Handbook of Contemporary Learning Theories

Handbook of Contemporary Learning Theories

Handbook of Contemporary Learning Theories

Handbook of Contemporary Learning Theories

Synopsis

Mowrer and Klein have long been making contributions to the field of contemporary learning theories. Their first two-volume set included chapters authored by many of the leading researchers in the field of animal learning and focused primarily on Pavlovian theory and instrumental conditioning. These impartial texts were an important addition to the field and remain widely cited. Over the last decade research on the nature of the learning process has evolved considerably. The research in this new volume represents the cutting-edge contributions of first rate authors and co-authors. These 14 chapters deal with the theoretical perspectives concerning the nature of the learning process, as well as the innovative research that supports these positions. This text is bound to be invaluable to both students and faculty of psychology and related disciplines, as well as to outside scholars. Key features include: * an introductory chapter describing general theories of learning and the causes of the shift to more specific, contemporary theories; * five chapters detailing the research and theories of the nature of Pavlovian Conditioning; * four chapters dealing with the current thinking and research on the nature of instrumental operant conditioning; * three chapters describing the link between learning and physiology; and * a concluding chapter detailing the application of learning theory to abnormal psychology.

Excerpt

Theoretical interpretations of the learning process have concerned experimental psychologists since the late 1800s and have been a dominant force in psychology in general. Many of the initial theories, such as those of Hull and Tolman, attempted to capture the entire essence of learned behavior--the age of global theories of learning. Since the mid 1970s, theoretical concepts of the way in which human and nonhuman organisms learn or acquire information have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis. This change has involved moving from the broad, all-encompassing theories of Hull, Tolman, Guthrie, and Thorndike to more specific, focused theories.

Most learning texts available to upper-level students reviewing various theories of learning cover the traditional theories in detail, while only casually addressing more contemporary theories. Detailed treatment of the modern theories is available but can be found only by searching through a variety of sources (i.e., book chapters, review articles, or a series of research articles). Feeling that there was a definite need to put all of these ideas into a single, easily accessible medium, 11 years ago we contacted many noted modern learning theorists who graciously agreed to provide a discussion of their most recent research and theorizing. The result was a two-volume text published in 1989 by Lawrence Erlbaum describing contemporary conceptualizations of the learning process. The first volume described the views of 16 psychologists concerning Pavlovian conditioning and modifications of traditional learning theory. The second volume presented the ideas of 17 psychologists on instrumental conditioning and biological constraints on learning.

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