Monday, 12 October 2015

Edward Thorndike - ideas and studies

Adult learning and how the IQ test started

Thorndike put his testing expertise to work for the United States Army during World War I. He created both the Alpha and Beta versions that led to today's ASVAB, a multiple choice test administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command that is used to determine qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. For classification purposes, soldiers were administered Alpha tests. With the realization that some soldiers could not read well enough to complete the Alpha test, the Beta test (consisting of pictures and diagrams) was administered. Such contributions anchored the field of psychology and encouraged later development of educational psychology.

Thorndike believed that "Instruction should pursue specified, socially useful goals." Thorndike believed that the ability to learn did not decline until age 35, and only then at a rate of 1 percent per year, going against the thoughts of the time that "you can't teach old dogs new tricks." It was later shown that the speed of learning, not the power of learning declined with age. Thorndike also stated the law of effect, which says behaviors that are followed by good consequences are likely to be repeated in the future.

Thorndike identified the three main areas of intellectual development. The first being abstract intelligence. This is the ability to process and understand different concepts. The second is mechanical intelligence, which is the ability to handle physical objects. Lastly there is social intelligence. This is the ability to handle human interaction.

Learning is incremental.
Learning occurs automatically.
All animals learn the same way.

Law of effect- if an association is followed by a "satisfying state of affairs" it will be strengthened and if it is followed by an "annoying state of affairs " it will be weakened.
Thorndike’s law of exercise has two parts; the law of use and the law of disuse.
Law of use- the more often an association is used the stronger it becomes.
Law of disuse- the longer an association is unused the weaker it becomes.
Law of recency- the most recent response is most likely to reoccur.
Multiple response- problem solving through trial and error. An animal will try multiple responses if the first response does not lead to a specific state of affairs.
Set or attitude- animals are predisposed to act in a specific way.
Prepotency of elements- a subject can filter out irrelevant aspects of a problem and focus and respond only to significant elements of a problem.
Response by analogy- responses from a related or similar context may be used in a new context.
Identical elements theory of transfer- This theory states that the extent to which information learned in one situation will transfer to another situation is determined by the similarity between the two situations. The more similar the situations are, the greater the amount of information that will transfer. Similarly, if the situations have nothing in common, information learned in one situation will not be of any value in the other situation.
Associative shifting- it is possible to shift any response from occurring with one stimulus to occurring with another stimulus. Associative shift maintains that a response is first made to situation A, then to AB, and then finally to B, thus shifting a response from one condition to another by associating it with that condition.
Law of readiness- a quality in responses and connections that results in readiness to act.Thorndike acknowledges that responses may differ in their readiness. He claims that eating has a higher degree of readiness than vomiting, that weariness detracts from the readiness to play and increases the readiness to sleep.Also, Thorndike argues that a low or negative status in respect to readiness is called unreadiness. Behavior and learning are influenced by the readiness or unreadiness of responses, as well as by their strength.
Identifiability- According to Thorndike, the identification or placement of a situation is a first response of the nervous system, which can recognize it. Then connections may be made to one another or to another response, and these connections depend upon the original identification. Therefore, a large amount of learning is made up of changes in the identifiability of situations.Thorndike also believed that analysis might turn situations into compounds of features, such as the number of sides on a shape, to help the mind grasp and retain the situation, and increase their identifiability.
Availability- The ease of getting a specific response. For example, it would be easier for a person to learn to touch their nose or mouth than it would be for them to draw a line 5 inches long with their eyes closed.

No comments:

Post a Comment