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Psychology Of Learning Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Psychology of Learning


My paper is going to tell you a story about a woman named Eva and her animosity towards cheese. Yes, I said cheese. We are going to look through different learning perspectives on how her informal learning experience has brought her to this behavior. We will look at each of these perspectives and how they may have led her to this path of a cheeseless existence. I will answer the questions of how does one get to this point. Who can go their whole life without cheese? How does the smell of one tasty, bold, flavorful food bring ...view middle of the document...

We will take a look at this behavior through classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning.

Classical Conditioning

According to Ivan Pavlov, who was a Russian psychologist, who dedicated the last 30 years of his life to research on classical conditioning, classical conditioning can be defined as a learning process that occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a natural occurring stimulus (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014). With that being said, let us take a look at how Eva’s behavior towards cheese may have started from this view. Eva as a young child grew up with the smells and sight of her parents stock of different cheeses. She was not particularly fond of the smells, and as most children would assume, the smell of something is the way it tastes. Every night at dinner her parents would not allow her to leave the dinner table until she finished her meal. Eva refused to eat anything with the malodorous cheese on it. After many nights of sitting at the table for countless hours, she finally decided she had had enough of it and decided to give the cheese a fair chance. As soon as the cheese hit her tongue she ran to the bathroom to vomit. That is where her conditioned taste aversion, the development of an unpleasant response to a certain taste due to one bad experience, began. Never again would Eva ever take the chance of tasting cheese again in 45 years.

So let us break this down according to Pavlov’s beliefs on the factors that play a part in classical conditioning. In this instance the unconditioned stimulus would be the smell or sight of cheese, the unconditioned response would be the feeling of nausea, the conditioned stimulus would be the cheese, and last but not least, the conditioned response would be nausea.

Operant Conditioning

Let us now take a look at Eva’s informal learning experience through the perspective of operant conditioning. This is a form of conditioning studied by psychologists such as B.F. Skinner and Edward Lee Thorndike (Hockenbury &...

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