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Learning Theories: Behavioral Perspective (Behaviorism)

Group members: Chelsea Mujan Meripa Dulcy Garasi Juliati Jamil Mira Tey Wei Ling

Founded by John B. Watson in 1913. Emphasize on the study of observable, measurable behaviors. A perspective that psychologist should be concerned with the study of human behavior rather than with the study of human mind. Among the well known, influential behaviorists are: Pavlov, Thorndike and Skinner.

What is learning?
At first, according to behaviorists, learning is any relatively permanent change in our thoughts, feeling or behavior that results from experience. However, they eventually realized that changes in peoples mental states cannot be observed objectively, and the only scientific evidence for learning was the observal changes in behavior. Therefore, they finally consider learning relatively as enduring changes in observable behavior that results from experience.

Theories in Behaviorism



Behaviorists: Learning occurs through temporal contiguity, the simultaneous presentation of two events (Guthrie, 1959) A contiguity theory of learning = the concept of learning through association. Learning is the pairing of automatic responses to new stimuli.

Terms used in classical conditioning:

TERM Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) DEFINITION A stimulus that produces automatic physiological and/or emotional response. An automatic response to an unconditioned stimulus. A stimulus that does not have a natural automatic response associated to it. A stimulus that elicits the responses after classical conditioning takes place. The response that has been learned through classical conditioning. A stimuli that produces negative emotional response.

Unconditioned Response (UCR)

Neutral Stimulus (NS)

Conditioned Stimulus (CS)

Conditioned Response (CR)

Aversive Stimuli (AVS)

Pavlovs paradigm for studying classical conditioning

Before Conditioning UCS (food) UCR (salivation) NS (bell) no response

During Conditioning UCS (food) + NS (bell) UCR (salivation)

After Conditioning CS (bell) CR (salivation)

Phases of Classical Conditioning

1. Acquisition: Forming New Responses It is the formation of a new conditioned response tendency. According to Pavlov, the acquisition of a (CR) depends on the time factor that linked between two events. Usually, stimuli that are special, novel or intense would have more opportunity to produce classical conditioning.

2. Extinction: Weakening Conditioned Response

It is the result of the gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response.

3. Spontaneous Recovery
Resurrecting responses It is the reappearance of a conditioned response (CR) which was extinct after a long period of non-appearance of the conditioned stimulus (CS).

4. Stimulus Generalization
The conditioned response of an organism that applies not only to the exact, original continued stimulus, but also to the other similar stimulus.

5. Stimulus Discrimination
Contrast with stimulus generalisation. Depends on the degree of similarity. E.g. the sound of the gong compare with the bell.

6. Higher-order Conditioning
A new conditioned response which is built on the foundation of learned response. A conditioned stimulus which functions as an unconditioned stimulus. E.g. (the sound of bell now linked with the red light, after a number of trials, the dog will also salivate in response to the red light presented alone).

Implications of Pavlovs Conditioning Theory towards T&L.

1. Can be fostered through T&L activities:
Before Conditioning
Science teacher (UCS) teaching in the class for the first time. Unconditioned response (pupils attention) towards the teaching activities only.

During Conditioning
Teacher (CS) teaching in an interesting manner.

Pupils pay attention to teachers teaching (CR)

After Conditioning
Teachers presence (CS)

Pupils pay attention to teachers teaching (CR)

2. In order to teach effectively, the teacher ought to relate practical experience (conditioned stimulus) with the learning task (unconditioned stimulus) so as to produce satisfactory conditioned learning response. 3. Guide pupils to apply skill to make accurate generalization by using various related examples. 4. Pupils to use skill to make discrimination, for example, to ascertain the different specific characteristics of parallelogram and rhombus.

5. Allocate sufficient exercises for pupils to strengthen the application of conditioned stimulus and conditioned response. For example, giving related exercises regularly to solve mathematics problems. 6. Use secondary reinforcement to sustain conditioned response to avoid process of extinction. For example, use new, similar stimulus as conditioned stimulus to motivate pupils for their subsequent learning activities.

7. Assist pupils to restore their memory by allowing sufficient resting time until all existing interferences in learning have been removed.

Watsons Conditioning Theory

His research was, to a large extent influenced by Pavlovs classical conditioning theory. His famous research is related to childrens emotion by using the classical conditioning model.

Emotion Learning: Stimulus generalization

According to Watson, people normally inherit three kinds of basic emotion (fear, anger and love). He believed that emotion can be learned through the process of conditioning. His hypothesis was proven by carrying out an experiment towards a nine-month old baby, Little Albert. The experiment was to prove that the baby would be terrified at the sight of the white mice, which he initially liked to play with, can be learned through the process of conditioning.

Description of the experiment:

1. A white mice was brought to Little Albert whom he showed interest to play with. 2. As soon as the white mice was shown to Little Albert for the second time, a loud and startling sound was emitted all of a sudden from the back.

3. Immediately, Alberts reaction was observed. He was frightened.

White mice (CS) (CR) Fear (UCR) Loud, startling sound (UCS)

4. After conditioned response was established, when the white mice appeared only, Little Albert responded with fear.
White mice (CS) Fear (CR)

Implications of Watsons Learning Theory in T&L.

1. Positive behaviors can be taught by using suitable stimulus. 2. To master the skill of problem solving, pupils ought to relate the relationship between all responses systemically.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner / B.F Skinner- Operant Conditioning

Definition: - method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. - based on Edward Thorndikes law of effect. - Skinner introduced a new term into the Law of Effect Reinforcement: 1) Behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated (i.e. strengthened); 2) behavior which is not reinforced tends to die out-or be extinguished (i.e. weakened). Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior

Contents: - Skinner used the term operant to refer to any "active behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences" (1953).
Some key concepts in operant conditioning: Reinforcement is any event that strengthens or increases the behavior it follows. There are two kinds of reinforcers: Positive reinforcers are favorable events or outcomes that are presented after the behavior. In situations that reflect positive reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by the addition of something, such as praise or a direct reward. Negative reinforcers involve the removal of an unfavorable events or outcomes after the display of a behavior. In these situations, a response is strengthened by the removal of something considered unpleasant.

In both of these cases of reinforcement, the behavior increases. Punishment, on the other hand, is the presentation of an adverse event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behavior it follows. There are two kinds of punishment: Positive punishment, sometimes referred to as punishment by application, involves the presentation of an unfavorable event or outcome in order to weaken the response it follows. Negative punishment, also known as punishment by removal, occurs when an favorable event or outcome is removed after a behavior occurs.

Example of Operant Conditioning

Example 1: Parents rewarding a childs excellent grades with candy or some other prize. Example 2: A schoolteacher awards points to those students who are the most calm and wellbehaved. Students eventually realize that when they voluntarily become quieter and better behaved, that they earn more points.

Example 3: A form of reinforcement (such as food) is given to an animal every time the animal (for example, a hungry lion) presses a lever

Differences between Classical and Operant Conditioning

Classical Organisms response is involuntary (automatic physiological or emotional reactions) Behavior follows stimuli Learning is the process of associating neutral stimuli with unconditioned stimuli Operant Organisms response is voluntary Behavior precedes stimuli Learning is the process of changing ones behavior as a result of the consequences of such behavior

Here are some principles that B.F. Skinner identified in his research: Pleasant experiences (such as rewards or praise) are positive reinforcers. They cause learners to make desired connections between stimuli and responses. Unpleasant experiences (such as punishment) are negative reinforcers. They cause learners to avoid undesirable responses to stimuli. Continuous reinforcement increases the rate of learning. Intermittent reinforcement contributes to longer retention of what is learned. Both positive and negative reinforcement can shape behavior. A lack of any reinforcement can also shape behavior. If people receive no acknowledgement of their behavior, they will likely change that behavior until they receive some kind of reinforcement.