Chapter 6

Behavioral Learning Theory

I. Early Explanations of Learning: Contiguity and Classical Conditioning

A. Repeated pairings of two events (stimulus and response) cause them to be associated

B. Pavlov's dilemma and discovery: Classical conditioning

1. Pairing neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus

2. Classical Conditioning: Unconditioned responses become conditioned to the formerly neutral stimulus

C. Generalization, discrimination, and extinction

1. Generalization: Responding to new stimuli as though it were the original stimulus

2. Discrimination: Responding differently to two similar but not identical stimuli

3. Extinction: Gradual disappearance of conditioned response when conditioned stimulus is presented repeatedly but not followed by the conditioned stimulus

4. Guidelines: Using Principles of Classical Conditioning

II. Operant Conditioning: Trying New Responses

A. The work of Thorndike: The law of effect

B. The ABC's of operant conditioning: antecedents -- behavior--consequences

1. Operants: Deliberate actions influenced by the consequences that follow them

2. Operant conditioning: Effort to influence learning control of the consequences of behavior

C. The work of Skinner: Behavior can be changed by changes in its antecedents (stimuli that precede it) and/or its consequences

III. Types of Consequences

A. Reinforcement: Use reinforcers to strengthen behavior

1. Positive reinforcement: Presentation of a pleasant stimulus

2. Negative reinforcement: Disappearance or avoidance of as aversive stimulus

B. Punishment: Use of punishers to decrease or suppress behavior

1. Presentation punishment: Presentation of a punisher

2. Removal punishment: Disappearance of or removal of a reinforcer

C. Reinforcement schedules

1. Continuous reinforcement: Reinforcing behavior every time it occurs to teach a new behavior faster

2. Intermittent reinforcement: reinforcing behavior periodically (not every time) to maintain an established behavior (table 6.1)

a) Interval schedules (based on time interval): fixed or variable

b) Ratio schedules: fixed or variable (based on number of responses

D. Summarizing the effects of reinforcement schedules

1. Speed of performance: ratio schedules produce faster response time than interval schedules

2. Persistence: variable schedules produce behaviors more resistant to extinction than those on fixed schedules

3. Extinction: Removal of reinforcement leads to ceasing of behavior

E. Antecedents and behavior change

1. Antecedents (events preceding a behavior): provide information about which behaviors will lead to positive and negative behavior

2. Cueing: providing and antecedent stimulus just before a certain behavior is to occur; nonjudgmental cues help prevent negative confrontations

3. Prompting: providing students help in responding to cues (see figure 6.2)

IV Applied Behavior Analysis

A. Application of behavioral learning principles to change behavior

B. Methods for encouraging behavior

1. Reinforcing with teacher attention

a) Behavior improves when teachers give attention to constructive behavior while making rules explicit and ignoring problem behavior

b) Praise must be contingent on the desired behavior, the behavior must be specified, and praise must be believable

2. Selecting the best reinforcers

a) Premack principle using preferred activity as reinforcer for a less-preferred activity

b) Important: the less preferred activity must precede the preferred activity

V. Social Learning Theory

A. Elements of social cognitive theory

B. Bandura distinguished between acquisition of knowledge and observable performance based on that knowledge

C. Internal and external factors (reciprocal determinism) are important in shaping behavior

D. Bandura distinguished between enactive and vicarious learning

1. Enactive learning is learning by doing

2. Vicarious learning is learning by observing others

E. Learning by observing others (modeling)

1. Vicarious conditioning: learning based on seeing others rewarded or punished for their actions

2. Imitation: copying behavior of model

3. Example from Bandura's research: learning aggressive behavior through modeling

F. Elements of observational learning

1. Attention: teachers must attract student's attention to critical features of lessons

2. Retention: to imitate behavior you have to remember it

3. Production: practice makes behavior smoother and more expert

4. Motivation and reinforcement: incentives may be necessary to encourage performance and maintenance of newly acquired skills

G. Forms of reinforcement that encourage observational learning

1. Direct reinforcement

2. Vicarious reinforcement

3. Self-reinforcement

H. Factors that influence observational learning (table 6.3)

1. Developmental status

2. Model prestige and competence

3. Vicarious consequences

4. Outcome expectations

5. Goal setting

6. Self-efficacy

I. Observational learning in teaching

1. Teaching new behaviors: teacher's own behavior may be most prevalent influence on learning

2. Encouraging already learned behaviors: children receive cues by observing others

3. Strengthening or weakening inhibitions: "ripple effect" means tendency to imitate or not imitate behavior depending upon the observed consequences of that behavior

4. Direct attention: observation can direct attention to new aspects of situation

5. Arousing emotion: observations can cause fears and anxieties to develop or be reduced

6. Guidelines: Using Observational Learning