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

Env. explanations of learning

Extracts from this document...


Describe and evaluate one of the key concepts - environmental explanations of learning. Environmental explanations of learning can be explained and evaluated through several processes like classical conditioning, social learning theory, and learned helplessness. Each process can be assessed by looking at specific investigations conducted in each area respectively: 'Little Albert' by Watson and Rayner, 'Bashing Bobo' by Bandura and Ross, and 'Mongrel Dogs' by Seligman and Maier. In 1920, two behaviorists, Watson and Rayner, conducted an experiment to explore whether our emotional responses could be classically conditioned. They believed that the roots of the complex stimulus-response relationships were built from several basic unconditioned ones. To test this theory, they attempted to instill a phobia in a 9-month old infant by the name of Little Albert. A hammer was used to strike a steel bar behind the child to produce a loud clanging sound. In response, Albert naturally began to cry. The conditioning process then followed, and a white rat was presented to Albert. Whenever Albert reached out to touch the rat, the bar was struck to produce the clanging sound. He would jump violently and fall forward, whimpering while burying his face in the mattress. Soon, Albert began to withdraw his hand whenever the rat came near him. The process was repeated five times more in one week, followed by two more pairings 17 days after. ...read more.


The children's exposure to an adult's aggression might even be seen as abuse as their violence may have frightened the children. In addition, the children knew the Bobo doll was not a real person so they may have allowed themselves to express their aggression toward the doll. If a real person had been used, the results may have been significantly different. In addition, the children may not have meant to express aggression, and may have solely viewed the punching and kicking of the Bobo doll as another way to play with toys. With regard to the result of the boys showing more aggression than the girls, this result could have been closely related to the cultural context the boys grew up in. For instance, in the western culture where men have the expectation of needing to be good fighters, the researchers themselves may have already thought that boys would be more aggressive than girls, which could possibly have influenced their observations. The boys themselves may have been influenced by this cultural expectation, which caused them to be more aggressive than the girls. In addition, there is little ecological validity. For instance, the model used was a stranger; it would be very uncommon for children to be alone with strangers since much of their childhood would be spent surrounded by people they know who will give their insights on whatever is happening. ...read more.


Seligman and Maier's work may provide valuable insights into the phenomenon of institutionalization for instance. For example, people who stay in hospitals and residential units for a long time appear to lose their individuality. This might occur because their lives are so strictly controlled, with very little room to make their own decisions. Their work could help us understand how to avoid, inhibit, and reverse this process. In conclusion, environmental explanations of learning like classical conditioning, social learning theory, and learned helplessness has its advantages and disadvantages. A disadvantage is that the methods in which the result is obtained is usually a long process. In addition, the method used to generate these environmental explanations of learning frequently poses several ethical issues, which may inflict long-term psychological and physical damage. Samples used are also not likely to be representative of the general public in terms of culture, gender, and lots of other factors, which may impact its ecological validity and mundane realism. Assumptions based on the results, which have not been tested are also made which may not necessarily work in real life (eg: Little Albert and the ability to take away phobias). However, on the lighter note, the results of these explanations are applicable to a wide range of behaviors, which can be used to reverse, explain, or inhibit undesired behaviors, and encourage other desired behaviors. Environmental explanations of learning also look at both cognitive and behaviorist aspects of learning. ...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. Examine the Concepts of Normality & Abnormality

    to Jahoda's criteria, was that the lists of symptoms no longer required external perception; one can easy judge himself, perhaps even more reliably than through others, on "fatigue", or "insomnia", or indeed "recurrent thoughts of death". All this forms the backdrop of Horwitz's article, in which it is apparent that

  2. Anger and Aggression in Males and Females

    has the intention to harm, because even if they does not internally intend to hurt, they may actually hurt and this is often perceived by others as aggressive behavior. CANDIDATE NUMBER: 000771 - 030 ORIGINS OF ANGER AND AGGRESSION Two areas seem to be of importance in the issue of origins of anger and aggression: biological predispositions and social environment.

  1. Understanding Childrens Behaviour. The purpose of this writing is to explore the theoretical ...

    For example, when a child says 'Da, da' for the first time, we promptly get very excited and repeat the sounds to the child, reinforcing the behaviour so the child is more likely to try to reproduce it. Behaviourists focus on the process of how language is acquired.

  2. Bobo Doll Experiment write up.

    The results for the Bobo Doll Experiment showed that children who were exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to show imitative aggressive behaviour themselves. The measurements for verbally aggressive behaviour again showed that children exposed to aggressive role models were more likely to imitate this behaviour.

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

    was a strong influence in the lives of the villagers (Gardiner, Kosmitzki 2005). Because Ishmael and his brother did not have a mother at home, members of the village would say, ?those poor boys?they aren?t going to have any good completed training? (Beah 42).

  2. Psychology biological level of analysis revision

    He tested 16 right handed London taxi drivers that had the same level of driving skills. The structural MRI scan was taken on the taxi drivers. The results shown were that the amount of grey matter in the posterior of hippocampus was larger than the anterior area.

  1. Evaluation of Social Learning Theory

    Positive reinforcers encourage continuation of reproducing the model behavior, while negative reinforcers discourage it. Essentially, Bandura believed that one?s behavior and their environment cause each other; whereas it was in common belief that environment caused one?s behavior.

  2. Is eyewitness testimony reliable?

    As cited in Miller?s article (2006), Gary Wells (1998) researched on forty such cases and with the help of DNA testing it was found that all forty convicted suspects were actually innocent. The witnesses wrongfully accused the suspects in thirty-six of these cases.

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