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A Comparative Study: Behaviorism and Cognitivism - Essay Example

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This paper "A Comparative Study: Behaviorism and Cognitivism" compares behaviorism and cognitivism to determine how they are placed against each other in the present learning scenario. Learning pertains to both humans and animals…
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A Comparative Study: Behaviorism and Cognitivism
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Download file to see previous pages J.B. Watson defined learning as a sequence of stimulus and response actions in observable cause and effect relationships (Learning Theories). It was Watson who coined the term “behaviorism”. In effect, behaviorism advocates that environment induces behavior in both humans and animals. This is best demonstrated by Pavlov’s (1849-1936) famous experiment with a dog. The stimulus and response items of Pavlov’s experiments are: Food (unconditioned natural stimulus), Salivation (unconditioned natural response), Bell (conditioned stimulus) and Salivation on hearing the Bell (conditioned response). Thus, naturally seeing food induced stimulus previous to conditioning. Upon regular conditioning the natural unconditioned response (salivation) became conditioned to a conditioned stimulus (ringing of the bell) even without the unconditioned natural stimulus (food). This is known as classical conditioning. (Brenda Mergel, Instructional Design & Learning Theory, updated 2001). According to Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) there are three laws that govern learning in animals, including humans. All the laws are set in their revised form as Thorndike later updated them.
The law of effect – When a connection between stimulus and response is positively or negatively rewarded a certain associative bond is formed in the brain.
The law of exercise – When the cause and effect of stimulus and response is frequently exercised the associative bond is strengthened. Nevertheless, Thorndike later revised this law to include feedback without which the strengthening may be weak.
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