Psychology in Action

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III. COGNITIVE–SOCIAL LEARNING - Mental processes that lead to learned behavior are explored by the cognitive-social learning perspective. A. Insight and Latent Learning - Wolfgang Kohler, working with chimpanzees, demonstrated that learning can occur with a sudden flash of insight and Edward Tolman demonstrated latent learning occurs in the absence of reinforcement remaining hidden until needed. B. Observational Learning - Observational learning (or social learning) is the process of learning how to do something by merely watching someone else perform a behavior, rather than learning through doing. Observational learning theory was proposed by Albert Bandura to explain how people learn by observing others who serve as models. Research Highlight: The Theory Heard Round the World – Bandura’s “Bobo doll” study is considered a classic in psychology demonstrating that children will imitate models they observe on television. The social-cognitive theory has played a pivotal role worldwide using television to model positive behaviors and practices. Students are given an opportunity to apply some the principles observational learning in their life. Gender and Cultural Diversity: Scaffolding as a Teaching Technique in Different Cultures - This section discusses the work of Wood et al. (1976) where scaffolding is used in informal situations between a master teacher and learner and involves a combination of shaping and modeling. IV. THE BIOLOGY OF LEARNING A. Neuroscience and Learning – Research in learning suggests that new synaptic connections and Instructor’s Resource Guide Chapter 6          Page   184
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changes in the brain including the cortex, cerebellum, hypothalamus, thalamus, and amygdala. B. Evolution and Learning – Biological preparedness innately predisposes an organism to form associations between stimuli and responses. Taste aversion research is cited as an example of an easily classically conditioned association. Instinctive drift occurs when a conditioned response shift back toward innate response patterns. V. USING CONDITIONING AND LEARNING PRINCIPLES Psychology at Work: Classical Conditioning – From Marketing to Medical Treatments - Advertisers, politicians, film producers, music artists, and explanations of prejudice, phobias, and medical procedures are all cited as examples of classical conditioning. Psychology at Work: Operant Conditioning –Prejudice, Biofeedback, and Superstition - The influence of operant conditioning principles have numerous real life applications. Often prejudice and discrimination are positively reinforced. To control high blood pressure and anxiety, some researchers use biofeedback--a procedure in which people's biological functions are monitored and the results made known to them so they can learn to control these functions. Professional athletes may exhibit superstitious behavior because of accidental reinforcement.
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