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. …

Abstract Learning & Insight Learning

In this video I describe abstract learning and insight learning as types of learning that both require internal cognitive processing. Abstract learning demonstrates how mental concepts and categories relate to stimulus generalization while insight learning demonstrates the use of mental representations of the world rather than simple trial-and-error behavior learning and reinforcement. These types of learning, in addition to latent …

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 – 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). …