Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology

By Jon E. Roeckelein | Go to book overview

E

EARLY SELECTION THEORIES. See ATTENTION, LAWS/PRINCIPLES/ THEORIES OF.

EBBINGHAUS’ DOCTRINE OF REMOTE ASSOCIATIONS. See SERIAL-POSITION EFFECT.

ECONOMY, PRINCIPLE OF. See PARSIMONY, LAW/PRINCIPLE OF.

EFFECT, LAW OF. = empirical law of effect = Thorndike’s law of effect. This is one of the major principles of E. L. Thorndike’s (1874–1949) learning theory, which states that ‘‘satisfaction’’ strengthens a stimulus–response connection or bond, and ‘‘annoyance’’ weakens or gradually eliminates a stimulus– response bond. The law of effect has also been called the empirical law of effect and the law of selection. In its original (1911) form, the law of effect stated that of several responses made to the same situation, those that are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the organism will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation, and those that are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort to the organism will, other things being equal, have their connections with that situation weakened. The greater the satisfaction (or discomfort), the greater the strengthening (or weakening) of the bond. Other forms of the law of effect are called strong law of effect, weak law of effect, and negative law of effect. The weak law of effect states that a response is more likely to recur if it is followed by a reinforcer, a ‘‘satisfier,’’ or a ‘‘satisfying state of affairs.’’ The strong law of effect, which is an extension of the empirical or weak law of effect, states that the necessary condition for a response to be learned is the explicit occurrence of a reinforcer(s) or a ‘‘satisfying state of affairs’’ after the response is exhibited (this is not a necessary requirement in other learning theories, such as Guthrie’s, 1935, contiguity theory). The negative law of effect, as a reciprocal of the weak law of effect, states that responses that

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Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A 1
  • B 64
  • C 87
  • D 128
  • E 154
  • F 180
  • G 199
  • H 224
  • I 250
  • J 273
  • K 279
  • L 286
  • M 317
  • N 338
  • O 349
  • P 356
  • Q 395
  • R 396
  • S 418
  • T 451
  • U 463
  • V 466
  • W 474
  • X 485
  • Y 486
  • Z 489
  • Appendix A 495
  • Appendix B 521
  • Selected Bibliography 527
  • Subject Index 529
  • About the Author 549
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