Sign Learning By Edward C. Tolman

1515 Words 7 Pages
Literature Review
In this paper, I will be talking about sign learning which is a theory proposed by Edward C Tolman in the year 1866-1959. This theory has also been compared to behaviorism and cognitive theory. I will summarize some of the techniques and evidence of Toman’s work. The methods that he used in his experiment and discuss the similarities of his work into a real life situation. In conclusion, I will talk about the results of sign learning and ways to reduce this theory in a real-world situation and how it applies to human’s learning ability.
Sign learning is a theory performed by Edward C. Tolman in 1866-1959. According to Tolman, this theory shows how organisms learn by sign through meaningful behavior. It has also been called
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He indicated that the maze rats began to think before making decisions and it was easier through the maze. He discovered that the rats formed maps of the maze that allowed to the path of their reward (food). One of his types of learning (latent learning) suggested that the learning occurs even if no reinforcement is needed. Latent learning becomes clear when an individual displays it. For example, when a child learns to solve a math problem in school, their learning does not improve immediately till they are offered some reinforcement. We teach a rat to run through a maze by offering rewards (food) for its good responses similarly, we also teach kids to raise their hands by rewarding them for their appropriate behaviors (Cherry, 2016). Tolman was the one that discovered latent learning. We as individuals travel to many routes and locations but its only when we need to get something is when we go to these routes or locations (Cherry 2016). Similarly, Tolman’s example with the rats showed that the rats knew where to get their rewards if they took the correct path through the maze. But why do we say the maze rats were using their latent learning skill. For instance, when the route the rats learned was blocked, they used their next shortest route to get the food which was demonstrated they were using their latent learning ability. This showed that our learning ability occurs as we go but …show more content…
The 2nd group received some reward, and the 3rd group didn’t receive anything. This went on for 10 days but the 3rd was rewarded for the final eight. For the first group, they made some errors several times before they improved. The second group of rats made errors continuously and the third group of rats made more errors and no efforts to run through the maze but they improved more once they rewarded. Tolman showed that the rats in the 3rd group had learned the path through the maze but without no reward, they didn’t make any effort but with the reward they used their cognitive map they learned (2016, April 13). Since this study was done with rats, it also applies to human learning. For example, children watch their parents all the time. Suppose Kayla’s dad drive her to school every morning- Kayla will learn the route her dad takes to drop her to school but since Kayla cannot drive, she can’t drive herself. In other words, Kayla hasn’t had the chance to show that she has learned the route. One day, Kayla’s dad had to leave early for work so he can’t drive Kayla to school. What did Kayla do? Kayla followed the same route her dad uses to drive her bike to school. This shows Kayla’s latent learning. She learned the route but wasn’t able to demonstrate this knowledge

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