Learning And Memory Applied Essay

1202 words - 5 pages

Learning and memory are fascinating. The world could not function without either. They both are used in many different fashions in a wide variety of places. Learning and Memory have been carefully studied by professionals but are also well known and used by the common people on a daily basis. I am one of those common people, a student who is constantly learning and making the most of my memory. Since enrolling in The Psychology of Learning and Memory class I have come to the realization that I encounter situations in my life that exemplify the very concepts I have studied. I have also learned that it is beneficial to apply the lessons learned in class to my everyday life. Positive reinforcement, learned helplessness and serial recall are a few among many of the learning and memory models that have come to action in my life and in my final reflections surrounding the course.First of all, I was highly interested in the concept and various factors that together make up positive reinforcement. I had a premise that I could do some experimental work on the three children for whom I baby-sit during the week after school. They leave school full of energy and it is my job to get them to complete a series of tasks before the end of the evening. I imagined that some positive reinforcement might get them on their way to handling their responsibilities in a timelier manner. My first step was to come up with a specific instrumental response that would produce reinforcement. This took no time at all because by far the most painfully difficult thing for me to do is get the children to sit down and do their homework. I then spoke specifically to each child and asked them what they would rather choose as an after school activity. They named video games, television, and going to play with other neighborhood children. I had expected these types of answers from the children and made them into the positive reinforcers that would be contingent on the children's performance of the instrumental response; namely completing their homework. I explained to the children that if they behaved and finished their homework, then directly following they could spend an hour doing an activity of their choice. I made it very clear that they would get no playtime until the homework had been completed. There would be no positive reinforcer if the instrumental response was lacking. This positive reinforcement was quite successful because the children did finish their homework more quickly and with less whining; although I did have to re-focus them from time to time by reminding them that the positive reinforcement awaited them upon completion of their assignments. This positive reinforcement tactic appears that it would work well if used by teachers in schools.Learned helplessness and its relation to depression is another area of learning and memory that I have experienced first hand. The concept of learned helplessness represents a lack of contingency between any number of attempted...

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