Is Learning a Science?

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Is Learning a Science?|
Michelle L Yernest|
Georgia Northwestern Technical College


Science is the knowledge gained by careful observation, by deduction of the laws that govern changes and conditions, and by testing these deductions by doing experiments and then refining these experiments and testing them again. There are a couple of diverse learning methods. These methods are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Precisely, what is conditioning? Conditioning is the process of changing behavior in such a way that an action formerly associated with a particular stimulus becomes associated with a new and unrelated stimulus. Both of these learning methods are basic forms of learning, which leads me to the discussion of operant conditioning.

Is operant conditioning a Science? What is operant conditioning? Operant conditioning is a technique of behavioral conditioning through manipulation of the consequences of previous behavior, through reinforcement or punishment. (Gerow, Bordens, & Blanch-Payne, 2009, 2008). Operant conditioning deals with more of the cognitive thought process. General procedures for studying operant conditioning were developed in the late 1800s by American psychologist Edward L. Thorndike. Thorndike discovered a law of learning- the law of effect after doing some experiments with his cat. He places the cat inside a puzzle box with a door that closed by a latch with a wooden peg. The latch could be moved and the door opened if done correctly. Once the latch was opened, the cat could eat the food as its reward. The first time the cat was placed inside the box, it carried on in an assortment of behaviors: hissing, scratching, biting, and clawing. Eventually, by chance- the cat unlatched the door and ate the food. The next time the cat was placed inside the box he exhibited some of the same behaviors, but it unlatched the door and got out quicker. Over a series of experiments, the cat minimized its bad...
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