Thursday, April 14, 2011

A to Z: Learning

Learning, the acquisition of knowledge, also can apply to the learning of behaviors. I thought it would be fun for this post to touch on a few types of learning.

Imitation is an early form of learning, before we have enough cognitive development for other types of learning. As the name implies this is learning through copying the actions of others.

Classical conditioning is a pairing of two stimuli, once the learning occurs there is an association between the two. For example, Pavlov and his dogs. He would ring a bell then give the dogs food. The dogs learned to associate the bell with food, and would salivate when they heard the bell.

Operant conditioning is a little more complex than classical. This involves reinforcing a behavior with the purpose of increasing occurrences of said behavior or decreasing occurrences. For example, Thorndike and his cats. He had put cats (one at a time) in a puzzle box with the intent of them figuring out how to escape. The cats would simply lie down, he had to have food outside the box (the reward) to get the cats to engage the door in the box.

This list not exhaustive there are other types of learning. I just thought these would be interesting to blog about today.

What types of actions might your character have imitated from others while younger? How has their behavior been shaped by associations made? How might their parents/friends/others reinforced various actions? How do they want to influence the behaviors of others.

3 comments:

Kittie Howard said...

Really interesting! Role modeling comes to mind. Also, with bullying so widespread (unfortunately) there's the PTSD angle from verbal assaults.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great questions to pose about learning and character development.

Madeleine said...

Good question.
The Psychology of learning is an interesting subjecy. I remember this well in my A level and degree courses.
Mind you I don't think the experimenter ever met our cats! LOL! :O)