Learning - Developmental Psychology

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  • Learning
    • Classical Conditioning
      • Watson suggested - it is able to explain all aspects of human psychology
      • involves learning a new behaviour via process of association
      • 3 stages
        • Stage 1 - unconditioned stimulus creates an unconditioned response
          • stimulus in environment - produced behaviour/   response - UN-learned
          • neutral stimulus - does not produce a response until paired with the unconditioned stimulus
        • Stage 2 - neutral stimulus is associated with the unconditioned stimulus - then known as conditioned stimulus
          • neutral stimulus + unconditioned stimulus must be paired on a number of occasions
        • Stage 3 - conditioned stimulus has been associated with unconditioned stimulus to create a conditioned response
      • Little Albert - Watson + Rayner 1920
        • 9 months old
        • became scared when a hammer was struck against a steel bar behind his head
        • presented a white rat in front of him and loud noise seconds after
        • done 7 times over the next 7 weeks
          • each time - started crying
          • developed phobias of similar objects e.g. Santa
            • known as generalization
        • showed a phobia could be created from classical conditioning
        • after 10 days - fear became less
          • known as extinction
      • Evaluation
        • emphasies the importance of learning from the environment - nurture
        • under-estimates complexity of human behaviour
        • scientific - easily experimented on
        • deterministic - does not allow for any degree of free will in the individual
    • Operant Conditioning
      • intentional actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment
      • based on reinforcement
      • Skinner Box - 1938
        • positive reinforcement
          • strengthens a behaviour by providing a consequence an individual finds rewarding
          • placed a hungry rat in his box
          • lever on side of box - rat accidentally knocked it - food pellet dropped in
          • quickly learned to go straight to the lever after a few times
        • negative reinforcement
          • removal of an adverse stimulus -rewarding to the animal/person
          • placed rats in a box + added  electric current
          • rats accidentally knocked lever - current switched off
          • rats quickly learned to go straight to the lever after a few times
      • 3 types of responses
        • neutral operants - neither increase or decrease probability of a behaviour being repeated
        • reinforcers - increase probability of a behaviour being repeated
        • punishers - decrease the probability of a behaviour being repeated
      • Evaluation
        • fails to take into account the role of inherited and cognitive factors in learning
        • suggests that humans can learn automatically through observation rather than personal experience
        • animal research studies raises the issue of extrapolation
          • cannot generalize results
    • Social Learning  Theory
      • Bandura agreed with the conditioning theories but adds 2 important ideas
      • mediating processes occur between stimuli + responses
        • attention - extent to which we notice a behaviour
        • retention - how well the behaviour is remembered
        • reproduction - ability to perform the behaviour demonstrated
        • motivation - the will to perform the behaviour
      • behaviour is learnt from the environment through observational learning
        • individuals that are observed -  called models
        • children pay attention + encode their behaviour
          • more likely to imitate those similar to them -  therefore the same sex
        • people around - respond to the imitated behaviour with reinforcement or punishment
          • if rewarding - child likely to  continue behaviour
        • child also considers what happens to others when deciding to copy behaviour - vicarious reinforcement
        • Identification occurs with another person and involves taking on behaviours, beliefs + attitudes of person you are identifying with
      • Evaluation
        • takes thought processes into account
        • cannot account for how we develop a range of behaviour - thoughts and feelings
        • only explains nurture - under estimates complexity of human behaviour
        • not a full explanation for all behaviour
    • Learning Styles
      • Visual
        • likes images, remembers pictures, enjoys drawing
      • Auditory
        • using CDs, music, thinks in words, visualises ideas well, spells well
      • Kineaesthetic
        • physical sensations, shows how to do, hands-on activities
      • Advantages
        • use best way to teach individual student
        • can vary all learning styles - make sure all will learn
        • select subjects based on learning style - GCSE
        • use methods in revision
      • Disadvantages
        • most classes are too big to suit each learning styles
        • other things teachers do have more impact
        • different subjects require different learning styles
        • not all methods of teaching will work in exams - GCSEs

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