Thursday, May 26, 2011

Post 1-Learning

Chapter 1 discusses various types of learning. According to Powell, Symbaluk, and Honey (2009), learning is a relative permanent change in behavior that is brought about by experience. In other words, as we learn, we alter the way we perceive our environment, the way we interpret the incoming stimuli, and therefore the way we interact, or behave. Watson and Hull believed that learning is has a direct connection between the stimulus and response (Powell, Symbaluk, & Honey, 2009, pg 19). This theory is called the S-R theory.

The first type of learning that was introduced in book is latent learning. This theory of learning was proposed by Tolman and Honzik. Powell et al. (2009) said latent learning is learning that occurs despite the absence of any observable demonstration of learning and only becomes apparent under a different set of conditions. In other words, it’s a type of learning that occurs, but you don't really see it (it's not exhibited) until there is some reinforcement or incentive to demonstrate it. An example of latent learning is learning how to drive a car to get around. Children often watch their parents drive and the sometimes have the steering wheel toy and mimic what their parents are doing. Once they are older though and want their license, they read the driving manual and/or go to driving school to reinforce what they learned when they watched their parents and further learn how to drive. Another example of this is when you learn your way around an area without consciously doing much more than noticing things when you pass through it.

The second type of learning that was introduced in the book is social/observational learning. According to Powell et al. (2009), this theory, which was proposed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes the importance of behavioral learning and cognitive learning. Observational learning is learning by observing or mimicking people. People portray observational learning when they watch music videos and learn the songs and dances by mimicking what the people in the video are doing. Another great example of observational learning is depicted in the video below.


Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, P. L. (2009). Introduction to learning and behavior (3rd ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


  1. I enjoyed reading your post! I thought the driving example for latent learning was a very astute observation, and really helps identifying what you meant by learning that is not exhibited as learning.

  2. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. I never even knew about latent learning before. The only learning I knew about was observational, conditioning, operant conditioning, and regular learning from teaching. It was interesting to find out about it.