Free «Learning» Essay Sample


Learning is the productive behavior that is a result of a myriad of experiences in the process of perfoming different activities. In order for one to study there must be a purpose for them to do this. It can be the associated benefits or consequences that will force one to aquire new knowledge. There are many triggers of learning depending on the association of the stimulus and the learned behavior. Classical conditioning is one of the many forms of learning where there is an association with the result. Reinforcement involves the appreciation of the effort made by the person to get the new knowledge. Punishment is the inflicting of an undesirable experience when one fails. In order to avoid the unpleasant experiences, one will be forced to learn the new information. All these ways of learning have many shortcomings; however, they are very useful in the process.

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Classical conditioning

It involves learning a new behavior through the process of association. The association between a stimulus from the environment (external) and the stimulus occurring naturally (internal) gives rise to a new response in a human being or an animal. A response that is not learnt is elicited from the interaction of the animal and the stimulus. Classical conditioning has three stage. At each of them the response and stimuli are called scientifically and their names are the following:

•   The unconditioned stimulus that is the one that naturally triggers a response.

•   The unconditioned response. This response is the unlearned reaction that takes place due to the unconditioned stimulus.

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•   The conditioned stimulus. It is also known as a neutral stimulus that after being linked together with a conditioned response is produced by the unconditioned stimulus.

•   The conditioned response. It is a learned reaction to the stimulus that was previously neutral.

The example of the classical conditioning

The sight of my friend’s medication bottle initially had no effect on me. However, after I had begun taking the medicine that always made me vomit, I would later on become sick seeing the medication bottle.

Before the whole process of conditioning, the sight of the medication bottle was a stimulus that was neutral. The unconditioned stimulus was the usage of the medication, and the unconditioned response was the vomiting caused by taking the medicine. After a continuous pairing of the sight of the medication bottle which is the unconditioned stimulus with that of the usage of pills, the sight of the bottle (which has developed to become a conditioned stimulus) started to bring forth the vomiting response (which has developed into the conditioned response) (Lorenzetti et al. 17–19). Hence, vomiting is associated with the bottle itself.

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Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement occurs when the stimulus is added and follows a desirable behavior. This reinforcement must be individualized to the particular person receiving it.

For example, despite my dislike for the daily workouts, I was able to lose weight. The experience of slimming down was a positive reinforcement for the trainings.

Negative reinforcement

Negative reinforcement explains a situation where the behavior is made strong by the removal of some nasty experiences. It increases the chances that a particular behavior will take place again. For instance, my friend becomes sweaty and flashy when making classwork presentations. As a result, she always tries to avoid certain situations such as debates, where she has to speak in front of a crowd of people. Hence, the possibility of fear is minimized greatly reinforcing avoidance so as to manage the symptoms.

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Punishment by application

The purpose of this kind of punishment is to decrease the probability that the behavior reoccurs. In this case, it involves presenting an undesirable result following a harmful or bad behavior. It is also known as positive punishment. For example, when a child watches pornographic videos at home, the parent scolds him/her for doing this.

Punishment by removal

The purpose of this type of punishment is to eradicate the previously existing stimulus in reaction to the response. Such elimination can mean loss of freedom or privilege.

One may consider the following example: my friend attends night parties without her parents’ consent, so the latter ground her. The next time she intends to go to a night party without permission, she might decide to stay indoors so as to avoid the punishment associated with partying (Servedio, S. Sæther, and G. Sætre 109–123).

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Main disadvantage of physical punishment used to discipline children

The use of physical punishment legitimizes the application of violence to settle problems and solve conflicts. Children take after the adults’ behavior (Bandura 167-196). Therefore, when parents use physical punishment, children are highly likely to take up violent acts as a way of influencing other people’s actions among their peers and even later in their adult life. The negative impact that this has on social behavior is huge.

Physical punishment

Physical punishment is wrong. It has many negative effects on children.

First of all, it harms the child’s mental health. Physical punishment sends a message of adult’s displeasure to a kid. The depression and confusion caused by it rarely allow the young ones to think about his or her behavior. Fear is, therefore, instilled in the child that highly prevents learning. The impact the physical punishment has on the mental health is overwhelming. It can cause the students to be disoriented.

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Moreover, this kind of punishment can cause serious physical harm. The injuries range from broken arms, cerebral bleeding to nerves and muscle damage. The physical damage can lead to disabilities and leave marks that will always serve as the reminders of the ordeal.

It is not legal for any person and even parents to spank children in about 29 countries. In 2010, The Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child was enacted and became a huge step geared towards eradication of the physical punishment of children.

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