Copyright

Ch 5: Introduction to Learning in Psychology

About This Chapter

Get detailed information about observational learning, conditioning and other types of learning in psychology with these informative lessons and brief quizzes. Use these learning tools to catch up in class, get help with homework, or prepare for a test.

About This Chapter

Have you ever heard of Pavlov's dogs? This early experiment was a window into one way we learn. Classical conditioning trains us to connect two things in our minds, one an automatic reaction, and the other a learned trigger that sets it off. But conditioning isn't good just for dogs. Early work in classical conditioning was developed further by John Watson's experiment with Little Albert, and it eventually led to a revolution in advertising. Does it ever seem as if marketers understand you a little too well? The lessons in this chapter will help you understand why, as well as exploring the basics of classical conditioning.

You'll also learn about some other forms of conditioning. For example, you might have heard the story of the donkey that could be motivated with either a carrot or a stick. Operant conditioning is the term that psychologists use for voluntary behaviors that are either encouraged by rewards or discouraged by punishments. If you want to learn how a pigeon learned to bowl, tune in to the video lesson discussing shaping, which is how continuous behaviors are created.

When we learn through conditioning, the way that the teacher spaces out rewards affects how we learn and how long it sticks with us. The lesson on scheduling reinforcement introduces the ways that psychologists understand these techniques.

When you think of something being extinct, you likely first think of dinosaurs, but this term is also relevant to the field of psychology. Previously developed behaviors that are not reinforced can disappear, which is referred to as extinction in psychology; check out our lesson that goes into this in detail.

Do we act from self-interest only, or do we work for the advantage of the group? Learn about the prisoner's dilemma, which was a thought experiment developed by scientists working for the Rand Corporation to help us understand how people make decisions and the role of self-interest in that process.

Sometimes we have to build ideas from the ground up. Other times they come to us in a 'Eureka!' moment. In another lesson we discuss how psychologists seek to understand how we develop new ideas through both observation and insight. You will have the opportunity to delve into the definition of observational learning and the four steps involved in this process.

Finally, while we can learn many things, sometimes we run up against biological limits on conditioning, and you'll learn more about this as well. Sometimes conditioning might run against a natural instinct that impedes learning; in other cases, conditioning can take advantage of natural reactions to make learning go more smoothly and last longer.

8 Lessons in Chapter 5: Introduction to Learning in Psychology
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Classical Conditioning in Psychology: Definition, Principles & Examples

1. Classical Conditioning in Psychology: Definition, Principles & Examples

Can you be conditioned to associate something new with something else you naturally respond to? In this lesson, we'll take a look at a famous psychological experiment that tested how brains have the ability to automatically react to new stimuli if it's conditioned correctly.

Psychologist John Watson & the Little Albert Experiment

2. Psychologist John Watson & the Little Albert Experiment

Does classical conditioning work on humans? In this lesson, you'll explore this question as poor Little Albert is taught to fear a rat. You'll also see how classical conditioning can be used in advertising.

Operant Conditioning in Psychology: Definition, Theory & Examples

3. Operant Conditioning in Psychology: Definition, Theory & Examples

How do we adapt our behaviors to our advantage? Can we learn from punishment and reward? With operant conditioning, our behaviors are shaped based off the responses we get from them.

What is Shaping in Psychology? - Definition & Examples

4. What is Shaping in Psychology? - Definition & Examples

How can teachers shape the behavior of their students? In this lesson, you'll not only discover how a pigeon learned how to bowl, but you'll also study the steps required to shape complex acts into continuous behaviors.

Schedules of Reinforcement in Psychology: Continous & Partial

5. Schedules of Reinforcement in Psychology: Continous & Partial

Have you ever wondered how our behavior is conditioned? How does the timing of rewards affect our behavior and our learning? In this lesson, we'll take a close look at how reinforcement scheduling can influence how fast we learn a behavior and how well the behavior is maintained.

What is Extinction in Conditioning? - Definition & Explanation

6. What is Extinction in Conditioning? - Definition & Explanation

Extinction is the disappearance of a previously learned behavior when the behavior is not reinforced. In this lesson, learn more about extinction in operant conditioning and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Observational Learning: Definition, Theory & Examples

7. Observational Learning: Definition, Theory & Examples

Observational learning goes on around us everyday. In this lesson, you will learn to identify the four steps in observational learning by examining a normal event. Test your understanding with the short quiz at the end.

Biological Limits on Conditioning: Taste Aversion, the Garcia Effect & Instincts

8. Biological Limits on Conditioning: Taste Aversion, the Garcia Effect & Instincts

How can biological influences affect conditioning? Have you ever had food poisoning? In this lesson, you'll see how natural responses can accelerate or hinder conditioning.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support