APSY 2032 Lecture 1: Jan 23_Psych of Learning_Perez

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Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology
Course Code
APSY 2032

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Psychology of Learning Monday, January 23 This week: Learning Theories (Part 1) Behaviorism Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning Cognitive Learning Theories Social Cognitive Theory What is learning? A relatively permanent change in behavior or mental state that results from experience. According to behaviorists, it is a change in behavior (developing a skill). According to cognitivists, it is a change in mental state (acquiring knowledge). Where and when do we learn? → Not just in formal settings or when we have an explicit goal to learn something. → We are learning nearly all of the time! This is because we are inherently motivated to learn! What do we learn? → Facts → Concepts How can learning be detected? 1. Performing a new behavior 2. Changing the frequency, speed, intensity, or complexity of an existing behavior 3. Responding differently to a particular stimulus Learning Theories I. Behaviorist A. Concerned with observable behaviors, not underlying mental processes II. Constructivist A. Concerned with how knowledge is constructed by children through exploration of their environment III. Information Processing A. Concerned with thought processes that mediate learning IV. Social Cognitive Behaviorism I. Foundations A. Reaction to early doctrines that lacked experimental rigor (e.g. Introspectionism, Psychoanalysis) B. Advocates argued against investigating mental processes that could not be directly observed C. Focus should be on the manipulation of stimuli and the measurement of behavioral responses II. Classical Conditioning A. Ivan Pavlov set out to discover how learning occurred (empirical evidence was his approach) 1. Believed learning occurred by discovering what events in environment “go together” 2. Believed learning could be promoted by having events paired together B. Pavlov’s Dogs 1. Initial research a) Observation: dogs salivate when given food and also salivate
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