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Developmental psychology is a scientific approach which aims to explain how children and

adults change over time.
A significant proportion of theories within this discipline focus upon development during
childhood, as this is the period during an individual's lifespan when the most change occurs.
Developmental psychologists study a wide range of theoretical areas, such as biological, social,
emotion, and cognitive processes

Edward Lee "Ted" Thorndike (August 31, 1874 – August 9, 1949) was an American psychologist who
spent nearly his entire career at Teachers College, Columbia University. His work on Comparative
psychology and the learning process led to the theory of connectionism and helped lay the scientific
foundation for modern educational psychology. He also worked on solving industrial problems, such as
employee exams and testing. He was a member of the board of the Psychological Corporation and
served as president of the American Psychological Association in 1912
Development of law of effect
Thorndike's research focused on instrumental learning, which means that learning is developed
from the organism doing something. For example, he placed a cat inside a wooden box. The cats
used various methods trying to get out, however it does not work until it hits the lever.
Afterwards, Thorndike tried placing the cat inside the wooden box again, this time, the cat is able
to hit the lever quickly and succeeded to get out from the box.
At first, Thorndike emphasized the importance of dissatisfaction stemming from failure as equal
to the reward of satisfaction with success, though in his experiments and trials on humans he
came to conclude that reward is a much more effective motivator than punishment. He also
emphasized that the satisfaction must come immediately after the success, or the lesson would
not sink in

Edward Thorndike (1874 - 1949) is famous in psychology for his work on learning theory that
lead to the development of operant conditioning within behaviorism.
Whereas classical conditioning depends on developing associations between events, operant
conditioning involves learning from the consequences of our behavior. Skinner wasn’t the first
psychologist to study learning by consequences. Indeed, Skinner's theory of operant
conditioning is built on the ideas of Edward Thorndike.
Thorndike (1898) studied learning in animals (usually cats). He devised a classic experiment in
which he used a puzzle box (see fig. 1) to empirically test the laws of learning.

Fig 1: Simplified graph of the result of the puzzle box experiment.
He placed a cat in the puzzle box, which was encourage to escape to reach a scrap of fish
placed outside. Thorndike would put a cat into the box and time how long it took to escape.
The cats experimented with different ways to escape the puzzle box and reach the fish.
Eventually they would stumble upon the lever which opened the cage. When it had escaped it
was put in again, and once more the time it took to escape was noted. In successive trials the
cats would learn that pressing the lever would have favorable consequences and they would
adopt this behavior, becoming increasingly quick at pressing the lever.
Edward Thorndike put forward a “Law of effect” which stated that any behavior that is followed
by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behavior followed by unpleasant
consequences is likely to be stopped.