PSYCHOLOGY 235 CONDITIONING &
LEARNING SPRING 2008
DR. RON MEHIEL
OFFICE : FSC 125 PHONE: 1515
OFFICE HOURS: TUE AND THUR 11-12 AND WEDNESDAY: 10 -
AND BY APPOINTMENT
Lutz, J. (2005). Learning and Memory, 2nd Edition. Long
Grove: Waveland Press
Boakes, R. (1984). From Darwin to
Behaviorism. Cambridge Univ. Press.
Bolles, R. C. (1979). Learning Theory, 2nd
Edition. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Dickenson, A. (1989). Contemporary Animal Learning
Theory. Cambirdge Univ. Press.
Schwartz, B. and Steven J. Robbins (1995).
Psychology of Learning and Behavior, 4th Ed. Norton.
Any other textbook on associative learning
mechanisms in the library.
Journal of Experimental
Psychology: Animal Behavioral Processes
Animal Learning and Behavior
Learning and Motivation
Physiology and Behavior
guide 1 - 3
This course will be an examination of the basic
principles of conditioning and learning that have been discovered by
psychologists in the past 120 years. Many philosophers of science
have argued that intelligence is the ability to profit from experience
(learn), thus there has always been interest in how learning occurs.
The goal of psychology has always been to understand
the mind. In the early years of our science, it was believed that
the mind could be studied directly. This proved to be
problematical, and psychology changed over the years in an attempt to
find a way to understand what we mean by “the mind.” What we will
see in this course is that an understanding of the process of learning
goes a long way toward an understanding of the mind. Therefore,
we will look closely at the major theories of learning that have
developed over the years, and hopefully begin to answer that old
nagging question about the nature of “mind.”
LECTURE: will be designed to augment, not replicate, the text
material. You should read the assigned chapter before class so
that meaningful discussion can take place.
GRADES: will be based on test scores (FOUR TESTS). Additionally,
class participation and enthusiasm will be part of your semester grade.
Extra Credit can be earned by doing a project as described below.
TESTS: will be short answer format. Usually a few sentences
or a paragraph will suffice as an answer. Material will be taken
from the text and from lecture.
EXTRA CREDIT: You may present one research article
from the psychological literature to the class. Presentations will
begin sometime around the 5th week, as those willing to do the project
begin to become prepared. You will be required to meet with me
and have the article approved prior to its presentation, and to reserve
a date for the class presentation. Presentations should only take
you about 10 minutes. The article should in some way be relevant to the
course material. That is, it should be some sort of an
investigation of learning. Ideally, the article will contain a
discussion about how the particular behavior investigated is best
explained by some associative or non-associative learning
mechanism. Become thoroughly familiar with your article before
you present it to the class and be ready to answer questions about it.
DAY DATE CHAPTER
From S-R to
2 Habituation and
First test on chapters 1 & 2
3 Higher order
Test 2 on Chapter 3
5 The mystery of
6 What is being
learned in reinforcement
6 Drive reduction
Test 3 on Chapters 4, 5 & 6
Comparing Classical and Operant
8 Comparing Classical
9 The Context of
Test 4: Chapters 7, 8, 9