Chapter 8: Learning
“No topic is closer to the heart of psychology than
learning, a relatively permanent change in an organism’s
behavior due to experience.” Chapter 8 covers the basic
principles of three forms of learning: classical, or
respondent, conditioning, in which we learn associations
between events; operant conditioning, in which we learn
to engage in behaviors that are rewarded and to avoid
behaviors that are punished; and observational learning,
in which we learn by observing and imitating others.
The chapter also covers several important issues,
including the generality of principles of learning, the role
of cognitive processes in learning, and the ways in which
learning is constrained by the biological predispositions
of different species.
David Myers at times uses idioms that are
unfamiliar to some readers. If you do not know
the meaning of any of the following words,
phrases, or expressions in the context in which
they appear in the text, refer to page 257 for an
... breeds hope; mugged; Japanese rancher
reportedly herds cattle.
First, skim the introduction. Then read the following
objective and, as you read the text, search for the
information that will enable you to meet that objective.
1. Discuss the importance of experience in learning,
and describe the role of association in learning.
Stepping Through the Introduction
After you have read the introduction, complete the
sentences and answer the questions. As you proceed,
evaluate your performance by consulting the answers on
page 247. Do not continue with the next section until you
understand each answer. If you need to, review or reread
the section in the textbook before continuing.
1. A relatively permanent change in an organism’s
behavior due to experience is called ______________ .
2. More than 200 years ago, philosophers such as John
Locke and David Hume argued that an important
factor in learning is our tendency to ______________
events that occur in sequence. Even simple animals,
such as the sea snail Aplysia, can learn simple
______________ between stimuli. This type of
learning is called ______________ .
3. The type of learning in which the organism learns to
associate two stimuli is ______________ conditioning.
4. The tendency of organisms to associate a response
and its consequence forms the basis of
5. Complex animals often learn behaviors merely by
______________ others perform them.
If you do not know the meaning of any of the
following words, phrases, or expressions in the
context in which they appear in the text, refer to
258 for an explanation
note that some
items appear in the chapter introduction
many people, the name Ivan Pavlov.
.. rings a bell;
drooled; sets your mouth to watering; red
.. firebreathing heartthrob; willy
thought that counts; we stand on his shoulders; crack