Chapter 8: Learning

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how Pavlov’s early work in classical conditioning influenced the understanding of learning.
  • Review the concepts of classical conditioning, including unconditioned stimulus (US), conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned response (UR) and conditioned response (CR).
  • Explain the roles that extinction, generalization and discrimination play in conditioned learning.
  • Outline the principles of operant conditioning.
  • Explain how learning can be shaped through the use of reinforcement schedules and secondary reinforcement.
  • Understand the principles of learning by insight and observation.
  • Review the ways that learning theories can be applied to understanding and modifying everyday behaviour.
  • Describe the situations under which reinforcement may make people less likely to enjoy engaging in a behaviour.
  • Explain how principles of reinforcement are used to understand social dilemmas, such as the prisoner’s dilemma, and why people are likely to make competitive choices in them.