Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning

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Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education

Term / Year Course Code Course Title

: : :

2012 Autumn CECE 7103 Understanding How Children Learn Dr. Sam Cheung (Tel: 3411-4342; Email: Ms. Paulina Yuen (Tel: 3411-1952; Email:

Lecturer In-charge : Lecturer :

Lecture 2: Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning Lecture Highlights:      Definitions of Behavioral Learning Theory Classical Conditioning – Pavlov Operant Conditioning - Skinner Trial-and-error Learning / The Law of Effect - Thorndike Social Learning Theory - Bandura


Behavioral Learning Theories: Explanations of learning that focus on external events as the cause of changes in observable behaviors… the behavioral view generally assumes that the outcome of learning is the change in behavior. (Woolfolk, 2010, p.198)

Behavioral learning theories focus on the ways in which pleasurable or unpleasant consequences of behavior change individuals’ behavior over time. (Slavin, 2009, p.128)

Behaviorism is the view that behavior should be explained by observable experiences, not by mental processes. For the behaviorist, behavior is everything that we do, both verbal and nonverbal, that can be directly seen or heard. (Santrock, 2009, p.231)

Behavioral views of learning are based upon the theories from theorists such as Pavlov, Thorndike and Skinner. The two best-known aspects of behavioral learning theory are

classical conditioning and operant conditioning.



II. Classical Conditioning a) Activity: Close your eyes and focus on these images:  The smell of French fries cooking  The sound of a dentist’s drill  The sight of a long sharp needle What have you noticed as you formed the above images?


What is Classical Conditioning?

Classical conditioning was discovered by Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), a Russian physiologist, in the 1920s. It is a learning process in which a new stimulus, through

association with an old or meaningful stimulus, becomes capable of eliciting an established reflex response. 

It involves the learning of involuntary emotional or physiological responses, such as fear, increased muscle tension, salivation, or sweating.

In classical conditioning, the basic terms include: unconditioned stimulus (US), unconditioned response (UR), conditioned stimulus (CS), condition response (CR), and neutral stimulus (NS).


Terms to know:
 

(Slavin, 2009 & O’Donnell, et. al., 2007, p.209).

Stimulus: An environmental condition that activates the senses. Unconditioned stimulus (US): A stimulus that, without prior learning, produces an automatic physiological response.

Unconditioned response (UR): A behavior that is produced in response to a stimulus without prior learning. It is typically an automatic physiological response.

 

Neutral stimulus (NS): A stimulus that has no effect on a particular response. Conditioned stimulus (CS): A previously neutral stimulus, having been paired with an unconditioned response over several times, produces a learned or acquired response.

Conditioned response (CR): A response that is linked to a particular stimulus through conditioning by being paired with the stimulus.




Pavlov’s experiment:

Pavlov and his colleagues studied the digestive process in dogs.

During the research,

the scientists noticed changes in the timing and rate of salivation of the dogs.

Before Conditioning:
 

When a dog sees the food (meat), it will salivate. As the food/meat provokes this response automatically, without any prior training or conditioning; therefore food is the unconditioned stimulus (US) and producing saliva is the unconditioned response (UR).

Other stimuli, such as a bell, or a sound, will not make the dog salivate, or have not effect on the response in question, so they are referred to as...
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