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Copy of Tolman's Purposive Behaviorism

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Mary Joy Rosas

on 15 July 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Tolman's Purposive Behaviorism

Tolman's Purposive Behaviorism
Behavior cannot be fully understood simply in terms of observable stimuli and reactions: the analysis of some central regulatory mechanisms is also necessary. Neobehaviorism introduced mediating variables into the behaviorist stimulus-response scheme. These variables are understood to be aggregates of cognitive and stimulative factors.
It has aspects of behaviorism but it also reaches out to the cognitive perspective - you may begin to respond with trial and error (behavioristic), but later on your response becomes more internally driven (cognitive perspective).
referred as Sign Learning Theory
founded on two psychological views:
Gestalt psychologists
John Watson, the behaviorist
Learning is a cognitive process. It involves forming beliefs and obtaining knowledge about the environment and then revealing that knowledge through purposeful and goal-directed behavior.

Purposive Behaviorism
Tolman's form of behaviorism stressed the relationships between stimuli rather than stimulus-response. He said that a new stimulus (the sign) becomes associated with already meaningful stimuli (the significate) through a series of pairings; there was no need for reinforcement in order to establish learning.

To explain further:
In your maze activity, the new stimulus or "sign" (maze B) became associated with already meaningful stimuli, the significate (maze A). So you may have connected the two stimuli, maze A to learn maze B; and used your "knowledge" and "experience" in maze A to respond to maze B.
Learning is always purposive and goal-directed.

Tolman's Key Concepts
An organism acted or responded for some adaptive purpose. He believed individuals do more than merely respond to stimuli; they act on beliefs, attitudes, changing conditions, and they strive toward goals. Tolman saw behavior as holistic, purposive, and cognitive.
The tendency to "learn location" signified that rats somehow formed cognitive maps that help them perform well on the maze. He also found out that organisms will select the shortest or easiest path to achieve a goal.
Cognitive maps in rats
A kind of learning that remains or stays with the individual until needed. It is learning that is not outwardly manifested at once. It can exist even without reinforcement.
Latent learning
Variables that are not readily seen but serve as determinants of behavior. Learning is mediated or influenced by expectations, perceptions, representations, needs and other internal or environmental varibles.
The concept of intervening variable.
Although it provides an incentive for performance. In Tolman's studies, he observed that a rat was able to acquire knowledge of the way through the maze, i.e., to develop a cognitive map, even in the absence of reinforcement.
Reinforcement not essential for learning.
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