Language Development

In this video I provide an overview of language development in children. Children learn thousands of words within a matter of a few years and they seem to effortlessly pick up and apply the rules of grammar, first in their telegraphic speech and later in more complex sentences. Errors of overgeneralization reveal that by age 4 or 5 children already …

Language Acquisition: Skinner vs. Chomsky

In this video I introduce language acquisition as a type of learning that isn’t explained well by the behaviorist principles we saw in the unit on learning theory. In the next few videos we’ll be looking at linguistics and language acquisition in more detail and then considering how language relates to thought. We begin with Noam Chomsky’s review of B.F. …

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 Boxes & Schedules of Reinforcement

In this video I describe the operant boxes used by Skinner (often called “Skinner boxes”) to study the relationship between different schedules of reinforcement and behavior. Then I describe 4 possible schedules of reinforcement including fixed-ratio, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and variable-interval, as well as how random rewards created “superstitious” behaviors in pigeons. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see …

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 …