Advanced General Psychology
Thelearning process has been complicated but it is not unpredictable asit has been the subject of study playing a crucial role in variouscultures. Over the century, learning has experienced severalperspectives some of them being cognitive, behavioral, human, socialand constructive. The different approaches to the study of learninghave led to the formation of learning theories, methods of teachingand instructional design theories. According to scholars, learning isperceived as a behavioral change that is dependent on the previousexperience (Terry, 2015). It can entail the processing of variouskind of information whereby the learning functions are establishedunder different processes of the brain which depend on the mentalcapacity of the agent, subject and the knowledge to be acquitted.Also, the environmental and socio-cognitive circumstances areresponsible for performing learning functions. In our study, thefocus will be on comparing and contrasting the learning styles ofThorndike and Pavlov procedure.
IvanPavlov dealt with classical conditioning which is a simple learningtechnique. It explains that a neutral stimulus has the capability ofinducing a response due to its pairing by another stimulus thatinitially caused the response (Terry, 2015). He was involved in theanalysis of behavioral therapy which was later pronounced accidental.The psychological research performed by Thorndike on learning wasup-to-date with the studies that were presented by Ivan Pavlov basedon the nervous system. Pavlov focused on the study of the digestiveglands and the circulatory system and it was at this time thatfocused on extrasensory stimulation of the glands. During this periodof his studies, he claimed that he realized some facts of psychicalcharacter that had already been identified by others and because theywere logical they could not be neglected. The significance of thedetails was that they ensured constant and prominent investigationsof the physiological processes. The subsequent research by Pavlov hadthe objective of discovering the law that supports the interrelationbetween the salivary glands excretion and the external objects. Fromhis studies, he came up with the conditioned reflexes with the aim ofdistinguishing it from the unconditional reflexes or those that havea natural connection to the salivary glands (Terry, 2015). The firstrelationship was formed by a conditioned stimulus such as the viewingof dry bread that happens with the unconditioned stimulus such as thesense of dry bread in the mouth. The process that enabled theassociation between a conditional and unconditional stimulus waslater known as a classical condition. The stimulus without thereaction ends up having a similar response to the stimuli that hasthe response.
Ivanhad an essential starting point that the observations emerging fromthe association will occur even if there was no presence of aninvestigator or a dog (Terry, 2015). His other experiments focused onexplaining how the connections are developed, strengthened andterminated. Pavlov taught that there have to be several associationsof the unconditioned and the unconditioned stimulus to produce aconditioned stimulus (Terry, 2015). The process puts much focus onthe presentation and it has to begin with providing the conditionedstimulus followed by the unconditioned stimulus. In this theory,there is the experimental extinction whereby the conditional responseis created then there is the presentation of a continuous stimuluswithout the following by unconditional stimulus which results in thedisappearance of the conditioned response. There is the aspect ofspontaneous recovery by the sustained reaction after the limitedresponse is provided after a period when it had disappeared.
TheLearning Style of Thorndike
Thetheorists Edward Thorndike came up with the technique of studyingoperant conditioning. This is a learning process whereby the resultsof any behavior will modify the extent to which behavior has theprobability of occurring. His learning style involved prepotency ofelements. He explains that various features of a situation arecritical in response determination than others and an animal can lookfor the vital details and ignore the less important ones (Terry,2015). To explain this learning style, Thorndike conducted anexperiment that entailed placing cats in designed boxes and they hadto escape to look for food that is put outside but to do this, thecats had to do a particular behavior involving pulling the string.
Accordingto Thorndike, learning is viewed as the act of forming bonds orassociations which are referred as the interrelationship of anaction, situation and resultant pleasure. Through his theory oflearning, he came up with three laws that provided a formativeculmination of the learning styles. The law of readiness wasconcerned with the motivational features of learning and depended onthe science of neurology. With the use of a conduit unit which wasalso referred to as synapse, neurons or parts of synapses or neuronsit provided the explanation on the law of readiness (Terry, 2015). Itwas said that it was satisfying for a conduit unit to conduct andwhen it fails it turns to be annoying. For instance, when a carnivoresights a prey it will chase it and this creates the connections andconductions that will facilitate jumping on the prey when it is closeto it resulting in a state of readiness to be made.
Theother law is based on exercise and it consists of two parts the lawof use and disuse. According to the law, connections will becomestronger when they are utilized. In this scenario, strengths areperceived as vigor and the regularity of its development and it willtend to become weaker when it is not used. From the third law whichfocuses on effect, it supports the law of exercise by stating thatthe connections will become stronger if it results in a pleasantstate of affairs during the making of the links. It also implies thatweakening will emerge as a consequence of an annoying state. Thethree laws are complemented by various features of learning whichdemonstrate their significance and are secondary in the scope (Terry,2015). Among this characteristics, it explains about stimulusidentifiability whereby it is easy for a situation to connect to aresponse to the point that the event is distinctive, identifiable andunique from the others in a series of learning. The other stylementioned is attention whereby Thorndike explains that there will beno difference in a reaction of a system if it is not attended to orbeing involved in an activity (Terry, 2015). The other isassimilation that exists between two stimuli of similar elements. Atthis moment, an animal will react to a new stimulus in a manner it isused to respond to the usual stimulus. According to Thorndike, heclaimed that those situations that do not have acquired or properresponse of their own, the reaction that results would be in theaftermath of a connection to the original nature in situations whichthey resemble.
BothPavlov and Thorndike had significant achievements in the behavioralpsychology. However, scholars claim that John Watson was responsiblefor advancing the theory and making it prominent. Pavlov utilizedphysiology to make contributions to behaviorism theory although itwas regarded as being indirect. Pavlov explained on the limits ofdiscrimination that can emerge as a result of differentialreinforcement which is an alternative technique of training (Terry,2015). He clarified on the conditioning of a dog to test its responsewhen it is presented with a circle that is illuminated on a screenthat is very close and the other is an ellipse that it should notreact. Through the experiments by Pavlov, Watson concluded that therewere significant in demonstrating the conditioning process bymonitoring the flow of saliva which is a secretory reflex. ForThorndike, he claimed to be a ‘behaviorist,’ but it was not untilthe 1910s when his activities became very famous (Terry, 2015). Itwas through the behaviorism and the perceptions of psychology thatresulted to his prominence in the field of psychology. Thorndikeargued through his book that behavioral psychology is an experimentalbranch that has real objectives of natural science with the goals ofpredicting and controlling the behaviors. Through the works ofThorndike, John Watson went on to define behaviorism as a sciencewhich focuses on the study of human behavior. The learning approachwas to provide the basis for predicting and controlling humansthrough providing situations and describing the actions of people(Terry, 2015). With a person performing an action, it will create anopportunity to explain why someone is reacting in a particularmanner.
Terry,W. S. (2015). Learningand memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures.Psychology Press.
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