Classic conditioning is the development of mental processes through repeated associations between to different types of stimuli and a neutral signal that corresponded with a reflex. It was first introduced by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov, who performed his experiment with several dogs. The experiment concentrated on the reaction of the dogs (salivation – the naturally occurring stimuli) to a sound (the neutral signal) as they were presented with food (environmental stimuli). After time the reaction occurred without displaying the food; the dogs only needed to hear the sound. Classic conditioning is one of the best know aspects of behaviorism, one aspect of thought in psychology, and the behavioral learning theories. There are four basic principles of classic conditioning, which are Conditioned stimulus, Unconditioned stimulus, Unconditioned responses, and Conditioned responses. Conditioned stimulus is the neutral stimulus after coming associated with an Unconditioned stimulus. Unconditioned stimulus is the natural external influence of an action or activity that triggers a specific response. Unconditioned responses are an unlearned reaction that occurs in response to the unconditioned stimulus. The Conditioned responses is the learned reaction to a previously neutral stimulus.
Operant conditioning is when the sequence of a specific behavior is modified. This modification can be completed in a positive manner (positive consequences), which generally causes the action to increase in its recurrence. The positive consequence reinforces the behavior in various situations and environments in accordance with the learned connotation between the stimuli and the action. Operant conditioning modifications can also be performed in a negative method, which does the opposite of positive consequence. Instead of increasing the manifestation of the action, negative consequences decrease the appearance of a certain action or response to stimuli. There are several sequences is which an organism can be changed when utilizing Operant Conditioning. These methods consist of two set of reinforcers, which are the Positive and Negative reinforcers. There are two forms of consequences; these are the positive punishments and negative punishments. Shaping is the process in which a desirable behavior is obtained through a process of adjusting the frequency of stimulus and the corresponding action, in ratio to one another. Extinction is the eventual drop-off of a response when positive reinforcement is no longer used.
Reinforcement is the scientific name for the results of a person’s behavior, so things we would like to have happen and things we are attracted to have a higher reinforcement value. The value of things and situations that we do not like have a lower reinforcement value; when there is a situation where the chance of receiving reinforcement is the same, an individual with choose the “outcome” he or she desires most. Reinforcement value is subjective and is based on the perspective of each individual person, so every event is experienced differently depending upon the person’s point of view. This means that for one person a situation can be seen as a success, while to another it may be a failure.The predictive formula is explained as a predictive formula for behavior; utilizing behavior potential, expectancy and reinforcement value. The formula is stated as BP = f(E & RV)
Expectancy is the individualized likelihood that a particular behavior, can and often does, lead to a certain outcome or reinforcer. Having a high expectancy means a person is very confident that whatever behavior or action they take will result in a specific reaction. On the other hand, having low expectancy is the individualized process where a person believes there will not be a probability of his or her behavior resulting in reinforcement. This preconceived notation is generally based upon a person’s past experiences. Both high and low expectancy, like reinforcement values, are based upon subjective probability and tend to be based on the unbiased opinion of the individual; not just chance or on what will really happen as a result of the particular action.
The Tabula Rasa theory became especially notable because of Locke’s writings, especially “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.” Locke was a British philosopher, medical researcher, an economics writer, and academic of the prestigious Oxford University (among other things).This theory states that people are created without mental content, and instead develop knowledge base on one’s own point of view of an experience or situation. This theory focuses on the nurture prospective of nature vs. nurture because events and situations depend on the inner responses of an individual. Supporters of this theory also equate a person’s social and emotional behaviors and intelligence with the nurture theory. John Locke acknowledge the importance of the experience instead of agree with assumptions and opinions by others.
Observational learning is the development of obtaining information by observing others. Individuals are able to learn through watching the behavior, attitudes, and reactions to stimuli from others. According to Albert Bandura this stems from the fact that, “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling,” (Bandura, 1994). Social learning theory helps to clarify certain aspects of human behavior that are not covered in the behaviorist theories. Also the observational theory examines an individual’s behavior in terms of constant interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences; both internal and external.The four processes of Observational Learning:The Attentional processes are basically implying that to learn to need to be able to focus on what is in front of you. If an individual is trying to learn something but he or she is unable to focus, because of lack of sleep or some other detraction it will have a negative effect on his or her learning capabilities.The Retention processes concerns the ability to properly store information; this is an essential aspect of the learning process because retention denotes the capacity to retrieve previously learned information and use it accurately.The Reproduction processes demonstrate that retention was successful and information was properly stored and can now be accessed and modeled; frequent use of a particular ability can lead to master of that ability. The Motivational processes is a key element of observational learning and is necessary in or to watch and learn a particular skill. This process can also be maximized when reinforcements and punishments are introduced.
Developed by Albert Bandura, Self-efficacy is the belief that by organizing and executing a specific sequence of actions an individual will be able to accomplish the desired task. Bandura described these beliefs as, “determinants of how people think, behave, and feel” (Bandura, 1994). Although most people generally realize that thinking something will in a certain way requires work and attentiveness. Self-efficacy, according to Bandura, begins in early childhood and does not end at the early stages of adolescence or adulthood, but instead continues to grow throughout a lifetime. Self-impact effects practically every aspect of human personality.Self-efficacy is generally experienced in four different ways; these are known as the sources of self-efficacy. The first is Performance Accomplishments; this is when an individual preforms a task successfully. Thereby strengthening his or her own sense of self efficacy, but if the individual were unable to accomplish the task it could weaken the extent of self-efficacy he or she had to begin with. The next source is Vicarious Experience. This occurs when a person sees others with some similar metal or physical abilities succeed at a task, which initially raises his or her self-motivation. Verbal Persuasion is when people become influenced in believing he or she may obtain success after receiving the verbal encouragement of others. Last is Emotional Arousal; this is an emotional reaction to an event or situation, which also plays a significant role in self-efficacy.
Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that people are able to learn from social interaction and inter personal relationships, in addition to observation, simulation, and modeling. The theory draws a connection between behaviorism and other cognitive learning theories. Motivational processes are a element to learning according to the observational segment of social learning. In order to be very motivated it is often helpful to have either negative or positive reinforcements and punishments. These factors of behaviorism can substantially increase the potential for achievement. This drive for success can also increase previously learned cognitive processes and assist in the development of learning in relation to different situations and stimuli.
Though these concepts may seem to be on the opposite ends of the psychological spectrum; they are not. There are many different ideas that try to explain how and why people learn and develop behaviors in the manner that we do. The fact is that no one theory can answer these questions. There always seems to be something missing. There are many factors that are required in determining and shaping the behavior and personality of another person. It is only through true understanding of all of the thinking process that psychologists will be able to find a clear answer to how and what is the key to the human personality. I believe that there is no one true theory, but that each theory represents a different aspect of the human personality and behavioral factors. There is so much more to learn, but only by exploring and being open to new ideas can there be discoveries like behaviorism and social learning.
Operant Conditioning Types of reinforcements: Positive and Negative reinforcer Types of punishments: Positive and Negative Punishment Scheduled reinforcements: Continuous and Partial Reinforcement Shaping and Extinction
Reinforcement Value Personal Social Variables Learning Cognitive
Expectancy Probability of certain types of reinforcement. Degrees of an outcome of specific behavior. Understanding plausible outcomes for different situations.
Tabula Rasa (The Blank Slate) A theory introduced by John Locke Derives from Latin; meaning "erased slate.” Focuses on “Nurture” rather than “Nature.”
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory Links cognitive and social factors to behavior. Encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. Influences of internal and external processes.
Conclusion Behaviorism and Social Learning are intertwined. Understanding the similarities of both methods. The multifaceted process of behavior.
References Albert Bandura (1977) Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying theory of Behavioral Change retrieved from http://des.emory.edu/mfp/Bandura1977PR.pdf database. Albert Bandura (1994) Self-Efficacy: Stanford University retrieved from http://des.emory.edu/mfp/BanEncy.html database. C. George Boeree (2006)Albert Bandura retrieved from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/bandura.html database. Jack Mearns (2001) The Social Learning Theory of Julian B. Rotter retrieved from http://psych.fullerton.edu/jmearns/rotter.htm database. Social Learning and Culture; Behaviorism and Social-Learning Theory, pages 71- 84