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Learning And Cognition Essay

864 words - 4 pages

Learning and cognition
Christina Huffman-Hansman
March 3, 2014
Patty Anstatt

Learning and cognition
Learning is the result of experience which is portrayed through behavior modification. The potential for behavior modification is the result of an individual’s experiences in their environment. Experience is considered the independent variable upon which experience intervenes and creates a dependent variable, known as behavior (Olson, 2013). This learning can take on many forms in terms of measurable behavior.

Behavior is defined as either overt or covert (Olson, 2013). Overt behavior is demonstrated in outward physical changes, such as dribbling a basketball or riding a bike. ...view middle of the document...

The experiment consisted of a dog and the unconditioned response (salivating) to the presentation of food (unconditioned stimulus). Pavlov theorized that pairing the food with a conditioned stimulus (a ringing bell) would create conditioned response. Once the condition is learned the dog will salivate when it hears the bell ring. This type of learning can be measured by observing the behavior demonstrated by the dog.

Instrumental conditioning differs from classical with the use of reinforcements. The reinforcements increase the ability to learn and retain information through experience. Behavior is considered a key element in instrumental conditioning. The desired behavior must occur before the reinforcement is presented in instrumental conditioning. Once the reinforcement is presented, the individual should increase this behavior to more frequently receive the reinforcements. Just as classical conditioning was demonstrated with an experiment which helps define the theory, instrumental conditioning also has a well-known experiment associated with it. This experiment is known as the Skinner box, named from the psychologist B.F. Skinner and his theory on learning. Skinner built a Plexiglas box that contained a lever. When this lever was activated food would be distributed to the rat in the box. The rat would then learn to associate this behavior with the reinforcement or food. This experiment helped to explain Skinner’s theory on instrumental conditioning.

Cognition is the ability to form reason and logic based on experience or knowledge of a situation. An individual’s cognitive development relies heavily on previous experiences paired with the current environment and knowledge of the environment or situation. For example, when an individual is faced with a...

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