Trial and Error

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Trial and error is an experimental method of problem solving, repair, tuning, or obtaining knowledge. "Learning doesn't happen from failure itself but rather from analyzing the failure, making a change, and then trying again." This approach can be seen as one of the two basic approaches to problem solving and is contrasted with an approach using insight and theory. However, there are intermediate methods which for example, use theory to guide the method, an approach known as guided empiricism. The nature of the response is molecular in trial-and-error learning and molar in insightful learning. Practice and repetition are extremely important in trial-and-error learning, while insightful solution is important for insightful learning. Of course, certain amount of trial- and-error occurs before insight takes place. But the trial-and-error form of learning primarily does not involve insight. The physical and motor skills are acquired mostly through trial-and-error. The insightful learning is of higher order, and is involved in cognitive and verbal learning. The cats in the key experiments conducted by Edward Thorndike were able to learn through operant conditioning. In Thorndike's experiment, cats were placed in a various boxes approximately 20 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 12 inches tall with a door opened by pulling a weight attached to it. The cats were observed to free themselves from the boxes by "trial and error with accidental success.In one test the cat was shown to have done worse in a later trial than in an earlier one, suggesting that no learning from the previous trials was retained in long-term memory. The scientist considered the cat to have the capacity for learning due to the law of effect, which states that responses followed by satisfaction (i.e. a reward) become more likely responses to the same stimulus in the future. An experiment was conducted in 2009 where cats could pull on a string to retrieve a treat under a plastic screen. When presented...
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