.
Insightful learning learning that occurs very rapidly, is remembered for a considerable length of time, and transfers readily to situations related to the one in which the insightful learning took place.
Law of readiness when an organism is ready to act, it is reinforcing for it to do so and annoying for it not to do so. Also, when an organism is not ready to act, forcing it to act will be annoying to it.
Law of exercise the strength of a connection is determined by how often the connection is used. The law of exercise has two components: the law of use and the law of disuse.
Law of use the strength of a connection increases with its use (discarded after 1930)
Law of disuse the strength of a connection diminishes when the connection is not used (discarded after 1930)
Law of effect the law that states that the strength of a connection is influenced by the consequences of a response. Originally included both pleasurable and annoying consequences. But after 1930, annoying consequences removed
Satisfying state of affairs a condition that an organism seeks out and attempts to preserve. Once such a condition exists, the organism does nothing to avoid it.
Annoying state of affairs a condition that an organism actively avoids. If such a condition occurs, the organism attempts attempts to abandon it as soon as possible.
Confirming reaction a neurophysiological reaction that is stimulated when a response produces a satisfying state of affairs. a true strengthener of a neural bond.
Multiple response refers to the fact that if one response does not solve the problem, the organism continues to try other responses until it hits on one that is effective in solving the problem; a prerequisite to trial-and-error learning.
Sets temporary conditions, such as food deprivation, fatigue, or emotion, that determine what will be annoying or pleasurable to a given organism.
Prepotency of elements refers to the fact that different aspects of the environment evoke different responses; similar to what we now refer to as selective perception.
Response by analogy refers to the fact that our response to an unfamiliar situation is determined by its degree of similarity (# of common elements) to a familiar situation (if two situations similar, similar response) This observation is related to his identical elements th
Transfer of training when something learned in one situation is applied in another situation.
Identical elements theory of transfer the likelihood of something learned in one situation being applied in a different situation is determined by the number of common elements (stimuli or procedures) in the two situations. As the number of common elements goes up, the amount of transfer bet
Formal discipline the belief held by some faculty psychologist that specific training can strengthen a specific faculty.
Associative shifting a response is “carried” from one set of stimulating conditions to another by gradually adding new stimulating conditions to another by gradually adding new stimulus elements and subtracting old ones (contiguity).
Strength of connection determined by how likely a certain response is in a given set of circumstances.
Belongingness material is learned more readily when it has contiguity and when it “fits together” well. Thorndike maintained that learning is most effective when there is a natural relationship between the needs of an organism and the effects produced by a response.
Principle of polarity the observation that learned material is most easily performed in the same direction in which it was originally learned.
Spread of effect the observation that reinforcement not only strengthens the response that produced it but also strengthens neighboring responses.
Transfer of training when something learned in one situation is applied in another situation.
Identical elements theory of transfer the theory that the likelihood of something learned in one situation being applied in a different situation is determined by the number of common elements in the two situations. As the number of common elements goes up, the amount of transfer between the
Formal discipline the belief held by some faculty psychologist that specific training can strengthen a specific faculty. For example, practicing being friendly would strengthen the friendliness faculty, thereby making the person friendlier.
Associative shifting the process whereby a response is “carried” from one set of stimulating conditions to another by gradually adding new stimulating conditions to another by gradually adding new stimulus elements and subtracting old ones. The result is that a response that
Strength of connection determined by how likely a certain response is in a given set of circumstances. In other words, the strength of a connection is equated with response probability.
Belongingness material is learned more readily when it is structured in certain ways. Contiguity alone does not determine how well something will be learned. How the material “fits together” must also be taken into consideration. Also, Thorndike maintained that lear
Principle of polarity the observation that learned material is most easily performed in the same direction in which it was originally learned.
Spread of effect the observation that reinforcement not only strengthens the response that produced it but also strengthens neighboring responses.
Behavioral Potentiality the ability to perform some act, although the act is not being performed at the present time. Learning may result in a change in behavioral potentiality, although the learning may not be translated into behavior until some time after the learning has tak
Reinforced practice repeated performance under the conditions in which correct response is followed by reinforcement. Reinforced practice is thought by many learning theorists to be a necessary condition for learning to take place.
Short-term memory the memory of an experience that persists for only a short time after the experience; also called immediate and primary memory.
Sensitization the tendency to be more responsive to the environment following an arousing experience.
Habituation the decreased tendency to respond to a stimulus that results from prolonged exposure to that stimulus.
Learning a relatively permanent change in behavior or behavioral potentiality that comes from experience and cannot be attributed to temporary body states.
Performance the translation of what has been learned into behavior.
Reflex an unlearned response to a specific class of stimuli.
Instinct the inborn capacity to perform a complex behavioral task. In recent years, the term has been replaced by species-specific-behavior.
Imprinting the rapid formation, during a critical period, of a close attachment between an organism and an environmental object.
Critical period a period in an organism’s life during which an important development occurs. If the development does not occur during that time, it may never occur. For example, if imprinting does not occur shortly after a duckling is hatched, it is difficult, if not i
Temporary body states temporary condition of the body, such as fatigue, illness, emotion, the presence of drugs, or sleep loss, that causes a modification in behavior, but not learning.
Conditioning an experimental procedure used to modify behavior. Most learning theorists believe there are two kinds of conditioning—classical and instrumental—and that all learning involves conditioning. To those holding such a belief, learning is a term used to sum
Classical Conditioning an experimental arrangement whereby a stimulus (CS) is made to elicit a (UR)response that was not previously associated with the stimulus.
Homeostatic mechanisms automatic processes that function to keep the body operating within certain physiological limits, thus maintaining a physiological equilibrium, or homeostasis.
Instrumental Conditioning an experimental procedure whereby the rate or probability of a response is changed from one value before conditioning to another value following conditioning. With instrumental conditioning, the organism must perform an appropriate response to be reinfor
Skinner box an experimental test chamber usually consisting of a grid floor, lever, light, and food cup. Used to study instrumental or operant conditioning.
Escape conditioning the experimental arrangement whereby an organism can terminate an aversive stimulus by engaging in appropriate behavior.
Avoidance conditioning the experimental arrangement whereby an organism can avoid experiencing an aversive stimulus by engaging in appropriate behavior.
Naturalistic observation studying a phenomenon as it occurs naturally in the environment.
Elementism the belief that the best way to study a complex phenomenon is to divide it into smaller components.
Science a method of inquiry that involves the use of experimentation to test theories about various aspects of nature.
• Scientific theory- an interrelated set of concepts used both to explain data and to make predictions about results of future experiments.
Formal aspect of a theory the signs, symbols, or words that a theory contains.
Empirical aspect of theory the empirical events that the theory purports to explains.
Scientific law a consistently observed relationship between two or more classes of empirical events.
Synthesizing function the explanatory, rather than predictive, function of a scientific theory.
Heuristic function of a theory a theory’s ability to generate research.
Principle of parsimony when researchers have a choice between two equally effective theories, they are obliged to choose the simpler of the two.
Functionalism the primary goal of the functionalist was to discover how mental and behavioral processes are related to an organism’s adaptation to its environment. Members of this school were strongly influenced by Darwin’s writings.
William James (1842-1910) functionalist, used the introspective method on thoughts. Consciousness, which played crucial role in survival, could not be subdivided because it acted as a unit. Like scientific method to search for the physiological correlates of mental processes, an
Structuralism founded by Titchener, the goal of the school of structuralism was to discover the basic elements of thought by using the technique of introspection and to explain how those elements are held together by the laws of association.
Edward Titchener (1867-1927) founder of the school of structuralism.
Introspection the reporting of one’s own mental events while experiencing a certain object or situation; the technique employed by the structuralists to study the structure of the mind.
Immediate experience the raw psychological experience that was the object of introspective analysis; experience that was not contaminated by interpretation of any kind.
Stimulus error the error of naming an object while introspecting about it instead of reporting one’s immediate experience.
Voluntarism the school of psychology founded by Wilhelm Wundt that emphasized willful attention (appreciation) and willful arrangement of conscious elements (creative synthesis). Wundt believed that experimental psychology had only limited usefulness and that the hi
Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt (1832-1920) Founder of the school of voluntarism; also founded psychology’s first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, in 1879.
Appreciation according to Wundt, the clear perception that results from the willful force of one’s attention.
Creative synthesis according to Wundt, the ability to willfully arrange the elements of thought into any number of configurations.
Thomas Reid (1710-1796) He argued that we can believe that our sense impressions, and the ideas they give rise to, accurately reflect the physical world
Faculty psychology the belief that the mind contains certain powers or faculties.
Naïve realism the belief that physical reality is as we perceive it.
Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) he believed that a person’s strong and weak faculties could be detected by analyzing the bumps and depressions on the person’s skull (phrenology).
Phrenology the study of the location of bumps and depressions on a person’s skull in order to determine that person’s strong and weak faculties.
Formal discipline the belief held by some faculty psychologists that specific training can strengthen a specific faculty.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) he demonstrated the ability of behavior in adjusting to the environment and the fact that human development is biologically continuous with that of nonhuman animals. Both observations had a profound and lasting effect on psychology; especially on learnin
Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) he was the first to study learning and memory experimentally. Demonstrating how the law of frequency worked in forming new associations, he invented nonsense material to control for previous experience in a learning situation.
Nonsense material material with little or no meaning, invented by Ebbinghaus to control for previous experience in a learning situation.
Savings the difference in time it takes to relearn something as compared with the amount of time it took to learn it originally; a measure of retention used by Ebbinghaus.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) he postulated that the mind and the body were governed by different laws. The mind was free and possessed only by humans, whereas the body was mechanical and its functions were the same for both humans and other animals. Mind/body dichotomy
Innate ideas ideas that are not derived from experience but rather are thought to be inherited as part of the mind.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) he reasserted Aristotle’s doctrine of associationism and also suggested that experiences of pleasure and pain influence how associations are formed.
John Locke (1623-1704) he strongly opposed the notion of innate ideas and suggested that at birth the mind was a tabula rosa (blank slate). He said that “there is nothing in the mind that is not first in the senses”. He distinguished between primary qualities, the physical ch
George Berkley (1685-1753) he said we can have no direct knowledge of the external world; we experience only the ideas that it causes us to have. His belief that nothing exists unless it is perceived led to his famous dictum, “to be is to be perceived”
David Hume (1711-1776) he said we can know nothing with certainty. All ideas are products of the mind and do not necessarily relate to a reality outside the mind. Therefore, the so-called natural laws are more the result of “habits of thought” than of any lawfulness in nature
Ismael Kant (1724-1804) he believed that the mind was active and not passive, as the empiricist-associationists had assumed. The mind has innate powers or faculties that act on sense impressions and give them meaning.
Innate categories of thought Kant: a genetically determined faculty of the mind that molds our cognitive experiences by giving them greater structure and meaning than they otherwise would have.
John Mill (1806-1873) an associationist who believed that ideas could fuse together, and the fusion could create an idea distinctly different from the simple ones
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) because he believed sensory experience to be the basis of all knowledge, he was the first major empiricist. He also proposed the laws of similarity, contrast, contiguity, and frequency to explain how ideas became associated with other ideas.
Laws of association principles such as similarity, contrast, contiguity, and frequency that are supposed to explain how one idea is related to another or how one experience elicits ideas related to it.
Associationism the philosophical belief that the relationships among ideas are explained by the laws of association.
Reminiscence theory of knowledge the belief held by Plato that all knowledge is present in the human soul at birth; thus to know is to remember the contents of the soul.
Plato(ca. 427-347 B.C) he proposed a reminiscence theory of knowledge in which knowing was explained as remembering the pure knowledge that the soul had experienced before entering the body. Plato was the first major rationalist and the first nativist.
Pythagoreans believed abstractions, such as numbers, were just as real as physical objects and that these abstractions could influence the physical world.
Epistemology the study of the nature of knowledge
Rationalism the philosophical belief that the mind must become actively involved before knowledge can be attained.
Nativism the philosophical belief that a mental attribute is inherited and therefore is independent of experience.
Empiricism the philosophical belief that sensory experience is the basis of all knowledge.
Principle of refutability/falsification Popper’s contention that for a theory to be scientific, it must make risky predictions that, if not confirmed, would refute the theory.
Paradigm a point of view shared by a substantial number of scientists that provides a general framework for empirical research. Usually, more than just one theory and corresponds more closely to what is called a school of thought or an “ism”.
Normal science those activities of scientists as they are guided by a particular paradigm.
Scientific revolution Kuhn: the displacement of one paradigm with another. Such a displacement usually occurs over a fairly long period and after great resistance. A paradigm is associated with the scientist’s total view of science
Analogy a partial correspondence or similarity between things otherwise dissimilar.
Model When a fairly well-known situation is used to describe a relatively less known situation. It shows that the two situations are alike in some respects.
Operational definition a definition that states the procedures to be followed in determining whether, and to what extent, learning has taken place. It can range from grades on tests to some behavioral measure in a learning experiment, such as trials to criterion or the number
Trials to criterion the number of trials an experimental subject requires to reach the criterion that the experimenter sets as a definition of learning. For example, if perfect recall of a list of nonsense syllables is defined as learning the list
Dependent variable the variable that is measured in an experiment, usually some kind of behavior (like trials of criterion).
Independent variable the variable that is systematically manipulated in an experiment. Typcal independent variables include hours of deprivation, sex of subject, age, rate of presentation, and degree of meaningfulness.
Idiographic technique the intense study of a single experimental subject.
Nomothetic technique the study of a group of experimental subjects, the interest being in the average performance of the group.
Correlational techniques research in which two response measures are related. Such research is usually interested in detecting how two kinds of behavior vary together. R-R
Experimental techniques research in which one or more independent variables are systematically manipulated in order to detect their effects on one or more dependent variables. Generates S-R laws
Created by: laurendmc