The main concepts I will be discussing are about learning and how we humans are able to learn. Education is very important to me personally. Education is part of many families’ lives and multiple schools of teaching that we endure in our lives. We can potentially spend almost twenty years of our lives in schooling and that is a big chunk of us for just education.
There are several methods to learning, but the four concepts that affect me personally are, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, the visual imagery encoding of memory, and observational learning.
I chose these concepts, because education is very important in my life and my desire to become successful. Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which the method is based on reward and punishment. More closely, it focuses on positive and negative punishment and positive and negative reinforcement.
Reinforcement is the idea that the desired behavior is looking to be more likely to occur. Then punishment is teaching of behavior to occur less often and decrease.
Now, positive reinforcement is the act of adding something pleasant to the one conditioned for good or desired behavior, like giving a child candy for cleaning up the table. While, negative reinforcement is the act of taking away something unpleasant from the conditioned for desired behavior, an example as reducing the amount of chores you need to do that day. Then positive punishment is the act of adding something unpleasant to the conditioned for unwanted behavior, such as adding additional chores to a list.
Negative punishment is the act of removing something wanted from the conditioned, because of an undesired behavior, like telling a child they cannot have cake for dessert, because they did not eat their vegetables. A personal account of this type of learning is when I was younger, I would have a list of chores, and for doing these chores, and I was able to earn an allowance for anything I wanted to purchase for myself.
In order to learn vocabulary words, before I was able to play, my parents would have me go to one end of the house and then for each word or answer that I got correctly, I was able to take one step toward whatever thing I wanted to do. Then I with repetition and practice, I was able to learn my homework and education and get rewarded for doing the good behavior that my parents wanted from me.
Classical conditioning is another form of learning, where there are stimulus, responses, and neutral stimulus. Through this type of learning, an unconditioned stimulus causes an unconditioned response, but when introducing a new neutral stimulus, the one being conditioned can be conditioned to use the neutral stimulus to get the unconditioned response. The most famous example is from Ivan Pavlov, when he was measuring dog salivation. He found that when he rang a bell and brought food to the dogs, that they would start salivating. He thing found out after several days of this, that when he rang the bell, the dogs would start salivating without seeing any food arriving.
The unconditioned stimulus, being the food; the unconditioned response, being salivating; the neutral stimulus, being bell ringing; transforming to be the conditioned stimulus, and the conditioned response being the salivating. A personal experience on my account, would apply to one year ago, I was in a previous psychology class and we had to classically condition my friend’s dad for a project. We would activate a sound and then shut off his TV, successfully conditioning him to anticipate us shutting off the TV when the sound was made.
“Visual encoding is the process of storing new information by converting it into mental pictures” (pp 224). People use visual images for all sorts of tasks for remember where they need to be, what item they are looking for, what person they are trying to remember. Visual images are one of the greatest tools I can use to personally learn material.
As a child, I was always needing to learn Bible verses for my little league basketball team at church. Each player who was able to recite the verse, would be awarded early points. So I would read and read the verses and then recite them to my dad before each game. Even now as an adult, I heavily use my ability of visual image encoding to get to where I need to be each day. I am not a person who can easily navigate streets or roads by name. When driving, I rely on landmarks to get me from point A to point B. I visually picture the place that I need to be in my mind and I do a step by step of each path is required to reach there.
Observational learning is learning which takes place by watching the actions of others. It is another excellent tool I use when learning and practicing different tasks. When learning a sport like tennis, you would watch the instructor or teacher and do as they did. You would watch and pick up the different stokes and swings and methods of playing the game. I really learn well when working with my hands, so when I was younger, I was obsessed with Legos. I would get something and look at the manual for how it was built and what pieces were required and in what order.
There are many people like me who use observational learning as their choice of learning. Learning and education is very important to me and my family. I would love to become successful and provide for my family in the future. I have been able to get where I am today with different methods of learning. This would include, observational learning, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and visual imagery memory encoding. There are many people on this planet who are similar to me. These psychological concepts have helped me become the human being that I am and shaped how I behave and learn about my environment and studies for school.