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Psy 390 Learning and Cognition Paper Week 1 Ind. Assign

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Learning and Cognition Paper
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Learning and Cognition Paper
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PSY 390: Learning and Cognition
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Learning and Cognition Paper
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Learning and Cognition Paper
Learning is a practice that one participates in on a daily basis and in different ways.
However, it is an extremely difficult term to define. Princeton (2011), defines learning as “the
cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge.” Although accurate, this definition doesn’t
justify what learning actually is. A definition that includes changes in observable behavior is
favored instead. “One of the most popular of these definitions is the one suggested by Gregory A.
Kimble (1917-2006), which defines learning as a relatively permanent change in behavioral
potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009).
Unfortunately, although popular, this definition isn’t accepted universally. It is more appropriate
to explain learning in relation to behavior rather than define in one sentence.
The leading characteristic of the term learning is that it is related to changes in behavior.
The term learning would not exist without behavior, it couldn’t be recognized. How would one
exhibit that they could do something they couldn’t do before the learning experience if they
didn’t portray that behavior? When behavior changes through learning, it is neither transitory nor
fixed and this change will not always occur immediately after the learning experience. Olson &
Hergenhahn (2009) explains that, “the change in behavior results from experience or practice.
The experience, or practice, must be reinforced; that is, only those responses that lead to
reinforcement will be learned.” Along with this explanation comes the revised Kimble (1961)
definition of learning that is more widely accepted. “Learning is a relatively permanent change in
behavior or in behavioral potentiality that results from experience and cannot be attributed to
temporary body states such as those induced by illness, fatigue, or drugs” (Olson & Hergenhahn,
2009).

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