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Cognitive Learning Models. Kohler: Insight Learning. Wolfgang Kohler Disenchanted with behaviorists explanation for learning Believed that cognition, or mental processes must be essential to learning Observational studies of chimpanzees. Insight Learning.

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Kohler: Insight Learning

  • Wolfgang Kohler

    • Disenchanted with behaviorists explanation for learning

    • Believed that cognition, or mental processes must be essential to learning

    • Observational studies of chimpanzees

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Insight Learning

  • Problem – bananas hung outside of chimp’s reach

    • Initial solutions

      • Pile up boxes and climb on top

      • Use sticks to knock the fruit down

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Insight Learning

  • Insight learning

    • solve complex problems by combining simpler, previously learned responses

    • Problem-solving occurs through sudden reorganization of perceptions

  • Placed bananas higher up – neither previously learned solutions sufficient to get the fruit

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Insight Learning

  • When unable to reach the fruit

    • First – threw the sticks away and kicked the wall

    • Later, piled up the boxes, grabbed the stick, climbed on the boxes and knocked the fruit down with the stick

    • Cannot be explained through either operant or classical conditioning alone

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Tolman: Cognitive Maps

  • Cognitive maps

    • Mental representations or images that help organisms navigate through the world

  • Reinforcement has a greater impact on performance than on learning

    • i.e., reinforcement serves to motivate the animal to demonstrate what it has learned

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Cognitive Maps

  • Three groups of rats

    • 1) No reinforcement

    • 2) Reinforced on every trial

    • 3) No reinforcement for first ten trials; reinforced on all subsequent trials

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Error Curve by Day and Food Deprivation

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Maze Learning

Food/ Goal





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Cognitive Maps

  • Tolman hypothesized that the rats developed cognitive maps of the maze

    • i.e., Visual/spatial Image or representation of physical space that is used to navigate through the environment

  • Demonstrated latent learning – learning that takes place in the absence of reinforcement

    • reinforcement necessary to demonstrate acquisition

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Bandura: Social Learning Theory

  • Observational Learning

    • Acquisition of behaviors that results from observation rather than direct experience

    • E.g.,

      • Children learn do cartwheels and handstands

      • Learn what clothes to wear to fit in (e.g., midriffs; low-riser jeans)

      • Learn aggressive behavior

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Social Learning Theory

  • Modeling – imitation and reproduction of behaviors of models

    • Model must be salient (i.e., are attractive, have high status, and are similar to observer)

    • Parents, peers, siblings, celebrities

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Social Learning Theory

  • Vicarious reinforcement

    • Learn about the consequences of a behavior by observing a model engage in the behavior and experience consequences

  • Outcome Expectancies

    • Learned association between a specific behavior and a specific consequence OR

    • Belief about the consequences of our behavior

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Social Learning Theory

  • Outcome expectancies

    • Alcohol makes me relaxed and sociable

    • Wearing brown polyester will make me a social outcast

    • If I study for the exam, I will get a good grade

    • If I eat those cookies, I will feel good

    • Having sex without a condom will result in enhanced pleasure

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Social Learning Theory

  • Positive outcome expectancies

    • Belief that the behavior will result in reinforcing or rewarding outcomes

  • Negative outcome expectancies

    • Belief that the behavior will result in punishing or negative outcomes

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Social Learning Theory

  • Expectancies influence subsequent behavior

    • Positive expectancy (i.e., belief that behavior results in reinforcing outcomes) engage in or repeat behavior

    • Negative expectancy (i.e., belief that behavior results in punishing outcomes)  avoid or discontinue behavior

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Aggressive Behavior

  • Children observed a model behave aggressively toward the BOBO doll

    • Were more likely to behave aggressively when given the opportunity to play with the BOBO doll

    • Especially when the model was reinforced for his/her aggressive behavior