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biological and cognitive factors of the learning perspective

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"Assess the extent to which biological and cognitive factors have added to traditional explanations of behavior from the learning perspective" Biological and cognitive factors have both contributed greatly to traditional explanations of behavior from the learning perspective. Nowadays, biological factors, such as imprinting, preparedness and the Critical period, and cognitive factors, such as observational learning and latent learning are used to explain how we learn. The modern assumption which challenges the traditional view of the learning perspective is 'learning can take place in the absence of reinforcement'. The traditional view of the learning perspective can be expressed with the words 'learning only takes place in the presence of reinforcement'. This was because of the theories of classical and operant conditioning, where the subjects learned to do a certain behavior in exchange for reinforcement (mainly food in the case of animal subjects). However, because of biological factors and cognitive factors, this has been disproved. Imprinting is a key biological factor used in explaining how learning can take place. When an animal is first born, imprinting causes it to believe that the first moving thing it sees is its mother. ...read more.


However, several of the ideas have been criticized. The idea of a critical period is deemed by some psychologists as too strong a term; they believe that a 'sensitive period' is a more accurate term to describe it. Bonding can occur at any time, but during the 'sensitive period', bonding is particularly strong. Furthermore, imprinting appears to be reversible - if the infant stays with its own species long enough, it will return to normal and mate with its own species. One experiment proving these arguments have a valid basis showed that when newly born chicks were exposed to socks, the socks were imprinted upon them. Later on in life, they attempted to mate with the socks; however, after they spent some time with their own species, they returned to normal and mated with those of their own species. The critical period is also important in explaining learning, especially with language. Lenneberg, a psychiatrist, believes that the age of 10-11 is a critical period for language development. Children who become brain damaged are able to learn a bit of language, as other parts of the brain take over the function; ...read more.


Prepared behaviors are behaviors that are learnt with little experience; these are usually behaviors the organism is developed to do. Unprepared behaviors are acquired through experience, and contraprepared behaviors are patterns of behavior which we find difficult to acquire. Preparedness is an excellent example of how learning can take place in the absence of reinforcements; we can naturally learn things through prepared behaviors, for example because we are physiologically structured to do these things. This shows that we have an innate disposition to learning. Cognitive factors are also important in explaining how learning can take place in the absence of reinforcement. Observational learning is important in the learning process. The 'Bashing Bobo' example shows how observational learning helps us develop as human beings. First of all, we tend to have a role model who we imitate. For young children, this may be their peers, teachers or parents. Gender also affects the degree to which we imitate our role models; we tend to imitate those of the same gender. By watching and imitating role models, we learn much of what we do. Latent learning is another example of cognitive factors affecting the way we examine the learning perspective today. ...read more.

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