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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Behaviorism, Neobehaviorism, and Cognitivism in Learning Theory presents the insights and opinions of Abram Amsel -- a comprehensive viewpoint that encompasses more than 40 years of research work and theorizing -- on the "cognitive revolution" in psychology and the behavioral sciences as it pertains to learning theory.

The volume was derived from three MacEachran Lectures held at the University of Alberta and presents:

• a historical-theoretical analysis of the origins of the modern cognitivist approach

• a critical examination of the major premises on which the modern cognitivist approach is based

• a study of the intellectual tensions that exist between recent versions of cognitive structuralism as they apply to humans and animals, and the various forms of behaviorism.

Excerpt

I was undecided about what to present in The MacEachran Lectures, on which this slim volume is based, for I had in mind two quite different things. One was a review of my own theoretical and experimental work. (In psychology, unlike in physics, theory and experiments usually reside in a single investigator.) The second possible subject I saw stemmed from my dissatisfaction, not to say unhappiness, with the current state of affairs in the field of learning theory--specifically in learning theory involving animals--that followed the so-called "cognitive revolution" in psychology. I concluded that I would never have a better forum in which, or a better platform from which, I might express my views on this second subject, so I decided to proceed with the latter, more polemical alternative.

I want to make clear at the beginning how I would characterize this essay. Though not a philosopher, I will be venturing into a realm of discourse that is known as philosophy of science; and though not a historian, I will be dabbling in the history of psychology, unabetted by the scholarly sweep of more distant historical perspective. I would, then, characterize the lectures as criticism-- and a one-man's-opinion kind of criticism at that. My credentials for being thus engaged are no more impressive--though no less . . .

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