Psychological Approaches to Learning

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 14 (4022 words) Published: July 3, 2011
Psychological Approaches to Learning
Kenneth D. Lewis
PSY 101
Jimletta Vareene-Thomas
December 19 2010

Learning is a psychological behavior that is considered by most to be fundemental to human development. Learning is a relitively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience (Feldman, 2009 p. 177). This paper will discus behavior, cognitive, and developmental psycological theories to learning. It will also interpret the different psychological theories to learning and will anayze and illustrate the essential understanding of normal and abnormal psychology in regards to the learning process. As learnig has been recognized as fundemental to human development it is important to study the different approaches that are employed in any learning environment. The Study of learning has been at the core of psychological study since its beginning (Feldman, 2009 p.177).

Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, is a theory of learning based on the idea that all ideas are based on conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. According to behavioral psychology, behavior can be observed in a systematic and observable manner with no connsideration of internal mental states (Cherry, 2010). From a psychological stand point it is clear that humans are ready to learn from an early age. When we are young we show signs of a primitive type of learning called habituation, which is a decrease in response to a stimulus that occurs after repeated presentation of the same stimulus (Feldman, 2009 p.177). For example, a young child may show signs of stimulus in regards to a toy however, over a time they may loose interest in the stimulus after seeing the same toy over and over. Habituation also permits us to ignor things that have stopped providing new information (Feldman, 2009 p.177).

“Behaviorists are most concerned with actions that are observable. Traditionally, they have

believed that all behavior is a function of learning. However, modern behaviorists more readily accept

that the idea that biology (maturation) and even internal thought processes play a role in development.

One of the most important concepts in behaviorism is that we link existing, or learned, simple behaviors

together into more complex patterns (Witt & Mossler, 2010 p. 17).”

The first note worthy research on learning was done by Ivon Pavlov in the early 20th century and is called classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus come to bring about a response after it is paired with a stimulus that naturtally brings about that response (Feldman, 2009 p.178). Through expermenting on dogs Pavlov was able to make generlizations that lead to classical conditioning. There are five factors that make up classical conditioning neutral stimulus, inconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response. Neutral stimulus is a stimulus that before conditioning does not naturally bring about the response of interest. Unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that naturally brings about a particular responce without having been earned. Unconditioned response is a response that is natural and needs no training. Conditioned stimulus is a once nutral stimulus that has been paired with an inconditional stimulus to bring about a response formerly caused by the unconditional stimulus. Conditioned response is a response that after conditioning follows a previously neutral stimulus (Feldmen, 2009 p.178).

“To demonstrate classical conditioning, Pavlov (1927) attached a tube to the salivary gland of a dog, allowing him to measure precisely the dog’s salivation. He then rang a bell and, just a few seconds later, presented the dog with meat. This pairing occurred repeatedly and was carefully planned so that, each time, exactly the same amount of time elapsed between the presentation of the bell and the meat....
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