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Evolution, Adaptation, and Learning


Evolution, Adaptation, and Learning Clark Hull William Stanton Small (1901) designed a small maze modeled after the Hampton Court Palace maze, near London -- and ran ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Evolution, Adaptation, and Learning

Evolution, Adaptation, and Learning
Clark Hull
William Stanton Small (1901) designed a small
maze modeled after the Hampton Court Palace maze,
near London -- and ran rats in it Small, W. S.
(1901). Experimental study of the mental
processes of the rat II. American Journal of
Psychology 12 206-239.
Contributing factors in the emergence of learning
theory and behaviorism
  • Empiricism (John Locke), elementism (John Stuart
    Mills mental chemistry), associationism (law of
    contiguity), materialism (Decartes, Bell
    Magendie, Darwin)
  • Evolutionary Theory
  • Functionalism
  • Positivism (Operationalism, Objectivism)
  • Pragmatism
  • Comparative psychology
  • Russian learning theorists
  • The reflex model combined with the neuron model

William James on the dilemma in regard to the
nervous system
  • We may construct one which will react infallibly
    and certainly, but it will then be capable of
    reacting to very few changes in the environment
    -- it will fail to be adapted to all the rest.
    We may, on the other hand, construct a nervous
    system potentially adapted to respond to an
    infinite variety of minute features in the
    situation but its fallibility will be as great
    as its elaboration.
  • The problem was to account for plasticity of
    behavior with unchangeable nervous system
  • Sechenov, and later Pavlov, used inhibition

Key events in development of comparative
  • Jacques Loeb (1859-1924) Leader of mechanistic
    movement, tropistic theory first proposed in
    1890, proposing to discard all psychological
  • Herbert Spencer Jennings (1868-1947) at Hopkins
    tried to study the behavior of protozoa more
    psychologically Arguing even the simplest
    behavior cannot be understood mechanically in
    terms of physiochemical reactions.
  • Experimental animal psychology usually first
    placed with Thorndikes 1898 report on Animal
  • He left Harvard for Columbia in 1897 and Robert
    Yerkes arrived , his first paper, 1899, in 1902
    he took charge of comparative psychology at
  • 1899 Kline published an outline of a lab course
    in comparative at Clark

Key events in development of comparative
  • 1900 W. S. Small, at Clark, published the mental
    processes of the rat. He used a reproduction of
    the Hampton Court maze
  • Two studies on intelligence in monkeys, Thorndike
    from Columbia, 1901, Kinnaman from Clark, 1902.
  • At Chicago, John B. Watson, working under H H.
    Donaldson James R. Angell completed thesis,
    1903, on neurological and psychological
    maturation of the white rat.
  • 1907 a paper on the rat, in which he draws
    inferences about consciousness (before his
    behavioral transformation)
  • Labs in comparative established at Clark,
    Harvard, Chicago, 8 by 1910.
  • 1911 Journal of Animal Behavior began, merging in
    1921 with Psychobiology to form Journal of
    Comparative Psychology

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Before the Russians (well, Pavlov)
  • 17th century Playwright Lope de Vega
  • 1783 Robert Whytt Essays on Voluntary and
    Involuntary Motions of Animals
  • Edwin B. Twitmyer, Ph.D. under Lightner Witmer
    conditioned knee reflex in humans to a bell
    Knee jerks without stimulation of the patellar
    tendon. (1902) a decade after Pavlov began

The Russian School
  • I M. Sechenov (1829-1905)
  • V. M. Bekhterev (1857-1927)
  • I P. Pavlov (1849-1936)

I M. Sechenov (1829-1905)
  • Physiology, St. Petersburg, 1851
  • Between 1856-1863, visited Berlin, met Johannes
    Müller Magnus
  • Vienna Carl Ludwig
  • Heidelberg Helmholtz, Bunsen, Mendeleyev
  • Paris, Claude Bernard, Munich, Graz
  • Interested in bloods absorption of carbon
    dioxide, and in the nervous system
  • Reflexes of the Brain, 1863 (Reflex as the
    elementary unit of behavior)
  • An inhibitory center Sechenovs center

I M. Sechenov (1829-1905)
  • all thinking and intelligence depend for their
    exercise on stimulation and that all acts of
    conscious and unconscious life are reflexes.
  • The St. Petersburg Censorial Committee in 1866
    condemned the book as materialistic, forbade its
    sale, and instituted court action against
    Sechenov for undermining public morals.
    subsequently the members of this group migrated
    to Texas where their descendants are part of a
    religious right wing group who edit public school
    textbooks in this country
  • He was a contemporary of Wundts so how is
    behaviorism a reaction American behaviorists,
    but it was around
  • empiricist (999/1000), materialist, adaptive,
    associationistic, elemental

V. M. Bekhterev (1857-1927)
  • 8 years younger than Pavlov, died nine years
    before him.
  • Military medical academy in St. Petersburg, like
    Pavlov, received doctors degree in 1881, 2 years
    ahead of Pavlov.
  • Went to work with Flechsig Wundt in Leipzig,
    with du Bois Reymond in Berlin, with Charcot in
  • Returned to chair of mental diseases at
    University of Kazan.
  • In 1893, chair of mental diseases at Military
    Medical Academy and organized a mental hospital
  • 1907 founded Psychoneurological Institute.
  • 1910, Objective Psychology
  • 1917, General Principles of Human Reflexology
  • Reflexology is his word
  • Argued against mentalistic terms

I P. Pavlov (1849-1936)
  • In 1870 went to St. Petersburg
  • Studied with Mendeleyev, medical degree in 1883
  • Fellowship 1884-1886 to Liepzig with Ludwig, and
    Heidenhain in Breslau
  • Nobel prize in 1904 for physiology of digestive
  • Appointment in pharmacology at St. Petersburg
  • Then anticipatory action led to research on
  • Psychical secretion
  • The so-called psychical processes --
    conditioned reflexes joined Russian
    reflexology with association by temporal

I P. Pavlov (1849-1936)
  • was familiar with Sechenovs 1863 paper and
    Thorndikes experiments of 1898.
  • So famous that even when the communist revolution
    occurred Pavlov was permitted to leave Russia
    without a passport and move anywhere he wanted
  • Leningrad flood trauma and nervous break-down
  • acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery,
    higher-order conditioning, generalization of
    excitation and inhibition, summation, external
    inhibition, conditioned inhibition, inhibition of
    delay, and so on.

I P. Pavlov (1849-1936)
  • 1921 Nataliya Shenger-Krestovnikova circle and
    ellipse studies
  • 1924 Leningrad (St. Petersburg) flood nervous
  • Individual differences in temperaments of dogs
    (and humans)
  • Raised dogs isolated or enriched -- precursor to
    Hebb, Melzak, Rosenzweig

Pavlovs Fame
  • After the Bolshevik revolution 73,000 gold
    rubles (Nobel Prize) taken by the state
  • Visit to U.S. in 1925, lost 2,000 in Grand
    Central Station. Replaced by Rockefeller Institute

Edward Lee Thorndike (1874-1949)
  • Thorndikes cats got out of the puzzle boxes by
    trial and error. (Lloyd Morgans phrase)
  • They didnt seem to imitate and many thought
    lower animals lacked free imagery
  • And this led to a series of experimental
    approaches to study the animals ideas in the
    absence of objects.
  • Imitation. Not Thorndike, Small, but Cole (1907)
    in raccoons. Kohler (1917) in apes
  • Delayed response, 1913, W. S. Hunter
  • Multiple Choice Hamilton (1911) number of open
    boxes in a set indicated the position of the
    rewarded box
  • Double and triple alternation (Hunter, 1920)
  • Insight Kohler

Thorndikes Laws
  • Stimulus - Response Connectionism -- learning
    consists of ..
  • Law of Effect those responses followed by
    satisfaction will increase in occurrence (later
    modified to count positive satisfaction as more
    effective than punishment)
  • Law of Exercise Number of occurrences
    strengthens the connections (later repealed)
  • Law of Belongingness Some responses easier than
    others to learn

The emerging zeitgeist
  • Knight Dunlap, a Watson colleague at Hopkins -
    Dunlap, K. (1912). The case against
    introspection. Psychological Review 19 404-412.
  • Angell, J. R. (1913). Behavior as a category of
    psychology. Psychological Review 20 255-270.
  • Meyer, M. (1911). The Fundamental Laws of Human
    Behavior. Boston, Gorham. (U. Missouri)

Objective psychology became behaviorism in 1913
with John B. Watsons propaganda against
introspection. Boring says excellent example of
a Movement
  • 1) Watsons belief that behavior was, in itself,
    interesting and important. imagine doing
    chemistry while ignoring the behavior of
    chemicals. The hypothetical constructs of early
    chemistry depended upon establishing the lawful
    relationships of chemical reactions. Similarly,
    it seems presumptuous to deny that establishing
    the lawful relationships of behavior is not an
    important task. The despair that these lawful
    relationships do not lead to a dualistic
    understanding of mind-brain is clearly a
    reductionist agenda.
  • 2) In the last 50 years the study of
    consciousness brought no great body of knowledge.
  • 3) The Zeitgeist what Boring calls an
    unconscious positive influence
  • 4) Whitmans addition Watson advertised the
    movement to the general public

Watsons Behavioral Movement
  • 1) Watsons belief that behavior was, in itself,
    interesting and important.
  • Watson was a small f functionalist but could
    not take the time to translate the positively
    observed behavior into inferences about
  • This goes beyond Lloyd Morgan who protested
    against Romanes anthropomorphism
  • He did not deny the existence of consciousness
    he simply wanted more reliable data.
  • He sought advantage of functionalism without the
    impediment of consciousness.

Watsons Behavioral Movement
  • 3) The Zeitgeist what Boring calls an
    unconscious positive influence
  • America had reacted against German parentage and
    gone functional. Objectivism was growing.
    Behaviorism took part of functional.
  • Notes Gestalt was also a protest,
    contemporaneous, against orthodox psychology
    ii) experimental, ii) introspective, iii)
    elementistic, iv) associationistic. Behaviorism
    Gestalt agreed on first

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John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 1913 Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It
    (first to say behaviorism)
  • Ph.D., 1903 at University of Chicago under James
    Angell Donaldson (neurologist)
  • Did research on the nature of the sensations a
    rat used in solving a maze
  • 1908, Baldwin at Hopkins offered him a position.
    He was working on homing in birds.
  • At Hopkins he translated terms into behavioral
    terms, vocal, subvocal, etc.
  • Adopted conditioned reflex of Pavlov as
    substitution for association
  • 1914 published a comparative psychology
  • 1919 Psychology from the Standpoint of a

John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • began applying animal techniques to infants
  • Interrupted by divorce in 1920, resignation from
    Hopkins turned to advertising
  • Behaviorism became a psychology of stimulus and
  • Distinguished between explicit and implicit
    movements could have said overt covert
  • Vocimotor, and genital response in
    feeling.covert awaiting discovery
  • Any sensory problem became a problem in
    discrimination (same for Pavlov)
  • Beginning of operationism discrimination is the
    operation by which sensory facts are observed.
  • Verbal report but he failed to provide a
    rigorous epistomology, Sonaïve behaviorism

  • The behaviorist asks Why dont we make what we
    can observe the real field of psychology? Let us
    limit ourselves to things that can be observed,
    and formulate laws concerning only these things.
    Now what can we observe? Well, we can observe
    behavior what the organism does or says. And
    let me make this fundamental point at once that
    saying is doing that is, behaving. Speaking
    overtly or to ourselves (thinking) is just as
    objective a type of behavior as baseball.
  • the behaviorist . . . must content himself
    with this reflection I care not what goes on
    in a subjects mind the important thing is
    that, given the stimulation . . . it must
    produce a response, or else modify responses
    which have been already initiated. This is the
    all-important thing, and I will be content with
    it. I.e., he contents himself with observing
    the initial object (stimulation) and the end
    object (the reaction.)
  • Possibly the old saying, half a loaf is better
    than no bread at all, expresses the attitude the
    behaviorist ought to take and yet we dislike to
    admit anything which may be construed as an
    admission of even partial defeat.
  • . . . and so it seems wisest, even at the
    cost of exposing the weakness of our position, to
    attack rather than to remain on the defensive.
  • Watson

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Other Watson stuff 1
  • Texts on history of learning theory dont list
    him, Marketing?
  • Born into a family of devout Southern Baptists in
    South Carolina, 4th of 6th children in dirt-poor
    family. Arrested for fighting and for shooting
    off firearms inside the city limits. (had moved
    to Greenville for better schools) Age 16,
    entered Furman U, Southern Baptist school.
  • Gordon B. Moore anyone who turned in their
    paper with the pages backwards would flunk the
    course Watson did, flunked and stayed an extra
    year (Moore later fired for his liberal religious
    views) In a teachers notes nonconformist,
    interested in ideas for their sensationalism,
    thought too highly of himself, good-looking but
    tending towards heavy
  • After graduation from Furman taught at a number
    of small, rural schools, then graduate school at
    University of Chicago, Took philosophy courses
    with A. W. Moore and John Dewey claimed he
    didnt understand Dewey Age 25, 1903 got Ph.D.
    under Angell and Donaldson stayed as Angells
    assistant then a faculty member

Other Watson stuff 2
  • First married daughter of a former president of
    Furman, then Mary Ickes a student in one of his
    classes (during an exam she wrote a love poem to
    him instead of the exam) two children by this
  • 1908, age 30, went to Johns Hopkins There
    reacquainted with James Mark Baldwin who had
    to leave after he was called in a police raid at
    a Baltimore bordello and he took over as editor
    of Psych Rev (then added J. Exp Psy) (later
    Warren at Princeton purchased them)
  • Began work on emotional development in young
    infants Rosalie Rayner divorced married her
    (him 42, her 21), fired from Hopkins, She died at
    35, two children who say Watson never got over
    her death.
  • Lived on a farm, built his own house, an LL Bean
    type Scared to drive a car but drove a high
    powered boat with abandon

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Other Watson stuff
  • Olfactory sense in rat -- ire of vivisectionists
  • Field studies of terns on Dry Tortugas --
    describing instinctual releasing mechanisms in
    birds, including having them imprinted on him
    (despite Lorenzs dismissal of him)
  • On moving to Johns Hopkins (chair, 3500/year)
    Baldwin caught in brothel in a police raid and
    forced to leave
  • During WWI poor eyesight, so military had him
    develop screening for pilot training
  • Little Albert Rosalie Rayner
  • 1920, love letters to Rosalie found when his
    wife, Mary Watson, searched Rosalies bedroom.
    Her brother John Ickes tried to blackmail
    Rosalies family and Watson. Watson fired.
  • One son committed suicide, the other underwent
    psychoanalysis Mariette Hartley is Watsons

Why did Watson go from ethnologist to radical
behaviorist with regard to instincts?
  • Felt as one progressed up the species instincts
    became less important
  • Felt that instinct was a substitute term for
    we dont know it just happens
  • Felt it was useful
  • Zing-Yang Kuo (1898-1970) birds and cats raised
    together, cats and rats, the chick in the egg,

John Watson at J. Walter Thompson
  • Introduced demographic surveys
  • Used testimonies
  • Id walk a mile for a camel
  • Invented the coffee break for Maxwell House
  • Lived down the stigma of having been an
    academic -- 70,000 in 1930

Clark L. Hull (1884-1952)
  • Born in 1884, log cabin near Akron, NY ugly
    tempered large father, gentle mother. Age 3 or 4
    moved to MI (West Saginaw)
  • Got religion bible thumping Methodist then
    dumped it for atheism
  • Kept journal so when old would have new ideas
  • Began at Alma College, grade school-high loved
    geometry and attributed this to his later
    hypothetico-deductive method
  • Caught typhoid from bad food at the cafeteria,
    Got polio designed my own leg braces but
    decided against mineral engineering and took up
    psychology W. James book
  • Later, poor, new wife, I taught grade school
    then wound up finishing my undergraduate at the U
    of Mich . Designed a logic machine with
    concentric metal plates that did syllogisms
    (later designed a machine that did correlations)

Clark L. Hull (1884-1952)
  • Teaching until a grad fellowship U of Minnesota
    Joseph Jastrow,
  • Designed old tomato juice can, fitted with
    wooden ends, an axle to a system of gears and
    weights like a grandfathers clock.the memory
    drum, used Chinese characters with repetitive
    nonsensical themes.
  • Aptitude Testing, 1928
  • Tolman similar but too mentalistic, Hull more
    molecular (robot first)
  • Hypnosis and Suggestibility law suit
  • Hypthetico-Deductive Method A functionalist
    mechanist approach
  • A Darwinian Functionalist not a Watsonian

Clark Hull I am a functionalist not merely a
behavioristHull, C. L. (1929). A functional
interpretation of the conditioned reflex.
Psychological Review 36 498-511.
  • Survival value of the conditioned reflex results
    from delicate balance of excitatory and
    inhibitory processes
  • Excitatory processes are indiscriminate
  • Organism responds to situations with just a few
    of the biologically significant aspects
  • This is adaptive because situations never repeat
    exactly (otherwise prior experience would be too
  • It is maladaptive because it can lead to response
    in which too few aspects are present (Stimulus
    generalization (Hulls irradiation) leads to
    appropriate generalization with a tendency to
  • This is kept in check with differential
    inhibition that narrows the range of
  • Tendency for conditioned responses to move
    forward is adaptive because the organism can
    react before there is a crisis
  • Tendency to move forward may result in premature
    responses before they are required.
  • Inhibition of delay provides the corrective
    mechanism by forcing a postponement
  • This leads to an automatic trial-and-error
    mechanism that mediates the functional adjustment
    of the organism to the environment

Clark Hulls citations
  • 40 of all reports in J. of Exp Psych J. of
    Comp Phy Psych 1941-1950
  • 70 of all reports concerned with learning and
  • Citation frequencies for psychologists in major
    journals 194-1952 Hull (followed by Hovland,
    Hilgard, Miller all Hull students and
  • References to Hull or Spence in papers in J. Exp.
    Psych. (Guttman, 1977

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Karl Lashley (1890-1958)
  • Undergraduate comparative histology, Graduate
    masters bacteriology, Ph.D. genetics
  • Postdoctoral work with John Watson (1911-1915),
    while working on Ph.D. (1915) with Herbert
    Jennings (14 papers in 4 years)
  • Did work on homing in birds, conditioning of
    salivary reflex in humans
  • Post-doctoral study with Shepherd Franz
    (1915-1917), rats with frontal lobe damage
  • University Appointments 1917-1924 U. of
    Minnesota, Behavioral Research Fund at Chicagos
    Institute for Juvenile Research, University of
  • Director of Yerkes Laboratory 1942-1958

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Edwin B. Holt (1873-1946)
  • Admirer of James, Harvard Ph.D. in 1901, stayed
    until 1918, retired to write, to Princeton, 10
    years, from1926-, then retired to write.
  • Finished The Concept of Consciousness, in 1908,
    published in 1914.
  • The Freudian Wish and Its Place in Ethics, 1915.
  • His paper, Response and Cognition. J. Philoso,.
    1915, 12, 365-373, 393-40.
  • Much more philosophical, though not influential
    directly as Watson through Tolman
  • Did not slip into reflexology what the
    Gestalters condemned in Pavlov
  • A response was a whole what Tolman later called
    a Molar
  • Adding behaviorism to dynamic psychology

Edward C. Tolman (1886- 1959)
  • Born 1886, Newton, Mass, father president of a
    manufacturing company, Quaker tradition, went to
    MIT, degree in electrochemistry, Senior year read
    W. James's book, decided on philosophy, took
    courses at Harvard from Perry (philosophy) and
  • Decided he didnt have enough brains to be a
    philosopher so psychology, Degree at Harvard,
    Holt, Spent one year in Germany with Koffka,
    Ph.D. 1915, instructor at Northwesterndismissed,
    poor teaching and pacifist stance?, went to
  • Learning theory formation of sign-gestalt
    expectations sign-significant expectations
    representations ? -- not strengthening of s-r
    connections, but new bits about relation of
    organism to environment
  • Attributed most to Kurt Lewin Brunswiks ideas,
    Students respected him but he wasnt a tribal
    leader like Kenneth Spence (Hullian at U.

Edward C. Tolman (1886- 1959)
  • Purposive behaviorism, Cognitive Behaviorism
    first work on temporal relations of meaning and
    imagery inspired by Kulpe. resulting in
    conclusion that some meaning can precede imagery,
    1922 Purposive Behaviorism, 1932 Purposive
    Behavior in Animals and Men
  • an analysis of action into elements
    reflexology, molecular behavior the wholes are
    molar behavior and in it purposive behavior
    emerges., B f(S,A) behavior is a function of
    situation and other antecedent causes.
  • He proposed Intervening variables between the
    two. -- He filled the empty correlations of
  • Molar Behaviorism like Dewey? more like
    Brunswiks (Gestalt) proximal stimulus and
    percept always in a context Distinction
    similar to surface vs. underlying structure of
  • 1949 refused to sign California loyalty oath

Tolmans response to Watsons muscle-twitch
  • The stimulating agency may be defined in any
    standardized terms, those of physics, of
    physiology, or of common sense, and it
    constitutes the independent, initiating cause of
    the whole behavior phenomena . . .
  • . . . The behavior act is simply the name
    given the final bits of behavior as such. The
    behavior act together with the stimulating agency
    constitutes the fundamentals upon which the rest
    of the system is based . . . It is they alone
    which . . . Tell us all that we know of . .
    . An oganisms mentality (even when that
    organism is another human being who can
  • From Tolman, E. C. (1922). A new formula for
    behaviorism. Psychological Review 45 1-41.

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Tolman one-line descriptions
  • Molar
  • Expectancy versus habit
  • Place learning and response learning
  • Reward versus incentive (latent learning)
  • S-S versus S-R associations (sensory
    preconditioning supports Tolmans S-S)
  • Contiguity versus non-contiguity

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Ex Libris ? Doug Whitman (if there are library
stickers on it, it must have been discarded.
Edwin Ray Guthrie (1886-1959)
  • Learning through contiguity (Contiguity over
  • Last response results in an association
  • Punished response results in a different response
  • Forgetting through new associations
  • Cinematic data in his fifties
  • Only learning theorist to retain Watsons
    molecular form of behaviorism. While others
    turned to acts he emphasized actones
  • One trial learning (later fundamental to Estes
    statistical learning theory)

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Burrhus Frederick Skinner (1904-1990)
  • Skinner fathered behavior analysis and me. Im
    not sure which he considers to be the greatest
    contribution. (one of Skinners daughters)
  • Skinner is extreme radical attacking the very
    precepts upon which American society is based and
    an advocate of radical surgery on the national
    psyche V.P. Spiro Agnew after 1971 book Beyond
    Freedom and Human Dignity
  • Less likely to be a blueprint for the Golden Age
    than for the theory and practice of hell.
    Rubenstein, theologian on same book

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Burrhus Frederick Skinner (1904-1990)
  • Born Susquehanna, PA, Hamilton College, wanted to
    be a writer and poet spent an unsuccessful year
  • Read Watson Pavlov (and Bertrand Russell)
  • Spent another year in Greenwich Village -- then
    to Harvard for psychology
  • Operant conditioning chamber
  • Behavior of Organisms, 1938
  • Schedules of Reinforcement (with Ferster), 1957
  • Behavioral control shaping
  • Walden Two
  • Baby Box, Programmed Learning
  • Behavior Modification (Ogden Lindsley, Nat Azrin

Filling Skinners Black Box
  • The concepts and laws of reflex physiology at
    this level differ from those of behavior
    principally in the local reference implied in the
    term synapse. If it were not for this reference,
    the traditional C.N.S. might be said to stand
    for the Conceptual Nervous System. The data upon
    which the system is based are very close to those
    of a science of behavior, and the difference in
    formulation may certainly be said to be trivial
    with respect to the status of the observed facts.
    . . but a single reflex arc is otherwise as
    inferential as synaptic processes. In dealing
    with interlocking arcs it is often possible to
    establish the order of the loci of specific
    events, up to and including the final common
    path, but there is only a gross anatomical
    knowledge of absolute position. In any one of
    these examples the essential advance from a
    description of behavior at its own level is, I
    submit, very slight. An explanation of behavior
    in conceptual terms of this sort would not be
    highly gratifying.

Filling Skinners Black Box 2
  • . . . What is generally not understood by
    those interested in establishing neurological
    bases is that a rigorous description at the level
    of behavior is necessary for the demonstration of
    a neurological correlate.
  • . . . I am not overlooking the advance that
    is made in unification of knowledge when terms at
    one level of analysis are defined (explained)
    at a lower level. Eventually a synthesis of the
    laws of behavior and of the nervous system may be
    achieved, although the reduction to lower terms
    will not, of course, stop at the level of
  • . . . The intensive cultivation of a single
    field is to be recommended, not only for its own
    sake, but for the sake of a more rapid progress
    toward an ultimate synthesis

  • The relation between neurology and a science of
    behavior that I have been trying to express is
    somewhat more temperately stated in the following
    words of Mach at the beginning of a chapter on
    Physics and Biology
  • It often happens that the development of two
    different fields of science goes on side by side
    for long periods, without either of them
    exercising an influence on the other. On
    occasion, again, they may come into closer
    contact, when it is noticed that unexpected light
    is thrown on the doctrines of the one by the
    doctrines of the other. In that case a natural
    tendency may even be manifested to allow the
    first field to be completely absorbed in the
    second. But the period of buoyant hope, the
    period of over-estimation of this relation which
    is supposed to explain everything, is quickly
    followed by a period of disillusionment, when the
    two fields in question are once more separated,
    and each pursues its own aims, putting its own
    special questions and applying its own methods.
    But on both of them the temporary contact leaves
    abiding traces behind. Apart from the positive
    addition to knowledge, which is not to be
    despised, the temporary relation between them
    brings about a transformation of our conceptions,
    clarifying them and permitting of their
    application over a wider field than that for
    which they were originally formed.

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By late 20s Taxonomies of Learning
Hilgard, E. R. and D. G. Marquis (1940).
Conditioning and Learning. New York,
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End of Learning Theories
  • They were too grand?
  • They were limited in scope (pre-Galilean rather
    than post-Newtonian)
  • Cognitization of learning theory
  • Equipotentiality versus preparedness
  • Relativity of reinforcement (verbal conditioning)
  • Neuropsychology

Mathematical Models as Transitional to the
Cognitive Psychology of Learning Memory
  • Originated by Ebbinghaus, fitting a logarithmic
    curve to retention of learning over time
  • Early Curve Fitting and Rational Equations
  • If you plot data against units of practice do
    the results generalize?
  • If the curves are typical examine the
  • This produces a function.
  • Hull had curves with decreasing gains as the gain
    was a constant fraction of the amount left to be
  • Estes believed that you needed a more rational
    basis, rather than simply curve fitting He
    decided to begin with Guthries one-trial
    learning. (led to Rock-Estes battle)At U.
    Minnesota, assistant to B.F. Skinner asked him
    to fit curves, couldnt taught himself math
    Skinner left curve fitting behind
  • George Millers Magic Number Seven a revival of
    interest in short-long term memory, and chunking
    which requires an organization of memory (a

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Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
  • Consciousness has a referent - controlling it
    leads to anxiety, neurosis
  • Freedom is dread
  • Says Epoches can break onto us (that referent
    free experience), throw oneself over a cliff, a
    crisis of consciousness
  • In Sartres novel Nausea, the hero, Roqentin,
    sits on a park bench looking at an old tree.
    Suddenly he experiences it as a black, notty,
    raw, doughy, melted, soft, monstrous, naked,
    obscene, frightening lump of existence.
  • There is no certainty things exist, like the
    zen go with the flow, but Sarte says we apply
    values to it. There are always alternate
    meanings and alternate interpretations. Take one.
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