Behavioral Theories of Learning
This chapter discusses psychologists who went beyond Pavlov and Thorndike’s
theories from Chapter 3.
The chapter specifically discusses the work of Hull, Tolman
Clark Hull (1884-1952) was inspired by Issac Newton, and strove to quantify
behavior by using mathematics.
His theory is called
very complex, there are several important ideas important from Hull’s work.
example, the chapter explains one of Hull’s formulas:
In simpler terms, this formula means that reaction potential (
) is the function
= ) of drive (D) times habit strength (
is the tendency to make a
given response, and
is how well the response is learned.
In other words,
the tendency to make a given response can be calculated as motivation multiplied by how
well the response is learned.
Hull’s formula was not all-encompassing.
To improve his formula, he added
several other ideas, such as
Incentive motivation is a measure of the size of the reward, and stimulus-intensity
dynamism is a measure of the intensity of the stimulus.
Hull also believed that learning is a gradual process, and that (like Thorndike) the
only kind of learning is where responses are attached to stimuli.
Hull also believed that
learning is due to drive reduction, as in the Law of Effect, and took a machine-view to the
human learning process.
Hull’s theory of logical behaviorism has been criticized for
being too simple to explain human behavior, and his formulas too complex.
Edward Tolman (1886-1959) did not use formulas to describe his theory of
, but instead used his thoughts about how organisms think.
Tolman believed that behavior is purposive, that how we behave is linked to a goal.
Tolman also believed that cognition played an important role in behavior.
that humans and animals learn about their environments, instead of simply reacting to
The chapter described Tolman as a
theorist, because of his idea that
behavior is shaped by goals.
Molar theorists are in contrast to
Guthrie and Hull), who thought learning meant acquiring muscular responses in response
to the environment.
Tolman and his colleagues challenged Thorndike’s Law of Effect, by conducting
an experiment where students had to insert a stylus into one of two holes, only one of
which was correct.
Different events happened to different groups of students.
example, some students heard a bell when the stylus was inserted into the right hole,
while other students heard a bell when the stylus was inserted into the wrong hole.
Another group of students heard a bell and received a shock when the stylus was inserted