Virtually limitless | Daily News

Virtually limitless

Books on psychology and psychiatry appear in various forms. Some are high-flown textbooks suitable for higher academic purposes. Some others are catered to the average reader in a lighter vein enabling them to gather aspects of the subject as well as the new trends around the world. The work of Paul Chance titled Learning and Behaviour (1979) published by Wadsworth Publishing Co in California is an innovative attempt.

Chance intends to introduce five aspects of psychology that links two concepts:learning and behaviour. The work is intended for the use by undergraduate students who so desire to obtain a higher grade of insight into the discipline. The five main chapters discuss the aspects of learning and resultant behaviour. Chapter One underlines the main streams linked to learning and the behaviour patterns such as reflexes, instincts and maturation. These lead to a wider area known as to how learning involves a change in the life of an individual. This includes various types of behaviours, experiences, exposures and the ultimate goal of finding a definition of learning. This factor of defining includes a scientific scheme of measuring with the help of graphs etc.

This section becomes automatically a deeper area of topography, errors, strengths, speed as the types of questions like how many kinds of research could be involved.As a reader I found that the introduction of learning and behaviour cannot be undermined in the teaching of all the accepted subject areas like anthropology biology, history, literature and communication studies.

Controversial psychologist

Chapter Two takes the reader into a wider perspective by titling it Classical Conditioning. The meaning of the concept is referred to at the outset to the scientific surveys performed by the biologists around the world. One good example comes from Pavlov in Russia whose experiment was a topic that led to quite a number of controversies. The problem Pavlov decided to study was called the psychic reflex. According to Chance, Ivan Pavlov attempted to know via his experiment how a dog learns to know the phenomenon of the reflex action that leads to the area of a wider perspective of learning. Chance works in this area as a cue line to a broader aspect of instinct and intelligence.

Chance introduces Ivan Pavlov as a fierce, reluctant psychologist who was praised as well as abused by most other psychologists. Triggering off from Pavlov, the reader comes to know of another significant concept known as Instrumental Conditioningas laid down with examples in Chapter Three. This covers areas such as the use of various types of instruments in order to gauge the grades as rates of learning and behaviour in various animals and humans. This area too is marked by scientists with the advent of the use of technology in the field of psychology.

Perhaps this area leads to quite a number of medical disciplines uncovered briefly in the work. The reader is taken into deeper waters in this chapter. As recorded in the work of Chance, the pioneer of the instrumental conditioning had been a series of experiments conducted by the scientist named Thorndike in his book Animal Intelligence (1898).

Limitless capacity

Accordingly, thousands of experiments have been conducted an instrumental conditioning. In this direction, hundreds of rats, pigeons, chicken, dogs, cats, people and dozens of other creatures have learned to press levers, run mazes, peck discs, jump hurdles, escape boxes and perform countless other acts. The reader of the work then enters another area of learning and behaviour in Chapter Four:Observational Learningor Vicarious Conditioning. As observation is seen in various ways, the learning process too basically involves and embraces the concept.

This concept is also branded as observational learning by researchers into various fields of psychology. Various observational learning views are introduced. This concept presumably was broadened with the advent of the visual media into the human frames of reference in any society. As such, learning via observation too is taken seriously into consideration in the study of visual communication.

The well-known psychologist Albert Bandura and his colleagues at Stanford University have conducted several studies on observational learning in Children. In several of these studies, a child observes a model whose aggressive acts are reinforced wither by another party or by natural consequences of behaviour. The changes in behaviour could be gauged.

The Limits of Learningis the title given to the concluding Chapter Five of the work. This chapter underlines the various aspects of learning that is generally known as limitless learning. But the scholar shows with several examples to prove that though knowledge is a field is vast and limitless, the life span of a person disallows to learn all instead a few that could be absorbed as time goes by. As such, learning too has limits. This may be a factor that could not be gauged via any experiments. An understanding of learning is essential to an understanding of behaviour, especially in human behaviour. As Chance points out, however, important limits exist on the ways in which learning can contribute to behaviour.