Psychology of learning
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The psychology of learning is a theoretical science.
Learning depends on experience and may lead to long-term changes in behavior potential. The main assumption is that the environment (e.g. social context), conditioning, and reinforcement are sufficient to analyze how behavior emerges and changes.
As opposed to short term changes in behavior (e.g., those caused by fatigue) learning implies long term changes, but not necessarily as those associated with aging or development.
Socrates (469-399 B.C.) introduced a method of learning known as piloting, through which one arrives at one's own answers through power of reasoning. Socrates, in dialogue with Meno, taught this method, by teaching a slave boy, who knew nothing about the Euclidean geometry, the Pythagorean theorem. He did so by asking questions or rephrasing them until the correct answer was found. Socrates strongly influenced the idea that knowledge is innate and can be found from within, it is also known as anamnesis.
Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850—1909) examined learning, by studying rote memory and forgetting. With himself as his own experimental subject, he used meaningless syllables form lists that read several times until he could restated them with high accuracy. Additionally, he attempted to recall the same lists with certain delay (e.g., a few days or months later) and then recorded his discoveries as learning curves and the forgetting curves.
Edward Thorndike (1874–1949) presented his theory of the "Law of Effect" in 1898. According to this theory, humans and other animals learn behaviors through trial-and-error methods. Once a functioning solution is found, these behaviors are likely to be repeated during the same or similar task.
Ivan Pavlov and John Watson
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936) was a Russian physiologist, who contributed to research on learning. Knowing that a hungry dog salivates when food is present, he performed a series of experiments and trained dogs to salivate through an arbitrary external stimuli. This was done by pairing natural stimuli (such as food) with a new stimulus (e.g., a metronome) to provoke the desired response in dogs. That proved his thesis that he could make a dog salivate by just the presentation of the sound of a bell. Pavlov’s approach to learning was behavioristic and later known as classical conditioning.
John Broadus Watson (1878–1958) also used this method of learning (e.g., he cause a young child, not previously afraid of furry animals, to become frightened of them) and argued that it was sufficient for the science of psychology, specifically behaviorism.
- Educational Psychology
- Media psychology
- Learning theory (education)
- Classical conditioning
- Operant conditioning
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Psychology of learning
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