Educational PsychologyDeveloped by W. Huitt & J. Hummel (1999)
Behavioral Learning TheoryAccording to the behaviorists, learningcan be defined as “the relativelypermanent change in behavior broughtabout as a result of experience orpractice.”Behaviorists recognize that learningis an internal event. However, it is notrecognized as learning until it isdisplayed by overt behavior.
Behavioral Learning Theory• The term "learning theory" is oftenassociated with the behavioral view.• The focus of the behavioral approachis on how the environment impactsovert behavior.• Remember that biological maturation orgenetics is an alternative explanation forrelatively permanent change.
Behavioral Learning TheoryThe behavioral learning theory isrepresented as an S-R paradigm. Theorganism is treated as a “black box.”We only know what is going on insidethe box by the organism’s overtbehavior. Stimulus Organism Response (S) (O) (R)
Behavioral Learning TheoryThe feedback loop that connects overtbehavior to stimuli that activate thesenses has been studied extensivelyfrom this perspective.
Behavioral Learning TheoryNotice that the behaviorists are onlyinterested in that aspect of feedbackthat connects directly to overtbehavior.Behaviorists are not interested in theconscious decision of the individualto disrupt, modify, or go against theconditioning process.
Behavioral Learning TheoryThere are three types of behaviorallearning theories: • Contiguity theory • Classical or respondent conditioning theory • Operant or instrumental conditioning theory
Contiguity TheoryContiguity theory is based on the workof E. R. Guthrie.It proposes that any stimulus andresponse connected in time and/orspace will tend to be associated.
Contiguity TheoryExamples: • A baseball player wearing a certain pair of socks on the day he hits three home runs associates wearing the socks and hitting home runs. • A student making a good grade on a test after trying a new study technique makes an association between the stimulus of studying and the response of getting a good grade.
Contiguity TheoryGuthrie’s contiguity theory is onefoundation for the more cognitively-oriented learning theory of neuralnetworks.
Classical Conditioning TheoryClassical conditioning was the first typeof learning to be discovered and studiedwithin the behaviorist tradition (hencethe name classical).The major theorist in the development ofclassical conditioning is Ivan Pavlov, aRussian scientist trained in biology andmedicine (as was his Germancontemporary, Sigmund Freud).
Classical Conditioning TheoryPavlov was studying the digestive system of dogsand became intrigued with his observation thatdogs deprived of food began to salivate when oneof his assistants walked into the room.He began to investigate this phenomena andestablished the laws of classical conditioning.Skinner renamed this type of learning"respondent conditioning” since in this typeof learning, one is responding to anenvironmental antecedent.
Classical Conditioning Theory• General model: Stimulus (S) elicits>Response (R)• Classical conditioning starts with a reflex (R):an innate, involuntary behavior.• This involuntary behavior is elicited or causedby an antecedent environmental event.• For example, if air is blown into your eye,you blink. You have no voluntary orconscious control over whether the blinkoccurs or not.
Classical Conditioning TheoryThe specific model for classicalconditioning is:• A stimulus will naturally (withoutlearning) elicit or bring about a reflexiveresponse• Unconditioned Stimulus (US) elicits >Unconditioned Response (UR)
Classical Conditioning TheoryThe specific model for classicalconditioning is: • Neutral Stimulus (NS) --- does not elicit the response of interest • This stimulus (sometimes called an orienting stimulus as it elicits an orienting response) is a neutral stimulus since it does not elicit the Unconditioned (or reflexive) Response.
Classical Conditioning Theory• The Neutral Stimulus (NS) istransformed into a ConditionedStimulus (CS).• That is, when the CS is presented by itself,it elicits or causes the CR (which is thesame involuntary response as the UR.• The name changes because it iselicited by a different stimulus.• This is written CS elicits > CR.
Classical Conditioning Theory• In the area of classroom learning,classical conditioning is seen primarily inthe conditioning of emotional behavior.• Things that make us happy, sad,angry, etc. become associated withneutral stimuli that gain ourattention.
Classical Conditioning Theory• For example, the school, classroom,teacher, or subject matter are initiallyneutral stimuli that gain attention. • Activities at school or in the classroom automatically elicit emotional responses and these activities are associated with the neutral or orienting stimulus• After repeated presentations, thepreviously neutral stimulus will elicitthe emotional response
Classical Conditioning TheoryExample: • Child is harassed at school • Child feels bad when harassed • Child associates being harassed and school • Child begins to feel bad when she thinks of school
Classical Conditioning TheoryIn order to extinguish the associated offeeling bad and thinking of school, theconnection between school and beingharassed must be broken.
Operant Conditioning Theory• Operant conditioning is the study ofthe impact of consequences onbehavior.• With operant conditioning we aredealing with voluntary behaviors.
Operant Conditioning TheoryIf, when an organism emits a behavior(does something), the consequences of thatbehavior are reinforcing, it is more likely toemit (do) it again. What counts asreinforcement, of course, is based on theevidence of the repeated behavior, whichmakes the whole argument rather circular.
Operant Conditioning TheoryLearning is really about the increasedprobability of a behavior based onreinforcement which has taken placein the past, so that the antecedents ofthe new behavior includethe consequences of previousbehavior.