Understanding Psychology

Chapter 9: Learning: Principles and Applications

Chapter Overviews

Chapter 9 examines the process of learning and the applications of learning techniques. Learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior that results from experience. Not all behaviors that we learn are acquired in the same way.

Psychologists have studied three basic types of learning: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning. In classical conditioning, a process discovered by Ivan Pavlov, people acquire certain behaviors through a learning procedure in which associations are made between an unconditioned stimulus and a neutral stimulus.

Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which the consequences that follow a behavior increase or decrease the likelihood of that behavior occurring again. Such, reinforcers, or rewards and punishments, influence human behavior. Social learning, consisting of cognitive learning and modeling, involves how people make decisions and act upon the information available to them.

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