My College Class Notes

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Cognitive Learning: A Contemporary View of the Past

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Chapter 4: p.163

Focus Questions

Why is it important to consider cognition in studies of conditioning?

In the heyday of the view that human behavior and personality could be explained in terms of reinforcement history, there were dissenters who insisted that an understanding of cognition was also essential.

Can learning occur when there is no reinforcement or punishment?

Learning by insight was one early demonstration that trial-and-error learning and stimulus-response associations were adequate in explaining behavior.

Rats’ learning of mazes in the absence of reinforcement was another difficult phenomenon for the strict behaviorists to explain.

What is the modern view of processes in learning and conditioning?

Demonstrations of observational learning by humans and other species also contradicted the idea that learning could be explained solely in terms of reinforcement or punishment; thus, the learning-performance distinction emerged.

Modern civilization and its technology exist because of direct and indirect observational learning.

In addition to being conditioned, we learn cognitive maps and expectancies—in general, knowledge. We are active seekers of learning and not passive pawns of our environment.





Cognitive learning as a result of problem solving.

Observational Learning

Cognitive learning as a result of watching others performs a behavior. It extends to learning by listening or reading.

Cognitive Map    

A mental representation of the spatial features of an environment.




Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 8:31 am

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