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What is the Sociocultural perspective


Social Cultural psychologists propose that learning ALWAYS involves the use of cultural tools - i.e. both physical (eg a pen or computer) or pscyhological (eg language).

Learning is embedded within interpersonal relationships, which are in turn embedded in social and cultural systems. It focuses on the way in which contexts provide or constrain learning opportunities.

A key concept is mediated action - this is the interplay between the learner and the tools and represents where the learning occurs. Appropriation is another and refers to making the tool your own i.e. how they become part of the world that we work with i.e. language.

To learn is a process of enculturation - if we wish to learn then we have to pickup/acquire the specific cultural practices and behaviour that represents the norm within that culture. However as Keogh points out there is a complex interplay between tools and relative power and interplay - computer and boys being dominant.

Thus in summary social interaction is seen as central to learning and is the point where meaning is jointly created. Mercer studied leraning in a class room.

It is vital as it offers an insight into the nature of learning and the experience of it and enables us to enhance it.


What is Behaviourism


WHO - Watson, Pavlov and Skinner
Location - Perspective that was initially proposed by Watson. Felt that the introspection used by PAs was unscientific and wanted psychology to be more like the natural sciences and use objective methods of observation and measurement.

Thus the only data of concern should be behaviour as it is visible and measureable.

He also objected to the emphasis placed on innate behaviour and felt instead that whilst some behaviour may be innate that it is the environment around that shapes behaviour.

Behaviourism empahsises the commonalities between humans and non-human animals and thus takes a comparative approach which feels that behaviour in other animals such as vertebrates can be extrapolated to humans. Watson used the phsyologist Pavlov’s findings and focuses on Classical conditioning. Subsequent behaviourists such as Skinner then extended this to Instrumental conditioning and operant conditioning. Watson most famous study was Little Albert - which is seen as very unethical nowaday.

It was and is highly influential and has strong explanatory powers as its evidence relies on what can be seen rather than infered. Pratical apps include the desensitisation of phobias, behaviour modifications in classrooms and the Law of effect. However is has come under intense criticism with its inability to accept any cognitive or other processes in human behaivour. For example expectancy and the underestimation of innate biases for learning - Garcia and rats learning about to food but not visually.


What is classical conditioning.


Classical conditioning was first postualated by Pavlov - a phsyiologist studying innate relfexes. He found that when offered food the dogs would salivate, however he soon discovered that they would also salivate when the bell sounded to announce the arrival of food. He went on to test this and paired the bell (neutral stimulus) with food (unconditional stimulus) and it elicited salivation (unconditional response). After a few of these pairings (contingencies) the bell (conditional stimulus) triggered saliva (conditional response). Watson then used this in his beahviourism studies to induce fear of a rat in a little boy known as Little Albert by creating the contingenciey of loud noise (unconditional stimulus) with the rat (conditional stimulus) so that in the end the fear became the conditional stimulus. Use of animals behaviour that is then extrapolated to humans is an example of a comparative approach.

Thus Learning can be described in terms of S-R association (stimulus Response) being formed automatically when the NS and UCS occur close together HOWEVER this can also be explained in terms of expectancy, thus the dog hears the bell and expects food and thus salivates.

CC has lead to greater understanding of how we learn, in particular to how things are learnt without awareness or concious intention. It was also imp cos it was used by Watson to challenge the value of introspection being used bat the time. Also has very important roles in therapy i.e. desensitisation and behaviour modification.



What is category Learning


WHO: Bruner, Murphey, Medina, Allopena, Kaplan