Behavioral and Cognitive Learning

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is an idea that looks closely at how we learn from our emotions and physiological responses, or respondents. In classical conditioning, people are trained to respond or react in different ways differently then others would. Classical Conditioning was discovered in the 1920s by Ivan Pavlov. Ivan experimented on dogs and through these experimentations, discovered neutral stimuli, unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimuli, and conditioned response. He observed when a dog would salivate by using a tuning fork to stimulate a response from the dog. Pavlov at first sounded the tuning for and nothing happened, this was the neutral response. Next he fed the dog and this was unconditioned stimulus “because no prior training or ‘conditioning’ was needed to establish the natural connection between food and salivation,” (Woolfolk 254). The salivation was an unconditioned response. Now using all of these components, he showed that the dog could be conditioned to salivate after hearing the tuning fork ring. Pavlov played the sound of the tuning fork right before feeding the dog so that every time the dog heard it, he would salivate in anticipation of food. The sound became a conditioned stimulus and when the dog would salivate was the conditioned response. (Woolfolk 254-255)

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a theory that we all learn to behave in certain ways as we go through life or “operate on the environment," (Woolfolk 256) B. F. Skinner developed the idea of operant conditioning because he did not think that classical conditioning accounted for everything in life, only a small portion. Operant condition focuses on the behavior of people rather than responses. Behaviors can be reinforced or punished depending on the type of situation. A reinforcement is any consequence that strengthens the behavior it follows. There are two types of reinforcement: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when a new response occurs, so if you get a compliment on your outfit, you will most likely wear it again in order to get another compliment. Negative reinforcement is when a stimulus is removed as a result of the situation. The example provided is when you do not wear your seat belt, a bell sounds, and does not stop until you wear the seat belt, so as a result you are always inclined to wear a seat belt so as not to hear the annoying sound anymore. (256-269)
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Social Learning Theory

This theory was first thought up 35 years ago but Albert Bandura, and he believed that the traditional behavioral view of learning had many limitations. He looked at the differences between enactive and observational learning as well as learning and performance. Bandura said that enactive learning is “learning by doing and experiencing the consequences of your actions,” (Woolfolk 278). A key component of enactive learning is that consequences were useful in providing information to the learner. Observational learning, also called vicarious learning, is achieved through watching other people. Another key belief of Bandura is that “we all may know more than we show,” (Woolfolk 278) meaning if we see something done and then the person is rewarded, then we will imitate said act in hopes of being rewarded ourselves. Bandura experimented on preschool kids, showing a group of them an actor getting rewarded for beating up the Bobo doll, and were promised a reward if they did the same, while another group saw the actor being punished for beating up the Bobo doll, and the third group saw the actor getting no consequence at all. Then all of the children were put into a room with a Bobo doll and the ones who saw the actor reward were much more aggressive with it than the other children. (Woolfolk 278-279)

Information Processing Theory

At first, information was processed using the computer as a model, but then psychologists realized that it was much more difficult than this. The information processing theory looks at three components: sensory memory, long term memory, and working memory all the while incorporating attention into all three categories. Sensory memory is gathered through sight, touch, sound, and smell. One can relate different memories through one of these sense. For example a certain smell may remind you of home or a certain song can remind you of a memory you shared with a friend or loved one. Sensory memory is a lot going on at one time so attention plays an important role in this, helping us distinguish what is important and should be remembered. This works into working memory which involves both temporary storage and active processing. Working memory is when you take the new information and relate it to the old information that you have stored in your brain. Long term memory is something that takes time to store but it is unlimited and permanent. The example to distinguish working memory and long term is that working is remembering the name you just met while long term is remembering the names of all of the people you know. (Woolfolk 293-304)
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Works Cited

Woolfolk, Anita. Educational Psychology. 13th ed. N.p.: Pearson, n.d. Print.


"A Description of Operant Conditioning." DogNostics ELearning. N.p., 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. (operant graph)


"Cognitive Information Processing Theory." —expertlearners.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. (Information Processing Graph)


"Good Dog Food for Your Dog's Good Health and Longevity." Facts About Your Dog. N.p., 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. (dog picture)


"Social Learning Theory Psya3 Aggression AQA Psychology." Loopa Psychology Revision. N.p., 05 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. (Bobo doll picture)