The Laws Of Voluntary Response: Edward Thonrdike

1558 words - 6 pages

From the textbook, “Third Edition Psychology from Saundra K. Ciccarelli and J. Noland White, it is stated that Thorndike was one of the first researchers to explore and attempt to outline the laws of learning voluntary response, although the field was not yet called operant conditioning. He tested laws by using a hungry cat for an experiment. He placed this cat in a “puzzle box” where the only escape was the lever that was also within the box. Thorndike also placed food outside the box as motivation for the cat to escape the box. He observed how the cat explored around the box, pushing and rubbing up against the walls in an effort to escape. The cat eventually pushed the lever on accident, opening the exit to the box. The cat however, did not learn to push the lever to escape. The experiment was repeated in many trials in different formats of boxes, but with the same tool for escape. The cat spent less time to push the lever through each trial. From this research, he developed the law of effect, which states if an action is followed y a pleasurable consequence, it will tend to be repeated, and if followed by an unpleasant consequence, it will tend not to be repeated.
History of Edward Thorndike was found in the internet, specifically from “http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/thorndike.htm”. It was indicated that he was the son of a Methodist minister in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was raised in an age when scientific psychology was establishing its place in academic institutions, attracting college graduates. He grew interest psychology after reading William James’s “Principles of Psychology”. After graduating from Weslyan University, he enrolled to Harvard University to study under William James himself.
After graduating from Harvard, he spent a year of unhappiness as an employee at the College for Women of Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. However, in 1899, he became an instructor in psychology at Teachers College at Columbia University, where he stayed for the rest of his career. For the rest of his career, he studied human learning, education, and mental testing. His pioneer investigation in human and animal learning became the most influential in the history of Psychology. He was recognized for his accomplishments and became elected as president of the American Psychological Associations. He retired in 1939, but continued his work until his death a decade later.
More of his personal life was found in a in a webpage called “http://faculty.frostburg.edu/mbradley/psyography/thorndike.html”. Edward Thorndike was born on August 31, 1874 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. He was the second son of a local Methodist minister, Edward Roberts Thorndike, and a homemaker, Abbie Thorndike. According to the census, his father was born in 1841 and died in 1920, living for approximately 79 years.
Edward L. Thorndike married a woman named Elizabeth Moulton on August 29th, 1900. His wife conceived a total of 5 children. Only one of his...

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