Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men

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Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men Edward Chance Tolman made many significant findings to the studies of learning, memory and motivation. Today Tolman would be considered a Cognitive Behaviorist, he developed his own brand of behaviorism which emphasized the purposeful nature behind an organism's actions, taking into account it's goals and motivations. “He is best remembered for being a pioneer in cognitive psychology during a time when behaviorists dominated the field. Tolman made several significant contributions to the field of psychology. At Berkeley University he created a cognitive theory of learning, which became his trademark to the field. He thought of learning as developing from bits of knowledge and cognition about the…show more content…
Methodology Tolman ran several experiments, wherein he started his rats at a specific point labeled “A” in a maze so that they had to turn right at a point labeled “B” to get food or reinforcement. There were three groups of rats in Tolman's experiment. Each group was placed in the same maze, but were given rewards at different stages and days throughout the experiment. Tolman recorded the number of errors that the rats made each day, and how long the task took them. The rats in the Control Group always received a food reward when they reached the correct end of the maze. The rats in Experimental Group 1 never received a food reward, and it seemed like they were just wandering around. The rats in Experimental Group 2 seemed to wander around just like the rats in Experimental Group 1 and found no food for the first ten days. However, on the eleventh day, when Tolman placed food in the maze it appeared as though they had learned to go to the end of the maze even without any prior reinforcement. On the twelfth day, the rats from Experimental Group 2 were doing as well as the rats from the Control Group, which had been rewarded with food from the very beginning of the test. This demonstrates that the rats were still learning and making cognitive maps of the maze even though there was no reward given. This was

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