American Psychologist and Behaviorism

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Learning helps us to improve our own personal ND social well being, most importantly its helps up to develop our economic world, to improve the lives of those in the underdeveloped worlds. We have an obligation to future generations to continue the work began centuries ago to develop, expand our minds and push out the boundaries. We are the foundations for future knowledge. Firstly, I would like to establish the main roots of learning. I will briefly evaluate the approaches of the three main schools of learning – Behaviorism, Cognitive and Social. Behaviorism The belief of the behaviorism’ was that we learned from our environment.

Our intentioned response to same on a constant basis, constantly associating and constantly reinforcing. Ivan Pavlov (1849 – 1936) a Russian physiologist was one of the main proponents in this school of thought. From extensive research and observation of his now famous dog, Pavlov developed the concept of association. He considered this the only way learning would occur (McDonald and Walbridge, Behavioral Science for Make and Business students, pig. 42) Pavlov probed the notion of respondent behavior. This is where a reflex is drawn out through certain stimuli, this theory also focuses on repetition.

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The purpose then as to produce a behavioral change in a desired direction, known as Classical Conditioning. Pavlov’s work was further developed by B. F. Skinner (1904 – 1990) an American Psychologist and Behaviorism. Skinner introduced a new key concept. He believed that reinforcement was vital to produce a change in behavior and that all behavior is learned and maintained by its consequences. This concept was known as Operant conditioning. Furthermore, Skinner introduced the notion that all behavior whether positive or negative could be encouraged or counteracted by positive or negative reinforcement.

Simply, f the behavior of animal or human was pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable, there will be pleasant or unpleasant consequences. Positive reinforcement will result in the positive behavior being repeated, whereas, negative reinforcement would eliminate the undesirable behavior. Both negative and positive reinforcement encourages the repetition of the associated operant (M. Grady, Introduction to Behavioral Science, pig. 128). A form of negative reinforcement is called punishment. Other forms of reinforcement are partial, continuous, primary and secondary, passive and active avoidance.

Cognitive The Cognitive approach on the other hand sees learning as an individual process. It looks beyond behavior to explain brain based learning. We as humans operate and learn on higher order of mental/intellectual basis, the cognitive approach focuses on processing information through listening, watching, touching and experiencing. It goes well beyond imitation of others and the effects of the environment around us. It also developed the idea that we take in the information, process and remember it.

Wolfgang Koehler 1887 – 1967 was an active Cognitive and a member of the Gestalt School of Psychology; he developed the Insight approach. This approach involved problem solving. Koehler believed that humans as a result of a higher level of brain and mental sophistication had some inner insight and had the ability to solve problems without ever having any previous experience or conditioned learning. Koehler experimented with chimpanzees to develop his theories as he believed that they exhibited insight and demonstrated intelligent behavior that is common in humans. Koehler, The Mentality of Apes, 1925). Some internal instinct gave notion to the theory of Latent learning. Edward Dolman (1886 – 1 959) and American Psychologist gave claimed that our ability o problem solve is hidden within us but this may not always be apparent in the learning situation. (Macdonald and Walbridge, pig. 49). He contended that learning deals with internal mental processes, we learn on an individual basis, we can perceive, be motivated, process information rather than just having an immediate response.

Most importantly we can memories this information, therefore this skill is repeatable. Social Social Learning expanded these theories further. Albert Bandeau (1925 – present), known as the originator in the social learning theory, also paid a part in the transition between behaviorism and the cognitive believe. He believed that solicitation had an effect on the development of individuals. Social learning looks at us as individuals and our individual learning processes. It considers how we are formed by the influence of society all around us.

In simple terms, our learning is developed and achieved by imitating behavior which we observe. This is clearly imminent from our childhood days, from the behavior and examples of our parents / careers, teachers, peer groups and from people in authority. Observation works on a continual basis. When we observe we mimic, for example people’s attitudes and emotions. Our ability to assimilate ND utilities this information will improve with time, practice and motivation. Motivation plays a big part in using our observed skill, we need to have good reason to want to adopt the learned behavior.

I must conclude therefore, that the Behaviorism approach does not take into account humans abilities to act independently, that we are individuals with complex minds. The cognitive approach fills in the shortcomings of the behaviorism and social learning by scientifically looking at the internal processes that shape our behavior. Learning is an individual process, but it is important to belong to a social community. Social learning is therefore of paramount importance. (ii) Which approach, in your view, most accurately describes how people learn.

Give examples to illustrate your answer. In truth, I believe that the answer lies in all three approaches to learning. I feel that we as individuals and members of the human race are complex, intelligent and social beings. To believe that one order of schooling is dominant, in my opinion, is an error of judgment. We cannot solely accept that changes in our behavior are determined by the environment. In everyday life we can see the existence of the behaviorism approach, we can adapt the classical and operant approach to our emotions, positive and negative, especially ones of fear.

For instance, our reactions when in dangerous situations, our conditioned reactions when approaching traffic lights. Furthermore, we do not have to learn to pull our hand away from a hot surface or the prick off sharp object. Consider how a new born baby reacts to a loud noise, this is not learned. I support the evidence that we will perform new behavior as a result of the consequences of things we do. If we receive positive reinforcement then there is the likelihood that we will reproduce this behavior. Consequently if we have negative reinforcement or punishment, there is a good possibility that the behavior will not be repeated.

Operant conditioning has proven to be an effective way of teaching children with autism. The Cognitive theory approach is in existence in everyday life. We as human beings operate on a high order mentally and intellectually. I believe that our thought processes affect and control our reactions. A classic example would be a first time mother. Within her is a built in maternal instinct, an inner voice telling her to pick up her crying baby. On our first day of new employment, we instinctively adapt to situations and analyses behaviors to ensure that we are socially accepted and conform to the social norms of the organization.

We are all individuals and learn on a distinct basis, with varying levels and exposures to learning. I may be motivated today to learn, and tomorrow my level may be considerably less. We will have differing life experiences, resulting in significant variations on our problem solving approaches. Overall the Social aspect to learning is very established. Behaviorism and cognitive approach certainly have a role to play. Many have suggested that social learning is the bridge between Behaviorism and Cognitive learning. (Woodward, J. S. And Deskilling, S. F. , Human Behavior and the Social Environment, p. 2) , To sum up the social aspect of learning, perhaps the most significant statement would be, ‘Monkey see, Moon key do’. Finally, consider our development from infant to adult, newborns are conditioned to respond to external and environmental stimuli, i. E. , startled by a sudden loud noise, the high chair and the association with food, a certain look on a mother’s face, a disapproving or positive response. We are constantly learning as we move through life stages, children in the pre cognitive tag use social learning so therefore ‘Children see, Children do’.

In this modern society with influences ranging from television, internet and social media, children are exposed early to a considerable array of role models, both good and bad. These models stimulate responses which can be imitated, unfortunately resulting in the mimicking of violent and unacceptable and negative behavior. We must therefore be responsible parents / careers, with positive reinforcement feedback and the setting of good examples. Conclusion We are the lifelong learners of today, our children are the lifelong learners of morrow.

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