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Perspectives…..1 Running Head: PERSPECTIVES PAPER Perspectives Paper Rebecca McCutcheon Instructor: Sadie Woolsey
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Perspectives…..2 Perspectives Paper Great contributions have been made to the field of modern-day psychology by Tolman, Watson, and Skinner. They have all been influential in the development of the field of behavioral psychology. The perspectives of each of these psychologists are compared in this paper. Their contributions to the field are relevant on the basis of each of their backgrounds, theories and the studies they each conducted in their work. Tolman was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1886 in to a middle-class family. Tolman and his brother both entered into academic careers against the wishes of their parents. Tolman sought the life of a philosopher. He attended summer school after his graduation in 1911. There he studied psychology and philosophy. William Jones influenced Tolman to change his career path. In working in summer school he became convinced that he did not possess a high enough intelligence to study philosophy. He changed his major to psychology at this point. He was hired as an instructor in Berkeley in 1918. He worked there for the remainder of his life. He married and enjoyed a good relationship with his wife. (VanderZwaag, 1998). Tolman’s contributions to the study of psychology involved the development of the cognitive learning theory. He worked on the construct of this theory during his tenure at the University of California at Berkeley. He postulated that all learning arose from small insights, thoughts, relations with and responses to the individual’s environment. To study learning, Tolman set up and conducted a number of classically empirical rat experiments.
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Perspectives…..3 He used maze experiments with rats for his early work in determining how reinforcement affects the rats learning of the maze. The steps involved in the process of learning are many and detailed in this maze learning. The behaviors that he was building had to address components of cognition in their origin. He used in some of his studies the procedure in which a lab rat ran the maze without any type of reward. In these studies he developed the latent learning theory. Latent learning occurs whenever learning is taking place in the absence of reward. This is the type of learning that Tolman felt humans often display when they learn in the absence of awareness. Tolman felt that humans are driven by motivation to learn behavior. In this type of learning, the behavior will be changed when there is a change in the motivator. Tolman developed mental maps and cognitive theories that are still widely in use today. He is recognized as the leader in the development of cognitive psychology during an era in which behaviorists were in vogue. (VanderZwaag, 1998).
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