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Psychology of Learning Week 1 Notes

by: Kaitlin Cornell

Psychology of Learning Week 1 Notes PSH 322

Marketplace > SUNY College at Brockport > Psychology > PSH 322 > Psychology of Learning Week 1 Notes
Kaitlin Cornell

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About this Document

The notes from the first week of class
Dr. Forzano
Class Notes




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kaitlin Cornell on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSH 322 at SUNY College at Brockport taught by Dr. Forzano in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 64 views. For similar materials see Learning in Psychology at SUNY College at Brockport.


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Date Created: 09/02/16
LEARNING WEEK 1 (8.31 AND 9.2) Learning 8.31.2016 1. Introduction to the course a. Learning i. Definition: a relatively permanent change in behavior that results from some kind of experience ii. A process of change that occurs as a result of an individual’s experience b. Behavior i. Definition: any activity of an individual that can be observed or somehow measured ii. Anything that an individual does iii. Two basic categories 1. Respondent behavior (classical conditioning) a. Involuntary reflexive types of behavior i. Example: salivating, startling, etc. 2. Operant behavior (operant conditioning) a. Behaviors that are more voluntary in nature, behaviors are controlled by their consequences. iv. External or overt activities: the things we think about first when we think about behavior – readily visible to others v. Internal or covert activities: things that are not readily visible to others – things like thoughts and feelings 1. Things can be measured – blood flow, excretion c. Examples i. Things that I did before class today: got dressed, did my makeup and hair, brushed my teeth, drove to Brockport, ate breakfast d. Scope of the psychology of learning: all types of learning in all types of organisms to include both humans and nonhumans e. Goal of psychology of learning is to develop general principles of learning that are applicable to a wide range of species and learning situations f. Do this by: i. Select a relatively small number of learning situations with a small number of species and study them in a lot of detail then try to generalize from those situations to other situations of learning g. Uses of this course: i. To enhance your breadth of knowledge in psychology ii. Help you to understand why you and others behave the way you do iii. See how your behavior and others behavior can be changed Learning 9.2.2016 1. Historical Background 2. History of field of learning and behavior a. Introduction b. Greek philosophers i. Plato (427 – 347 BC) 1. In order to know something all you have to do is look inward and uncover the information 2. Believed that all of the information already resides in the soul 3. Behaviors are innate a. We know from the beginning how to do things. ii. Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) 1. Everything we know is acquired through experience a. Everything is learned c. Nature vs. nurture philosophy 3. Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) a. Cartesian dualism (mind – body dualism) i. Humans have two types of behavior 1. Involuntary (reflexive) 2. Voluntary (willed) b. Reflex i. Machine-like quality to the action c. Nativism i. Philosophical approach that assumes that we are born with innate ideas about certain things ii. Assumes that a person’s abilities and behavioral tendencies are largely inborn iii. The mind contains ideas that were innate and existed in all humans 1. Relevant to Plato iv. Born with innate ideas of God and of basic Geometry 4. British Empiricists a. John Locke (1632 – 1704) i. Blank slate (tabula rasa) ii. Knowledge is gained from experiences iii. Start as a blank slate and everything gets written on it b. Empiricism – a person’s abilities and tendencies are learned i. Relevant to Aristotle c. Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) i. Accepts the difference between voluntary and involuntary behaviors 1. Descartes 2. Accepted also that voluntary behavior was controlled by the mind but believed that the mind operated very predictably – just like involuntary behaviors ii. Believed that the mind is matter – material iii. Materialism was a very prevalent ideal 1. Matter (material) was all that there was 2. Matter is governed by the principles of mechanics 3. Nothing moves without forces iv. All events in the mind begin with some impact from outside of it v. If the motion is strong enough the body moves either toward the stimulus or away from the stimulus 1. Moving toward the stimulus is desire 2. Moving away from the stimulus is aversion vi. Voluntary behaviors are governed by the principle of hedonism 1. People do things in the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain vii. Association 1. Sometimes you have two sensory experiences that come in at the same time. When this happens they form a bond 2. Association is formed between the two inputs 3. In the future if one idea occurs the other is likely to occur as well 5. Aristotle’s four laws of association a. The law of similarity b. The law of contrast c. The low of contiguity d. The law of frequency


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