"Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior or in behavioral potentiality that results from experience and cannot be attributed to temporary body states such as those induced by illness, fatigue, or drugs." (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005, pg 8) Learning can occur from experience, classical conditioning or operant conditioning. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) Aristotle theorized through his laws of association that information can be recalled through contiguity, similarity or contrast. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) Using the frontal lobes of our brain the information can be manipulated to form ideas or thoughts both directly or abstractly from the knowledge that is stored in longterm memory.
Learning is studied by the potential change or observable change in behavior. Studying the change in behavior provides researchers with an observable, measureable subject matter that is necessary in behavioral science. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) The behavior is studied by identifying the variables. The relationship between the stimuli and the responses is the theoretical process called the intervening variable.
(Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) The dependent variable is the behavior. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) The independent variable is what causes the change in behavior. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) The complexity of human thought behavior makes it difficult to study learning. Because of this most learning studies are performed on animals. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) One exception would be Ebbinghaus who studied the relationship between learning irrelevant information like nonsense syllables and relevant information like Byron's Don Juan. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) Ebbinghaus studied himself and methodically recorded the amount of times it took to master nonsense syllables and syllables that were familiar to theorize the associative process in learning. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005) Psychologists like Skinner and Pavlov used animals to study the learning process.
Pavlov studied learning in dogs through classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is where...