Learning Theory

Mind Map by sarahsmiles, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by sarahsmiles over 6 years ago


A-level Psychology (PSYA1) Mind Map on Learning Theory, created by sarahsmiles on 05/03/2015.

Resource summary

Learning Theory
  1. Suggests that attachments are learnt though classical and operant conditioning
    1. According to classical conditioning the infant, who had a drive to feed, associated the PCG with feelings of pleasure which come from food.
      1. The PCG becomes the conditioned stimulus and the pleasure become the conditioned response.
        1. In this way the infant learns to form an attachment with their PCG because of the positive feeling associated with them.
        2. According to operant conditioning the PCG and infant form an attachment as they reward each other.
          1. Feeding is rewarding (positive reinforcment) to the infant as it reduces their drive for food so they learn to stay close to their PCG in anticipation of food (reward)
            1. To the infant, food is the primary reinforcer
            2. As the PCG is associated (classical conditioning) with pleasure from food, the become the secondary reinforcer
          2. Supporting research: Schaffer and Emerson
            1. 60% of 60 working class Glaswegian infants formed an attachment with a parent who was their main feeder.
              1. This suggests that attachments are formed based on an association between the pleasure an infant gets from food and the PCG who feeds them
              2. :( Simplistic
                1. Unfairly minimises complex attachment behaviour by ignoring other factors
                  1. Ignores how the ability to form attachments is innate
                  2. Harlow's research showed that monkeys will instinctively form an attachment with care-givers which closely resemble them and provide "contact comfort" over the pleasure associated with food (as learning theory states).
                    1. As humans and monkeys share a similar biological make up, these findings can be used to explain attachments in humans.
                    2. :( Constrained
                      1. Suggests our behaviour is limited by factors outside of our control, limiting our free will and responsibility
                        1. Assumes complex attachment behaviour is the result of learning
                          1. In this way it cannot explain why some parents choose not to form an attachment with their child
                            1. e.g. surrogate mothers who give the child to a couple after it is born and they have had chance to bond with it
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