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Advanced Educational Psychology

Behavioral Learning Theories and Social Learning Theory
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Learning and Conditioning

Behavioral Learning Theories

Observable changes in behavior


How pos/neg consequences of behavior change individuals’ behavior over time

Model behavior of others

Define Learning

What is learning?


Takes place in many ways

Intentional –

Unintentional –

All sorts of learning are going on all the time

Behavioral Learning Theories

Classical Conditioning: Pavlov

Thorndike: Law of Effect

Skinner: Operant Conditioning

Classical Conditioning: Pavlov

what happens before a response

No new behaviors are learned

Instead an association is developed (through pairing)

Before Conditioning

In order to have CC, there must exist a stimulus that will automatically or reflexively elicit a specific response

This stimulus is called the UCS because there is no learning involved in connecting the stimulus and response

There must also exist a NS


NS will be presented followed by UCS

Over time, the learner will develop an association between these two stimuli





Spontaneous Recovery

Can you figure this one out?

Little Albert Example

What is the UCS? UCR? NS? CS? CR?

How is this classical conditioning?



Another Example

How does child become afraid of the dark?

Watch Scary movie Fear


Dark + Scary Movie fear

Dark Fear

(CS) (CR)

So how do you get child to not be scared of dark?

6th grade student is frustrated and embarrassed throughout year by an insensitive math teacher. In the 7th grade, the student becomes extremely anxious every time she goes to math class.

What are the US, CS, UCR, CR?

CC in the Classroom


Teacher should teach child which behaviors are acceptable and which are not


Increase by:

Math lessons that involves real coins, dollars

Supply and demand lesson involves relating it to grocery prices, wages, values of collectibles (i.e. baseball cards)


Praise connections

Allow students to practice skills

CC in the Classroom

PAIR learning with Fun!

PAIR learning with Feeling good

School = fun, challenging place

Garcia Effect

Conditioned Taste Aversion

Farmer/Sheep/Wolf Example

Other Examples: Tequila, Restaurant

Skinner: Operant Conditioning

Learning is based on consequence

what happens after a response

rx between behavior/consequences

Rats/food dispenser

Operant Conditioning

Reinforcement Examples

Reinforcement Examples



Behaviors that a person enjoys engaging in for their own sake without any other reward



Praise or rewards given to motivate people to engage in behavior they might not engage in without them


Reinforcement: Positive vs. Negative




Can this have negative effect?



Reinforcement: General Ideas


Contingent (Premack Principle)

Timely (immediate is best)

What is reinforcement for you may not be reinforcer for child

Shaping: along the way

consequences - weaken behavior



Punishment: General Ideas

Timely (immediately is best)

consistent (Speeding Tickets)

know punishment ahead of time  

use natural and logical consequences

Ex: send to principals office for everything? Loses value

Punishment cannot be reinforcer

How will you change students’ behaviors?



Token Systems?

Stars/Sticker Charts?

Principals office?


Question for Discussion

If punishment is ineffective and produces negative side effects, Why do so many teachers continue to rely on it so much?

Schedules of Reinforcement:
Frequency and Predictability

Fixed Ratio

"Once you finish 5 problems, you may go to recess."

Increase ratios (5, 10, 15, whole projects)

What if you reinforce student after every task?

Lose value

Variable Ratio

Number required for reinforcer is unpredictable

Ex: Slot machines – high and stable rates

Ex: Raising your hand

Fixed Interval

Reinforcement is available only at certain time periods

Ex: Scheduled Exams

What does behavior look like w/ this schedule?

Variable Interval

We have no idea when behavior will be reinforced

Ex: Pop Quizzes, Spot Check Homework

What does students behavior look like with this schedule?


Let’s practice main concepts






Schedule Handout

More Practice

Get into groups and come up with examples for:

Positive/Negative reinforcement

Presentation/Removal Punishment

Generalization, Discrimination, Extinction

Example of Classical Conditioning:



Social Learning Theories

Spawned from behavioral learning theories

Emphasizes effects of thought on action and action on thought

What about modeling behavior?

Can students learn from behaviors of other students without experiencing consequence themselves?

Bandura’s Observational Learning

Watching/imitating actions of another or

noting the consequences of those actions

by observing a model we can:

learn new responses

learn to carry out/avoid previously learned responses

Depends on what happens to the model

Think about:

Underage drinking?

Answering a question in class?

Refraining from misbehaving in the classroom?

Brother burns hand on stove?

Witnessing someone win on slots?


Do we really imitate what we see?

Bobo Doll Experiments

Parents who smoke

Parents who hit

What about TV?

Bobo Doll Experiments

Children shown 1 of 3 films of adult being aggressive towards Bobo doll

1) model was severely punished

2) model was praises and given treats

3) model was given no consequences

After film, children observed playing w/ toys


Does TV promote observational learning?

facts: High school graduate:

15,000 hours of TV

11,000 hours in classroom

18,000 murders

countless acts of robbery, arson, bombing, torture, and beatings

children watching Sat morning cartoons:

26 or more violent acts each hour

G-rated: 10 minutes of violence per hour

Before and After TV: Canada

After TV:

reading development in children declined

scores on tests of creativity declined

children’s perceptions of gender roles became more stereotyped

verbal and physical aggression

boys and girls

equally for children who were high or low in aggression before

Another TV study

Power Rangers

7-year old boys and girls

Group that watched:

7 times more aggressive


Remember: Correlation not causation

Stop Blaming….. Handout

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