According to the course text, learning is defined as a “relatively permanent behavior change in an organism’s behavior due to experience.” (Myers, p. 263). By following the scientific process, psychologists have made great strides in understanding how you learn. Pavlov’s seminal experiment introduced the idea of classical conditioning, learning that occurs when you learn to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events. Classical conditioning paved the way for behaviorism.
Operant conditioning, like classical conditioning, is another form of associative learning. Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which behavior is encouraged if followed by a reinforcer and decreased if followed by punishment. Although insightful, conditioning principles are not the only way you learn. Observing others is arguably one of the most powerful ways to learn.
Some of your earliest learning experiences are a result of observation. Unfortunately, not everything you observe and model is positive. Antisocial observational learning may lead to unintended destructive behavior.