Evaluation of Learning Theory Strengths Weaknesses
There is a lot of evidence that animals learn through classical and operant conditioning Pavlov demonstrated learning through classical conditioning
Skinner demonstrated learning through operant conditioning Psychologists continue to demonstrate that all animals learn through classical and operant conditioning
However, the evidence for learning theory is mainly based on experiments with non-human participants. Animals may be similar to human beings in the way they learn but we have far more complex brains and a highly developed cerebral cortex.
Emotions may play a far more important role in human cognition and attachment formation. Conclusions about human attachment based on animal studies may not be valid.
Even if we accept that learning is important for human attachment food may not be the primary reinforcer. Attention, care, responsiveness, and comfort, may be the main rewards and these rather than food create the attachment bond.
Hary Harlow (1959) “ The Origins of Love Experiments”
Text Schaffer & Emerson (1964) ‘ The Glasgow Baby study’
AO1: Psychological Knowledge AO2: Analysis and Evaluation The extended writing question