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Learning approach
Key assumptions

Focus on the environment
Focus that nurture influences behaviour.
States behaviour is learnt through learning + looks at how and why we learn
Says that environment experienced shapes people + their behaviours by
reinforcements and punishments
Reinforcement: people will imitate behaviour if they get reward…

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Operant conditioning- we learn through consequence
o E.g. Boy does not do the homework. When he does not
do the homework, he has no computer. In order to get
computer, he does homework. Learns behaviour in order
to avoid something unpleasant.
Social learning theory- learning through observation
o E.g. Young…

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Not reliable, take place in natural setting, uncontrolled
environment- difficult to replicate as behaviour is not likely to be

Non-participant observations
Researchers are not part of observation
Sit away from activity + are not involved.
E.g. Researcher sits down in job interview + observes candidates levels of

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Difficult to carry out as Ps would be watching observers + what
they are doing.

Covert observations
Ps don't know they are being observed.
It's done secretly
E.g. Researcher observes behaviour of people at a shop and Ps don't know.
Valid as Ps don't know they're being observed therefore…

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Classical conditioning
Neutral stimulus (NS) = any environmental stimulus that does not naturally produce a
behavioural response. E.g. a TV does not naturally make you feel scared.
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) = any stimulus that produces a natural, unlearnt
behavioural response (natural response). E.g. tasting a lemon and blinking because…

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After associating bell + food and making dogs salivate, buzzer was paired
with bell many times.
Bell + buzzer= salivation
This further conditioning= high order conditioning
Explains why behaviours can occur from abstract stimuli.
Dogs would salivate at any stimulus similar to conditioned stimulus.
E.g. Dogs which salivated at the…

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Punishment- giving something unpleasant so behaviour stops. If
someone is punished for showing certain behaviour, that certain
behaviour will not be repeated.
Primary reinforcers- basic need. E.g. food, sex, water.
Secondary reinforcers- linked by association with primary reinforcers e.g.

The Skinner box
A rat in box with a lever…

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Social Learning Theory
Learning through observation
3 main key ideas
Bandura's (1977) 4 steps of modelling:
1. Attention- to role model
2. Retention- the capacity to remember it
3. Reproduction- capability to reproduce the behaviour
4. Motivation- reward we believe we will have as a result of…

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They are investigated mainly with animal experiments. Although they are
scientific, there are many differences between animals and humans, so it is
difficult to generalise findings from animal experiments to human behaviour.
Both operant and classical conditioning lack of validity. Experiments isolate a
behaviour from a more complex and…

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Operant conditioning and social learning theory as explanations for gender

Operant conditioning as an explanation for gender development
Reward- girls are more likely to be rewarded for "girlish" behaviour (wearing pink
and playing dolls) and boy for "boyish" behaviour (sports). E.g. Fathers praise
their small son for being a…


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