A Critique of the Behavioural Theories of Learning

4629 Words Apr 6th, 2012 19 Pages
A CRITIQUE OF THE
BEHAVIOURAL THEORIES OF LEARNING

One of the most debated issues in psychology pertains to the nature and meaning of learning. The systematic study of learning is relatively new as it was in the late nineteenth century that studies in this realm began in a scientific manner. Psychologists borrowed techniques from the physical sciences, and conducted experiments to understand how people and animals learn. Psychologists have tried in the past to define and explain how learning takes place. Two of the most important early researchers were Ivan Pavlov and Edward Thorndike. Among later researchers, B. F. Skinner was important for his studies of the relationship between behaviour and consequences. They are also known
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They found as reported by Myers D.G, that half a second works well. However if the food i.e. the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) appeared before the bell, the conditioned stimulus (CS), then conditioning is not likely to occur. The bell signals the arrival of food. Pavlov called this the law of contiguity: The closer the two are in time (with neutral stimulus preceding presentation of UCS), the stronger the conditioning (generally speaking)

Extinction.

This concept is similar to common sense idea of forgetting. Pavlov found that when he sounded the tone repeatedly without presenting food, the dog’s salivation also decreased. After the conditioning phase, the conditioned response (CR) gets weaker when the conditioned stimulus (CS) or the bell is not accompanied by the UCS (food). It gets weaker not because the organism no longer remembers the UCS-CS connection. It gets weaker because CR is somehow inhibited.

Spontaneous recovery.

After extinction trials, the dog will start to salivate again in response to CS after only one pairing of UCS and CS. Pavlov called it spontaneous recovery, where the weakened conditioned response reappeared after a rest pause. This according to Pavlov occurred because extinction was suppressing the conditioned response and not eliminating it. (Myers D.G. p 295)

Generalization. Generalization is a
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