evaluation of learning theory

the evaluation of the learning theory

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Schaffer and Emerson

  • studied babies in Glasgow
  • only 39% were strongly attached to the person who fed them most
  • shows food isn't the main reason for attachment
  • low population validity- only in Glasgow so results may be different elsewhere
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Harry Harlow

  • experiment with several baby monkeys
  • took them away from their mother and gave them a choice of two fake mothers, one with wire and a milk bottle and another covered in a fluffy cloth but no milk bottle
  • found that monkeys prefer the fluffy mother so they prefer love and comfort more than food as they spent most of the time with the fluffy mother
  • shows attachments are formed with love and not food
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operant conditioning- skinner

  • behaviour with a positive outcome is more likely to be repeated
  • lots of evidence that we can learn through operant conditioning
  • Skinner showed rats could learn words by rewarding behaviours
  • whilst this shows we could learn attachments through operant conditioning it doesn't mean that we do
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classical conditioning- Pavlov

  • some evidence that animals and humans can learn through classical conditioning
  • pavlov showed that dogs associate a bell ringing with food as they produced salivia even when no food was actually served when the bell rang
  • this shows we could learn attachments through classical conditioning but doesn't mean that we do
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