Psychology 230 - Introduction to Learning
Required Text: Hill, W.F. (1997). Learning: A survey of psychological interpretations (6th edition). Harper & Row, Publishers
Course Objectives: Students will be able to describe various theoretical orientations that have been used to explain concepts of learning. Both the connectionist and cognitive approaches to learning will be discussed in detail. Students will also learn about recent computer theories of learning, as well as how motivation, heredity, and evolution interact with learning to determine behavior.
Ch. 1 - How Psychologists Study Learning
Ch. 2 - The Nature of Learning Theories
Ch. 3 - Three Early Connectionist Theorists (Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike)
Ch. 4 - Guthrieís Contiguity Interpretation of Learning
Ch. 5 - Hullís Formal Theory Building
Ch. 6 - Skinnerís Form of Behaviorism
Ch. 7 - Applications and Implications of Skinnerís System
Ch. 8 - European Cognitive Theory
Ch. 9 - American Cognitive Theory (Tolman, the cognitive revolution)
Ch. 10 - Cognitions, Computers, and Production Systems (problem solving, robots, ACT theory)
Ch. 11 - The New Connectionism (network models)
Ch. 12 - Some Current Cognitive Interpretations (Rescorla, Wolpe, Seligman, Gagne, Bandura)
Ch. 13 - Issues in Motivation (drive and reinforcement, optimal arousal, responses as reinforcers, cybernetics, opponent process theory)
Ch. 14 - Heredity, Evolution, and Learning (species-specific behaviors, preparedness, sociobiology)
Ch. 15 - Learning Theory Past, Present, and Future
Grade - Your grade in this course will be determined by three hour examinations (100 points each), two papers on appropriate learning theorists (50 points each), extra credit exercises taken mostly from the Internet (maximum of 60 points), and a final examination (150 points). The papers should be relevant to psychological learning theories, have a minimum of five references, and be five to seven pages in length. The final exam will be comprehensive, but will cover chapters 13-15 in greater detail. It will be given from 8:00-10:00 on Friday, May 5th.
Helpful Internet Sites
www.britannica.com (Encyclopedia Britannica)
ericir.syr.edu/ERIC (contains a search engine for the Educational Resources Information Center)
www.apa.org/ (contains two search engines. Click on the site map and then search. You will see the two search engines, Bestsearch and Psyccrawler).
altavista. com (my favorite search engine when searching for a psychological theorist)
yahoo.com (a good search engine for psychological theorists)
northernlight.com (another good search engine)
go.com, snap.com, and mamma.com (three more good search engines)
Attendance Policy and Make-Up Policy- You are expected to attend class regularly. If an exam or paper is due on a day you are absent, you must notify me as soon as possible and preferably before the class. If an extra credit assignment is due, you are expected to hand it in on time unless you have a good excuse for missing class, such as illness, a family emergency, or you are representing the College.
Cheating Policy - Cheating is well defined in the College Catalog and sanctions are specified in the Student Handbook. Cheating includes copying homework, using unauthorized sources during quizzes and exams, copying or accepting answers from classmates, and plagiarizing on writing assignments.
Office Hours - My office is AC-257 (next to the elevator). Office hours are 10:00-10:55 MWF, 1:00-1:55 TTh, and by appointment.