"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads or you will learn nothing."
Scientific Analysis Applied to Learning
1. All natural phenomena are caused.
2. Causes precede their effects.
The causes of natural events include only natural phenomena.
4. The simplest explanation that fits the data is the best - the law of parsimony. The fewer assumptions required by an explanation, the better.
Measures of Learning
To measure learning is to measure changes in behavior.
Errors - Measures of Learning
A reduction of this.
Topography - Measures of Learning
A change in the **form** a behavior takes.
Intensity - Measures of Learning
We can also measure learning by noting changes in the intensity of the behavior.
Speed - Measures of Learning
A change in ______ with which a behavior is performed is another measure of learning.
(A Doctor who has been practicing longer, will perform surgeries faster.
Learning can also mean reduction in this.
Latency - Measures of Learning
The amount of time that passes before a behavior occurs; a period of time between a cue and a response.
Learning can also mean an increase in this.
Rate - Measures of Learning
The number of occurrences per unit of time.
The higher the rate of behavior, the more pen movements and the steeper the slope of the ink line; The lower the rate, the flatter of the line.
Each point on the line indicates the total number of times the behavior has occurred as of that moment, so the graph provides a cumulative record.
Because the data line is cumulative, it can never fall below the horizontal line.
Fluency - Measures of Learning
Combines errors and rate; it is the number of **correct responses** per minute.
Rate vs. Speed
Rate = The number of times you can do something in a certain amount of time.
Speed = The amount of time it takes you to do something.
First or second hand reports of personal experience.
Can provide useful leads, and keep us in contact with "Popular wisdom," which, after all, is not always wrong.
Takes a good deal of time.
Much of the data obtained comes not by direct observation of the participants behavior, but from what the participant or other people report about the participant's behavior. Such reports are notoriously unreliable. (Maybe not...)
Descriptive Studies/Correlational Studies
The researcher attempts to describe a group by obtaining data from its members - often by conducting interviews or administering questionnaires.
Can suggest hypotheses, but cannot test those hypotheses.
A study in which a researcher manipulates one or more variables and measures the effects of this manipulation on one or more other variables.
The variables the researcher in a few lights are called independent variables; those that are allowed to very freely are called dependent variables.
The researcher typically identifies two or more groups of participants. The independent variable is been made to differ across these groups.
Experimental group and control group, participants assigned randomly.
Once results are in, they are usually subjected to statistical analysis in an attempt to estimate the likelihood that differences in results are due to the independent variable.
Participants with identical features are identified. Animals may be matched for age and sex quite easily.
Human participants can be matched for these variables, and also for IQ, educational level, socioeconomic background, etc.
Participants behavior is observed before the experimental treatment and then during or after it.
The **baseline period** is the initial period during which the participant's behavior is observed because it provides a basis for comparison.
A researcher repeats an experiment within the same study.
Limitations of Experiments
The great power of the experiment comes from the control it provides over variables.
However, this very control has led to the criticism that experiments create an artificial world from which the researcher derives an artificial view of behavior.
Two kinds of experiments: Laboratory experiments and field experiments.
Why animals are important to scientific study.
1) Make it possible to get control over the influence of heredity.
2) Control of participants learning history.
3) Can be housed from birth in environments that are far less variable than their natural environment, greatly reducing the influence of unintended learning experiences.
4) Can ethically do research on animals that we cannot do on humans.
Biggest objection - "People are not rats!"
Must be cautious in generalizing research on one species to another; comparative psychology.
Anything other than the best welfare of animals subjected to scientific study is bad science. (Standards on the use of aversives.)
Stimuli one would avoid, given the option.