Friday, June 10, 2011

Final Post

I had the opportunity to take both “Learning Theory and Research” and “Motivation” with Dr. Berg. Both classes had similar layouts, was very interesting, and informative. This particular Psychology class “Learning Theory and Research” was filled with a variety of concepts and historical background of studying learning and behavior. The textbook alone went in to great detail of how each theory stands alone but how each theory was built upon another. This course also reviewed many well-known and important psychologists who had a great impact on learning, behavior, and research such as John Watson, Clark Hull, Albert Bandura, Burrhus Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov. Some of the topics covered were human problems of living (i.e. shyness, procrastination, over eating, inappropriate behavior, phobias, etc), social learning, and conditioning.

I have taken many psychology courses in school since it is my major and I must say that this class and “Motivation” are two of my favorites. I really wish that these classes were lectures; I think I would have loved them even more. I rented the books, but, because I learned so much from them, I want to buy them now. At first, I thought that these books were going to touch on a topic and then move on to another topic like other psychology books I have read. However, I soon found out that these books focused on the concept it was talking about and explained it in great detail. Additionally, before I started reading the books, I flipped through them and I recognized some of the topics. I thought the material was going to be repetitive but I discovered shortly that the text had an array of topics that I never seen or heard of before. For example, I never came across Aristotle's theories and the laws of association before and even though the debate mentioned between Aristotle and Plato eventually boiled down to nature versus nurture, something we have all studied, I thought the way in which the text approached the topic was interesting and refreshing. That is something I experienced many times while reading the book.

I enjoyed classical/ operant conditioning the most. I think it’s the foundation of this whole book because it explains how, when, and why we learn and behave certain ways. Chapter six, the chapter that further explained operant conditioning is the chapter I like the most. In my Intro to Psychology course, I had a hard time grasping the concept of operant conditioning and differentiating the four types of learning processes, but after reading this chapter, I understood everything with ease. I understood it so much that I made my second post about it. This is what I said: According to Powell, Symbaluk, and Honey (2009), operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the future probability of a behavior is affected by its consequences. There are four types of learning processes in operant conditioning: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. It is sometimes hard to differentiate these types of learning processes. However, if you remember key words such as increase, decrease, removal, and addition the concept becomes much easier to understand and you won’t become confused. Positive reinforcement occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior increases as a result of the presentation of something pleasant after the behavior. An example of this is praising a child for good behavior. Negative reinforcement occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior increases as the result of removing something unpleasant after the behavior. This is best exemplified in the following example. John’s mom always nags him about taking out the trash. Once day John decided to take out the trash before his mother could tell him to do it. Subsequently, the nagging stopped and John now takes out the trash without ever being told. Positive punishment occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior decreases as the result of the presentation of something unpleasant after the behavior. An example of positive punishment is putting a child in time out for misbehaving. Negative punishment occurs when the likelihood of a certain behavior decreases as the result of the removal of something pleasant after the behavior. An example of negative punishment is when a parent grounds their child because of poor grades. I found two videos that further explain these types of learning processes.

This concept can definitely be used outside of class and relate to real world problems. The examples that I used before proves this. Also, it is a great concept that teachers and parents can use to teach their children.

This psychology class has offered me a small glimpse of how important psychology is to my everyday life. This was a great class and I plan to use what I learned in the future.


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

1 comment:

  1. The video was great. The reinforcement and punishment are so important to learn. I learned in my child psych class that they can really help the development of children or really mess them up. You really need to figure which is most effective without being abusive or over indulging.