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Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Connectionism, Contiguity, Observational Learning

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Terry Biggs

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Learning Theories
Pavlov, Thorndike and Skinner
Believed only observable behaviour is relevant to psychology
Formation of associations
Learning Principles One vs. Two factor Theories
Classical (or Pavlovian) Conditioning
Operant (or Skinnerian) Conditioning
Observational Learning
Cognition & Learning
What is Learning?
Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior which is independent
of the effects of maturation and temporary factors such as Fatigue or Sensory
Classes of Theories
Theories will differ in terms of the language used to describe them.
How you learn ANYTHING
Some will be very connectionist while other will be more cognatavistic
However, ALL will tend towards abstraction in order to gain generality
There are two major classes of theories
Assertion is that one type of learning is predominant
One basic process or principle underlies all forms of learning such as:
1. Principle of Contiguity
Response in the presence of a particular stimuli leads to
learning through the formation of an association
Strongly linked to Classical or Pavlovian conditioning
However, it is not entirely absent from the Operant
paradigm which may also be interpreted via contiguity
2. Principle of Reinforcement
Clark Hull’s Original Operant learning paradigm
Contention is that drive reduction is the motivating factor in
E.g., Hunger Eat Reduction of drive to eat
However, an unconditioned Stimulus may also be
interpreted as setting up a drive reduction situation
The most notable Theorists who have utilized the combination of
Contiguity and Reinforcement in their theories are:
E.L. Thorndike and B.F. Skinner
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