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Theories of Learning

Agbisit, Lana Shereen Devera, Christopher Doneza, Kaygee Mallari, Marjorie Reyes, Jannie Lynn Ronquillo, Paulene Tantay, Ma. Cecilia

WRITTEN REPORT: Edwin Ray Guthrie
Submitted to Mr. Darwin Rungduin

Major Theoretical Concepts of Edwin Ray Guthrie

 Movement-Produced Stimuli - A delayed external stimulus triggers an internal movement in the individual which serves as a stimulus (M/S) for the next movement. till the final movement is made. Caused by the movements of the body. if you did something in a given situation. There is a similarity between Guthrie’s thinking and Thorndike’s concept of “prepotency of elements”. This principle completely rejects the law of frequency as a learning principle.The principle that when two ideas or psychologically perceived events have once occurred in close association. - -  The Recency Principle - This principle holds that the response last made to a situation is the response that will be made when that situation occurs again. - . you will tend to do the same thing. In other words. The One Law of Learning Law of Contiguity . he revised his law of contiguity to read “What is being noticed becomes a signal for what is being done”.  One-Trial Learning states that learning takes place in a single pairing of a response and stimulus and is not strengthened over time by repeated exposure to a stimulus. the next time you are in that situation. Guthrie did not believe in conditioned learning where a reward following a behavior reinforces it. In 1959. the subsequent occurrence of one tending to elicit the other. they are likely to occur in close association again.

Reinforcement changes prevents unlearning. Movements. and recorded 800 escapes in cats. reinforcement was a potent stimulus that prevented unlearning. Movements are learnt responses. 3. Acts are a conglomerate of a number of learnt movements.  Nature of Reinforcement For Guthrie. Movements are minute responses made by the muscles that get associated with impinging stimuli. reinforcement was merely a mechanical arrangement. Each cat learned its own peculiar stereotypical movement to escape the box. Acts & Skills 1. Thus Guthrie suggested it reflected one-trial learning. These are muscle contractions. Guthrie took notes. like learning to press keys on a keyboard. Skills are made up of many acts that are repeated (practice) to develop performance proficiency. This also opposed Thorndike’s idea that reinforcement was required. To Guthrie. the stimulating conditions and thereby  Guthrie-Horton Study (1946) Guthrie and Horton used a puzzle box similar to Thorndike. Guthrie also proposed that cats did not need reinforcement to learn. 2. 2. unlike Thorndike’s proposal that cats learnt through repetition. Fast typing is a skill. 1. Horton took photographs. Acts are learnt behaviors. which he felt could be explained by his one law of learning.  Forgetting .

Bronco-busting. Undesired habit will be removed by the negative consequences of fatigue or exhaustion. This is an extreme form of retroactive inhibition. -  Breaking Habits To break habits determine the cues (pattern of stimuli) that initiate the undesired habit. 3. Examples: 1. Example: Removal of fear from a toy panda with the introduction of mother’s warmth. 2. Increase the intensity of the stimulus slowly making sure that the animal tolerates the stimulus and does not engage in the undesired behavior before moving on to the next stronger stimulus. Similar to flooding (Pavlov). In the presence of a stimulus pattern when an old movement is replaced by new movement forgetting takes place. Incompatible Response Method Stimuli that cause undesired responses are presented with other stimuli that produce a desired response. Dog chasing chickens. Similar to counter conditioning.  Sidetracking Habits . which refers to the fact that old learning is interfered with by new learning. Examples: 1. 2. Threshold/Tolerance Method Introduce a stimulus. Spitting peas. weak in strength so that it does initiate the bad habit. Replace the undesired habit with a desired habit in the presence of those cues. Horse breaking 2.- Like one-trial learning. Fatigue/Exhaustion Method - The undesired habit needs to be repeated for long periods to cause fatigue or tiredness. All forgetting must involve new learning. Incompatibility of a desired response removes the undesired response. forgetting also occurs in just one trial. 1.

But one comes up with the same response (4) because important elements (2+2) remain the same. Drives like hunger are maintaining stimuli that keep the individuals going till the goal is reached..  Punishment 1. and it should be salient enough to change the undesired behavior. so avoiding stimuli that cause undesirable habits was to sidetrack them. e. Guthrie accepted Thorndike’s Identical Element Theory in explaining how contextual stimuli have similarity in producing the same response in a familiar and an unfamiliar situation. Adding 2+2 on the blackboard is different than adding 2+2 on the seat or at home. they can also be external like praise. Punishment needs to convey information.For Guthrie. what the individual needs to do. . and in fact may strengthen the undesired behavior. food (external stimulus) and hunger drive (internal stimulus) were parts of a stimulus pattern.Though maintaining stimuli like hunger are internal. Guthrie like Thorndike did not believe in transfer of training as proposed by formal discipline.g.Intentions are conditioned responses (purposive behaviors). .- Guthrie suggested that breaking undesirable habits was difficult. Punishment should produce an incompatible behavior to the unwanted behavior. . Punishment must be applied along with other stimuli. 2. Pain during punishment is meaningless. dog chasing car. If 2 or 3 are not met then punishment is ineffective.  Transfer of Training 1. 3. associated with maintaining stimuli leading the individual to reach goals.  Drives & Intentions . 2. 4. Undesirable behavioral patterns (like smoking) in one environment can be sidetracked by going to a completely new environment (where cigarettes/tobacco is not available).

If there is new law enforcement by the government. (Movement-Produced Stimuli) . At first. When you are being influenced by your friends to drink alcohols every now and then. When you see your professor entering the class room with the student’s blue books. (Sidetracking Habits) 2. (Recency Principle) 2. you don’t like President P-Noy because you are pro-Villar. but then you learned to like P-Noy as you realize that he fulfills his promises and gives his best to serve our country. (Punishment) Micro Level 1.Threshold Method) 2. you would suddenly take a look on your notes and try to review because he might be giving a quiz like what he did on the last time of your meeting. (Forgetting) Educational Premise 1. the people should follow it or else they might pay a penalty or be imprisoned.Examples: Macro Level 1. When the students hear the bell rings. When you use a particular technique or move in playing chess and you always lose. you would tend to keep distance with them and little by little find other friends. (Breaking Habits. they would automatically be reminded of the dismissal time and so their body would tend to respond by fixing and keeping their things inside their bags. you would try to forget this move and use another technique that will enable you to win.