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The Historical And Cultural Factors That Contribute To The Development Of The Learning Perspective

2970 words - 12 pages

The Historical and Cultural Factors that Contribute to the Development of the Learning Perspective

The study of how humans learn is a dominant component of the learning
perspective. The study of behaviour in this perspective and is also
commonly known as the Behaviouristic Approach, as they believe that
behaviour is the only valid data in psychology. Behaviourism developed
simultaneously in the United States and Russia in relation to many
factors. Traditional Behaviourists believed that all organisms learn
in the same way, and could be explained by the processes of classical
and operant conditioning. Learning can be defined as a relatively
permanent change in behaviour and/or knowledge that occurs as a result
of practice and/or experience in the environment. Psychologists
working within this perspective have investigated he ways in which
behaviour changes, usually using laboratory experiments, and
often-using non-human animals.

The Learning perspective developed simultaneously in the United States
and Russia with American Theorists John Watson, Albert Bandura and
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

The way in which behaviour can be observed is seen as being
objectively or unbiased, and this is the opposite to the theory of
introspection. The unreliability of the way in which subjective data
is obtained in introspection is one of the main criticisms that lead
to the rise of behaviourism. In introspection the data collected in
said to be subjective and therefore biased in the sense that it comes
from ones own mind.

“Give me a dozen healthy infants…and my own specified world to bring
them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him
to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer…and
yes, even beggarman and thief.”[1]

John Watson 1913

Watson wrote an article titled ‘Psychology as the behaviourist views
it.’ This article, which set out all main assumptions and principles,
sparked the rise of the behaviourist movement in 1913. Albert Bandura
was the major motivator behind the social learning theory, which
included cognitive factors that were not incorporated by
behaviourists, as they thought behaviour was almost entirely
determined by the environment. Bandura suggests that much behaviour,
including aggression, is learnt from the environment through
reinforcement and the process of modelling. Bandura integrated
cognitive influences and called his modified theory the social
learning theory. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, whilst
conducting experiments on the digestive systems on dogs stumbled
across the developed principles of classical conditioning. All these
factors contributed to the advancement of the learning perspective, as
we know it today.

Key concepts of the perspective are classical and operant
conditioning,...

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