Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research

By Norman R. Ellis | Go to book overview

12 DISCRIMINATION LEARNING

Harold W. Stevenson

During the past decade there has been a rapid growth of interest in studying the learning processes of retarded individuals. A great deal of this interest has centered on discrimination learning. Although other types of problems have been investigated, there are many reasons why discrimination learning has been so frequently selected for study.

When psychologists move into a relatively unexplored area of research, such as learning in retarded individuals, it is not surprising that they should begin by utilizing problems and methods that have already been developed with other types of subjects. The processes involved in learning to discriminate among stimuli and in transferring such discriminations to successive problems have been popular topics for research, primarily with lower animals. Methods have been developed which make it possible for the experimenter to approach the study of retarded individuals with a degree of methodological sophistication that is not available for other areas of learning, such as classroom learning, skill learning, or language learning. Further, the body of data concerning the performance of lower animals and normal children provides a comparative basis for assessing the performance of retarded individuals. Another reason for selecting discrimination problems is that they are relatively simple, and more nearly adequate control over the experimental situation is possible than if more complex problems are used. Finally, theoretical positions have been developed regarding discrimination learning which provide a framework for interpreting the performance of retarded individuals. Regardless of whether such interpretation is valid, these theories offer an organized means of looking at problems which have guided investigators in selecting variables

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Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contributors vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I 9
  • 1 - Field Theory in Mental Deficiency 11
  • Introduction 11
  • References 36
  • 2 - A Social Learning Approach to Mental Retardation 41
  • Summary 86
  • References 86
  • 3 - Hull - Spence Behavior Theory and Mental Deficiency 92
  • Introduction 92
  • A Summing-Up 129
  • References 129
  • 4 - The Stimulus Trace and Behavioral Inadequacy 134
  • Summary 155
  • References 155
  • 5 - The Role of Attention in Retardate Discrimination Learning 159
  • References 220
  • 6 - Intelligence and Brain Damage 224
  • References 251
  • 7 - Genetic Aspects of Intelligent Behavior 253
  • References 291
  • 8 - The Application of Piaget's Theory to Research in Mental Deficiency 297
  • Introduction 297
  • References 323
  • 9 - Social Psychologies of Mental Deficiency 325
  • Summary 348
  • References 348
  • 10 - Psychological Studies of Mental Deficiency in the Soviet Union 353
  • Part II 389
  • 11 - Learning: Verbal, Perceptual-Motor, and Classical Conditioning 391
  • References 420
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 424
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 436
  • 13 - Problem - Solving and Conceptual Behavior 439
  • Conclusions 458
  • References 458
  • 14 - Sensory Processes and Mental Deficiency 463
  • Summary 476
  • References 476
  • 15 - Perceptual Processes 480
  • Conclusions 506
  • References 507
  • 16 - Language and Communication of Mental Defectives 512
  • Introduction 512
  • Summary and Overview 550
  • References 550
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 556
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 569
  • References 571
  • 18 - Abnormal Behavior and Mental Deficiency 574
  • Introduction 574
  • Summary and Conclusions 595
  • References 595
  • 19 - Motor Skills in Mental Deficiency 602
  • Summary 626
  • References 626
  • 20 - Research in Activity Level 632
  • Summary 657
  • References 657
  • 21 - Academic Skills 664
  • Summary 687
  • References 687
  • Contributors 691
  • Name Index 699
  • Subject Index 713
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