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Paired Associates Learning, the Shortfalls of Behaviorism, and the Rise of Cognitivism



Author:

Elizabeth J. Meinz
Department of Psychology
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
emeinz@siue.edu

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, students learn about a series of studies conducted in the late '50s/early '60s by Robert Young at the University of Texas at Austin. The studies, which explored the type of phenomena that behaviorism has had a difficult time explaining, were instrumental in the rise of cognitive psychology. A set of PowerPoint presentations (available for download in Supplementary Materials) are used to run an in-class demonstration as explained in the teaching notes. The case was written for use in a cognitive psychology course, but could also be used in other psychology courses such as Introductory Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, or other courses in which the contrast between behaviorist and cognitive explanations of behavior are discussed.

Objectives:
  • To better students' understanding of behavioral and cognitive psychology.
  • To demonstrate the use of experimental design to test the viability of theories (behavioral vs. cognitive).
  • To illustrate the type of research that led to major theoretical shifts in psychology.
  • To demonstrate experimental design in action.
Keywords: behaviorism; behaviorist; cognitive psychology; cognitivist; stimulus-response; paired associates learning; serial learning
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Demonstration, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology  
Date Posted: 12/20/2004
Date Modified: 3/5/2016
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


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Answer Key


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Supplemental Materials


Full implementation of this case study involves an in-class demonstration using the PowerPoint presentations below.

 

  Serial Learning
  Serial Learning Answers
  Paired Associates (Sequential)
  Paired Associates (Sequential) Answers
  Paired Associates (Nonsequential)
  Paired Associates (Nonsequential) Answers



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