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Cognitive and Biological factors influence behavioural change

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Introduction

Cognitive and Biological factors influence behavioural change "Theories challenging traditional learning theory make the assumption that learning is more than a series of stimulus-response associations." With reference to this statement, assess the extent to which cognitive and/or biological factors contribute to explanations of behavioural change within the learning perspective. Cognitive and biological factors contribute to the explanations of behavioural change within the learning perspective. Studies on behavioural change suggest that cognitive and biological factors influences learning, such as biological preparedness, imprinting, instinctual drift and the LAD. Phobias are also an example of biological influences on learning, which supports the one-trial-learning theory. Cognitive elements such as cognitive maps and insight contribute to the explanations of behavioural change within the learning perspective. Biological preparedness, in the learning perspective, suggests that learning is influenced by biological factors. For example, the concept of one-trial-learning explains how phobias are learnt. One-trail-learning does not incorporate the original ideas of classical conditioning, as repeated-pair trials are not needed for phobias to be learnt. Furthermore, one-trial-learning does not require repetition, which is normally required in the traditional classical conditioning. An example of 'learning' a phobia is taste aversion. In a study conducted by John Garcia, cayotes were taught to abstain from eating sheep. ...read more.

Middle

Ducks seem to possess an innate mechanism which allows them to learn imprinting. Thus, imprinting is another example which portrays the biological influences on learning. This study is considered unethical, due to the imprinting of ducks to inanimate objects, such as a ball. This could have caused harm to the ducklings later on in their lives. Breland and Breland conducted a study on trying to condition pigs to place coins in a piggybank. Food acted as a reinforcer in the study. Naturally, pigs are easy to be conditioned, and they performed the act of picking up a coin and placing it in the piggybank. However, after a period of time, the pigs' performance began to slow down. Breland and Breland entitled this as 'instinctual drift', which means that the pigs' artificially learnt behaviour, reverted back to their original behaviour, which was burying the coins. This study suggests that pig's biological makeup affected their ability to learn and retain their artificially learnt behaviour. Another biological factor which contributes to the explanation of behavioural changes in the learning perspective is the proposed language acquisition device (LAD) as proposed by Noam Chomsky. ...read more.

Conclusion

Kohler's studied chimpanzees and how they solved problems. In the study, Kohler hung bananas on the top of a cage and then the chimpanzees were given a large box and a long stick. The chimpanzees solved the problem by standing on the large box and using the stick to poke the bananas until it dropped down. Kohler believed that the chimpanzees made mental representations of what would be a successful solution to the problem. He further developed the concept of 'insight', which was the chimpanzee's solution to the problem, by a sudden thought of a solution that had emerged. Furthermore, Kohler noted that the chimpanzees had few trial and errors, which refuted the trial and error theory proposed by Edward Thorndike. Thus, this study illustrates that cognitive factors influences behaviour changes, to a large extent, in the learning perspective. Studies on biological and cognitive factors, such as biological preparedness, imprinting, phobias, instinctual drift, the LAD, cognitive maps and the insight theory shows that it contributes to the explanation of behavioural change, in the learning perspective. It shows that learning is not simply a stimulus-response association, as proposed by traditional learning theory. Hence, biological and cognitive elements play an important role, to a large extent, in explaining behaviour, in the learning perspective. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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