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Behaviorism Learning Theory

This is a brief presentation on behaviorist learning theory. It defines what it is, who the leading contributory theorists were for this paradigm, their theories, impacts behaviorism has had on education, and examples of its utilization in learning.

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Transcript of Behaviorism Learning Theory

What is it? 1. Behaviorism is a perspective grounded upon the principle that behaviors are “stimulus-response.”
2. All behaviors are caused by external stimuli (operant conditioning) regardless of internal mental states or
3. All species (humans and species alike) are born as blank slates or tabula rasa.
4. Learning involves changes in ones behavior.
5. Learning is due to events that occur in the environment. Dr. Ivan Pavlov Impacts on Education Behaviorists believe that student behavior
will be developed by a system of rewards (positive
reinforcement) and punishments. For example,
giving students a sticker for completing a homework
assignment, a certificate for the Student of the Week, or a dropping the lowest score on a test if they score 90% or above on their last five tests.
Examples of how punishments are administered would be to take recess away of they are misbehaving in class, pop quiz if they are not paying attention, or additional homework for talking.
In behaviorists classrooms, behaviors must be observed to be rewarded or punished. Behaviorism
Learning Theory Dr. Edward Lee Thorndike Dr. John B. Watson B. F. Skinner The Contributing
Theorists Dr. Edwin Guthrie Dr. Clark Hull He studied reflexes.
Reflexes are automatic behaviors caused from a stimulus in the environment.
However, these reflexes can also be conditioned through a stimulus-response. In stimulus-response, there are two stimuli (unconditioned and conditioned) and two responses (unconditional and conditioned).
An unconditioned stimulus is given causing a reflexive response. Next, a new stimulus (conditioned stimulus) is then given along with the unconditioned stimulus and now with the additional conditioned stimulus, produces the same response.
This is associative learning.
He discovered this with his experiment with dogs.
When he rang a bell (conditioned stimulus) the dogs began to salivate (conditioned response). The food was the unconditioned stimulus and the initial salivation from the food was the unconditioned response. However, the dogs in time associated the bell (conditioned stimulus) with food; hence producing the same response-salivation but this time it is considered a conditioned response.
This is known as Classical Conditioning. He devised Connectionism in learning theory.
A connection is made between the stimulus of the environment, the behavior, and the consequences.
Learning occurs when connections are made between the environmental stimuli and behaviors following consequences, such as rewards, punishment, and practice.
The laws surrounding this process of learning are Laws of Effect, Law of Exercise, and Law of Readiness.
Law of Effect- strength of connection is determined by how gratifying the state is following the response. If reinforced, the behavior is more apt to being repeated; whereas, if a punishment is associated, then the behavior will be more apt to not being repeated.
Law of Exercise- the more use and practice, the stronger the connection; the more disuse, the weaker.
Law of Readiness- if one is ready, then the connection is strong. Example, if one is ready to learn, then learning is more apt to occur but if one is not ready for learning, then it will not occur. This is where engaging and relating learning to students' interests, learning style, cognitive ability, and multiple intelligence come into play He developed the Theory of Contiguity.
A species will respond to a specific stimulus in a specific manner after one trial. Then when presented with the same stimulus again, will repeat the same response to it. Hence, a habit will form.
Another key is the idea of recency. In other words, the most recent response to the stimulus will be the same repeated response.
There are three techniques he devised to change or modify habits: exhaustion, threshold, and incompatibility. He coined the term behaviorism.
Claimed that scientific inquiry should focus solely on observable behaviors. Since thinking is an unobservable event, then it is not an internal mental phenomenon but merely an overt stimulus-response behavior.
Learning is a stimulus-response habit which is formed by two laws: Law of Frequency and the Law of Recency.
The Law of Frequency-the more frequently a stimulus and response occur in association with one another, the more apt the S-R will become habit.
The Law of Recency-the most recent response to a specific stimulus, the more apt that response will be associated continually with that stimulus.
He believed that all behaviors are from past experiences; genes/heredity have nothing to do with our behaviors.
Little Albert Experiment. He took an 11 month old boy and conditioned him to be afraid of a white rat by clanging an iron rod. Before the loud iron rod noise was associated with the rat, he was not afraid of it but with the loud banging of it accompanied by the white rat, he began crying. Once the loud iron rod was no longer present, and Albert just saw the white rat he became conditioned to fear it.
In essence, he believed that behaviors can be observed, conditioned, and changed or modified. He developed the theory of Operant Conditioning. It is changing behavior by using a reinforcement that is given after a desired response. These responses are called operants.
There are three types of operants: neutral oprerants (neither increase or decrease of a behavior being repeated due to a response of the environment),
reinforcers (responses from environment more apt to being repeated; can be positive or negative reinforcers), and punishments (responses from environment that most likely will not repeat behavior).
Positive reinforcement- increasing a behavior by giving rewards. Example: Smiling at student when they give the correct response.
Negative reinforcement- increasing a behavior by removing an aversive stimulus when a behavior occurs. Example: Giving students a homework pass if they complete 10 homework assignments in a row or score 90% and above on the last 5 homework assignments.
Positive Punishment- decreasing a behavior by giving an aversive stimulus following a behavior. Example: If students submit homework late, it is a zero.
Negative Punishment-decreasing a behavior by removing a positive stimulus. Example: Student misses lunch recess for not completing in class work.
Extinction-decreasing a behavior by not rewarding it.
Insisted that reinforcements needed to be scheduled in order to change a behavior. The schedules were either continuous, fixed ratio, fixed interval, variable ratio, and variable interval.
Fixed Ratio- A behavior is reinforced after a set number of response. Example: A student is given a homework pass after scoring 100% on five homework assignments in a row.
Variable Ratio- The number of responses needed to receive
the reinforcement is not constant -it is variable. Example: A student may receive a homework pass after completing anywhere from 5 to 10 homework assignments.
Fixed Interval- A behavior will be reinforced after a certain period of time. Example: Students are given quiz every Friday on week's lessons.
Variable Interval- A behavior will be reinforced but not after after a set period of time. Example: Students are given pop quizzes.
Continuous- reward is always given immediately following desired behavior He disagreed with Watson that if one cannot observe something, it is not scientific. He stated that physicists and chemists make hypotheses based upon what they cannot observe, like gravity, etc.
Hull claimed that one can scientifically study the unobserved by giving an operational definition of the unobserved events (mediated events) that are occurring in the species. For example, hunger is a mediated event. But now to make it an operational definition we need to ascribe it to something empirical. Defining hunger as feeling empty in your tummy or experiencing those lovely pangs and hearing the growls is not an operational definition. In order to make it operational, we would say it is depriving the body of food for so many hours.
These operationally defined mediated events are considered intervening variables that affect the specie's behavior. In the example of hunger, the intervening variable would be food deprivation. These intervening variables can be measured and tested.
The study of these intervening variables and the role they play in ones behavior became known as Hypothesized Physiological Processes.
Let's look at this further:
One intervening variable on the occurrence of a response is the habit strength (the degree of a specific stimulus and response's association). The more a response as been rewarded in association with a specific stimulus, the more apt it will be repeated.
A second intervening variable is the specie's drive (the internal state that motivates the behavior). Some of these drives are essential for physiological survival, like hunger; whereas others others acquired. These acquired drives occur over a time when stimuli become associated with drive reducing stimuli, like food for hunger. Example: One can be driven to get the right answers in class if the reward is food. According to Hull, rewards strengthen the habit by reducing ones drive (food for hunger). This became known as Drive Reduction Theory.
A third intervening variable is intensity of stimulus (the more intense the stimulus, the stronger the response.
A fourth intervening variable is incentive (the immediacy and amount of a reward).
All these intervening variables work in concert and will be determine how likely a specific response will occur as well as its strength.
At the same token, there are inhibitory variables that will decrease the likelihood and strength of a particular response.
Hull attested that a species will learn many responses with a specific stimulus but may vary in its degree of habit strength. He referred to this as Habit-Family Hierarchy.
According to this hierarchy, once a specific stimulus is presented, a specie will first respond to it by with the response yielding the strongest strength of habit. if that one doesn't work, then the second response with the second highest strength of habit, and so forth. Example: John has a concept map to complete regarding the Battle of Gettysburg but as he starts to complete it, realizes he has forgotten to take good enough notes and failed to read any of the text or watch the various resources the teacher furnished so he asks his buddy jack if he can use his notes to complete the concept map. jack says he is using them so no. John now asks Jane if he can copy some of her concept map "just to get an idea of course on how to complete the assignment. She says no. John now goes tot he teacher, Dr. Levin-Goldberg and confesses he will not be able to complete the assignment in the given time frame and will now be made to stay after school to fulfill his academic responsibility. Examples Behavioral Modification such as Learning/Behavior
Classroom Managment Token economies or rewards,
such as certificates, extra points,
stickers, additional time at recess Feedback: Praise and constructive criticism Teacher-centered Instructional
Strategies: drill and practice, lecture, tutorials, demonstrations, simulations, programmed instruction, Instructional Techniques: chunking or breaking concepts down into smaller parts or subskills, offering choices for students to select from, modeling Instructional Methods such as
applying new content into various contexts in order to transfer learning, nonlinguisitic representations, games THIS IS A CLASSIC!!! Generalization When similar stimuli to a CS produce the CR Discrimination Capable of differentiating
between two similar stimuli Extinction Unlearning a CR because of the removal of the CS that developed the behavior in the first place
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