Monkey see monkey do! Observational Learning
Observational Learning • Observational learning occurs when someone uses observation of another person's actions and their consequences to guide their future actions • Because the person being observed is referred to as a model, observational learning is often called modelling (or social learning). • This is not to say that every time we watch someone do something we learn how to do it – some people are perceived as more significant or important than others and thus their behaviour is more likely to be imitated.
Observational Learning • Observational learning is a more active process than either classical or operant conditioning • It is not entirely different from conditioning. • It can be a lot more efficient than trial and error learning or waiting until reinforcement or punishment is given.
Observational Learning • E.g. Language phrases/sayings – we tend to pick up specific phrases from people we admire or respect. “awesome”, “sick”, “cool” – have their own unique, non-literal meanings to subcultures of adolescents over the years. Status and image of movie stars, cartoon characters (e.g. Homer/Bart) provide the motivation for adolescent to observe and retain the behaviour to reproduce it when the opportunity arises.
Observational Learning • Sometimes, the model is not as important in motivating the learner – and the motivation simply arises from a need to know. e.g. Watching someone burn a DVD and then doing it yourself will provide its own reinforcement of satisfaction and added convenience.
Vicarious Reinforcement/Punishment • Normal Operant Conditioning the learner is directly reinforced or punished • Vicarious reinforcement – viewing a model being reinforced can strengthen behaviour in an observer • Vicarious punishment – viewing a model being punished can weaken a behaviour in an observer
Bandura’sBobo Doll Studies • Will children model violent behaviour? • Does TV violence effect children? • Does it matter who they observe? • Are boys more violent than girls?
Bandura’sBobo Doll Studies • All experiments involved children witnessing adult models be in the room with a bobo doll • Some models were aggressive some calm and some ignored the doll altogether • Children were then given the opportunity to play in a room with the doll • Aggressive acts by the child towards the doll were recorded
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -1 (1961) • 3 conditions Experimental • Aggressive model in room with child • Non aggressive model in room with child Control • No model in room
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -1 (1961) Control condition – 24 children each with no model in the room
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -1 (1961) Results • Children who saw aggressive model performed more aggressive acts • Boys were more aggressive over all • Boys imitated aggression more from male models • Girls imitated physical aggression more from male models rather than female • Girls imitated verbal aggression from female models rather than male • Children already had sex role expectation about male and female aggression – ‘that’s not the way for a lady to behave’, ‘that man is a strong fighter’. These expectations influenced how much they imitated male Vs female aggression. • Behaviour learned through observation may not be demonstrated unless opportunity presented
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -2 (1963a) • 4 conditions Experimental • Live Human aggressive model • Human aggressive models on film • Aggressive cartoon character Control • No model shown
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -2 (1963a) Results • Exposure to aggressive models increases the probability that children will behave aggressively • This is true both for real life models and film-portrayed models • Sex differences were again found
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -3 (1963b) • 4 conditions Experimental • Aggressive model Rewarded with praise and a food treat • Aggressive model Punished with verbal telling off and a spanking Control • Non aggressive model Received no consequence • No model shown
Bandura’sBobo Doll Study -3 (1963b) Results • Model reinforced – More copied aggressive behaviour • No significant difference between other conditions • Boys were more aggressive than boys generally • Children in experimental conditions were later asked which of the two models they would like to be • The models success in gaining reward was a key factor in choosing who they wanted to be like
Elements of Observational Learning According to Bandura, four elements account for observational learning and are essential for it to occur. • ATTENTION • RETENTION • REPRODUCTION • MOTIVATION-REINFORCEMENT
Elements of Observational Learning • The learner plays an active role in the learning process. They must: Pay attentionin order to observe the modeled behaviour • Attention may be influenced by numerous factors e.g. observer’s perceptual capabilities observer’s motivation and interest level situation in which the behaviour is observed the kinds of distracters present model’s characteristics (such as attractiveness)
Attention • Attention is influenced by factors such as: • Perceived importance of the behaviour (e.g. Keyboarding skills to obtain a job) • Distinctiveness of the behaviour (e.g. Uniqueness, different, unusual) • Behaviour’s effect on us (e.g. Satisfaction, convenience, security)
Attention • Bandura (1977) considered we are more likely to imitate models with the following characteristics: • +ve perception of model (liked, high status) • Perceived similar traits between model and observer (age, sex) • Model is familiar to observer and is known through previous observation • Model’s behaviour is visible and stands out clearly against other “competing” models • Model demonstrates behaviour that observer perceives they are able to imitate
Attention • Generally, the greater similarity between model and learner, the more attractive or successful the model, the more likely we are to follow their example. (e.g. Use of celebrities in advertising)
Retention Mentally retain what has been observed • Responses learned by modeling are often not needed until some time after they have been acquired • Therefore, memory plays an active role in observational learning. • The more meaningful we can make the mental representation, the more accurately we are able to replicate the behaviour when necessary.
Retention • Linking a visual image with a verbal description of the model’s actions is an effective strategy to assist the memory processes.
Reproduction Be capable of Reproducing the behaviour • We must have the ability to put into practice what was observed. • Our ability to reproduce the modelled response may be restricted by physical ' limitations • Paraplegics cannot learn to walk by observing others
Reproduction • We must also have the potential to be competentenough to develop the necessary skills to imitate the behaviour. e.g. Imitating a professional footballer’s kicking style may be reproduced but not with the same level of skill due to the footballer’s attributes that cannot be learned such as reflexes, agility, balance and pose,superior motor co-ordination.
Motivation-Reinforcement Be motivated or have some reinforcement available to perform the behaviour • Unless the behavioural response provides a reward for you or is useful, it is unlikely that you will want to learn it. Bandura identified additional types of reinforcement that influence motivation in addition to the standard types described by Skinner.
Motivation-Reinforcement • 1. External Reinforcement – comparable to learning by consequences. When offered money or praise as a reinforcer then motivation will be influenced in a positive way. • 2. Vicarious Reinforcement – Observing the modelled behaviour being reinforced for other people. Young child observing older sibling who works hard at school rewarded with getting into tertiary course of their choice may model the same studious behaviour after vicariously experiencing the reinforcement.
Motivation-Reinforcement • 3. Self-reinforcement – when we are reinforced by meeting certain standards of performance we set for ourselves. +ve – sense of pride and achievement at getting good VCE results that you believe you are capable of achieving. -ve – avoiding a bored future in a mindless job may act as a self-reinforcement for achieving academic success.
Motivation-Reinforcement • Behaviour acquired by observational learning may need to be maintained by operant conditioning principles of reinforcement.
Insight Learning • The ‘Ah Ha!’ Experience • Insight learning is a type of learning involving a period of mental manipulation of information associated with a problem, prior to the realisation of a solution to the problem. • (Finally see the solution to a problem after mental manipulation) • The learning is said to have occurred when the relationships relevant to the solution are grasped. • Learning appears to occur in a “flash”
Insight Learning • The solution is usually performed without error • Initial studies on insight learning conducted by German psychologist, Wolfgang Kohler. • Kohler used chimpanzees in his experiments on learning and problem-solving as they were available where he was working at the University of Berlin’s primate colony in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.
Insight Learning • Kohler (1925) believed that learning, especially in primates and people, involved cognitive processes and not just stimulus-response relationships. • Kohler’s experiments presented several problems to chimpanzees, each with different solutions.
Insight learning – Sultan the chimp THE STICK PROBLEM • Food placed out of reach outside cage of chimp • Two sticks within reach on floor of cage (hollow bamboo rods) • Each too short to reach banana or other fruit • Placed together to form a “double stick” long enough the sticks can be used to get the food
SULTAN THE CHIMP • First tried to reach between cage bars in futile attempt to get banana • Flew into temper tantrum • Calmed down, tried other solutions including each stick independently and one of the boxes. • 1 hour later – Sultan squatted indifferently on the box as if he had given up • Plays carelessly with sticks and while doing this holds one rod in either hand so they lie in a straight line and pushes thinner one a little way into opening of thicker one • Jumps up, runs towards bars and draws banana towards him with the double stick.
SULTAN THE CHIMP • Kohler concluded this was an example of insight learning. • It seemed to Kohler (although he could not be certain about what was going on inside Sultan’s head) that Sultan had mentally organised the sticks into a suitable relationship which he instantly recognised as the solution to the problem.
Different stages in insight learning • Kohler believed there appeared to be different stages in the process of insight learning: • Initial helplessness or inability to deal with the problem • A pause in activity • A sudden and smooth performance of the solution.
STAGES OF INSIGHT LEARNING • Preparation A “getting ready” period Person or animal gathers as much information as possible about what needs to be done. May “look for leads” by using information available in attempting possible solutions.
STAGES OF INSIGHT LEARNING • Incubation • A mental “time out” period when the information gained in preparation stage appears to be put aside. • But - Information continues to be processed or reflected upon and “weighed up” in the background (or at an unconscious level).
STAGES OF INSIGHT LEARNING • Insightful Experience • The “ah-ha” experience – occurs so suddenly. • Occurs due to some mental event that unexpectedly bridges the gap between the problem and its solution in a “flash”. • Like a sudden period of illumination after feeling for some time as though you’re in the dark.
STAGES OF INSIGHT LEARNING • Verification • When the visual image that flashed into the mind during the insightful (solution) experience is acted upon with overt behaviour and is tested.
Insight learning – Stages of Insight • Preparation - Sultan tries to reach with his arms, tries to reach with one stick, all attempts fail • Incubation - sits at the back of the cage and seems to have given up • Insightful experience - realises he is holding both sticks and can join them together • Verification - uses the double stick to reach the food.
INSIGHT LEARNING • Kohler observed the same kind of insightful learning and problem-solving process occurred with other problems he presented to chimpanzees. e.g. “THE BOX PROBLEM” – banana suspended from cage ceiling and some boxes scattered around cage floor. Eventually chimps would stack the boxes on top of each other, scamper up and grab the banana.
INSIGHT LEARNING • Kohler (1927) believed that insight was not the result of random trial and error responses, although some of this type of behaviour may be displayed in the preparation stage.
CHARACTERISTICS OF INSIGHT LEARNING • Learning appears to be sudden and complete • First time solution is performed, it is usually done with no errors • Solution is less likely to be forgotten than if it is learned by rote (repetitive drill) • Principle underlying solution is easily applied to other relevant problem-solving situations
Features of Insight Learning • Insight depends on 3 key factors: • 1. Whether the problem has elements that can be manipulated in such a way as to enable discovery of their relationship • 2. Whether the organism trying to solve the problem has the cognitive ability to manipulate the elements of the problem in such a way as to identify their relationship • 3. Whether all the tools, processes and other information necessary for the solution are available to the problem-solver (within vision or “mentally” through prior experience)
Insight Learning • Insight learning, like observational learning is described as a form of cognitive learning. • Principles of classical or operant conditioning do not account for insight learning. e.g. Animals in Kohler’s problem solving situations do not show any successive approximations of the solution that can be reinforced. • Cognitive processes also involved – this is different to traditional CC and OC which ignore cognition