Learning Theory Studies

Learning Theory Description and Evaluation.


Learning Theory

Classical Conditioning

Food (UCS) --> Pleasure (UCR)

Mother (NS) --> No response

Food (UCS) + Mother (NS) --> Pleasure (UCR)

Mother (CS) --> Pleasure (CR)

Operant Conditioning (positive reinforcement)

Food --> Pleasure 

Mother + Food --> Pleasure

Just Mother --> Pleasure


Supporting studies (next cards), Reductionist: Attachment is too complex to be narrowed down to just stimuli, response and reinforcement. There are other factors that are not being taken into account.

1 of 3

Harlow and Harlow

Method: Baby rhesus monkeys were put into a cage with fake robot mothers with faces. One lactated and one was made of a soft towel. 

Findings: The baby monkeys seeked proximity of the towelled mother when stressed rather than the lactating mother.

Evaluation: Lab experiment means high internal validity.

Using monkeys and robot mother monkeys at that means low external validity.

This goes against the learning theory because it shows that food is not the driving force for attatchment.

2 of 3

Schaffer and Emerson

Procedure: 60 Glasgow babies were visited every month for a year and then again at 18 months. The mother kept a diary and was interviewed.

Findings: 40% of attatchments were not formed with the primary care giver.

Evaluation:Babies were visited in their own homes which makes it less likely for them to suffer from psychological damage.

Babies only from Glasgow makes for low population validity.

This goes against learning theory because it shows that food/pleasure is not the driving force for attatchment. 40% of the time the caregivers that gave the pleasure were not attatched to.

3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »