Learning: Psychology and Behavioral Approach Behaviorism Essay

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Stated earlier was that learning can not be directly observed because this process takes place in the brain. Other measures are taken to make sure learning is evident. Sometimes no behavioral change is observed although learning has still occurred. This is called latent learning or hidden until one needs to utilize what was learned. This absence of performance has been aptly referred to as the “problem of behavioral silence”. If an experience does not produce a change from behavior, then it is not known whether learning has not occurred or learning has occurred and is hidden (Terry, 2006).Terry states that performance does not accurately assess the underlying learning that is present and that there are factors that may inhibit expression of learning.

The Conceptual Approaches to Learning

There are three approaches to learning, the behavioral approach focuses on the acquisition of specific responses or behaviors, cognitive approach which emphasizes the learning of cognitions and expectancies and last the neuropsychological approach which studies the changes that learning produces in the brain (Terry, 2006).

The Behavioral Approach

Behaviorism is concerned primarily with the observable and measurable aspects of human behavior. Therefore when behaviors become unacceptable, they can be unlearned. Behaviorism views development as a continuous process in which children play a relatively passive role. It is also a general approach that is used in a variety of settings including both clinical and educational (Bustamante. Et, al. 1996) The behavior approach also emphasizes the observable behaviors, the antecedent stimuli that precedes the behavior and the consequences that follow. Radical behaviorism is another version of this approach and shuns the hypothetical process within the organism’s mind (Terry, 2006). The behavioral approach tries to tie the relationship between all three, stimuli, response, and consequences which are called functional relationships. Historically, behavioral psychology attempted to explain learning without recourse to mentalistic concepts such as mind or consciousness (Terry, 2006).

The Cognitive Approach
Cognition refers to mental activity including thinking, remembering, learning and using language. When we apply a cognitive approach to learning and teaching, we focus on theunderstaning of information and concepts. If we are able to understand the connections between concepts break down information and rebuild with logical connections, then our rention of material and understanding will increase. Cognitive theory maintains that how one thinks