An introduction to the psychology of learning that summarizes and integrates findings from both functional psychology and cognitive psychology.learning.
Learning unites all living creatures, from simple microbes to complex human beings. But what is learning? And how does it work? For over a century, psychologists have considered such questions. Behavior analysts examined the ways in which the environment shapes behavior, whereas cognitive scientists have sought to understand the mental processes that enable us to learn. This book offers an introduction to the psychology of learning that draws on the key findings and major insights from both functional (behavior analysis) and cognitive approaches.
After an introductory overview, the book reviews research showing how seemingly simple regularities in the environment lead to powerful changes in behavior, from habituation and classical conditioning to operant conditioning effects. It introduces the concept of complex learning and considers the idea that for verbal human beings even seemingly simple types of learning might qualify as instances of complex learning. Finally, it offers many examples of how psychological research on learning is being used to promote human well-being and alleviate such societal problems as climate change.
Throughout the book, boxed text extends the discussion of selected topics and “think it through” questions help readers gain deeper understanding of what they have read. The book can be used as an introductory textbook on the psychology of learning for both undergraduate and postgraduate students or as a reference for researchers who study behavior and thinking.
Jan De Houwer is a Professor in the Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology at Ghent University.
Sean Hughes is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology at Ghent University.
“This is a 'smart' textbook that, at the same time, is aimed at an introductory audience. Here is the key that sets this book apart from other such attempts: It accomplishes the important goal of keeping functional explanations of all phenomena, even 'cognitive,' separate from the theories that are meant to explain them.”
Paula Hertel, Professor of Psychology, Trinity University
“Avoiding the polemics and caricaturing typical of learning texts that take a particular perspective, this book refreshingly and accurately presents both the functional and cognitive traditions and finds interesting and productive ways of integrating them. I found it a welcome breath of fresh air and a hopeful new direction for the future of research in the complex field of learning.”
Michael J. Dougher, Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico
“As someone who teaches and researches in the area of Learning, I very much enjoyed reading and hugely appreciate this book on learning science. The book combines a sophisticated approach to philosophy with a thorough and comprehensive review of relevant theory and empirical research. It very comprehensively reviews learning processes from the basic up to the most complex including a very useful description of the modern contextual behavioral approach to language and cognition known as Relational Frame Theory. In conducting this review, the book also introduces the beautifully coherent idea of regularities as an organizing concept, which will undoubtedly foster many new insights into learning processes from the basic to the complex. This book is a very nice and indeed sorely needed addition to the canon, and I'm sure will inspire and stimulate debate amongst established academics and researchers as well as providing very useful support and guidance to students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.”
Dr. Ian Stewart, Lecturer, National University of Ireland Galway