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OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING AND LEARNING SET
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING & LEARNING SET Learning through watching and listening to someone else. This means we can learn without personally experiencing something. -physical routines -socially appropriate behaviours -emotional responses -roles learnt from others (women/men) at home, work, school. -values, habits and beliefs
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING Observational learning occurs when someone uses observation of another person’s actions and their consequences to guide their future actions. Person being observed = model Observational learning = modelling
Can be more efficient than trial and error learning Often a person with status or image is a desirable model At other times the model is not the motivation, the motivation arises from a need to know.
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING Albert Bandura Believed that the people around us display a wide range of behaviours, all of which we are able to observe. This provides us with information about our environment Bandura believes that modelling is not a totally separate form of learning from conditioning.
His experiments have shown that classical and operant conditioning can occur indirectly through observational learning. Vicarious conditioning involves being conditioned through someone else’s conditioning. During vicarious conditioning, the individual watches another person displaying behaviour that is either reinforced or punished, then behaves in the same way (or modified way), or refrains from the behaviour as a result of what they have observed.
Vicarious reinforcement increases the likelihood of the observer behaving in a similar way to a model whose behaviour is reinforced. Vicarious punishment occurs when the likelihood of an observer performing a particular behaviour decreases after having seen a model’s behaviour being punished.
BANDURA’S BOBO DOLL EXPERIMENTS Albert Bandura (1960’s) Observational learning in young children Children were required to sit and watch a model performing some action on television, and then given the opportunity to imitate the model. Classic study: influence of observational learning on aggression in four year old children.
Conditions… 1.In the first condition, the aggressive model was rewarded with lollies, soft drink and praise by another adult. 2.In the second condition, the aggressive model was punished with a spanking and verbal criticisms such as ‘Hey there, you big bully! Quit picking on that clown.’ 3.In the third condition, there were no consequences whatsoever for the aggressor’s behaviour- the model was neither rewarded or punished.
Results… Consequences (or lack of consequences) for the adult model did make a difference to the behaviour displayed by the children. This means that observational learning is not totally separate from conditioning. Children who watched the aggressive model either being reinforced or experiencing no consequences imitated aggressive behaviour more than the children who watched the aggressive model being punished.
When children were offered a reward for imitating the models aggressive behaviour, even children who had seen the model being punished, they tended to imitate the model’s behaviour by behaving more aggressively. Although boys were more aggressive than girls in all three conditions, the girls were nearly as aggressive as the boys if they were offered a reward. Observational learning can sometimes occur by simply viewing a model even if the model is neither reinforced nor punished.
Conclusions… Even though a child may not demonstrate a particular behaviour, they will have learned it and may need reinforcement to perform what they had learned. There is a distinction between the acquisition of a learned response and the performance of that response. We learn by observation as to whether or not a particular behaviour is likely to be rewarded. We learn by observation not only how to acquire or modify behaviour, but also about what behaviours can be expected to lead to particular consequences.
Operational hypothesis… An operational hypothesis states the predicted outcome and states how the variables being studied will be observed, manipulated and measured, and outlines the population from which the sample has been selected.
Operational hypothesis… That preschool children who are exposed to a violent film showing an adult model punching, hitting, kicking and verbally abusing an inflated rubber doll, will imitate that behaviour if the model is reinforced or limit their imitation of the aggressive behaviour if it is punished or receives no consequences measured through observations of number of aggressive behaviours performed. If there is a reward offered for imitating the behaviour, the child will imitate the model regardless of the consequences.
Independent & Dependent Variables… IV= 1. adult model being reinforced, punished or receiving no consequences 2. Child receiving a reward for imitating the violent behaviour DV= Number of aggressive responses made by children
ELEMENTS OF OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING Attention Retention Reproduction Motivation-reinforcement These elements are essential if observational learning is to occur.
The children attended to the model’s behaviour, they retained in memory what they had seen, they reproduced the modelled behaviour, and when offered reinforcement many of the children were more motivated to imitate the observed behaviour.
ATTENTION In order to learn through observation, we must pay attention to or closely watch the models behaviour in order to recognise the distinctive features. Factors that influence attention: -perceptual capabilities of the observer -motivation and interest of the observer -the situation in which the behaviour is being observed -distracters that are present -characteristics of the model -importance of the behaviour, its distinctiveness, and the effect it might have on us
According to Bandura we are more likely to imitate models who have the following characteristics… -the model is perceived positively, is liked and has a high status -there are perceived similarities between features and traits of the model and the observer, such as age and sex -the model is familiar to the observer and is known through previous observation -the model’s behaviour is visible and stands out clearly against other ‘competing’ models -the model is demonstrating behaviour that the observer perceives themselves as being able to imitate.
The greater the similarity between model and learner, and the more attractive or successful the model, the more likely we are to follow their example. Also, the higher their status the more likely we are to imitate them.
RETENTION Having observed the model we must be able to remember the models behaviour. Sometimes behaviour that is learned through observation is not needed immediately in which case it is stored in memory until it is required. Linking a visual image with a verbal description is an efficient strategy to assist the memory process.
REPRODUCTION When the models behaviour has been closely attended to and retained in memory, we can attempt to reproduce, or imitate, what has been observed. We must have the ability to put into practice what we have observed. We must be competent enough to develop the necessary skills to imitate the behaviour.
MOTIVATION-REINFORCEMENT The learner must also be motivated to perform the behaviour. Unless the behaviour is useful or provides a reward, it is unlikely that the learner will want to learn the behaviour in the first place. There are three aspects to motivation: -external reinforcement -vicarious reinforcement -self-reinforcement
External reinforcement… External reinforcement is comparable to learning by consequences. If you receive a monetary reward for working, chances are that you will be rewarded for continuing that work and enhancing your skills.
Vicarious reinforcement… Vicarious reinforcement is observing the modelled behaviour being reinforced for other people. If your older brother or sister is rewarded with treats for getting good marks at school, you may model the same studious behaviour as a result of vicariously experiencing the reinforcement.
Self-reinforcement… Self-reinforcement occurs when we are reinforced by meeting certain standards of performance we set for ourselves. The sense of pride or achievement when you achieve a goal that you wanted to achieve and knew you were capable of achieving. In sum if the modelled behaviour is reinforced, this will motivate the person to repeat those actions; the next time, the person will expect that behaviour to be reinforced.
LEARNING SET Knowledge and skills from a previous learning situation can be used to improve the rate of learning on a new but similar task. Learning set is the improvement in learning ability that results from previous experience in another similar learning situation. Learning set is another way of describing learning how to learn.
Learning set was investigated by American psychologist Harry Harlow (1905-1981). Harlow described learning set as the outcome of learning how to learn. He believed that the greater the number of sets, the better equipped the learner is to adapt to a changing environment. A set refers to any prior learning experience that enables the learner to make a positive transfer of skills and knowledge to the next learning task, improving the efficiency with which new, related behaviour is acquired.
Transfer of learning is a general term that essentially refers to the influence of earlier learning on later learning. It may be simple such as stimulus generalisation. It may be complex whereby we are acquiring a general rule and applying it to a range of other situations. When previous learning experience aids new learning, a positive transfer of learning is said to occur. When previous learning hinders new learning, a negative transfer is said to occur.
Operational hypothesis… That Rhesus monkeys will learn strategies to solve a problem involving two objects (which are rotated after six trials) in which one object has a desirable reward placed beneath it. The monkey, given six trials, will develop a rule which indicates that it has learnt that the reward remains under the same object for all six trials and will use this rule for all trials, measured by the number of correct responses made.
Harlow’s conclusions Insightful behaviour involves a sudden understanding that occurs in problem solving, often after an unproductive period during which it may seem as though the solution will not be found. The monkey’s had demonstrated the cognitive process that Harlow called learning how to learn.
Insight Learning Insight learning is a kind of learning involving a period of mental manipulation of information associated with a problem, prior to the realisation of a solution to the problem. The learning is said to have occurred when the relationships relevant to the solution are grasped. The learning occurs in a flash and what has been learned is usually performed smoothly and without error from then on.
THE LUCHINS WATER JAR PROBLEM Imagine that your mother has sent you to the village to get an exact amount of water. You take three different jars to the well, and have to get a different amount of water each time using different combinations of the three jars. ProblemVolume of jug A Volume of jug B Volume of jug C Obtain this amount 1211273100 21446522 31843105 4942621 52057429 62349320
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