Psychology of Learning
Monday, January 23
Learning Theories (Part 1)
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?
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
A. Concerned with observable behaviors, not underlying mental processes
A. Concerned with how knowledge is constructed by children through exploration of
III. Information Processing
A. Concerned with thought processes that mediate learning
IV. Social Cognitive
A. Reaction to early doctrines that lacked experimental rigor (e.g. Introspectionism,
Psychoanalysis) B. Advocates argued against investigating mental processes that could not be
C. Focus should be on the manipulation of stimuli and the measurement of
II. Classical Conditioning
A. Ivan Pavlov set out to discover how learning occurred (empirical evidence was
1. Believed learning occurred by discovering what events in environment “go
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