Behavior Cognition and Learning through Modern Psychology

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Learning is an essential part of life, from an adjusted reflex of the Aplysis to the incorporation of sensory-perceptual of sequential verbal order that arises in the human amygdale (Wickens, 2005). Behaviors are innate genetically and subject at birth or conception like homeostatic systems, firm reflexes, and species-specific behaviors. However, the paradigm of learning, in the realm of psychology, is best described as, rather enduring changes in behavior or in behavioral development that result from one or more experiences and not endorsed to a temporary state such as those who are induced by drugs, illness, or fatigue (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). On the other hand, a complete understanding of the method of learning, relative to modern psychology, and often predicated because of the understanding of particular roles in which behavior plays in learning, different types of learning, and the relationship between learning and cognition.

Behavior and Learning

Regrettably, neurological learning is not something that can be physically touched for complete observation. Therefore, to validate the procedure of how a person learns remains one of sciences mysteries behaviors and it is the only means of understanding. Apart from for B.F. Skinner, theories of reinforcement and punishment in the engagement of learning behavior, other theorists uphold that learning constitutes the overruling or variables between experience and behavior. Applying language as a scientific method, the independent changes of experiences and reconciles the dominant inconsistency of learning, which affects the dependent and unpredictability of certain behaviors. In addition, the importance is to demonstrate a difference between learning, changing, development, and performance of behaviors and translation of potentiality understanding and behavior. Performance generates a demonstration of learning as a behavior. However, learning alone is a result of a person’s potential of behavior. Learning is a behavior, which proceeds as a principal and changeable experience and behavior that ultimately finds expression through implementing an automatic routine.

Types of Learning

Conditioning learning first originated by Pavlov and later improved by Skinner, describes the procedure of behavioral modification, which can take place. Furthermore, conditioning is at odds and separated into the two subcategories. Classical conditioning and instrumental conditioning classical conditioning, as Pavlov supported, involves the association of an unconditioned stimulus by using food as the reward. A conditioned response is using symbols to tempt a person or animal into salivating by repetitive coupling of a conditioned stimulus. For example, giving food for performing a particular action, once one action relates to the other   creates an unconditioned response. Through this philosophical approach to learning, classical conditioning can affect behavioral change. On the other hand, operant or instrumental conditioning functions through the method of reinforcement by escalating the opportunity that previously produces behaviors. For example, if a bird pecks a lever because it is in its nature and then a pellet of food releases into the birds own habitat, the bird is more likely to peck the lever again to assure the same response. Reinforcement can affect the bird’s future behavior. Total classical conditioning implements, which order will determine the objects that are essential for survival and which are not. Instrumental conditioning is more apprehensive then achievement or evading of attractive or undesirable objects. Last, in addition to conditioning, it also appears many other types of learning that take place in the area of the human experience. Nonetheless, building on the foundation of conditioned learning. As Kirsch and Lynn (2004) put it, paradigms act as exemplars of enduring solutions to specific scientific quandaries and act as model for research. Therefore, even conditioned learning may not explain all forms of learning, it does however, form an unconscious bases for the understanding of an even more complex paradigms for learning.

Learning and Cognition

In effect, all modern theories of learning integrate cognitive associations interested in the basic stimulus-response links support classical and instrumental conditioning (Kirsch & Lynn, 2004). Cognitive associations can form between the representations of two stimuli (S-O), depictions a stimulus and a response (S-R), and the symbol of responses and outcomes (R-O). The main idea that follows all three associations is the expectation or anticipation of the outcome that plays as the intermediary role between learning and performance. Consequently, an S-O cognitive association is traditional through preconditioning actions, like the combination of two related stimuli, missing any form of reinforcement. Which brings the anticipation of future demonstration of one stimulus will bring the manifestation of the other stimulus. Equally, R-O cognitive associations can outline throughout the depreciation of a schedule of instrumental conditioning through reducing the anticipated outcome. In general, the symbol of future expectancy of stimuli or responses acts as the backbone of the cognitive perspective of learning.


Behavior is the result of learning as the instrument of performance and the only scientifically certifiable way to study the action of learning. In addition, two types of learning, instrumental and classical conditioning make up the basic paradigm of behavior modifications. The two foundational of paradigms of learning the cognitive associations, which suggest the expectancy of the future outcome of the  intermediary variable to build a framework to accept the basic cognitive procedures which help explain the higher forms of learning.


Hergenhahn, B. R., and Olson, M. H., (2009). An introduction to theories of learning (8th ed.).

           Upper Saddle River, from, NJ. Pearson Inc, Prentice Hall.

Kirsch, I., Lynn, S.J., (2004). The role of cognition in classical and operant conditioning. Journal of

          Clinical Psychology, 60(4), 369-392.  Retrieved March 17, 2010,

          from EBSCOHost Database.

Wickens, A. (2005). Foundations of biopsychology, (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River,

            N.J.: Pearson Hall.

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