Psychology – Biology and Behavior

Course Level 2: Intermediate

Estimated Study Time: 3-4 hours

Offered by: Alison

This course will introduce you to the basic principles of psychology from both a behavioral and biological perspective. The course begins by teaching you about classical conditioning which is a type of learning that involves the repeated association of a previously neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus, to elicit a conditioned response.

The course covers the work by the researchers Watson and Raynor who wanted to test the idea that fear could be acquired through classical conditioning. Their subject was Little Albert, an eleven-month-old son of a female employee at the clinic. The ethical guidelines for psychological research have certainly improved and are much different today.

The course teaches you about operant conditioning which is learning where the consequence is dependent on the person’s response. The consequence then influences the likelihood of the behaviour occurring. The course describes the famous experiments carried out by Skinner where he studied hungry rats in specially designed ‘Skinner’ boxes. 

Next, the course reviews the main stages of insight learning which are preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. The course describes the earliest research by Kohler on insight learning which involved a chimpanzee called Sultan. Kohler referred to this type of learning as insight learning. It is also referred to as insight thinking.

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