Latent Learning & Cognitive Maps

In this video I explain the concept of latent learning using two studies conducted by Edward Tolman and colleagues. Latent learning refers to learning that occurs without reinforcement and isn’t demonstrated until an opportunity arises. I also describe the idea of a cognitive map and how it supports the existence of internal mental representations. Don’t forget to subscribe to the …

The Rescorla-Wagner Model

In this video I explain the basic idea behind the Rescorla-Wagner model or contingency model of classical conditioning proposed by Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner. This model suggests that the reason Pavlov’s dogs associated the bell (rather than some other stimulus) with food was that it was salient and served as a reliable predictor of food. Don’t forget to subscribe …

The Premack Principle

In this video I describe the Premack Principle which refers to the idea that behaviors can be high or low probability which in turn means that high probability behaviors can serve as reinforcement for low probability behaviors. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see future videos! Have questions or topics you’d like to see covered in a future …

Chaining, Shaping, & Instinctive Drift

In this video I describe the how conditioning to be used to train more complex behaviors. This can be accomplished with chaining, which involves linking together previously conditioned behaviors, and shaping, which involves reinforcing successive approximations of a desired behavior. Next I provide examples of behaviors which cannot be conditioned due to biological constraints on learning described by Keller and …

Operant Conditioning

In this video I explain the difference between classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Next I explain Thorndike’s work with cats in puzzle boxes which led to his Law of Effect. This approach was greatly expanded by B.F. Skinner’s work on operant conditioning which distinguished primary and secondary reinforcers, as well as positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment. …

Scared Infants and Sick Rats: Aversive Conditioning

In this video I explain two examples of aversive conditioning; John Watson’s “Little Albert” study pairing presentation of a rat with a loud noise, and John Garcia and Robert Koelling’s work on learned taste aversions in rats. Taste aversions demonstrate our biological preparedness for some learning, which allows us to learn certain types of associations more easily than others. Don’t …

Classical Conditioning

In this video I introduce learning theory and the basic concepts of behaviorism. This begins with the work of Ivan Pavlov on classical conditioning and covers the basic vocabulary for discussing this type of learning including neutral stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see future videos! Have questions …

Operant Conditioning – Schedules of Reinforcement

By closely monitoring the occurrence of behaviors and the frequency of rewards, Skinner was able to look for patterns. Receiving a reward each time the lever is pressed would be an example of continuous reinforcement. But Skinner also wanted to know how behavior might change if the reward wasn’t always present. This is known as intermittent reinforcement (or partial reinforcement). …

Learning Theory Resources

On this page you’ll find a number of resources for understanding the key concepts of learning theory, including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, observational learning, and more. If I’ve missed a good resource, please share it in the comments section! General Resources Learning Theory Key Terms Learning Theory Pinterest Page OpenStax Learning Chapter Master Introductory Psychology Volume 2 (Amazon link) General …