• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe and evaluate the historical and cultural conditions that gave rise to the Learning Perspective.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Psychology SL Anandita Puri Sheugnet Carter Essay Question: Describe and evaluate the historical and cultural conditions that gave rise to the Learning Perspective. 15/10/08 Describe and evaluate the historical and cultural conditions that gave rise to the Learning Perspective. Learning perspective is a hypothetical construct, and describes a process that cannot be directly observed, but merely inferred based on observable behavior (Carter, 2008). Behaviorism is dominated by two primary types of conditioning: classical and operant (instrumental). Classical conditioning, which was first developed by Ivan Pavlov, describes the repetition of using a stimulus in order to elicit a desired response. Operant conditioning on the other hand, is based on consequences of actions. For example, if an action is positively reinforced, gradually it becomes learned, and vice versa. In order to examine the birth and development of the learning perspective, it is essential to look at the various theorists, their ideas and contribution to the world of Psychology. Present amongst these behaviorists are conflicts between ideas, development of each others' ideas as well as production of entirely novel ideas. One of the first influential psychologists, Ren´┐Ż Descartes (1596-1650), much like Plato and Aristotle believed in the concept of nativism. Opposing most behaviorists following his work, he believed that knowledge is inbuilt in our biological structure, and therefore learning and experience play relatively small roles in the psychological make-up of a human being (Carter, 2008). ...read more.

Middle

Soon, the animal learns that pressing the lever lets them escape, which acts as the positive reinforcement. Eventually, this action is learned and therefore the animal has been conditioned to press the lever (Reinemeyer, Erika. 1999). Thorndike also pointed out that the time taken to escape decreased every time the experiment was conducted. Through this testing, he introduced the Law of Effect, which states that if the trial and error leads to success, the action is likely to be reproduced. However, a failure is unlikely to be repeated. Finally, he stated that what is learned most recently will be carried out best, which is know as the Law of Recency (Carter, 2008). One of the first theorists who supported the idea of classical conditioning was Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936). Beginning his career in the field of science, he was studying the digestive system in dogs. This then developed into his most famous experiment, where he tested the conditioning of salivation of dogs. Divided into three basic stages, the experiment describes how a dog's reflex to produce saliva can be conditioned without having to actually produce food. During the first stage, food (the unconditioned stimulus) is brought in front of the dog, producing saliva (the unconditioned response); at this point, no learning has taken place. Next, along with the food, a bell is rung (the conditioned stimulus), again producing the same unconditioned response of salivation; this stage describes the process of learning. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believed that all complex behaviors can be broken into smaller, simpler ones. This was illustrated through the use of pigeons, as he displayed that he could condition them to roll a black ball to and from each other, with the use of positive or negative reinforcement. Much like Watson, he also believed that internal mental thoughts are not observable and so are not useful to analyze (We Didn't Start the Fire, 2008). One of his most eminent contraptions is know as the Skinner box, which in several ways resembles that of Thorndike's puzzle box. In it, he kept an animal trapped, with a lever or button that provided some sort of positive reinforcement. One particular experiment describes a starved rat trapped in this cage, and when it presses the lever, a small pellet of food is dropped into the cage. This acts as positive reinforcement for the rat, and therefore encourages it to repeat this action. Slowly, it becomes learned or conditioned into the rat (Rubin, Julian 2007). There are various outlooks, theories and conflicts provided by a wide range of behaviorists, which over the course of approximately four hundred hours gave rise to the learning perspective. Conflicts arise between operant and classical conditioning, the existence or validity of studying the existence of mind, nativism versus empiricism, and many more. The experiments conducted in order to prove these theories help us understand how each aspect of behaviorism is justified and how or why it is or isn't true. Having studied a wide range of behaviorists makes it clear as to how the concept of behaviorism came to be. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology essays

  1. EE PSYCHOLOGY

    Associative learning is simple and mechanical enough that in some species its mechanism in the brain is fairly well understood. (Wynne, 2004 :7) For many years animal psychology studied animal intelligence using experiments to uncover simple processes. Using classical and operant conditioning.

  2. Describe and evaluate the experiment as a research methodology.

    A significant limitation of the experiment is that in order to control all variables psychologists often create and artificial environment (for example in laboratory experiments) which does not always truthfully reflect the real world situation. This is very useful in avoiding confounding variables, but the artificiality of the environment may affect the participant's behavior.

  1. The Basic Mechanisms of Homeostasis Overview of homeostasis The term homeostasis was ...

    The article was written by PER, an organisation that promotes the interests of minority groups. However, honest contributions from the police, newspapers and Romani elite, improved the validity of the racist connotations prevalent throughout the piece. It was a longevity study where articles were analysed over a 6 year period.

  2. IB Revision Psych

    Education - Teachers use a lot of behaviourist principles - operant conditioning techniques - Programmed learning and computer assisted learning introduced by Skinner - Positive and negative reinforcement techniques used in training animals E. Cultural Islam and Psychology Is there cultural variation in the acceptance of the learning perspective?

  1. Psychology IB Abnormal Notes and Essay Plans

    Cochrane and Sashidharan 1995: common assumption that behavior of white population are normative 1. Deviation from this by another ethnic group reveals racial or cultural pathology 1. Rack 1982: when a member of a minority ethnic group exhibits sets of symptoms similar to British-born patient, they are assumed to be suffering from the same disorder 1.

  2. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah--A Psychological Analysis ...

    Perhaps the connection that Ishmael has with the sky and moon stems from his culture?s rich storytelling. After escaping death numerous times, Ishmael and his friends stumble into the village of Yele. This village was occupied by Sierra Leone troops and seemed like a safe place.

  1. Evaluate the role that one cultural dimension (e.g. individualism/collectivism, power distance) may have on ...

    To a certain extent, cultural dimension influences relationship, but other factors such as gender roles and early attachment style need to be taken into account. Finally, the impact of cultural dimension on attitudes towards people with mental disorders. In collectivistic societies, people who do not conform to norms or rules

  2. OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES PSYCHOLOGY HL EXTENDED ESSAY

    It was my job as receptionist at a private high school to greet and assist parents and visitors. But, this day I simply thought "If I have to smile one more time...I will scream." At that moment I felt a magnetic pull and my 'energy' left my body.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work