LCchap04

LCchap04 - Chapter 4 Behavioral Theories of Learning...

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Chapter 4 Behavioral Theories of Learning Narrative This chapter discusses psychologists who went beyond Pavlov and Thorndike’s theories from Chapter 3. The chapter specifically discusses the work of Hull, Tolman and Skinner. Clark Hull (1884-1952) was inspired by Issac Newton, and strove to quantify behavior by using mathematics. His theory is called logical behaviorism . Although very complex, there are several important ideas important from Hull’s work. For example, the chapter explains one of Hull’s formulas: S E R = S H R X D In simpler terms, this formula means that reaction potential ( S E R ) is the function ( = ) of drive (D) times habit strength ( S H R ). Reaction potential is the tendency to make a given response, and habit strength 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 and stimulus-intensity dynamism . 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 purposive behaviorism , 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. He thought that humans and animals learn about their environments, instead of simply reacting to them. The chapter described Tolman as a molar theorist, because of his idea that behavior is shaped by goals. Molar theorists are in contrast to molecular theorists (e.g., 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. For 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
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This test prep was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PSYC 410 taught by Professor Martinvanslyck during the Spring '05 term at VCU.

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LCchap04 - Chapter 4 Behavioral Theories of Learning...

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