Behaviorism, Neobehaviorism, and Cognitivism in Learning Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

By Abram Amsel | Go to book overview

1
Setting the Stage: Behaviorisms and Cognitivisms

I have on occasion used a parliamentary metaphor to characterize the confrontation over the years between those who have taken a stimulus-response (S-R) behavioristic approach and those who favor a cognitive approach in their theorizing about behavior-- and I like to point out that the S-R psychologists, who at one time formed the government, are now in the loyal opposition, the cognitivists being the new government. As we shall also see, however, the older generation of cognitivists, who were for the most part the followers of Tolman, were also neobehaviorists; the recent ones are cognitivists in a much more polarized sense--and they are the present government.

A parliamentary government, by virtue of its leadership and responsibility, is constantly on the defensive, and this was certainly the case in the days of S-R leadership. The wake of the "cognitive revolution" swept into power even those for whom invertebrates are taken to be cognitive. Unaccountably, however, the posture of the S-R neobehavioristic leadership, which now found itself in opposition, did not change: By failing to act like an opposition and to put the cognitivists on the defensive, we found ourselves still on the defensive. It has taken us a long time to change our habits--

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Behaviorism, Neobehaviorism, and Cognitivism in Learning Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • John M. Maceachran Memorial Lecture Series ii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1: Setting the Stage 1
  • 2 - Issues Surrounding the Old and the New Learning Theory 31
  • 3 - Representational and Non-Representational Levels of Functioning: A Possible Conciliation 61
  • References 89
  • Author Index 99
  • Subject Index 103
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